You know I love to read, especially Asian American authors. But do you know the feeling of finishing a great Asian American novel and wishing you could turn to someone and talk about it? Sure, I often post my reviews of recent books here on the site, but I want to know what other people think, too. So that’s why I’m especially excited to partner with the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center to start an online book club.
Announcing SmithsonianAPA’s BookDragon Book Club!
Still jobless, Lee Lien is back at home in a Chicago suburb with her widowed mother and grandfather. Her older brother has run off (again), this time absconding with all their mother’s jewelry. The single piece he left behind is a certain gold pin, which decades before was left behind in Lee’s grandfather’s café in 1965 Saigon. The owner then was a silver-haired American reporter on assignment named Rose. The pin was one of the few mementos the family carried from Vietnam.
Lee’s brother’s leftover decision prods her to google “Rose article Vietnam … 1965,” and she’s surprised to find “the Rose Wilder Lane Papers in West Branch, Iowa.” Yes, as in Little House on the Prairie and Laura Ingalls Wilder. Pulling out her favorite childhood series, Lee finds a fortuitous passage in The Happy Golden Years about a gold pin that Laura received from her husband: “On its flat surface was etched a little house, and before it along the bar lay a tiny lake, and spray of grasses and leaves.” The familiar description prompts a shiver: “Could it actually be the pin my mother and grandfather had kept?”
And thus Lee’s cross-country, cross-cultural, cross-family journey begins…
Here’s how it works …
Every first Tuesday of each month, we’ll announce the book to be discussed.
Every last Tuesday of the month, we’ll hold a live virtual conversation.
For the rest of the month in between, we’ll be offering lots of chances to share reactions, opinions, and maybe even a few surprises. With the help of guest bloggers and cultural experts and academics, we’re hoping to compile all the context and background we’ll need to make our discussion as lively and well-formed as possible!
I’ll be posting a review of Pioneer Girl here on HapaMama Thursday, August, 8 and will be giving away a copy of the book so you can join in, too!
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