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All about action — Book recommendations

Here are my latest book recommendations for the Northwest Asian Weekly:

Tiger
By Wesley Robert Lowe
Wesley Lowe Media

At 28, Micah Keating is fresh out of law school and traveling back to Hong Kong to start his new law career at one of the country’s top firms.

On his first day, Micah meets Brenda, the daughter of his boss, Garret Southam. Micah is immediately smitten, but Brenda, having grown up around lawyers, is less than impressed. The two are assigned a seemingly boring – but multi-billion dollar – client.

It soon becomes clear that not all is what it seems and that Garret is the attorney for Chin, a Triad leader and psychopathic Shaolin kung fu master, and Micah and Brenda’s client is actually a cover for Chin’s dealings. In addition, Garret and his best friend Tommy (father to Brenda’s best friend Abby) have ripped off the crime boss for billions of dollars.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

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Gaming, gender shifts, and a Samurai among Panthers

Here are my latest book recommendations for the Northwest Asian Weekly:

In Real Life
Written by Cory Doctorow, Illustrated by Jen Wang
First Second, 2014

After a guest speaker visits her class at school, Anda joins the world of Coarsegold Online, a massively multiplayer role-playing game.

She ends up spending most of her free time playing and for the naturally shy and quiet Anda, it’s a place she can be a take-charge leader and hero. And as Anda gains confidence in her skills as a gamer, it begins to show in other areas of her life.

Through Coarsegold, she meets and makes friends with people from all over the world, but when she meets a gold farmer played by a poor Chinese teen, things get more complicated.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

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Women in control — Reading recommendations

Here are my latest book recommendations for Northwest Asian Weekly:

Real Dangerous Girl
By Kim Oh
Editions Herodiade, 2013

As a teen and young adult, Kim Oh has worked hard, keeping her nose to the grindstone. Never mind that her boss McIntyre is one of the most corrupt men – if not the most  – in Los Angeles, who has no compunction hiring a hit man to get rid of his business competition.

As McIntyre’s bookkeeper, Kim has been the one to cut the checks for the hit man in question, a slightly psychotic man named Cole.

But when McIntyre decides to go legit with his business dealings, both Kim and Cole each find themselves out of a job. Kim is desperate for money to support herself and her younger brother. Cole is now crippled after a bullet meant to kill him didn’t quite do the job. The two team up – at Kim’s insistence – to seek revenge on their former employer.

While Kim starts out as a timid, naïve young woman, who still has some faith in humanity (despite who her boss and his associates are), she quickly grows up when she finds herself in a tight spot. Instead of wallowing and pitying herself for her bad luck, she decides to do something about it. And even though her response to the situation is probably more violent than recommended, the fact that she is taking her life and destiny into her own hands is quite admirable.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

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No textbooks! — Books you will actually want to read

Here are my latest book recommendations for Northwest Asian Weekly:

Nisei Daughter
By Monica Sone
University of Washington Press, 2014

Growing up in Seattle in the 1920s and 1930s, Monica Sone constantly battled with her Japanese heritage and her American home. From the time she was 5 and told by her parents that she and her older brother Henry would be going to Japanese school during weekday evenings, she always felt that she was from two worlds.

Whether she is being humiliated at a parent-teacher meeting due to her mother’s ignorance regarding Western expressions and idioms or trying to contain her emotions and personality while visiting relatives in Japan, “Nisei Daughter” is the story of how Sone grows up feeling both not enough and too much for both cultures.

And then the United States enters World War II after the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor. All of Sone’s inner-cultural clashing is magnified as she, her family, and their fellow Japanese Americans are evacuated to the internment camps.

Throughout her life, Sone faces racism as a Nisei – second-generation – daughter in the United States. And while she expresses her anger and bitterness at the time, she moves on from these incidents and focuses on what is important to her – the relationships she has with her family and friends.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

 

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August reading recommendations

Here are my latest book recommendations for the Northwest Asian Weekly:

Pioneer Girl
By Bich Minh Nguyen
Viking, 2014

Ever since she received the box set from her grandfather when she turned 8, Lee Lien has always loved Laura Ingalls Wilder’s “Little House on the Prairie” books.

She uses the books – as well as others – as an escape from the rigid expectations of her Vietnamese family. And having had to escape from a mother who always found something to criticize her entire life, it was no surprise that Lee ended up with a doctorate in literature. With the lifelong goal of getting out of “here” (wherever their family was living at the time), Lee is appalled to find herself back home in the Chicago suburbs with her mother and grandfather, jobless with a degree that may not be good for much.

Then her brother Sam disappears, leaving behind an old family heirloom – a gold pin left behind by an American reporter in her grandfather’s café in Saigon – that takes Lee back to the days when her love for the “Little House” books was in full bloom.

As Lee looks into the pin’s history, she uncovers clues that may connect her family to the author of her favorite childhood books.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

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When love doesn’t go the way it’s supposed to

Here are my latest book recommendations for Northwest Asian Weekly:

The Ballad of a Small Player
By Lawrence Osborne
Hogarth, 2014

Meet Doyle — or Lord Doyle, as he comes to be known among the casinos of Macau. Doyle’s not quite the English lord people believe he is. He’s actually a corrupt lawyer who embezzled millions from a wealthy elderly client and fled England once his deception was discovered.

Since his arrival in Macau, Doyle has spent his nights gambling. He spends his days sleeping off the previous night. He doesn’t care whether he wins or loses, since it’s not even his money to begin with, so why should it matter?

But one day, Doyle hits rock bottom and is unable to settle a tab. Coming to his rescue is Dao-Ming, a Chinese prostitute he had spent a night with previously. With Dao-Ming, he feels he forms a connection, something he has not done since his arrival in Macau. For a brief period, she saves him from himself and his gambling addiction. But when he wakes up one morning to find her gone, he returns to the casinos. And while his obsession with gambling is overpowering, Doyle also finds himself wondering what had happened to Dao-Ming.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

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Life in a country away from home

Here are my latest book recommendations for Northwest Asian Weekly.

Sisters
Written by Amy Laizans, Illustrated by Sophie Scahill
Little Steps Publishing, 2013

Jane and her best friend are like most other kids their age living in Australia. They like to play outside in the sun, jump rope together, and read books aloud together. The two girls even help their mothers in the kitchen from time to time.

In fact, the two girls are so close, they are inseparable and consider themselves sisters.

But then one day during lunch at school, a classmate asks Jane if she speaks English. And while she was born in Australia and her best friend — the narrator of “Sisters,” who remains nameless — emigrated from Germany, it is Jane’s language skills that come into question.

This is because Jane is Filipino.

Although “Sisters” is a book geared toward grade school children and written in simple language that young readers can easily understand, it touches on the very complex and complicated issues of race and immigration. The narrator and Jane’s friendship is tested as the latter’s race is put on the spot and the former — and readers as well — question why it should even matter.

To read the rest of the article, click here.

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