Welcome to Gao's recommendations! Like many who are going through adultolescence (it's a real thing), Gao is rediscovering her love for reading. She has a deep fondness for short stories, children's literature, and books probably found in a Middle School library. Rest assured, she is broadening her tastes and will probably, most likely, include some new genres and discoveries on her recommendations page.
It felt as though I was alongside Kathrine Min as she was writing. She felt real; like a childhood friend I once knew but lost ties with. Her voice permeates the book. A friend asked me if the book was "fun," and I don't think I would describe it as "fun." Rather, The Fetishist is comically cynical with its wit and blunt portrayal of its characters. The characters are the best part of the book. Each one is delightfully entertaining, and no matter what decisions they make, you cannot hate or judge them. You understand their flaws and egos, and as they grow, you as the reader also are forced into introspection. As an Asian American woman dating a white man, I related with Alma and Kyoko. With Alma, it was her self-awareness of how white men perceive Asian women, yet readily accepting that perception because there is some semblance of power that can be found. I empathized with Kyoko's rebellion and her passion for her mother. Her recklessness is her charm, and I found myself rooting for her. In every Asian American woman, I think there is both an Alma and a Kyoko living inside them (Kayla Min, Kathrine's daughter, talked a little about this too during the end notes).
Yan Ge transports you somewhere not entirely unknown. There is a veil of familiarity with her words. What you’ll personally find within these stories, I do not know. But, there is something here for everyone to discover. Something elsewhere.
A fascinating look into self-loathing and mental health. Baek Sehee recounts her therapy sessions in her memoir; laying it all bare for all to read. As an introspective view on self-worth, this memoir left me feeling as if everything will be okay.
A beautiful collection of short stories that express the various emotional experiences between human beings. I found myself doing everything from reevaluating my own relationships (“A Visit”) to silently weeping in my car (“Li Fang”). It was as if all of my most inner thoughts were captured in this book, and while reading, those same thoughts were regurgitated onto the forefront of my mind. A little tip: when you finish reading the story “Li Fang,” go back and reread it, but this time, read it from the end to the beginning.
Grief really is just love with no place to go. Or yet, perhaps it is love that has everywhere to go. So many places that it spills out onto the parts of our lives where we don't always want it to inhabit. Vuong carries this somber yet empathetic tone throughout his new collection of poetry, and it had me in shambles. If there is one thing I made sure to do after reading this book, it was giving my mom a long and hard hug.