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Home > Blog > September 2008 > What I'm Reading Now

Two extraordinary writers have recently released new novels, years after their earlier books established their literary reputations. It's been fifteen years since Fae Myenne Ng's debut, Bone, and eager fans have been devouring her new novel, Steer Toward Rock, since it came out earlier this year. Fans of Paul Beatty's 2001 release, The White Boy Shuffle, haven't had to wait quite as long for his new satirical novel, Slumberland. But seven years without Beatty's labyrinthine riffs that pull together European history and popular culture - effortlessly linking images of everything from Kant to candy bars - felt like a lifetime.

Steer Toward Rock is one of the first fictional treatments of the Chinese Exclusion Act from the late 19th century, which severely restricted Chinese immigration and naturalization and imposed brutal restrictions on Chinese American life. Ng tells the story in several voices, starting with that of an old man who has sneaked into the country with false papers and ending the story with narration from the man's grown daughter. Fans of Bone will recognize Ng's fearless female characters who are marbled with both surprising vulnerability and unshakeable confidence. Steer Toward Rock is a brand new take on an old immigration experience.

Beatty's Slumberland is instead an emigration story, telling the tale of an African American man with a "phonographic memory" - he can perfectly remember any sound he has ever heard - who moves to Berlin just before the wall comes down. he is in search of a DJ, the perfect DJ, who goes by the name Schwa. Beatty's satire runs deep in the wacky characters he meets and strange settings he travels through in East and West Berlin's Afro-German communities. You've never read anything about this facet of Berlin or the Cold War. Beatty's prose is magical and just the thing to take you to the time and place of which he writes.

There are many copies of Fae Myenne Ng and Paul Beatty's books in branches all around the system. Head to the library and check one out today!


By Joel N., Blackwell Regional Library

Tags: African American, Reviews

Sun, September 28, 2008
I am glad someone is telling this story about the Chinese Exclusion Act. This is good reading and a must for history buffs. Brian - Philadelphia
Sun, September 28, 2008
i have tried to search the books in your catalog and returned 0 results. Please let me know/modify the post and say where could i find them , as im really interested in getting both of them thanks
football highlights - Romania
Tue, September 30, 2008
By clicking on the links within the blog post, you will be taken directly to the catalog pages related to the books. From there you can see how many copies are available and place holds on the titles you wish to read. Hope that helps!
Shannon - Philadelphia
Tue, September 30, 2008
Thanks for posting those books, I am always looking for new books to read. I was planning on stopping by at the library, so now I know what books to borrow Matthew - California
Sun, December 07, 2008
Sometimes I feel so ignorant when I learn about things that have happened in history that I had no idea about. I mean, I had no idea the Chinese immigrants were treated this poorly and apparently this book will shed light on the topic from several different viewpoints. A very effective way to learn the true realities of times gone by. Thank you for bringing this book to my attention.
Jessie - Example: Philadelphia
Thu, December 11, 2008
Hi Im always intrested in reading Chines fiction and after I read this post I had to order this through Amazon. Just waiting for it to arrive in the post any second now :)
Scott - Edinburgh
Sat, February 28, 2009
As I am planning to have a business trip in mainland China to expand my business there, can someone recommend me a bilingual version guide book about learning business Chinese, which consists of practical Chinese conversation on trade fairs and basic Chinese business etiquette? Thanks.
William - Rittenhouse
Sat, April 04, 2009
As a Chinese This is some Good Information.
Koh - New york
Sun, July 12, 2009
i am reading now blancos estupidos whit some aliento at the table
Roger - Colorado
Thu, August 20, 2009
Good reading for a chinese. I'm recommending them to my friends.
Laguna - New York
Sun, January 24, 2010
I don't miss any new book about Chinese nation. I respect those people for their efforts of succeeding and becoming one of the biggest powers in the world. - Best books about gambling and books.
Jane - Branson
Fri, March 12, 2010
I read slumber land...very good. nice article from colm at
colm - Ireland
Tue, March 23, 2010
Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I'll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon.
Sonata - Malaysia
Mon, June 07, 2010
I am very interested in China, thanks for your great post, I'll buy this book through amazon if they are selling :)
- California
Tue, June 22, 2010
thanks for your post i was looking for something like this. Ill be subscribing to your RSS feed.
bulk sms - India
Wed, December 29, 2010
I've just read Slumberland, and I found it incredibly funny, and the depictions of a just unified Germany where pretty enlightening. I enjoy Beattys' writing, and I think it belongs on my shelf next to Jonathan Lethem
- Miami, Florida
Sun, January 02, 2011
Being that I'm an African American who lived in Germany for many years, I look forward to reading this book.
Geryn - Southern France
Thu, May 26, 2011
I just book marked your blog on Digg and StumbleUpon.I enjoy reading your commentaries.
autovepeent - United States
Thu, May 26, 2011
Thanks For This Blog, was added to my bookmarks.
Eteweemacem - United States
Wed, July 06, 2011
Thank You For This Blog, was added to my bookmarks.
infextnoign - USA
Sat, July 16, 2011
I just book marked your blog on Digg and StumbleUpon.I enjoy reading your commentaries.
nassandgync - USA
Mon, July 18, 2011
Very informative post. Thanks for taking the time to share your view with us.
tuspipperneni - USA
Wed, July 20, 2011
You certainly have some agreeable opinions and views. Your blog provides a fresh look at the subject.
tuspipperneni - USA
Wed, September 21, 2011
Wed, September 28, 2011
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