Archive for the ‘Book Reviews’ Category

  • Cha: An Asian Literary Journal-Book Review

    Date: 2012.02.21 | Category: Book Reviews, Reviews of my Books, The Art of Writing | Response: 1

    Sometimes I do “Google” myself to see if I’m visible.  Sometimes I am surprised that someone has reviewed one of my books.  I appreciate and learn from book reviews.  Michael Tsang made the following comment, something I had never thought about:

    The best poem of the collection is the second last one, “That’s Where She is Now.” For the first time, there is not an “I” on the entire page, and the poem goes beyond the first-person narration of the other works, offering immense imagination and reflection…”

    My work, for better or worse, does focus on the “I”-the me me me me me- because I write memoir, but I hadn’t recognized that I actually departed from first person in at least one poem!  To me, that means I, unknowingly perhaps, reached at least a small amount of incite into my life.

    Thank you Michael Tsang for your incite into my work.


    Date: 2012.02.16 | Category: Book Reviews | Response: 0

    Recently, my four year old grandson starting kissing the phone. When I would call his dad, his dad would put me on speaker phone.  “I love you, Grandma loves you,” I would say.  Then my grandson, who doesn’t speak, kissed the phone.  He has no trouble communicating; we often, though, aren’t smart enough to understand.

    This is the first book I’ve read that tells the story of an autistic child.  Now, I am ready, thanks to Rupert Isaacson, to read as much as I can.

    Unfortunately, it is always a little frustrating to know money can buy hope. Most of us couldn’t afford to embark on a trip to Mongolia to hope shamans will heal our children-yet, was it really shamanistic healing the healed Rowan, or was it something else, something more, or perhaps just time. Does it matter?  Perhaps it was just hope itself.

    What matters is we love and embrace and find the patience to  learn from and teach our children and grandchildren to the best of our/their ability.

    My grandson is beautiful is smart-has melt downs, throws things. He is amazing, though he doesn’t speak I believe he has much to say.

    THE HORSE BOY journals an “epic” journey that most importantly tells of an autistic boy’s connection to horses and other animals. Horses and autistic children, according to the author, see in pictures and thus the connection. My grandson is on a waiting list for a companion dog. I wonder, meanwhile, if a hamster or gerbil or even fish would render some kind of connection/communication?

    The story has also been made into a movie.


    This review is also posted on GOODREADS.


    Date: 2011.08.29 | Category: Book Reviews, Imagining Love | Response: 0

    It’s Not My Story, But It Is Familiar


    Monday, generally the first day of a forty-hour work week.  But for me, this is the beginning of the fourth week of being unemployed.  Almost ten years of work that suited me, gone.  Already, I can hardly remember the excitement of working for a program that honored writers, and the teaching of writing.  Good memories, as well as bad, disappear if we don’t savor them, don’t call them up every once-in-awhile.  If we don’t turn them into story.


    I believe in stories, in writing stories, in writers who write stories. I believe stories can move history forward-that silence will be broken and thorns disappear.  That questions will be less difficult to ask, less painful to answer; less painful to ask, less difficult to answer.


    Three weeks have gone by quickly, too quickly.  I haven’t resorted to panic, but to mild dysfunction.  I spent money I didn’t have to go places and to buy things. I was seduced by slot machines and thrift stores.  I smoked cigarettes.  And….


    I bought books online.


    I am happy.


    Today I am reading my third book, a book-a-week. I have books I’ve been wanting to read lined up, ready.  Reading, like movies, can move me in directions I’ve tried to steer away from.  Is absence from the truth freedom?  How has my knowledge of history angered me?  How has my anger derived me of happiness?  How can I learn to act and not react?  Is there a difference?


    I am reading Famous Suicides of the Japanese Empire, by David Mura.  It’s not what I expected.  What did I expect?  Perhaps a lot of tedious facts?  It’s fiction, but it’s not.  I have to keep putting the book down, though only for a minute or two.  Why does it bother me?  It’s not my story.  But it strikes a distant, yet familiar, ring.  Tears well up.  I feel I know what is to happen next and I don’t want to know.  But I do.    The book jacket says Ben will “forge a path toward redemption”-does he?  Can he?  I’m afraid to read further.  Is “forgiveness” really what Ben and I are looking for?  Or is forgiveness what we accept because truth, no matter how much we write towards hoping to discover it, we never will?


    David Mura has written poetry, essays, memoir, and fiction.  He’s also a spoken word artist.  Mura has delved deep into his heart and his history to know himself, and to express himself in writing and performance that has given other writers of color, writers such as myself, a mixed race/Chinese Black woman author, permission to write towards who we are as we explore the often painful reasons why it is difficult not to know ourselves-reasons why our parents were silent, stories buried with them that we will never know and can only imagine.  But imagination infused with fact, I believe, is close to truth, at least as close to truth as some of us will get.


    I am wiser now, closer to truth, having been involved for over thirty years with a dynamic, spirited, soulful, soul-searching, and, yes, fun colorful writing community here in the Twin Cities.  Although I have yet to tell my stories the way I want to tell them-I will forever hold writers who have and who will-in high esteem, especially the writers that have to pause from their writing-a few minutes or a few years- walk away from the pain, the grief, the mourning-even the celebration.  Sometimes to research. Sometimes to cry.  Perhaps just to live a little.  Perhaps, like me, to gamble, shop, or smoke until I am struck in the heart by some picture, some story, some incident, a phone call, an e-mail message, a book that I am reading that urges me to, again, head to the computer and continue writing what my heart won’t let me run from.


    But now, Ben and Tommy are calling me.


    Sherry Quan Lee

    August 29, 2011



  • THE LYNCHER IN ME by Warren Read

    Date: 2011.08.15 | Category: Book Reviews | Response: 0

    Well written, well researched.  The first book I’ve read about the Duluth lynchings, though I’ve been meaning to for sometime. Read delivers a story amongst many stories which has led me to research further into our history of lynching which, for the little I have now read on the internet, has reminded me to educate myself outside the box.

    I hope Mr. Read is working on another memoir. My only complaint is I wanted more.

    I purchased this book at the Indian Trading Post (Minnesota Historical Society) in Onamia, Minnesota.  Hats off to the Minnesota Historical Society Press!

    I want always to remember America’s past.  Not to react but to act-to write my experience of the history embedded in my body that holds me back and moves me forward.

    Check out my Web site for books that have made a difference in my life:

    What books have made a difference in your life?  Please comment.

    I am a member of Goodreads.

Artist Statement

Sherry Quan Lee approaches writing as a community resource and as culturally based art of an ordinary everyday practical aesthetic. Lee is a Community Instructor at Metropolitan State University (Intro to Creative Writing, Advanced Creative Writing), and has taught at Intermedia Arts, and the Loft Literary Center. She is the author of A Little Mixed Up, Guild Press, 1982 (second printing), Chinese Blackbird, a memoir in verse, published 2002 by the Asian American Renaissance, republished 2008 by Loving Healing Press, and How to Write a Suicide Note: serial essays that saved a woman’s life, Loving Healing Press, 2008.








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