In the following book list there are novels that are read-alikes to Interior Chinatown. Additionally, there are books that will be of interest and enlightening in book discussion groups and other programs.
Short stories focusing on the lives of second-generation Chinese-American women in Orange County and Los Angeles as they deal with implicit and explicit racism and with objectification by the men in their lives.
Disowned by her family for her revolutionary activities in the Philippines of the 1990s, Hero de Vera travels to Milpitas, California, where she is taken in by her aunt and uncle and given the job of caring for their seven-year-old daughter, Roni. Haunted by her past and disturbed by her life as an American immigrant, Hero finds some solace in her relationship with Roni–and through a passionate affair with makeup artist Rosalyn.
Born in Los Angeles, Anna May Wong was the second daughter in a family of six children, whose father was a laundryman. From an early age she was enthralled with movies. Despite starring in numerous films (three famous ones), she was passed over by white actresses to portray Asian characters.
Thought to be the first Chinese-American film actress, Anna May Wong made more than 60 movies, performed in theater, vaudeville and her own television program. This is an analysis of Wong’s life and contributions to the entertainment industry at a time when there was overt and implicit racism.
Asian-American actors present their experiences in the entertainment industry (in film and theater) as they have faced limited opportunities, prejudice and stereotyping. Despite all of the obstacles and difficulties, many established and aspiring actors continue to work and pursue the work they love.
Over 20 years, more than 50 Charlie Chan movies were produced. Originally created by writer Earl Derr Biggers as a series of mystery novels, the character Charlie Chan is based on a Hawaiian detective Chang Apana. Yunte Huang researched numerous biographies, film resources and literary criticism to analyze the character and its influence, both positive and negative.
In creating many films Hollywood used the stereotype of “The Yellow Peril” coming from the East and overwhelming the West. The author analyzes the motivations for this, and how stereotyping was portrayed in two characters: the malevolent Dr. Fu Manchu and the kindly detective Charlie Chan. “Filling a longstanding gap in Cinema and Cultural History, the book is founded in fresh research into Hollywood's shifting representations of China and its people.”
As a KKK-endorsed candidate runs for U.S. president, Korean-American Matt Kim, a divorced, alcoholic would-be novelist, starts to feel increasingly invisible to those around him. His girlfriend tells him that her previous boyfriend, Matt Chung, disappeared–but the photo she shows him looks just like him.
Having been teased for being Chinese and over his name, Donald Duk wants to distance himself from his Chinese self. His imagination takes him back in time to the building of the transcontinental railroad and he dicovers that Chinese Americans were never fully credited with manually building it. He also learns that his eponymous name has little to do with a cartoon character, and is more Chinese than imagined.
Thelonius “Monk” Ellison is a serious Black novelist whose books barely sell. Depressed by family problems and the rejection of his latest manuscript, he overcomes his tendency to “write white” and produces a parody of ghetto fiction using a pseudonym. To his horror, no one recognizes it as a parody, and it becomes a huge bestseller, forcing Monk into further deceptions.
In 1973 Hong Kong produced and distributed numerous martial arts movies, which created an international kung fu craze.The author analyzes the effects this had on the entertainment industry (movies, music, children’s cartoons, superheroes, etc.), and how it “raised anxieties about violence, both on and off-screen.”
The author analyzes important films (past and current) that were produced in the West. Even though today the “racist images of the past have been largely banished from the screen, the political, cultural, and social impulses they embodied are still alive and well.”
An illustrated companion book to the author’s documentary film about Asian-Americans in Hollywood films, starting with the silent era and moving through the Golden Age to the actors, writers, and directors of today.
Yellowface was a theatrical convention using non-Asian actors to portray East Asians. The full effect was achieved by using makeup and stereotypical costumes. This practice had residual effects in distorting how Asians were perceived.
After a mass poisoning at a family birthday party, Gwendolyn lies in a coma at the hospital, looking back at what brought her very wealthy Chinese-Indonesian family to this point. Western stereotypes of Asians are also explored as Gwendolyn and her sister spend time in Berkeley, California, and in Paris.
Three immigrants are struggling to survive in America amidst trauma, abuse, racism, homophobia, addiction, and yet the dark core alternates with light and humorous moments. Absolutely stunning prose from a wildly talented (and absurdly young) poet.
Amy Lee’s Chinese immigrant family in Queens was too poor to keep her older sister, Sylvie, who was sent to relatives in the Netherlands for a time. Now, grown-up Sylvie has returned to the Netherlands for a visit—and disappeared. As Amy begins the search for her sister, she uncovers family secrets, while flashbacks show Sylvie’s experiences a month earlier during her reunion with the family that raised her.
A novel filled with dark magic, luminous stars, brutal studio heads, and a seemingly endless stream of those willing to do almost anything to be a part of making movies. Behind the walls of the Wolfe Studios are those willing to be sacrificed to keep the studio running, and be able to make another film. They will take any part offered as a chance to break through and get noticed. A harrowing, fantastical journey through an alternate pre-code Hollywood, where magic is rampant, contracts with the studios are Faustian, and movie stars literally inhabit the night sky if they are lucky enough to rise. It is also a journey of self-discovery, love found, lost, and found again. And, it is a reminder there is a bit of monster in all of us, which might make our dreams come true.
Eight stories of Korean-American families and the indignities, compromises, and sacrifices they endure as part of the Asian minority in their adopted homeland.
An academic study of various types of "whitewashing" in American film, ranging from the casting of White actors in Asian roles to the use of White central characters in movies set in Asia.