I read two truly moving blogs this week and I wanted to thank Ellen Oh for posting on the topic of anti-racism and Adam Heine for turning the topic into a contest. What better way to bring attention to the problem than to give stuff away in support of it?
I mentioned on Ellen’s blog that I have a Chinese daughter whom I love so much it hurts. It hurts even more when people comment on her appearance and how she can’t possibly be Chinese. You see, my daughter has a condition called Ocular Albinism. That’s not the white hair/red eyes version of Albinism. There are different kinds of conditions and hers means she has brown hair and brown eyes. She blends into mainstream America – in some ways a little too well. I’ve heard well-intentioned people claim: “She’s not Chinese!” Like hell she’s not. Why do people believe it’s detrimental to be of another race? Why do they want us to spend thousands on genetic testing to prove she’s not Chinese? I was tempted to do the testing to prove she IS.
I have a niece who also happens to be adopted. She’s from Russia, but her eyes have epicanthic folds because of where in Russia her ancestors came from. She went to the doctor’s office the other day and the NURSE repeatedly claimed that my niece must have Downe’s syndrome because of her eyes. This was an educated woman!
The whiting-out of America has got to stop. Two years ago the amazing Justine Larbalestier fought a battle with the publishers who tried to put a white girl on her book about an aboriginal teen. She won that battle, but the war looms large ahead of us. Our best line of defense is greater education, and what we need is more books. Books with covers that are diverse in their depiction of the human race.
To support that effort, I’m putting my money where my mouth is. I’m buying a cover that has someone of a non-caucasian race on the cover. Seriously, folks, the publishers put whites on the cover because they believe people won’t buy anything else. How sick is that? Let’s prove otherwise. I will BUY and give away two books. Winners can choose, but I will give multiple choices:
Justine’s “Liar” with appropriate cover, thank you very much. Cindy Pon’s wonderful “Silver Phoenix” in the original, beautiful cover. (See image at the top of this page.) Or for the adult book reader who still wants to make a difference, Jeannie Lin’s “The Dragon And the Pearl” with its stunning cover. I will announce the winners on the 19th.
To win one of these excellent books, please post a link to Ellen Oh’s original post, which can be found here. I would love a link to this contest in order to draw more attention to the issue, or to Adam Heine’s page, (which does have a different book available to win), but I’m not doing this to promote me, him or even Ellen. I’m doing this to provide a few pennies in a bucket that’s never given a chance to fill.
Walt! Walt, I will PM you for your address. Thanks, everyone for your interest in this book.
Well, it took me WAY too long to buy this book, for which I can only offer my profuse apologies to the author. I had wanted to do a review while the book was still in stores, but October escaped me. Obviously, November did, too. Before I tell you about this book, I think I will remind you about my review policies and admit that yes, I know the author and consider her a friend. That has nothing whatsoever to do with the nature of my reviews. I do not hold punches. If I’m uncomfortable posting a favorable review on this blog, I won’t do it. I also try to be honest about likes and dislikes. It speaks volumes for “Dragon” that you won’t find any mention of “dislikes” below.
So, I’m almost two months late, but the book was worth the wait. “The Dragon and the Pearl “ is a stand-alone novel by Jeannie Lin, however it does pick up where “Butterfly Swords” left off. “Dragon’s” cast includes Li Tao, the antagonist of Butterfly Swords, as the hero of “Dragon,” and his backstory gives us a much wider vision of the author’s Tang Dynasty China.
Now I loved “Butterfly Swords” (click the link to see my review), but you can see Lin’s skill as an author has increased since the first book. She has sunk herself into this world, making the characters rounded, fleshed and highly sexual. More than that, her political and social structure is more solid than the Kunlun mountains. She needed that solidity as we find out how both the court and the seedy underground culture of Tang dynasty functioned.
Thanks to that background structure, we discover why Li Tao is the stern and unyielding man you met before, but we also find the heart beneath that exterior. That said, he never breaks character. His is one of the strongest, most well rounded characterizations I’ve ever seen. Hypnotizing, never a good man, but always a believable and desirable man. In many ways, Lin’s characterizations and dialogue reminded me of works by my favorite author, Guy Gavriel Kay. Those of you who know me will recognize I mean that as the greatest compliment I can give.
If you enjoyed the dainty appetizer of “Butterfly Swords,” you will love the full course spread that is “The Dragon and the Pearl.” Go out and buy a copy via Amazon, Barnes and Noble or wherever else you can find one OR you can put your name into the hat for this second copy I bought. I refuse to give away mine.
Well, thanks to follower, friend and critique buddy Janet Johnson, I have a blogging award to pass on.
According to Janet, the idea is “to share three under-the-radar blogs that I love and then visit the blogs everyone else mentions,” that is, the blogs of your visitors.
Well, I am definitely under-the-radar and nichey. LOL There’s no way around that. I’m not sure you can call Catwood’s blog “under-the-radar,” but she’s rebuilding her site. If you’ve ever done that, you’ll know you lose a whole bunch of followers, so I thought I’d post her link.
Hot Curries & Cold Beer is an excellent food blog by Rashda Khan, also known as Mina Khan, author of the Djinn’s Dilemma that I mentioned in my last post. She’s got more than one blog, but I do enjoy the food one and it’s deliciously a little under-the-radar. Yum.
Jeannie Lin’s blog is far from under-the-radar, but it is still related to my topic and therefore nichey. Head over there today. She’s got a great post on one of the differences between Western and Asian lit.