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Stay True
Stay True: A Memoir | Hua Hsu
25 posts | 28 read | 28 to read
From the New Yorker staff writer Hua Hsu, a gripping memoir on friendship, grief, the search for self, and the solace that can be found through art. In the eyes of 18-year-old Hua Hsu, the problem with Ken--with his passion for Dave Matthews, Abercrombie & Fitch, and his fraternity--is that he is exactly like everyone else. Ken, whose Japanese American family has been in the United States for generations, is mainstream; for Hua, a first-generation Taiwanese American who has a 'zine and haunts Bay Area record shops, Ken represents all that he defines himself in opposition to. The only thing Hua and Ken have in common is that, however they engage with it, American culture doesn't seem to have a place for either of them. But despite his first impressions, Hua and Ken become best friends, a friendship built of late-night conversations over cigarettes, long drives along the California coast, and the textbook successes and humiliations of everyday college life. And then violently, senselessly, Ken is gone, killed in a carjacking, not even three years after the day they first meet. Determined to hold on to all that was left of his best friend--his memories--Hua turned to writing. Stay True is the book he's been working on ever since. A coming-of-age story that details both the ordinary and extraordinary, Stay True is a bracing memoir about growing up, and about moving through the world in search of meaning and belonging.
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Amor4Libros
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Pickpick

This was beautiful and sad. And also, very nostalgic since most if it takes place in the same years I went to college, so all the cultural and music references were very familiar.

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JenReadsAlot
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Pickpick

I didn't love it, but still a pick and glad I read it! @fredthemoose #auldlangspine @monalyisha

fredthemoose Fair enough! 3mo
TheAromaofBooks Woohoo!!! 3mo
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JenReadsAlot
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My picks for the month! @TheAromaofBooks very convenient as tagged is one from my #auldlangspine list as well!

TheAromaofBooks Yay!! Enjoy!! 3mo
29 likes1 comment
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fredthemoose
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Pickpick

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Coming of age memoir of an Asian American man and of his relationship with his college best friend, that friend‘s murder, and his experience of putting himself together after. I loved the topic of love for a friend from a young man‘s point of view.

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Rhondareads
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Pulitzer Prize winning Memoir my weekend reading emotionally moving thought provoking

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AlizaApp
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Pickpick

A beautifully written memoir about college and music and friendship.

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RebL
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It‘s tough to look internally when things are raw & then faithfully relate what you discover. I read a ton of memoir & this will be among the ones I remember & recommend.

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britt_brooke
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Pickpick

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Drastically different teens bond over their Asian American heritage. One conforms to mainstream American culture; one marches to his own (awesome) drummer. One is brutally killed for no discernible reason. This is a memoir about grief foremost, yet also about being oneself. New Yorker staff writer Hsu tells this brutal story as beautifully as he can. It‘s a lovely tribute.

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Graywacke
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Pickpick

Thin stuff, but this Pulitzer Prize winner comes around and ended up a nice audiobook. Hua Hsu is the son of Taiwanese immigrants who came to the US to study. He was born in Illinois. The book is mostly about his days at UC Berkley in the late 1990's, and the lessons he learned there about life. Of course, he has to make it do a bit more than that for the book be any good. He does.

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Anna40
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Pickpick

Hua Hsu writes about growing into autonomy in the late 1990s, about college, art, identity, his parents immigration to the US and the intimacy of friendship. When his friend Ken is murdered, Hsu writes about his grief. And he does it so beautifully. I loved this book so much and it deserves all the praise it received and more.

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amma-keep-reading
Pickpick

Poignant story of friendship and individual growth.

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Hooked_on_books
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Pickpick

I‘m Stay True, Hsu looks back at his friendship with his good friend Ken in college, someone he at first felt he had nothing in common with. Ken died violently and Hsu looks at his reaction at the time and ongoing reverberations. Good memoir, but for a NYT top 5 NF of the year, I was expecting to be more blown away than I was.

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kbuggle
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Pickpick

A short memoir and ode to a friend lost to violence- so well written.

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Christine
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Pickpick

Really nicely done memoir that touches on so many themes - identity, college life, activism, friendship, and loss among them. Highlights for me were the writing, the immersion in 90s pop culture, and the multiple and distinct California settings. (Weird aside: I sometimes was getting details about Hsu's life mixed up in my head with details of Steven Spielberg's life, because I was mid-this on the day I watched ⬇️

Christine The Fabelmans, and the high schools they went to are just a few miles apart! 😆 Their coming-of-age stories are similar in other ways too, actually.) 13mo
50 likes1 comment
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Kazzie
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Beautiful memoir on friendship and loss. As well as violence and the meaning of life generally. Enjoyed and would recommend

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Chelsea.Poole
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Pickpick

Hua is in college, busy forming the idea of himself, often in contrast to his best friend, Ken. Though they share similarities, one being that they‘re both Asian American, Hua is “alternative”; Ken is ready to make his millions. These plans are tragically cut short and Hua grapples with this loss.
A memoir of grief, finding your place in the world, learning who you are, and friendship.
I listened to the audio, read by the author and well done.

Megabooks This really hit me in the feels! 13mo
77 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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BekaReid
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Pickpick

Beautifully written memoir reflecting on finding one's place in the world, friendship, and loss.

