Tag Archives: AsianWeek

Swimming in the Monsoon Sea by Shyam Selvadurai + Author Interview [in AsianWeek]

swimming-monsoonShyam Selvadurai’s ‘Swimming’ Debut

While “home” today for Shyam Selvadurai is undoubtedly Toronto, Canada, the “home” that he plumbs for his books remains Sri Lanka, where he was born, and lived there until the age of 19. Selvadurai’s latest, Swimming in the Monsoon Sea – his first for young adult readers – returns to the Sri Lanka of his youth, a time before the bloody riots between majority Buddhist Sinhalese and minority Hindu Tamils, which precipitated the immigration of Selvadurai’s mixed Sinhalese/Tamil family to Canada two decades ago.

While Selvadurai originally thought he might find a life in theater, the resounding success of his 1994 first book, Funny Boy, about a young boy’s growing up gay in Sri Lanka where homosexuality is still illegal, cemented Selvadurai’s writing career. He followed in 1998 with Cinnamon Gardens, exploring the intertwined lives of the residents in a Colombo suburb of 1920s Ceylon, which was then not-yet-independent Sri Lanka. Earlier this year, he edited the much-acclaimed anthology, Story-Wallah: Short Fiction from South Asian Writers, capturing the diasporic South Asian experience featuring such diverse voices as Salman Rushdie, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Michael Ondaatje.

Selvadurai’s lush Swimming, which debuted this month, introduces 14-year-old Amrith, an orphan lovingly raised within the family of his mother’s schoolfriend, and what will mostly likely be his last summer of childhood, when a new relationship with a mysterious cousin from Canada changes his life forever.

AsianWeek: Tell me about writing your first young adult book?
Shyam Selvadurai: Out of all the books I’ve written so far, writing Swimming in the Monsoon Sea was my favorite writing experience. I really loved my editor. … She laid down limits as to what YA fiction was and what a teenager could process and was interested in. I think I am a writer who really responds well to limits and, since writing this book, I have begun to wonder if I am really a genre writer masquerading as a literary one. All of which to say, I think I will definitely write more YA in the future. Perhaps even give up writing adult fiction altogether! …[click here for more]

Author interview: “Shyam Selvadurai’s ‘Swimming’ Debut,” AsianWeek, November 18, 2005

Tidbit: Shyam Selvadurai was a guest at SALTAF 2005 (South Asian Literary and Theater Arts Festival), a much-anticipated, highly-attended annual fall event sponsored by the Smithsonian APA Program and NetSAP-DC.

Readers: Young Adult, Adult

Published: 2005

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Filed under ...Author Interview/Profile, ..Adult Readers, ..Young Adult Readers, .Fiction, Canadian Asian Pacific American, South Asian, Sri Lankan

Perfume Dreams: Reflections on the Vietnamese Diaspora by Andrew Lam, foreword by Richard Rodriguez

Perfume DreamsLam’s keen journalistic experience as NPR commentator and Pacific News Service editor comes through clearly in this collection of noteworthy essays. He weaves personal story and reports from the Vietnamese American community of which he is obviously a part, but manages to objectively observe.

Review: “New and Notable Books,” AsianWeek, November 3, 2005

Readers: Adult

Published: 2005

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Filed under ..Adult Readers, .Memoir, .Nonfiction, Southeast Asian, Southeast Asian American

Beyond the Mountains: A Visual Poem about China by Ed Young

Beyond the MountainsA gorgeous, unique book – it flips up and has gradated pages! – from Caldecott Medal-winner Ed Young which invokes inspiring images of his native China.

Review: “New and Notable Books,” AsianWeek, November 3, 2005

Readers: Children

Published: 2005

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Filed under ..Children/Picture Books, .Poetry, Chinese, Chinese American

The Wishing Tree by Roseanne Thong, illustrated by Connie McLennan

Wishing TreeIn a small Hong Kong village, Ming and his beloved grandmother share an annual visit to the magical Wishing Tree. Even when Ming’s most wishful wish goes unanswered, he still learns the true meaning of being thankful.

