Ah yes, managing to uphold my only non-resolution to still be late on posting here on this site. I’ve got to say life has really caught up to me, so I apologize if you’ve been seeking my monthly recommendations and I’ve fallen short. I promise, since it’s still winter in Boston, you’ve got plenty of time to catch up on these suggestions. Also I’m tired so I’ll add photos later.
Blind Date with a Book, Brookline Booksmith
A few weeks ago, I took on a great day hanging out with friends I haven’t been able to see in a while because of classes/co-op schedule nonsense. We went for a day over at Coolidge Corner, one of the more charming Boston spots. We warmed up with some ramen (my very first!) and then went book hunting over at the locally-owned bookstore down the street known for its incredible events with speakers and great collection of used and new books. Back in 2014, I met Neil Patrick Harris here, no big deal [read: it’s a big deal] and made him laugh. This time, Chelsea and I were downstairs looking for some John Edgar Wideman books when we stumbled upon a section full of brown paper-wrapped books with little handwritten notes on the wrapping. Small hints as to what the books were actually about. I dig, I dig. I went ahead and got a mystery book, to take on a blind date with a glass of cabarnet sauvignon in my room, and will be reading Swamplandia! by Karen Russell. Will review shortly.
Brick & Mortar, Central Square
Seeking a little ’20s in your life, sans racism with the added vibes of a speakeasy? Central Square has got it made. With no real indication that you’ve reached your location, this cocktail bar delivers on its promises to be fun, edgy, and hidden so only the coolest of the cool can frequent it for a night. And, Alison and I really got attached to its awesome playlist. You know a place is good when you’re waiting for the next song with serious excitement and every single one just makes sense. Like, where have you been all my life? Big fan, big fan.
We Gon’ Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation by Jeff Chang
The Asian American Center at Northeastern University hosted Asian American Heritage Week (#NUAAHW2017) and brought curator and hip hop enthusiast Jeff Chang to speak, all the way from Stanford, in conversation with Professor Sarah J. Jackson. All of us were so excited to grab a seat on the top floor of East Village [read: Northeastern’s new residence hall with express concierge service for events on the top floor that is as fancy as you can imagine] and listen to Jeff Chang speak on Asian American community and responsibility in current times. I’ve been so thankful to attend these kinds of events and be present in these kinds of spaces where we’re pushed to think critically about our role in society and our duty to break down issues within our own communities. His book is definitely worth picking up, for the deep descriptions of Asian American culture and a closing chapter on Beyonce.
I am here for representation. I think it’s one of those things that matters most in this world: getting to see yourself in other people, doing things you’d want to do, making you believe you can too. And that’s something many communities have been expressly denied over the course of this country’s history. For the Asian American community, this past year has been one of many wins in representation. From Aziz’s Master of None to an all-Asian cast to the movie version of Crazy Rich Asians, we’re beginning to see that representation we so deeply desire. Kelvin Yu came to speak at Northeastern this month, and I heard from him how exactly we can make representation happen. As he said, it’s time to “get messy” and push for diversity as integration, not just on top of everything else but right from the middle.
I am extremely lucky to find more and more role models in the field I’d like to work in through student organizations. This past month, the South Asian organization brought Deepa Iyer, outspoken activist and leader, to campus to discuss her work and her perspective for the South Asian American community. Listening to her reflect on her book We Too Sing America, an in-depth study of South Asian Americana post-9/11, transported me back to that fateful day that redefined my community’s understanding of itself. Remembering that we have so much more to do to advance ourselves and others, by working against anti-Black racism and xenophobia, was a necessity. I an inspired, and I look forward to using the lessons learned from her firsthand in my work.
I’m unsure what’s to come the rest of this season, and I probably won’t follow up on my promise to post pictures later because it’s such a hectic semester. But, know that I’m reflecting all things learned and hoping to share as best I can in a respectful way. Sorry to keep you waiting, but I hope it’ll be worth it.