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BookishTrish
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Ostensibly a memoir of a friendship tragically cut short; Stay True is also a snapshot of being young and not mainstream in the 90s, and a coming of age story of a first generation immigrant. It‘s told with a young person‘s self-centredness, but is no less poignant for that.

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Cinfhen
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Mehso-so


#UnpopularOpinion
After reading & seeing so many glowing reviews for this book, I had high expectations but unfortunately this book mostly fell flat for me. I think this quote from Hsu sums up my feelings… “I was a storyteller with a plot twist.” I just felt a detachment where I should have been pulled in.

BarbaraBB That is too bad. I have this one stacked, I don‘t remember why. 1y
Cinfhen @Megabooks liked this one @BarbaraBB plus it was on tons of best lists for 2022 but I just didn‘t care for the prose or the writer - he seemed pretty self centered and had a huge sense of self worth 🤷🏼‍♀️ 1y
Megabooks @BarbaraBB I‘m not sure whether you‘d connect with him or not. I‘ve read it compared to DFW nonfiction. I loved this and gave it 5⭐️, but it seems you and I continue to be out of sync, Cindy. I‘m sorry this wasn‘t a win for you!! ☹️ 1y
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Cinfhen I think my opinion on this book is the odd duck @Megabooks 🙈 1y
BarbaraBB That is probably why I stacked it! @Megabooks 1y
BarbaraBB @Megabooks @Cinfhen Off topic but I loved your emails and want to write back but life‘s been so busy and now I suddenly find myself on the airport waiting for a flight to Spain for a business meeting. Staying for the weekend of course ☺️ and not sure when I find the time to reply but I definitely will 😘😘 1y
BarbaraBB @Cinfhen And I am so sorry about that box returning again! It is such a weird situation since all mail seems to be working fine except between Israel and NL 🤦🏻‍♀️ 1y
Megabooks @BarbaraBB @Cinfhen that is completely okay B and I really love hearing from both of you whenever it works in our schedules!! I hope you enjoy Spain! Sorry it‘s raining in Israel C!! It is off and on here too. Late March weather, and I even had the AC on overnight last night because it was a weird in between temp (65 F) overnight. I‘ve been having to drive dad places this week because he‘s constantly running late. 🙄🙄 it‘s just really ⬇️ (edited) 1y
Megabooks ⬆️ sapping a lot of my energy. I think it‘s payback for all the times I made him late for work when I was in high school!! 😂😂 he fell the other day, and first time in awhile we didn‘t have to call 911. At least his therapist has helped with that. 🙏🏻🙏🏻 just trying to get sleepy now, but I think I drank coffee too late to try to finish the laundry. 🙄😂 I guess this is sort of an update. More later and love to you both!! 1y
Cinfhen It‘s great that work is keeping you busy @BarbaraBB and a weekend in Spain seems like a perfect reward - ENJOY 😊 And payback is a bitch @Megabooks ☺️I can imagine how frustrating and exhausting chauffeuring your dad must be. Love to you both xxx 1y
67 likes10 comments
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Lindy
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Pickpick

A specific place & era—California in the 1990s—comes through tenderly in Hua Hsu‘s quiet memoir about being Taiwanese American & sorting out how to fit in among other Asian Americans at college, as well as looking for his place in larger American society. He “had a fraught relationship with fun,” wore uncool thrift store clothing, was serious about creating zines, & then the violent death of a close friend left him unmoored for a long time.

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Lindy
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We would make Berry Gordy‘s Imbroglio and find an empty lecture hall on campus to screen it for our friends. We didn‘t want to be filmmakers. We just wanted to make something. To discover such a thing was possible. We just needed to find someone with a camcorder.

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Megabooks
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Hsu beautifully captures his college friendship with Ken, who was murdered their junior year, and the way it shaped his life. 5⭐️

When they meet as freshman, Hsu, a self-proclaimed cool kid who writes zines and hangs in music stores, feels he has nothing in common with Abercrombie-wearing, frat boy Ken. But through late night conversations and smoke breaks, Hsu warms to Ken. Hsu and Ken‘s late night talks & mixtapes gave me all the 90s nostalgia.

squirrelbrain Another one that sounds fabulous - stacked. 1y
Cinfhen I just added this to my TBR yesterday! Sounds great 1y
BarbaraBB This one sounds very good. And five stars from you. Stacked. 1y
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batsy I was curious about this one! Sounds lovely 💜 1y
Megabooks @squirrelbrain @Cinfhen @BarbaraBB @batsy it was a truly fantastic memoir! 1y
vivastory Sounds fantastic. Thanks for the recommendation!! 1y
Megabooks @vivastory I hope you enjoy it! 1y
91 likes7 stack adds7 comments
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eraderneely
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Travel day(s) completed. Back from the US into a very foggy and atmospheric Leeds. Not as much reading as I would have liked because baby likes to grab wires and kindles. Oh well, one day…

eraderneely Thanks for the birthday cards @kaysworld1 and @squirrelbrain !! 1y
squirrelbrain You‘re welcome! Hope you had a good trip! 1y
21 likes2 comments
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Jenofur
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Next (most likely, it‘s a fluid situation) in the to read pile. 🖤

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GerardtheBookworm
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Pickpick

A coming of age memoir by New Yorker writer Hsu Hsu. Hsu reflects on his friendship with fellow Asian American Ken, their journey through life, college, and Ken's tragic senseless death and the impact their bond created. 90's pop culture references, trends, and the human experience are explored.

6 likes1 stack add