Review: “New and Notable Books,” AsianWeek, November 3, 2005

Readers: Children

Published: 2005

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Filed under ..Children/Picture Books, .Fiction, Chinese, Chinese American

My Librarian Is a Camel: How Books Are Brought to Children Around the World by Margriet Ruurs

My Librarian Is a CamelFor kids in the remotest areas across the world, there is nothing like a library visit that comes to you any way it can: via camel, solar-powered truck, boat, bike, wheelbarrow, donkey cart, and more.

Review: “New and Notable Books,” AsianWeek, November 3, 2005

Readers: Children

Published: 2005

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Filed under ..Children/Picture Books, .Nonfiction, Nonethnic-specific

The Prince’s Diary by Renee Ting, illustrated by Elizabeth O. Dulemba

Prince's DiaryHere’s the Cinderella tale with an entertaining twist … ever wonder what happened from Prince Charming’s – that’s actually Prince Stephen’s – point of view?

Review: “New and Notable Books,” AsianWeek, November 3, 2005

Readers: Children

Published: 2005

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Filed under ..Children/Picture Books, .Fiction, Chinese American, Nonethnic-specific

Robert’s Snow by Grace Lin and Robert’s Snowflakes: Artists’ Snowflakes for Cancer’s Cure compiled by Grace Lin and Robert Mercer

Roberts Snow.Snowflakes

As her husband recovered from cancer treatments, Grace Lin wrote Robert’s Snow, the delightful adventures of a tiny mouse, to celebrate their good fortune. But just months later, Lin and her husband – also named Robert – were told that Robert’s cancer was back, and his best chance for survival was a breakthrough in research. They decided to help doctors by recruiting the most talented, award-winning children’s book illustrators such as Eric Carle, Ian Falconer, and Mark Teague to paint the most unique, memorable wooden snowflakes which they auctioned off. The project raised over $100,000 for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Now in print is a collection of the best of Robert’s snowflakes. All royalties go back to Dana-Farber – can you think of a single reason that this shouldn’t be your most popular holiday gift this season??!!

Review: “New and Notable Books,” AsianWeek, November 3, 2005

Readers: All

Published: 2005

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Filed under ..Adult Readers, ..Children/Picture Books, ..Middle Grade Readers, ..Young Adult Readers, .Fiction, .Nonfiction, Chinese American, Nonethnic-specific

Stanford Wong Flunks Big-Time by Lisa Yee

Stanford Wong Flunks Big-TimeSo much for the overachieving model minority myth: Meet Stanford Wong, basketball star and the only 7th-grader on the middle-school A-Team – but only if he can get past 6th-grade English. After flunking, he’s consigned not only to summer school, but being tutored by the local genius dweeb, Millicent Min (check out the spunky Millicent Min, Girl Genius). He’s too embarrassed to tell the other guys. And he certainly can’t let the fabulous new girl in town think he’s stupid!

Review: “New and Notable Books,” AsianWeek, November 3, 2005

Readers: Middle Grade, Young Adult

Published: 2005

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Filed under ..Middle Grade Readers, ..Young Adult Readers, .Fiction, Chinese American

Wong Kar-Wai by Stephen Teo

Wong Kar-WaiBFI’s fabulous “World Director” series focuses on lauded Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-Wai, auteur of international successes Chungking Express, In the Mood For Love and, most recently, 2046.

Review: “New and Notable Books,” AsianWeek, November 3, 2005

Readers: Adult

Published: 2005 (United States)

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Filed under ..Adult Readers, .Nonfiction, Chinese

Another Word A Day: An All-New Romp Through Some of the Most Unusual and Intriguing Words in English by Anu Garg

AWAD All NewAnother book version of one of my all-time favorite listservs, AWAD (A Word A Day), which highlights the ‘who, what and why’ of some amazing words: The facinorous yegg who imprested the quacksalver sachem received a plausive sentence. Go look it up.

Review: “New and Notable Books,” AsianWeek, November 3, 2005

Readers: Adult

Published: 2005

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Filed under ..Adult Readers, .Nonfiction, Indian American, Nonethnic-specific, South Asian American