Local Event

AAPI 2024 Celebration Dinner With Chef Stacy Seebode X Yu And Me Books

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    Thu, May 30, 2024 (7:00 PM - 10:00 PM)

St. Lydia's
304 Bond Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231
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Come for a lovely evening full of books, friends, and community!

We will have some incredibly yummy dishes (menu attached below). Ticket also includes a donation to Heart of Dinner. On top of one of these books included, bring a book for a book swap!

T icket Includes:

  • 1 Book Selection from below options
  • C anapés
  • 4 Course Family Style Meal
  • D onation to Heart of Dinner

7PM Doors Open + Canapes

7:30PM Dinner Starts

Heart of Dinner addresses food insecurity, social isolation, and loneliness among Asian American seniors who live in under-resourced and underinvested communities. We do this by delivering care packages of nutritious prepared lunchboxes and fresh produce every Wednesday, lovingly paired with a handwritten and illustrated letter in their native language to bring warmth and comfort.

Book Choices:

Green Frog by Gina Chung

A Small Apocalypse by Laura Chow Reeve

If You Leave Me by Crystal Hana Kim

Come Clean by Joshua Nguyen

Bianca by Eugenia Leigh

I Would Meet You Anywhere by Susan Ito

Green Frog by Gina Chung:

From the author of Sea Change comes a short story collection that explores Korean American womanhood, bodies, animals, and transformation as a means of survival.

Equal parts fantastical—a pair of talking dolls help twins escape a stifling home, a heart boils on the stove as part of an elaborate cure for melancholy, a fox demon contemplates avenging her sister’s death—and true to life—a mother and daughter try to heal their rift when the daughter falls unexpectedly pregnant, a woman reexamines her father’s legacy after his death—the stories in this collection are hopeful and heartbreaking, full of danger and full of joy.

A Small Apocalypse by Laura Chow Reeve:

A gorgeously wrought exploration of what it means to exist in the in-between.

In her debut short-story collection A Small Apocalypse, Laura Chow Reeve examines cultural inheritance, hybridity, queerness, and the stickiness of home with an eye for both the uncanny and the realistic: human bodies become reptilian, queer ghosts haunt their friends, a young woman learns to pickle memories, and a theater floods during an apocalyptic movie marathon. The characters in A Small Apocalypse weave in and out of its fourteen stories, confronting their sense of otherness and struggling to find new ways of being and belonging. Heavily steeped in the swampy, feral heat of Florida, these stories venture beyond the problems of constructing an identity to the frontier of characters living their truth in a world that doesn’t yet have a place for them.

If You Leave Me by Crystal Hana Kim:

An emotionally riveting debut novel about war, family, and forbidden love—the unforgettable saga of two ill-fated lovers in Korea and the heartbreaking choices they’re forced to make in the years surrounding the civil war that still haunts us today.

Richly told and deeply moving, If You Leave Me is a stunning portrait of war and refugee life, a passionate and timeless romance, and a heartrending exploration of one woman’s longing for autonomy in a rapidly changing world.

Come Clean by Joshua Nguyen:

Joshua Nguyen’s sharp, songlike, and often experimental collection compartmentalizes past trauma—sexual and generational—through the quotidian. Poems aim to confront the speaker’s past by physically, and mentally, cleaning up. Here, the Asian-American masculine interrogates the domestic space through the sensual and finds healing through family and in everyday rhythms: rinsing rice until the water runs clear, folding clean shirts, and attempts at re-creating an unwritten family recipe. Yet past wounds remain present like permanent marker under layers of paint or spilled fish sauce set into car upholstery. Infused with the Shinto-inspired organizing practices of KonMari and the catchy nihilism of Mitski’s songs, the poems in Come Clean unpack, organize, and tidy up life’s messy joys and hurtful chaos with intimacy, grace, and vulnerability.

Bianca by Eugenia Leigh:

“I thought I forgave you,” Eugenia Leigh tells the specter of her father in Bianca. “Then I took root and became / someone’s mother.” Leigh’s gripping second collection introduces us to a woman managing marriage, motherhood, and mental illness as her childhood abuse resurfaces in the light of “this honeyed life." Leigh strives to reconcile the disconnect between her past and her present as she confronts the inherited violence mired in the body’s history. As she “choose[s] to be tender to [her] child—a choice / [her] mangled brain makes each day,” memories arise, asking the mother in her to tend, also, to the girl she once was.

Thus, we meet her manic alter ego, whose history becomes the gospel of Bianca: “We all called her Bianca. My fever, my havoc, my tilt.” These poems recover and reconsider Leigh’s girlhood and young adulthood with the added context of PTSD and Bipolar Disorder. They document the labyrinth of a woman breaking free from the cycle of abuse, moving from anger to grief, from self-doubt to self-acceptance. Bianca is ultimately the testimony of one woman’s daily recommitment to this life. To living. “I expected to die much younger than I am now,” Leigh writes, in awe of the strangeness of now, of “every quiet and colossal joy.”

I Would Meet You Anywhere by Susan Ito:

Growing up with adoptive nisei parents, Susan Kiyo Ito knew only that her birth mother was Japanese American and her father white. But finding and meeting her birth mother in her early twenties was only the beginning of her search for answers, history, and identity. Though the two share a physical likeness, an affinity for ice cream, and a relationship that sometimes even feels familial, there is an ever-present tension between them, as a decades-long tug-of-war pits her birth mother’s desire for anonymity against Ito’s need to know her origins, to see and be seen. Along the way, Ito grapples with her own reproductive choices, the legacy of the Japanese American incarceration experience during World War II, and the true meaning of family. An account of love, what it’s like to feel neither here nor there, and one writer’s quest for the missing pieces that might make her feel whole, I Would Meet You Anywhere is the stirring culmination of Ito’s decision to embrace her right to know and tell her own story.

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