For my third and final trick, with tongue firmly planted in cheek, I present to you this fine list: “The best books about tennis that may or may not feature pornography.“
I almost can’t believe I’m typing these words, but folks, I’ll be at the Jersey City Free Public Library next Saturday, 5/22/2021, at 2pm. Like physically. Like I will drive and park and walk over to Hamilton Park! I will not be sitting in front of a laptop. Me, human Sung, will be at the park to celebrate AAPI Heritage Month. If you are in the area, please stop by! They have a few more programs after me, so stick around. Check it out!
AAPI Heritage Month Celebration at Hamilton Park: Author Discussion with Sung J. Woo
May 22 @ 2:00 pm – 2:45 pm EDT
Sung J. Woo, author of Everything Asian (2009), Love Love (2015), and Skin Deep (2020) will talk about his experience growing up Korean American and his journey as a writer.
Join us for this event at Hamilton Park! Meet us by the gazebo (center of park) for some library fun.
Masks are required for all participants above the age of 2. Social distancing will be respected.
Hamilton Park, 25 W Hamilton Pl, Jersey City, NJ 07302, https://goo.gl/maps/jC6rMveEBM3jTxz79
So here’s something that I don’t encounter very often — an academic paper on one of my books. This one is for Love Love, and it’s like…super academic. Like it’s got an abstract and everything. Here’s the gist:
Recently, new Asian American novels are using the trope of adoption in unconventional ways. Sung J. Woo’s Love Love and Bich Minh Nguyen’s Pioneer Girl both employ the motif of adoption in their plot, yet unlike the representative Asian American literary works featuring adoption such as Gish Jen’s Love Wife, Chang-Rae Lee’s Gesture Life, and Jane Jeong Trenka’s The Language of Blood, they portray cases of homoracial, inter-country adoption. Instead of visiting the country of origin in Asia with questions of biological relatives and reasons for adoption, both protagonists travel domestically to San Francisco in order to explore their identity. San Francisco becomes an intriguing city of origin for both Asian American protagonists who walk the city as flâneur figures with a postmodern sensibility. Kevin Lee in Love Love observes San Francisco as a cosmopolitan city. Lee Lien in Pioneer Girl considers it a place of reinvention in the West. While the history of Kevin’s Korean American birth father belongs to the social and cultural history of 1970s San Francisco, and not to the ethnic histories of Asian America, the adoption mystery of Rose Wilder Lane beckons Lee Lien deeper into an American literary history. As San Francisco is marked as “origin” or “birthplace” on the map of Asian American itineraries, not as destination of Asian migrations, narratives of adoption offered by these novels suggest the changing mode of Asian American literature that interrogates and problematizes the ways in which Asian American identity and experiences are defined, represented, and imagined.https://www.earticle.net/Article/A311021
The rest is written in Korean! The journal is titled “미국소설,” which translates to American Fiction. If you happen to read Korean and want to see the whole thing, go for it!
Last year, one of the cities I visited on my book tour for Love Love was Magers and Quinn in beautiful downtown Minneapolis. I remember signing a release form at the end of that reading for something to do with audio — and guess what, that’s exactly what this is. Recorded on 9/21/2015, my reading and a short Q&A. Thank you, Magers and Quinn! You guys are aces.
I’m returning to beautiful Aurora, NY this Wednesday! It’s for Wells College, which I often refer to as my second alma mater. If you are in the area, please come on by.
I’ll be making the rounds again this winter and spring with my second novel Love Love in tow. On deck is my hometown reading at the Warren County Community College! Fitting that the reading will happen on Valentine’s Day week.
And when spring comes around, I’ll visit these two fine institutions.
Wednesday, April 6, 2016
Wells College Visiting Writers Series
All of these events are, thankfully, within driving distance. No need to break out the Google Maps itinerary doohickie this time.
Huge thanks to the lovely folks at Booklist who chose Love Love as one of the titles for this year. It’s not every day that I get to share a list with Jonathan Franzen, Lauren Groff, and Anne Tyler! Here’s what they had to say about their picks:
The Adult Books editors have selected the following titles as representative of the year’s outstanding books for public library collections. Our scope has been intentionally broad, and we have attempted to find books that combine literary, intellectual, and aesthetic excellence with popular appeal.
And here’s the blurb for mine.
Love Love. By Sung J. Woo. Soft Skull, $15.95 (9781593766177).
Their father’s medical crisis reveals shocking lies and fractures in the lives of siblings Judy Lee, a 38-year-old temp who once dreamed of being an artist, and former tennis pro Kevin in Woo’s sharp, astute, and stunning novel of aging, loss, and disillusion.
Booklist, you made my year.
It was great being at Princeton Public Library’s Local Author Day! Not only did I get to be one of the featured authors, but I also got to deliver a workshop. I’m a little late with this, but for those workshoppers who wanted a copy of the syllabus/outline I used, here it is. We got some nice coverage of the event via the Princeton Packet, and I made a new Facebook friend, Ed Tseng, another author who happens to be a big tennis fan. Thank you, Princeton Public Library, for inviting me to this fine literary event.
At 40, Kevin Lee, an almost-tennis-pro-turned-club-instructor, finds out he’s adopted when he tries to donate a kidney to his less-than-deserving widower father. The only clues to Kevin’s identity are an unfinished letter from his late mother with a nude centerfold of his birthmother.
Meanwhile, his younger sister, Judy, abandons her latest temp job, but takes a not-quite-budding office romance with her: Roger is late to their first date and dismisses a telling tattoo as a youthful mistake yet proves inexplicably devoted. Reeling from recent divorces, the siblings are, well, love-love for love. Both must leave – Kevin to San Francisco in search for his birth history, Judy to Cape Cod to recover from a rattlesnake attack – in order to figure out how to be whole.
Verdict: Woo is currently two-for-two with rollicking novels about Korean American family dysfunction starring a pair of New Jersey siblings. If Woo’s 2009 debut, Everything Asian, was charming and youthful, this new work is practically middle-aged, a biting, jaw-scraping, guffaw-inducing bit of fun complete with porn stars, rebel artists, and an aging, loyal dog who just might break your heart. Perfect for devotees of impossibly serendipitous comic fiction à la Carl Hiaasen and Tom Robbins and enhanced with multi-generational, cross-cultural depth.