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Interior Chinatown
Interior Chinatown: A Novel | Charles Yu
From the infinitely inventive author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe comes a deeply personal novel about race, pop culture, immigration, assimilation, and escaping the roles we are forced to play. Willis Wu doesn't perceive himself as a protagonist even in his own life: he's merely Generic Asian Man. Every day, he leaves his tiny room in a Chinatown SRO and enters the Golden Palace restaurant, where Black and White, a procedural cop show, is in perpetual production. He's a bit player here too. . . but he dreams of being Kung Fu Guy--the highest aspiration he can imagine for a Chinatown denizen. Or is it? After stumbling into the spotlight, Willis finds himself launched into a wider world than he's ever known, discovering not only the secret history of Chinatown, but the buried legacy of his own family, and what that means for him, in today's America. Playful but heartfelt, a send-up of Hollywood tropes and Asian stereotypes--Interior Chinatown is Charles Yu's most moving, daring, and masterful novel yet.
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JGadz11
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✨transition into Fall used book haul✨

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Liz_M
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A multi-leveled story formatted as TV script. Although it doesn‘t adequately differentiate between levels of story, it‘s a delightful depiction of the narrator‘s quest to become “Kung-Fu Guy” as it questions the Black/White racial structure in America/who gets to be American. The ending was powerful, building to a pivotal courtroom scene where the format allows the narrator to deliver a fantastic monologue that otherwise would be seen as preachy.

Liz_M 4.5⭐ 4mo
BarbaraBB Fab review. I am glad you loved it too! 4mo
sarahbarnes Loved this one too! Great review! 4mo
36 likes3 comments
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libraryofjamie
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“MA: Don‘t be Kung Fu Guy. Be more.“

1 like1 stack add
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WarandWar
Pickpick

An incredible book on the nature of identity for Asian-americans, in life and in Hollywood. Written as a screenplay, with a story uncomfortably close to reality at times, it drives towards an ending act that is the highlight of the book. A great read, maybe even a must read for those who have never considered the difficult relationship America has had with Asian minority communities.

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booksandsympathy
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The fifth and final book I'm reading for the Asian Readathon is described as a deeply personal novel about race, pop culture, immigration, assimilation, and escaping the roles we are forced to play. This is for the challenge to read a book by an Asian author that has a high rating or is highly recommended by someone. #Asianreadathon2022

14 likes1 stack add
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Adventures-of-a-French-Reader
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Mehso-so

I'm glad I got to read this book, just for the conversation that it created at my book club.
Some parts are interesting, and offer food for thought, while I found other parts over the top (like the absurd trial).
Most of the book is written like a script, which is an interesting format.

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Pinta
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Pretty harsh & honest takes, cushioned with humor & satire. ^p 233, “second-class oppression” compared to American slavery. “On the one hand you, for obvious reasons, can never be fully assimilated into the mainstream, i.e., White America…and on the other hand neither do you feel fully justified in claiming solidarity with other historically & currently oppressed groups.”
P238 “Chinatown & indeed being Chinese is & always has been…a construction.”

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Pinta
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Pickpick

Willis Wu wants to tell his own story, wants an onscreen career, but is relegated to minor parts in police procedurals, cast as “Generic Asian Man.” Satire structured as screenplay. Roles Asian Americans are forced to play, stereotypes, danger of the “model minority” trope, perpetual foreigners threatened w/ violence. P166>”I‘ve got the consciousness of a contemporary American. And the face of a Chinese farmer of 5000 years ago. Asian Man.” 2020

8 likes1 stack add
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Jaimelire
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Pickpick

Starting my Christmas vacation reading binge soon. I am off December 17-Jan 3rd. I plan to spend many days in my pyjamas reading. But until then, this book kept me busy. My husband is Chinese and I am French Canadian, so that is originally what got me interested in this book, but I ended up loving the writing style as well as the social commentary aspect of this novel. I think I will buy it for my husband for Christmas.

