dmp: Taking a stroll in my finery (Default)
Inevitably, when I get into a conversation with someone about family and heritage, the question crops up: "Would you ever go back?"

It's funny, because how could I "go back" to a place I've never seen before? The standard answer would always be, "Oh, someday, I plan to." A simple, straightforward answer. One more drop in The Bucket List of things to do before I die--own a home, master a foreign language, publish a book, visit Vietnam.

I know cousins, Vietnamese friends, and non-Vietnamese friends who have gone over (To some, an annual pilgrimage to keep in touch with relatives left behind; to others, a somewhat-taboo-and-thus-interesting vacation spot; I even had one Chinese-American friend study abroad there when her original plans for Europe didn't work out). I know it's possible. But my family have never made the attempt. We are lucky, I was told, to be able to leave with our entire immediate families intact, so who is there to visit? It was expensive to book such a long journey for my family of six. None of us kids were interested anyway.

But that was exactly why I picked up Andrew x. Pham's Catfish and Mandala--for despite my parents' apparent disinterest, I always received the impression that "going back" was unthinkable. My father has always been a very stubborn man, who was never open to setting foot in the country he was kicked out of. And according to my mom when asked years ago: "Nothing will be same, so there's no reason. It is not like you'll be able to fit in again." For years, a psychological wall had been erected between myself and my family and our cultural homeland; if we go back, we'll be arrested, shunned, refused--or worst of all, disappointed.

Pham went back, and, settling in my traveler's armchair , I wanted to "test the waters" of visiting using his shoes. Or rather, his wheels.

Cut for spoilers )
dmp: Taking a stroll in my finery (Default)
The Free Library of Philadelphia is closing.

Now someone tell me if I'm interpreting this wrong, but an entire library system in a major metropolitan city is closing-!?

And it's Philadelphia's-???

Poor Ben is rolling in his grave....
dmp: From the Dobrininskaya metro station (Faded Glory)
An important article that I read on Publisher's Weekly, concerning the US-edition of Justine Larbalestier's upcoming book Liar:

Fifteen years ago, critics accused Time magazine of racism when it darkened O.J. Simpson’s mug shot. Fast forward to the latest cover-and-race controversy: bloggers are making similar charges against Bloomsbury Children’s Books, which put a white girl with long, straight tresses on the jacket of a novel about an African-American tomboy with short, “nappy” hair. Phrases like “that poor author” and “that’s just wrong” are showing up in comments sections online, in the escalating flap over Justine Larbalestier’s Liar, which hits shelves September 28.

Their perception: that publishers think books won’t sell as well with blacks on the front.


Of course, Justine is very upset over this cover, and explains why on her blog.

I have some other thoughts about covers, race, and marketing, which I'll post about later. Right now, I have to go off and paint a house. :)

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