Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
especially welcome to extensive readers

Friday, May 08, 2009

Expand your mental horizons with one of these literary getaways

Vacation time is just around the corner for many of us,but between the tight economy and health concerns about travel,a good number of folks will probably op for being armchair tourists this season.

With that in mind,I'm holding not one,but two great giveaways to make the time fly. The good people at Grand Central Publishing are giving out two sets of five paperback books each that celebrate cultural diversity and good reading.

For Asian Heritage Month, the set of five includes one of my favorite debut novels of the past few years,Free Food For Millionaires by Min Jin Lee. It's a wonderfully smart and stimulating read that I wholeheartedly recommend.

Along side Free Food is Jennifer 8 Lee's amazing account about the history of American Chinese food in The Fortune Cookie Chronicles and food writer Kim Sunee's memoir,Trail of Crumbs.

The five pack is rounded out with a pair of titles that are new to me yet sound rather intriguing.

Transparency is a short story collection by Frances Hwang that focuses on the struggles of immigrants in everyday situations as in one of her stories,Garden City,where a worn out married couple is trying to evict a deadbeat tenant even as they must face the aftermath of their teenaged son's death. Hwang has won several awards for her writing,including a Rona Jaffe Foundation award and she appears to be one to watch for.

Last but not least is Strangers From A Distant Shore by Ronald Takaki,which takes a closer look at the history of Asian American immigration. Takaki has written several nonfiction books with a multicultural take on history such as Double Victory,A Different Mirror and A Larger Memory,all of which have been well received by critics and readers alike.

The other five pack honors Latino Book Month and two of the titles featured here are a pair that I've recently had the pleasure of reading,B as In Beauty by Alberto Ferraras and Hungry Woman In Paris by Josefina Lopez.

They're both fabulous books and while I haven't read the others in this collection,I'm sure that all of them together make for some very satisfying summer reading.

The other three books are The Disappearance of Irene Dos Santos by Margaret Mascarenhas,which has it's leading lady being haunted by the ghost of a former friend in her dreams that also has grave consequences for her pregnancy,and Into The Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea that has a young woman deciding to recruit a fresh batch of men to revive her ailing home town along with providing some protection from a nearby gang of crooks looking to take things over.

Rounding out this collection is Houston,We Have a Problema by Gwendolyn Zepeda,about Jessica Luna,a twenty six old who prefers to make any major life decisions based on fate and advice from Madame Hortensia,her neighborhood psychic. However,a couple of situations arise that not even a sign from above can help Jessica chose the right path to take for her future happiness.

So,if you would like either one of these sets,just leave a comment at this post over the weekend and I'll choose two winners on Monday. This giveaway is open to both U.S and Canadians and also to help my decision making ability along,please mention your favorite pop culture take on either one of these cultures.

You can pick a book,movie or TV show that you feel highlights the best of Asian or Latino life and times. I hope everyone has a great weekend and a Happy Mother's Day that suits your style,whether you seek a dose of magic realism:

or are just looking for a bit of quality time with your mom:


Bridget said...

Wow, I get to be first! No need to enter me; just posted on Win A Book.

Indigo said...

Please enter me for the drawing of the Latino set. Both sets sound like wonderful reading ventures. Thanks for the opportunity! Indigo


Unknown said...

Oooh, I'm in.

Actually, the one movie that keeps coming up in my head is The Last Samurai. I know it's not an accurate film as far as Japanese history, but it's one of the few Hollywood films I know of that intentionally put a lot of focus on the samurai culture, which, while not 100% accurate, at least tried to be correct.

And on a side note, one of my favorite professors recently came out with a book on the Pachuca (female version of the Pachuco) in America. I haven't read it yet, but she's certainly knowledgeable about all that stuff.

Anywho, thanks for the cool giveaway. My email is in my profile. Take care!

Anonymous said...

Please enter me for the Latino set. Thank you!

nbmars AT yahoo DOT com

Anonymous said...

I'm not really informative of either culture, but I'd like to be. I did see Pan's Labyrinth, and I enjoyed it. And I have read The Joy Luck Club, and it was wonderful. I think martial arts is a great part of Asian culture, as well as the food.

Oh yes, and I think Spanglish is a good movie :)

jaam121388 at yahoo dot com

Amber said...

I would really love to win either set! Joy Luck Club is my favorite pop culture portrayal of Asian culture. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is great too :)

Thanks for the giveaway :)

M. said...

A book I really enjoyed was 'Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter' (can't recall the author's name! Darn!) about a young Peruvian man whose story alternates with scenes from a Latino soap opera (from the titular scriptwriter), with the two levels ultimately entwining. Really creative.

I'd love to check out the Latino set.Thanks for hosting the giveaway.

mayamissani AT yahoo DOT ca

Ashley said...

Both sets look great! Please enter me for the Latino one.

darbyscloset said...

I would love the Asian book set and I love the story of "The Karate (sp?) Kid"! I also enjoyed both the book and the movie "Memoirs of a Geisha".
Thanks for the giveaway!
darbyscloset at yahoo dot com

nfmgirl said...

A really excellent asian movie that I watched was Raise the Red Lantern. If memory serves me, it was all subtitled, but really good!

nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com

Icedream said...

I would be thrilled to win either set of books. It's a shame that I have to rack my brain to come up with a network tv show that reflects either culture! Books I really enjoyed were Snow Flower and the Secret Fan and The House on Mango Street.
Thanks for the chance.

waitmantwillie at hotmail dot com

The Giveaway Diva said...

i would lvoe the be entered for either set!! i loved the joy luck club it was great to see a reflection of asian in mainstream film!

mindy said...

i would be happy with either set thanks for the giveaway minsthins at optonline dot net

Kitten22 said...

This looks awesome! Please enter me for either.

I'd have to say the best movie about Latino life would be Like Water for Chocolate. Such a great book to movie conversion!


kathy55439 said...

Either set would be great. I have read the The Joy Luck Club a couple times I love to learn more about poeples history.....

Valerie said...

Count me in!
KawaiiNeko2008 at aol dot com

malleycc said...

I would love either set. I read Joy Luck Club and am right now reading The Bonesetter's Daughter.

Latino lifestyle hmmm mabye the tv series with George Lopez, but I really hate the doopy father bit all the family shows have.

Belinda said...

Food For Millionaires sound really interesting.
1bmore @ gmail . com

jemscout425 said...

i loved the last emperor and farewell my concubine both based on the changing culture in china before the 2nd world war.

-.- said...

I'd love to be entered.

I think Fearless, the movie with Jet-Li, was a great one about China and how one man helped a nation. It was sad, moving, and inspirational.

~ Popin

LittleEagle said...

I am not that familiar with either culture and would be interested in reading all of these books. sharonaquilino(at)hotmail(dot)com

A Reader said...

I would like to win the Asian set b/c I have heard great things about Free Food for Millionaires and would like to read it. AS for Asian pop culture references. I remember enjoying the Last Emperor-- visually a very engaging portrait of pre WWI China.
Thanks for the giveaway!

Anonymous said...

I would really love to win either set

jdmimi at gmail dot com