History of Literature #66: James Baldwin, Wallace Stegner, GB Tran, Lois Duncan (with author Shawna Yang Ryan

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What can we do to unlock the past? How do family secrets affect us? Author Shawna Yang Ryan has spent a lot of time thinking about these issues – and in this episode, she joins Jacke for a discussion of some of her favorite books, including the novel that led her to rethink her understanding of the American West and the graphic novel about a family’s journey that can bring her to tears.

SHAWNA YANG RYAN is a former Fulbright scholar and the author of Water Ghosts (Penguin Press 2009) and Green Island (Knopf 2016). She teaches in the Creative Writing Program at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. Her short fiction has appeared inZYZZYVA, The Asian American Literary ReviewKartika Review, andThe Berkeley Fiction Review. She is the 2015 recipient of the Elliot Cades Emerging Writer award. Originally from California, she now lives in Honolulu.

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Works Discussed:

Green Island and Water Ghosts by Shawna Yang Ryan

Another Country by James Baldwin

Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner

Vietnamerica: A Family’s Journey by GB Tran

Locked in Time by Lois Duncan

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

Yi Yi [A One and a Two…] directed by Edward Yang

Show Notes:  Continue reading

Episode 7A – Proust, Pound, and Chinese Poetry

A young Jacke Wilson immerses himself in great books on his way from Taiwan to Tibet – and finds out what Ezra Pound, Marcel Proust, and Chinese poetry can teach him about literature and life.

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A History of Jacke in 100 Objects #5 – The Motorcycle

I signed the document I could not read and handed my life savings to the stranger. He grunted and held out a silver case.

My cousin didn’t smile.

“Take one,” he said.

“I don’t smoke.”

“Doesn’t matter. You’ll insult him if you don’t. He’ll lose face.”

I took a cigarette from the case and stuck it behind my ear. The man’s mouth formed something between a sneer and smile, his teeth stained reddish-brown from betel nut. Outside the window, traffic poured by, noisy and chaotic.

I was now the proud owner of a motorcycle. There was only one problem.

I had no idea how to drive it.

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