2 May 2010

Sunday best

A rainy Sunday afternoon. Twilight of the vacances. A perfect time to stop by the Library to check out the magazines or study for exams or […]
29 April 2010

‘Godthink’

Time to pop a well-meaning bubble: All religions are basically the same. Stephen Pothero calls this “naive theological groupthink – call it Godthink –” perpetrated by […]
26 April 2010

Home again in Chinatown

shanghaigirls_coverBestselling author Lisa See will present her new novel, Shanghai Girls, at the Library, Wednesday, April 29 at 19h30. Today she shares an essay that originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times, about the relationship between Los Angeles's Chinatown and her book.

Almost all writers write about place. Los Angeles writers are no exception. Walter Mosley, Michael Jaime-Becerra and Janet Fitch, to name a few, capture the intimate details of very specific neighborhoods. Sometimes the sense of place is so strong that the natural topography, the streets and what's on them, become as fully realized as a living, breathing character. The neighborhood I write about is Chinatown. Yes, a lot of my novels take place in China, but those stories wouldn't -- couldn't -- have been written if not for Chinatown.

I lived with my mother, Carolyn See, when I was growing up. We moved eight times before I turned 9, so Chinatown, where my paternal grandparents and my grandfather's brothers and sister worked in the family antiques store, became home base for me. To my eyes, Chinatown didn't change. More than that, my Chinese American relatives didn't move or change either. Rather, they were very much stuck in the past. It was a past that entranced me when I was a child; it's a past I long for every day, and one I got to write about in "Shanghai Girls."

25 April 2010

Great moments in art

Really, really bad cover art for science fiction books, lovingly collected for your perusal, admiration, and ridicule.