Thinking about My Own Glares of Disdain

I can’t even begin to tally the many ways this NYT piece by US Children’s Literature Ambassador Gene Luen Yang speaks the truth to me. It’s about books as windows. You’d think, how could anyone say anything fresh and new about that old trope? Well, here we go. To start with Gene puts himself at the center of the anecdote:

glareofdisdain1Then he takes me into a scenario filled with the small, incidental meannesses of  childhood that we all know about. Only he’s culpable as well, so I am immediately committed to this journey, uncomfortable as it is. And it is, especially as he has happened to name his antagonist after (gulp) my only child. Point taken. We’re all part of the journey.

Snippet of banner text:

“When our class visited the school library, Nikhil and I were surrounded by windows into the lives of our other classmates, but never each other’s.”

glareofdisdain2And then, just when  I think I know what’s going on, I get hit with this! No, really? My book and Mike Jung’s? I was a fan already and now I am committed.

Gandhi, the movie, seals the deal for me.

What a powerful piece this is! It carries so much weight in each small choice that Yang has made. The local theater. The school library. We’re all in the same tangled webs of relationships and rough edges and glares of disdain. The solutions have to come from all of us.

 

 

Celeste Ng on Female Asian American Writers

2014 was the Year of Reading Women, so Ng’s Salon.com article on Asian American women writers is a nice continuation of a thread that shouldn’t be allowed to go away.

Snippet:

This summer, I traveled around the U.S. to promote my debut novel, “Everything I Never Told You.”  At one university where I’d been invited to speak, I asked the professor hosting me how he’d found me.  He admitted he’d needed an Asian American woman fiction writer to balance his speaker lineup. “There aren’t a lot of you out there,” he said, with evident embarrassment.

Everything+I+Never+Told+You+-+Celeste+NgOn the personal front I was happy to see my book cited on her very comprehensive list.

And on the personal reading front, I’m taking Celeste Ng’s novel with me on the plane to Vermont because I have just started reading it and can’t stop.