Julia Lee is Angry and So Am I ┃ A Review & Reflection on "Biting the Hand: Growing Up Asian in Black and White America"


I was sitting on the floor of my high school bedroom, a copy of Julia Lee’s memoir Biting the Hand: Growing Up Asian in Black and White America open in my lap, when I was startled by the realization that I was angry. My face burned. I dug my nails into my palms. I drew in heavy breaths. What I was feeling was no mild, passing irritation; it was pure, intense fury. 

"Nothing is Ever Really Lost:" A Deep Dive Into Grief, Love, and Writing With Debut Author Gina Chung


"I hope Sea Change makes readers feel a little bit less alone, if that’s something they’re struggling with...but also that hope, resilience, and community are stronger than our despair."

Sea Change is an insightful novel that plunges deep into human heartbreak and grief. Ro, a Korean American mall aquarium employee, turns to work and drinking in attempt to escape the relentless waves of adversity that threaten to drown her: conflict with her immigrant mother, a difficult breakup, growing apart from her best friend, and the disappearance of her father. In search of solace, she finds comfort in caring for Dolores, a giant Pacific octopus who roves a tank at Ro's aquarium and represents a living relic of her father's career as a marine biologist. A product of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sea Change is a thoughtful and creative reflection on healing from trauma and hardship and living within the depths of the Asian American experience. The book releases to audiences on March 28, 2023. 

My Body, My Choice? The Dissonance Between Feminism and Capitalism in Emily Ratajkowski’s “My Body”


"In my early twenties, it had never occurred to me that the women who gained their power from beauty were indebted to the men whose desire granted them that power in the first place. Those men were the ones in control, not the women the world fawned over." 

For many young women, the saying "beauty is pain" is an all-too-familiar refrain. It is as much an accepted aphorism for our lives as a pithy justification for what our bodies endure, often in service of the male gaze. I hear the phrase reverberate from the social media posts that swear by the transformational power of a green juice or slimming diet; from the articles that claim exercise fads are the key to self-care; and from the mouths of girls in my own life when we discuss what to wear and how to act. When I poke, pluck, and prod at my body, trying to mold it into something that would seem pretty until I can’t tell whether I am doing this work for myself anymore, "beauty is pain" is the earworm that I cannot get out of my head.


Zoom Out


Two hours before the clock strikes midnight, I am alone in my bedroom, cross-legged on the floor. On the carpet lie 200 pieces of me. 

Jeju-do (Korea diaries #4)


I am a mixed-race Asian-American, the daughter of a white American soldier and a Korean immigrant. This summer, I am working in Korea for two months, realizing a dream that I have held for over two years. The Korea Diaries is a blog series that documents my experiences here. For more background, you can view my introductory post.

Growing up as a military child instilled me with a fluid understanding of the concept of home. Relocating every few years to meet the demands of my dad’s army orders meant that I could not attach my idea of home to a specific place. Early on, I knew to assume that my residences would be temporary. By the time I started high school, the first level of school that I attended outside of a military base, I had lived in eight houses, mostly on the East Coast of the United States.

Soul/Seoul (Korea diaries #3)


I am a mixed-race Asian-American, the daughter of a white American soldier and a Korean immigrant. This summer, I am working in Korea for two months, realizing a dream that I have held for over two years. The Korea Diaries is a blog series that documents my experiences here. For more background, you can view my introductory post.

“사랑과 미움이 같은 말이면 I love you, Seoul”
If love and hate are the same words, I love you, Seoul.

One of the things that I love most about music is its ability to distill individual experiences into the universal human emotions that underlie them. As a child, I lacked the words to describe this idea, but I think that even back then, music’s capacity to communicate intense and varied sentiments across differences is part of what made me want to learn how to create it. Though I was fairly average, I was a happy piano student in childhood and always eager to sing in school choirs. (During my senior year of high school, I even took a course online after school just to fit chorus into my schedule.) I loved the feeling of lending my body and voice to a sound and letting it carry me into joy, fear, sadness, anger, and hope. Sometimes, I performed pieces that were foreign in concept to me: spirituals of religions I did not subscribe to, tunes in Latin or other unfamiliar tongues, and some songs without any words at all. But music was the ultimate tool of translation, and regardless of the differences between myself and the creator or subject of the piece, songs spoke to me fluently in a language of emotions. If I close my eyes, I can almost recall the feeling of giving my voice to a dissonant chord, how in the chorus I became a channel for yearning and discomfort and tension that built and built and built until resolving in harmony.

Goodbye, Siheung (sort of). (Korea diaries #2)


On my last night in 시흥 (Siheung), I went to the water. It was a long walk from the 시흥캠퍼스 연수원, the building where I was living at the time. The humidity was unsympathetic; its thickness was intense and palpable. The sun was no kinder, and I melted under its harsh gaze. Sweat dripped down every inch of my body (I could see physical droplets on my shins. My shins! I didn’t even know that shins could sweat). Still, I continued walking. During my first week in Korea, the water had become one of my closest confidants. When I felt overwhelmed, I sought refuge in the strength of its waves and the comfort of its consistency. I couldn’t leave Siheung without saying goodbye.

My life has changed. (Korea diaries #1)



 "I knew that if the spark of life kept burning there would be fuel; if I could live I would always find a way, and a way that was best for me.”

In high school, my biology teacher used to encourage my class to make the most of our found time. Found time, she explained, is the opportunities that the universe grants us to appreciate life’s beauty. It is often serendipitous but can exist at any moment that we choose to live in the present. You must be purposeful about holding on to it because you never know when you might have it again. On that Friday, my teacher encouraged us to seize our found time over the weekend by spending an hour or two at a local fair instead of burying ourselves in exam preparations for a test we had the upcoming week. (I am sorry to say that in this instance I did not use my found time; I did, in fact, spend that entire weekend at home.)


A Conversation with Lyn Liao Butler



"In this day and age, the definition of “family” is so different. Embrace whatever family you have, whether it is by blood, adoption, or found family."

Red Thread of Fate charts Tam Kwan's journey to find community following a tragedy. After her husband, Tony, and his cousin, Mia, are suddenly killed in a car accident, Tam struggles with survivor's guilt and grief. To complicate matters, she becomes the official guardian of Mia's five-year-old daughter, Angela, and an adopted son from China whom she intended to raise with her husband, within weeks of the accident. As she navigates her new responsibilities as a mother, she must also grapple with family secrets that threaten to upend her relationships with the living and her memory of the dead. Red Thread of Fate releases to the public on February 8, 2022. 

A Review of Intimacies by Katie Kitamura


“I no longer believed that equanimity was either tenable or desirable. It corroded everything inside. I had never met a person with greater equanimity than the former president. But this applied to all of them—to the prosecution and the defense, to the judges and even the other interpreters. They were able to work. They had the right temperament for the job. But at what internal cost?”

Words matter. They can start and end wars and relay the best and worst of our nature. Spoken and reserved, they reflect the intricacies of our engagements with each other. The unnamed narrator of Katie Kitamura’s 2021 novel, Intimacies, leads a life that exemplifies how language – and, more importantly, the power of the people behind them – can mold identities and change worlds.