Suet624 I really enjoyed this one too. Have a wonderful vacation. 12mo
25 likes1 comment
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Kempii
Pickpick

My book club found it tragic, and it is, but I mostly found this book to be hilarious. The narration style is original, told like a series of movie scripts, blurring fiction and reality, acting and being. Much of the character‘s wry commentary resonated with me due to similarities in family background.

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TheKidUpstairs
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Pickpick

This was fantastic. Biting satire of Hollywood's problems with representation of Asian and Asian Americans. Funny, heartfelt, surreal, thoughtful, and layered. Delves into issues of racism, stereotyping, poverty, aging, and family. All in an interesting format that never feels gimmicky. A fast and entertaining read that will also leave me thinking for a long time.

BkClubCare Agreed! I am glad to have read this. 13mo
71 likes1 stack add1 comment
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vlwelser
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Pickpick

This book is kind of brilliant. The format is a bit weird, especially as an #audiobook but you get used to it. The Kafkaesque trial toward the end is amazing. I did wonder at the beginning how this won the National Book Award last year, but it didn't take long for me to get it.

Addison_Reads I loved this one! I keep randomly recommending it to people at my local library in hopes that they'll read it too. 1y
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everlocalwest
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Pickpick

Another stylistic choice that could have come off gimmicky but this novel as screenplay is executed to perfection. Hubs has been telling me for months to read this one and I see why.

SamAnne Loved this one as well. 1y
25 likes1 comment
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ChemistKat
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Pickpick

Kind of trippy, definitely incredible. For this one you just have to shut up, relax, and let it take you on a ride.

LitStephanie I just started this one! Glad you liked it. It is a bit confusing in the beginning because I don't really understand what the author is doing. 1y
4 likes1 comment
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Kaarin
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Pickpick

Creative storytelling format. Funny, devastating in parts. I find myself thinking about it a lot.

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Libby1
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My goal for the #20in4 Readathon is 20 half hours, totalling ten hours! At the end of Day 3 I‘m nearly there.

My time was supplemented today by listening to the audiobook of the excellent Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu. What a book!

Thanks again, @Andrew65 for organising the Readathon. I hope everyone else is enjoying it as much as I am!

Andrew65 Doing great 👏👏👏 1y
33 likes1 comment
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Kaarin
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This quote kills me

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MicheleinPhilly
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Pickpick

A definite pick but I‘m wavering on my star rating. I found the narrative device clever but also wanted a more straightforward narrative. Book club discussion is tonight so perhaps I‘ll have more clarity afterwards.

TrishB This is on my pile but haven‘t been drawn to it yet! 1y
MicheleinPhilly @TrishB It is a VERY quick read. 1y
BarbaraBB I loved this one. Have you read it in print? I think it‘s better to read it than listen to it as an audiobook. 1y
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TrishB I‘ll remember that! @BarbaraBB I have in print 😁 1y
MicheleinPhilly @BarbaraBB I did read it in print. I don‘t do audiobooks. Could never get into them. 1y
Libby1 @TrishB , @MicheleinPhilly , @BarbaraBB , I‘ve been listening to the audiobook of this today as I clean, laughing as I iron. I‘ve never read anything quite like it. 1y
TrishB @Libby1 that‘s good to know! I‘m going through another can‘t come concentrate very well period! 1y
Libby1 @TrishB - maybe it‘s this heat! 🤪 I‘m going doolally over here. 1y
BarbaraBB Me neither! 1y
TrishB My sons in NI at the moment and says it‘s unbearable! Hoping for cooler weather soon 🤞🏻 1y
MicheleinPhilly We‘re currently having a delightful 2 day stretch so hopefully it makes its way across the pond soon. Of course we‘re back to soup next week. 😩 I hate summer. 1y
59 likes11 comments
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azulaco
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Pickpick

I liked this book for its unusual structure. I thought it had a lot of good things to say about the stereotypes that Asian-Americans face, and the fake script format made the presentation more interesting and more straightforward. Made me think. #ToB2021

britt_brooke Loved this one! 1y
17 likes1 comment
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Addison_Reads
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Pickpick

Going in I had no clue what to expect from this book but to say that I was blown away by it would be an understatement. 😍

Interior Chinatown is one of my favorite reads this year. The characters, the setup and writing style, and the message were all equally excellent.

