General APA

BookDragon Turns 3!

BookDragon Blog

By Terry Hong (BookDragon Blogger and former APAP Media Arts Consultant)

Three years ago, BookDragon officially debuted as almost a dare. The APA Program’s founding director, Dr. Franklin Odo, bugged me on and off for years about compiling my book-related articles into a single place. So I got the idea that I might throw everything up somewhere, somehow on the world wide web… although being a Luddite, that was no small task. Thanks to the facile (and oh so very patient) multimedia producer at the time, Ricky Leung, BookDragon miraculously became the literary home of all my bookish ramblings…

And, today, BookDragon is actually three years old! I’ve been told time passes more quickly out there in the virtual world, ahem!

What a year of reading around the globe this has been! Some favorite adult reads include Julie Otsuka’s The Buddha in the Attic, Krys Lee’s Drifting House, and Xinran’s Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother: Stories of Loss and Love. Among the kiddie titles, I couldn’t extol any more the virtues of The Mangrove Tree: Planting Trees to Save Families by Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore. My manga-addicted self swears Daytripper by Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá was the most spectacular graphic read.

My favorite literary news of the year was definitely yesterday’s announcement that Kyung-sook Shin became the first woman to win the Man Asian Literary Prize, considered Asia’s most prestigious award for writers, for her Stateside debut, Please Look After Mom (she’s already a literary rock star in her native Korea with many titles) which was published April 3, 2011. Mom is surely one of the best books I’ve read in years, and I gave Shin a starred review in Library Journal (December 15, 2010 issue). Then I heard about the uproar over an NPR review by Maureen Corrigan that aired April 5, 2011 [“kimchee-scented Kleenex fiction”] … be sure to check out the even more interesting comments. In spite of such detractors, Mom did (deservedly) hit the bestseller lists and garner quite an impressive list of citations and awards.

Surely, I have so much to celebrate this year! Literally!

In addition to all the memorable books, thanks even more so to all my fellow readers. Please keep visiting BookDragon via blog, Facebook, or Twitter at @SIBookDragon. Hopefully we’ll be sharing multi-culti book news for years to come!

Staff Update

You Can Take a Girl Out of the APA Program…

… but you can’t ever really take the APA Program out of the girl! Even when they’ve become old and decrepit! Believe me… my spectre will always be haunting this office!

But alas, it’s time to grow up instead of just growing old… so after eight rollicking, memorable years, I took my farewell bow at the APA office last week. While I will continue to maintain BookDragon for the time being (can’t pry those books out of my hands, and I’m never short of opinions), my days as the APA Program’s media arts consultant are officially finished …

I’m trying out some new adventures and will take the summer to figure out which ones I’ll pursue next… plus I have to start training to somehow get this old bag of bones to the Leadville 100 before I get halfway to 100 myself – or keel over trying, anyway! You’re never too old to have impossible dreams!

So I don’t get TOOO lonely, do come visit me at BookDragon anytime!

Thanks to everyone for everything!

— Terry Hong
former Media Arts Consultant