Using Kobo as your go to e-reader

I’ve worked in an indie bookstore for the past year and nothing has radicalized me against Amazon more. It’s a lot of things: Jeff Bezos is the standard villainous CEO, their business model is undercutting prices for small businesses, and their shipping practices have pushed any other shipments aside (the holidays were FUN.) So my biggest thing against Amazon is of course, bare minimum, don’t buy your books there. There’s indies, Barnes and Noble, used bookstores… that’s really it. Just start there.

But what about e-books?

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OMG can you believe “Anna K”? Because I’m not sure I can

Perfect for fans of “Crazy Rich Asians” and not just because both books feature attractive young Asian people with too much money.

I know it’s unpopular to pitch new things––books, movies, TV shows, etc––relative to how it’s alike to other already popular things. It’s not fair to say that every new magical book series for kids is the “next Harry Potter” when really the only thing in common is some magic wands. I get that. However. Jenny Lee’s YA debut book, “Anna K” really is the next “Crazy Rich Asians” (but teenagers). Continue reading

Finding representation in Vanessa Hua’s books

About a year ago, journalist and author Vanessa Hua reached out and asked me to write a review of her two books, the short story collection Deceit and Other Possibilities and then-newly published novel A River of Stars. Now nearly twelve months later, her novel just came out in paperback, my review got turned down by a number of outlets, and here I am. But I enjoyed her books, and after hearing her at a reading in Boston I wanted to make sure some form of a review made it into the world somewhere. Continue reading

The writing advice that I needed to hear

When I absolutely refuse to write anything, I go back to these words.

I’ve somehow managed to go beyond writer’s block and gone on to writer’s refusal. For various reasons, I just won’t put pen to paper or finger to keys. Over the last few months I’ve tried to do some writer soul searching to fix my problem by reading writing books, bothering people to give me advice, and complaining on my Instagram story. One of those three things works better than the others, and through them I’ve been able to gather a nice little inspirational quote book. Continue reading

“Artemis” from Andy Weir only checks the boxes without any depth

I read a book by a white guy and I regret it.

For a while now I’ve made a conscious effort to read books not written by white men. But I’d seen enough reviews of Andy Weir’s sci-fi novel Artemis that when it came through my library holds I stopped what I was doing to check it out. And now I’m sad. It was exactly the kind of book I’d been avoiding: trying too hard to be edgy, featured a flat female lead, and with a diverse set of characters just to have them there. Continue reading

Medium claims another victim: This Bitch Blog

Sad news, but it’s not officially the end of This Bitch.

I love Medium. It’s a great content creation platform. It looks pretty, it’s easy to use, and you can find a lot of really thought-provoking stuff on here. It’s great for writers.

Not for publications. Medium was in the news recently for its most recent pivot that left a few of its publications in the dirt, and this is only the latest wave of publications and their issues with Medium. Recently The Awl and The Hairpin shut down completely, and a while back The Ringer left to join the Vox network. These are just two big-name media examples that come to mind for me, but even with my piddling attempt at blogging through a self-made publication, I had my own frustrations with Medium. Continue reading

Apparently 2017 was the year of the Chinese adoption books

Looking at Little Fires Everywhere, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, and The Leavers.

I always thought I had an understanding about adoption. Never questioned much, just accepted everything I was grateful for. After reading Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng, The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See, and The Leavers by Lisa Ko, I’ve started thinking about it again.

It hasn’t been easy, or particularly fun (I should probably talk to a professional about this, but blogging will suffice in the meantime.) I set out with the goal to compare the three, and while reading them back-to-back-to-back started to weigh on me, it’s been enlightening too. Reading them together put into words a lot of the feelings I didn’t realize I even felt. By the end, finishing with Lisa Ko’s The Leavers, I had a new clarity on the topic. But I never felt like any one of them told a complete story of adoption. Here, let me explain each one a little better.
(Warning, spoilers ahead.) Continue reading

“Crazy Rich Asians” y’all

A presentation on the upcoming movie, and the intense pressure around it.

A while back, my friend asked me to give a presentation on anything, as long as it had something to do with books. I had 0 ideas, but got inspired by the special Entertainment Weekly edition of Crazy Rich Asians, so I decided to talk about every reader’s favorite topic: book to movie adaptations.

It went pretty well, and I ended up having a lot of fun making my slides. So for fun, and because I have a lot of thoughts about the upcoming movie, I’ll share them and my speaking notes here.
(I should note that the event was hosted by one of my school’s publishing clubs, hence the literary event references.)

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A fresh, needed perspective from a living female rock critic

Jessica Hopper’s book, “The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic” goes beyond the simple story of a review or profile.

After years of music criticism, Jessica Hopper assembled her best work to plant a flag in pop culture criticism with her second book, The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic. Her dry humor and honest reviews make this First Collection an enjoyable read, but Hopper’s refreshing point of view on female musicians and fans really make these essays cultural criticism. She took each artist, body of work, and the overall culture to contextualize it within her own perspective. Continue reading