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Thread art Britta Marakatt-Labba

Shanghai Noir

The Dancing Girl and the Turtle: publication date 01.04.2017

Last week, my friend Megin Jimenez published her 2017 Book Round-Up. It's quite an impressive array with thoughtful commentary on each book she read. She even included statistics!

The good thing about saving all your books for one big blast is that you can give a big picture of what's been on your mind. But since I put out my reviews book by book, I had no idea what my reading list would say about me. So here goes.

  • In 2017, I reviewed 18 books and 6 literary journals
  • Discounting the lit mags, 72% of the authors were male and only 18% female.
  • Less than half of those authors are American. Other countries represented are China, the Netherlands, Spain, Australia and Japan.
  • 22% of the books qualify as non-fiction and the rest were novels, short stories and plays.

I have to change my game plan. I had vowed not too long ago to read the literary canon as defined by Francine Prose. But that is sadly a list almost entirely composed of Dead White Men. Last year, only 2 of my authors were dead (Mao Zedong and Robert van Gulik) so at least there's that.

So my new resolutions for 2018 are to read more women writers, more non-fiction and poetry as well as works from authors in South America, Africa and India. Lucky for me I already have all these books in my towering stack of books to read. Current count: 120.

Book clubs always astound me in their ability to consume vast quantities of reading material. Last weekend, I was invited to speak at a book club for expats in Delft all of whom hold down full-time jobs and/or are raising children. Where do they find the time?

I read in the margins of my day, after the writing and the editing and the critiquing is done. Margins are where I write as well, commuting between my childhood in East LA, my coming-of-age in law firms and the Chinese past that belongs to my parents. I am a migrant in every possible respect.

Tuesday's State of the Union could have been the inspiration for this week's blog post but it wasn't. I'm drawing my creative influences from other writers like me who journey from home to home, marking the trail for those who will follow in Migrant Writing.

Late Bloomers
Model Minority
Socialism Is Great!
2017 in Words & Pictures
The Smell of Opium

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