I understand now why I've seen so many great things about this book. 💚

#BookSpinBingo @TheAromaofBooks

britt_brooke SO GOOD. ✨ 1y
Megabooks This is a fantastic book!! 1y
SamAnne So good. 1y
TheAromaofBooks Yay!!! 1y
31 likes2 stack adds4 comments
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jdiehr
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Mehso-so

I thought this was cleverly written and brought up some important points.

If I have to ask myself "pick" or "so-so," that means it's a so-so.

Ruthiella It was just so so for me too. I think I would have preferred a straight forward novel rather than the clever screenplay format. 1y
jdiehr @Ruthiella Thank you! I felt like I should really like this one, but it just didn't do it for me 1y
29 likes2 comments
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erzascarletbookgasm
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Pickpick

I really like this book. Original, tongue-in-cheek, funny, and sad. A novel reflecting on the Asian American identity, immigrants, family. Part social commentary, part satire, it‘s brilliant! 👍💫

BarbaraBB I liked this one so much! 1y
SamAnne I loved this one. Have pitched it to my book club group. Think it would be a great discussion. 1y
erzascarletbookgasm @SamAnne Lots to think about and discuss! 1y
Brimful Great review. Very split views on it on my reading group but I loved it! 12mo
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HeatherBookNerd
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Pickpick

This is just insanely creative. Yu frames his story in a screenplay format, highlighting the stereotypes that Asian Americans are so often expected to play. He takes us through these many “roles,” tackling assimilation, immigration history, identity, and racism, with a sharp eye for humor and startling honesty. Such an utterly unique and affecting way to explore this topic.

SamAnne Loved this one. 1y
HeatherBookNerd @SamAnne excellent indeed 1y
31 likes2 comments
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Bookboss
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Pickpick

Experimental novels generally do not sit well with me. This is written partly as a script, with the protagonist as an actor both in the drama and in his life. Yu does an excellent job of portraying the intricacies of systematic racism. I see how the protagonist‘s inability to achieve a role as a fully developed main character mirrors the one dimensional role that racism reduces people to, but would have preferred a format that allowed more depth.

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HeatherBookNerd
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This book is so, so good.

BarbaraBB It‘s fantastic! 1y
25 likes1 comment
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Lchnessmnstr
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Everyone gets the feels when singing Country Roads…

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Suet624
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Pickpick

Since I‘m in the midst of reading the #CampToB books, I realized I had never read the most recent winner of the Tournament of Books (and NBA winner). Yu has employed such a creative way to tell an important story of the Asian American experience. I appreciate his shout out to Erving Goffman who explores the way people perform/play roles in their relationship to others. Gave me lots to think about.

mcctrish I have this in print and I listened to it in audio. It‘s a fantastic audio book 1y
BarbaraBB I‘m glad you enjoyed it. Of course I knew you would 😉 👯‍♀️ 1y
SamAnne Loved this one as well. 1y
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Suet624 @mcctrish Oh, I‘ll have to see if my library has the audio. Thanks for the tip. 1y
Suet624 @BarbaraBB I look to you as my book mentor/compadre. 💕 1y
Suet624 @SamAnne I‘m so glad I finally was able to read it. Comedy and tragedy all in one sitting. 1y
BarbaraBB 😘❤️ 1y
56 likes1 stack add7 comments
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Suet624
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If you‘re older and your children are grown and off being adults, this passage might just resonate. It sure did for me.

BarbaraBB For me too. So true ❤️❤️ 1y
Suet624 @BarbaraBB 💕💕💕 1y
nathandrake1997 This is so poignant ❤️ 1y
Suet624 @nathandrake1997 Yu has a very short 2 page chapter about being a parent that is so spot on. He closed the chapter with this and it‘s so true. 1y
40 likes4 comments
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OutAndAbout
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Pickpick

Interesting with an incredibly creative structure. About an Asian man coming to terms with his Asian heritage in America. Entertaining but also disturbing in an odd way.

