Paper Son

When I became aware of this novel, it became a “must-read” for me.  It certainly met my first prerequisite for my reading tastes, i.e. it was an Asian American story.  But I learned that the story is set in the Mississippi Delta region - the place where I was born and raised, the place that impacted my life so profoundly, the place for which I will always have strong and mixed feelings – and I knew I had to see what the book had to…

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Daughter of Fortune

I am an immigrant who ventured across the Pacific Ocean on an Air China Boeing 777 to "take over the economy", or so I have been informed by the media. When I first picked up Isabel Allende's Daughter of Fortune, a historical fiction regarding the California Gold Rush, I was fifteen and ignorant--a history enthusiast carrying a number of assumptions gathered from the books I had read. I had never considered using a figure of speech so rudely hyperbolic as "taking over the economy," but…

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China Dolls

Not all China dolls are bound to break. Grace, a fugitive from her father’s abuse; Helen, a proper child of an esteemed Chinatown family; and Ruby Tom, a Japanese American  in seek of stardom at the onslaught of World War Two, are an unlikely ensemble. The three girls converge at San Francisco’s Forbidden City Nightclub against their parents’ wishes, in seek of employment as dancers. While the girls find uncanny success in the performing arts scene, war against Japan erupts on the Pacific Front, suddenly…

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America is in the Heart

America Is Still in the Heart          During the time I was reading this book, I was coming back home to the United States after a week-long trip that left a very lasting impact on me. As my plane landed, I pondered heartily on the page I left off on, mid-quote about Carlos Bulosan’s arrival by ship in the United States. I questioned the process of arriving to a place that will someday be “home,” whether that transformation happens by desire or by necessity. This is…

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Book Review and Thoughts on “Water Tossing Boulders”

By Stan Lou OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates January 9, 2017   Some of you may know that I read and follow Chinese and Asian American literature faithfully and have written several book reviews. I am also an American Born Chinese (ABC) who grew up in Mississippi during the Jim Crow era when racial segregation was rampant in the South. Consequently, the book, Water Tossing Boulders, written by Adrienne Berard, became a “must-read” book for me. This is a documentation of the story of…

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Panama Hotel – Asian American Authenticity in a Bitter Sweet Story

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Stan Lou, (first posted April 2, 2012)   When I first read Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, written by Jamie Ford, I immediately placed in on my personal list of favorite novels.  It is a beautifully written story, and it can easily be categorized as a rather typical love story set in America, with the usual emotions from the characters.  However, the novel moves beyond that stereotype and relates a complex story that…

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