The Joy Luck Club remains one of the best-known works of Asian American literature, and on the 25th anniversary of its publication, Amy Tan looks back on the landmark novel and its subsequent film adaptation in an interview with the Center for Asian American Media. Tan also reflects on the future of Asian American literature among second generation immigrants. “I think that we have many more second generation Asians in this country now whose parents are a little bit more open to their kids doing things other than the traditional jobs that make parents proud in former generations. My mother and father wanted me to be a doctor. I have friends now and their kids want to be filmmakers and they’re fine with that, even though it’s going to be a very hard road.”
“I learned through imitation, but it was only when I followed—or found—my own voice that I was able to derive a different kind of inspiration from reading fiction, something subtler and more expansive. Today, when I reach a wall in my own work, I turn to authors I love to remind myself what is possible: that sentence, that structure, that daring twist of plot.” Chloe Benjamin, who just yesterday published a piece on choosing book titles for The Millions, writes about the dangers and rewards of reading while writing for Poets and Writers’ Recommends series.
If you’re struggling with your writing, turn to biographies of famous authors. This is Tom Perrotta’s cure for writer’s block. “It’s inspiring to read about a flawed human being who struggled with his or her demons and afflictions, experienced paralyzing episodes of failure or self-doubt, but somehow managed to do the work anyway, and produce something that enriched the world. That’s my version of self-help,” he said in a New York Times “By the Book” interview.
My mom pointed out this article in the Washington Post about a bookstore in Baltimore that primarily gives away books rather than selling them. It’s called the Book Thing:”That’s the whole thing with the Book Thing,” Wattenberg says. “All I am is a middleman. The people have books…. They give them to me, they’re happy to have a place to see them go somewhere, and the people that get the books are happy to get the books.”Also, file under conspicuous consumption: Anyone looking for an extravagant gift for the film buff in their life should look no further.Spotted on the el: The Travels of Marco Polo… sure the red line doesn’t go all the way to China, but we can dream.
Stephen King is working with Dennis Calero to publish a free, weekly eComic entitled “Little Green God of Agony.” Readers can check it out on his website. Over at PopMatters, Dominic Umile looks closely at the comic’s emergence, as well as the author’s interest in the horror comics genre.
New this week are Nick Harkaway’s Angelmaker (reviewed here), Nescio’s Amsterdam Stories (reviewed here), Jonah Lehrer’s Imagine: How Creativity Works, Jack Kerouac’s “lost novel” The Sea is My Brother, and a new collection of poetry from Jonathan Galassi, Left-Handed.