Suet624 Spot on review. (edited) 1y
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OutAndAbout
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Describing raising a child, there‘s a flurry of firsts, then “the first times start turning into last times...”

“There are a few years when you make almost all of your important memories. And then you spend the next few decades reliving them.”

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OutAndAbout
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Wow! This one is off to a great start. A touching entry into the family including descriptions of what it‘s like to see your parents age.

SamAnne Loved this one. 2y
30 likes1 comment
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canbku
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Pickpick

This was great. Fast read, but tough. Sometimes I had to take breaks and think. A very worthwhile read in addition to being entertaining and funny!

CherylS67 Now read Memorial 2y
canbku @CherylS67 I did! These were good to read as a pair. Nice thought. I enjoyed this one more, but I definitely want to read more by these authors 2y
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Kalalalatja
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Pickpick

Everyone who told me to read this (I‘m looking at you @BarbaraBB ) were so right - it is great! The different screen play format took a bit to get used to, but once I got going it worked! This is the kind of book I would have loved to read in one go, to really disappear into the story and writing.

#Pop21 - A Genre Hybrid
#BookSpin

TrishB Been on the pile a while! 2y
BarbaraBB I am soooo glad you loved it! It‘s so original and so good! 2y
TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!! 2y
64 likes3 comments
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Kalalalatja
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I finally got my second vaccine dose today! I got my first dose of AstraZeneca in February, and a week later Denmark stopped using vaccines from AstraZeneca. So I have been stuck in vaccine limbo - until now! 🙌

I took an early day, and hope to get a bit farther into this stylistically (is that a word??) weird, but engaging book!

#CurrentlyReading

Cathythoughts Oh good! I hope you feel ok X 2y
marleed Oh congrats. I bet it feels great to finally be on the other side of shot #2. 2y
Anna40 I just got my second dose too. Hope you will have no side effects :) 2y
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Tamra Yay! I have read getting two different vaccines actually improves immunity. 🤷🏾‍♀️ 2y
Megabooks Fantastic! I‘m glad you got #2! Great book! 2y
dylanisreading That's great! Congrats! I hope you have no side effects. 2y
KarenUK Got my second today too! 2y
Kalalalatja @Cathythoughts @Anna40 @Bianca my arm is so sore, and I have been really tired and a bit uncomfortable today, but other than that, I‘m not feeling too bad 😅 @marleed it does, I can‘t wait for life to return to some kind of normal! @Tamra I can‘t keep up with all the vaccine information any longer, but it‘s nice if it‘s true! 🤞 @Megabooks me too! And the book is definitely something else 👍 @KarenUK Yay! How are you feeling? 😊 2y
KarenUK I felt horrible yesterday, like full on flu,but much better today. Just “COVID arm” today! Hope you are ok too! 2y
Kalalalatja @KarenUK I hadn‘t heard “Covid arm” before, but that‘s pretty much it for me, and a slight hungover feeling. Glad you are feeling better 😊 2y
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bridge12
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Pickpick

Truly and honestly this is my most favorite book I have read in recent memory. #StopAAPIHate #KaraBrownBookClub

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canbku
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And now for something completely different

erzascarletbookgasm My copy is still on hold at the library. Look forward to your thoughts. 2y
canbku @erzascarletbookgasm I've checked it out twice now. I've let it expire and has to get in the back of the line again! Definitely getting to it this time. The hype has only grown 2y
59 likes1 stack add2 comments
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eccburnham
Mehso-so

On Audio for MBH bookclub - I think I would have tuned in better reading with my eyes. Great ending.

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Bookalong
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Pickpick

5🌟Charles Yu has written a uniquely powerful novel confronting Asian stereotypes and discrimination, especially in Hollywood. Told with dark humor and honesty, I was in awe of what Yu achieves here. I get why it won the Booker Prize! Interior Chinatown was a deeply personal and original way to look at race, immigration, Chinese American History, and pop culture, highly reccomend this one! #bookreview

BarbaraBB I loved this one too! 2y
Bookalong @BarbaraBB happy to hear this!😊 1y
18 likes1 stack add2 comments
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rmaclean4
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April 2021 Book Wrap-up:

5 🌟
Interior Chinatown: Charles Yu 🎧
Swimming Home: Deborah Levy 📖
Black Sun: Rebecca Roanhorse 🎧
4.5 🌟
Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant: Anne Tyler 📖
3.5 🌟
A Children's Bible:Lydia Millet 📖
An Offer from a Gentleman: 2nd Epilogue: Julia Quinn 🎧
3 🌟
Viscount Who Loved Me: Julia Quinn 🎧
The Viscount Who Loved Me Epilogue: Julia Quinn 🎧
An Offer from a Gentleman: Julia Quinn 🎧

rmaclean4 2 ⭐
The Yellow Wife: Sadeqa Johnson 📖
Transcendent Kingdom: Yaa Gyasi
2y
15 likes1 comment
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Chelsea.Poole
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Pickpick

I listened to the #audiobook of this novel written in the format of a screenplay. The main character is “generic Asian guy” who develops into other characters along the way. A perfect way to begin to understand the experiences of Asian American men, in a totally dramatized way, but at the same time so on-the-money. This accomplished so much in a 4 hour audiobook and I‘m impressed!

99 likes1 stack add
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cdreincarnate
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Pickpick

I cannot say enough good things about this book. All of the stars! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

SamAnne Loved this one too! 2y
5 likes1 comment
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cdreincarnate
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This is so accurate it hurts.

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Liz_M
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I haven't read many books from the AAPI community -- the exceptions all seem to actually be British or Canadian (not American): Salman Rushdie, Hanif Kureishi, Joy Kogawa and one playwright (David Henry Hwang).

But I have been accumulating some surprisingly color-coordinated books to read!
#integrateyourshelf @Emilymdxn @ChasingOm

ChasingOm I went back and forth about the prompt because of the “American” part of AAPI; next time I‘ll leave it out of the author‘s identity — thank you!! And those look like some great books! 2y
Liz_M @ChasingOm 😁 Well, the prompt, I assume, is “Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month“ in United States. I was just trying to be true to the acronym and look forward to flaunting works by other hyphenated identities in other prompts! (edited) 2y
BarbaraBB I read them all 🤓. My favorites are Home Fire and Interior Chinatown which I both really loved! 2y
Liz_M @BarbaraBB I guessing a fair number of these have been in TOB -- it's almost the only way I hear about new fiction! 😉 2y
BarbaraBB At least three of them were ToB indeed. I think Home Fire was a Booker but maybe a ToB as well. Both are my enablers for temporary fiction. And the people here of course. 2y
37 likes5 comments
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SamAnne
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Pickpick

Four star read for me. Loved the inventive satire skewering American Asian stereotypes taking place on a perpetual American crime procedural TV show. Funny and heartbreaking. And you can tell Charles Yu was a writer for the HBO show Westworld. A few similarities. Want to read more by this author.

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Kalalalatja
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Coming home to #bookmail is my fave way to start the weekend 🙌

Have a lovely Friday Littens ❤️

Librariana Enjoy your day and your new read! 😊💜📚 Happy weekend! 2y
erzascarletbookgasm Have a good weekend! 2y
Cathythoughts Look forward to your thoughts on this one 2y
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britt_brooke I LOVED this one. Hope you enjoy! 2y
TrishB Still not got to this one! 2y
BarbaraBB I sooo hope you‘ll love it too 🤞🏽 2y
SamAnne Finished last week. Really enjoyed. 2y
76 likes7 comments
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BookNAround
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I am just cracking this one open and I already have a complaint. I hate the font it‘s printed in. I know it‘s to mimic a script but it‘s terrible. Argh! Here‘s hoping that I can overcome this immediate reaction and appreciate the book.

Come-read-with-me I know what you mean about the font! However, I loved the story and my gripes about the font were soon forgotten ! My fingers are crossed that it works out for you 🤞🏻 2y
Ruthiella I read it as an ebook. What‘s the deal with the font? Too small? To fancy? 2y
Deifio Now I'm curious, what kind of font is it? 2y
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BookNAround @Ruthiella @Deifio It‘s in Courier which I do not like. It‘s a light weight looking font, with very slender lines but spread out words, if that makes any sense. 2y
Ruthiella @BookNAround Gotcha! Thanks for letting us know. Did you manage to ultimately ignore it or did it end up bugging you all the way through? 2y
BookNAround @Ruthiella I haven‘t finished it. Like everything right now, I‘ve set it aside for the moment. Reading slumps stink on ice. 😭 2y
Ruthiella @BookNAround Hope you get your mojo back soon! 😊 2y
Deifio @BookNAround Ah I see, looks more like written on a typewriter. I hope you the right fit for your reading soon! 🤗 2y
69 likes8 comments
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triplem80
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Pickpick

This book was so good! The format itself is interesting, with the novel written as a screenplay -- an appropriate choice since the story takes a closer look at Asian Americans (and Asians in America) and the "roles" they play (or have thrust upon them). Entertaining, yet profound. A deserving recipient of the National Book Award!

SamAnne Just finished this yesterday. I loved it. 2y
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rmaclean4
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Pickpick

Loved the structure of this award winning novel. Focus on race in America in the form of a screenplay. Highly recommend. 5 🌟

Come-read-with-me Read this a few weeks ago and am in complete agreement with your review! Excellent book! 2y
rmaclean4 @Come-read-with-me so unlike any other novel I have read! 2y
Come-read-with-me True! I am looking forward to hearing more from this author it the future. 2y
SamAnne I'm starting this one today for my book club read. Looking forward to it. 2y
23 likes1 stack add4 comments
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thewallflower0707
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Pickpick

Very interesting writing style.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

#InteriorChinatown #kindle #cover #charlesyu

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vivastory
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Well, today's final decision was a nailbiter & many of the brief judgments were again thoughtful considerations of Vanishing Half & Interior Chinatown (with the exception of judge Sean Hooks 🙄). My 3 favorites were knocked out pretty early on & I would have liked to see another book get the Rooster since Yu won NBA, but IC was ranked as my #5 pick. The entire process, from reading the list to voting & discussing has been a blast! #tob21🐓

vivastory This comment from RidgewayGirl “I take back my defense of Sean Hooks's judging skills. I'd thought him sincere, if overly weighted down with the need to adopt a bro-ish tone. This turns out to have been overly generous on my part. I'm not a good judge of judges, it turns out. I take it all back.“ 😂 2y
MicheleinPhilly I haven‘t read it yet. Is it as bad as that judge last year or the year before that was basically like, “These books are stupid. I‘m out.” 2y
vivastory @MicheleinPhilly I didn't read that judge, but basically. He'd judged 2 different books early on (DKK & Memorial) & was an ass then too 2y
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Liz_M @vivastory: I “know“ @RidgewayGirl from LibraryThing, but she also occasionally posts on Litsy. 😊 2y
vivastory @Liz_M I thought the name sounded familiar! 😂 2y
Flaneurette About the only good thing about that judgment by Hooks was that it inspired a lot of good discussion by the commentariat, but there was * so much * good stuff this year. He was an ungenerous, gate keeping snob that didn‘t judge the books on their own merits/ intention but some rarified ideal. Sad the tob is over 😞 2y
vivastory @Flaneurette Exactly! The way he *criticized* the books was not helpful at all. Two of the books that he “judged“ I didn't particularly care for: Deacon King Kong & Vanishing Half. But there are specific reasons why neither one worked for me. Plus, both of them had their strengths. Instead he just kept writing snide comments (ie how none of the tob list will be remembered in 100 years.) Give me a break! 2y
BarbaraBB Yeah @RidgewayGirl nailed it! 2y
RidgewayGirl Judge Hooks certainly knows how to grab the spotlight! And to whoever created this homage to John Cho, Thank you. 2y
vivastory @RidgewayGirl He really does! They're from a campaign a few years ago #starringjohncho Seemed appropriate for the book 2y
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