29 March 2010

Chris, a former student and my chaperone extraordinaire in Boston, tells me that “Beantown” is a non-locals term, sort of like “The Big Apple.”  So I guess we can retire that word before even getting cozy with it.

Some wonderful photos that Chris took during our day about town.  The first series is from Grub Street, where I taught a quick brown-bag lunch seminar to a wonderful group of writers (and had a chance to meet Chris, Sonya, and Chip, Grub’s huber-staff);  the second series is from a reading at Brookline Booksmith.  How ’bout that gorgeous book-lined wall as the perfect backdrop for a reading.

Thanks to Grub and to Katie at the Booksmith, warm and intelligent hosts all.  And thanks to old friends whom I hadn’t seen in a very long time, along with a student (from an online class) I’d never met (and, of course, Janey, my faithful reading attender, who came all the way from NYC), for coming out to the reading!  Was also privileged to meet the ladies of the New England Mobile Bookfair, (which is neither mobile, nor a “fair” really, but a Boston book-buyers must), and bookseller (and DFW enthusiast) Ben at yet another indispensable independent bookstore, Newtonville Books.

Perhaps the most unexpectedly fun part of the trip was meeting fellow travelers at the Coolidge Corner B&B.  First there was the handsome young German couple, who were traveling on holiday through New York, Boston, Vermont, and on up to Montreal and Toronto, with smiley 6-month-old baby girl in tow.  I applauded them for their intrepid parenting; their adventurousness even brought them to my Booksmith reading! Husband Tovi (sp?), who is in the music business, had traveled throughout the U.S. last year as part of a massive KISS concert tour.  Yes, folks, that’s right, KISS is still touring, doing the same show they’ve been doing for 25 years-plus, and the shows are all sold out!

Also joining us for bagels and coffee was a lovely gentleman named Al Silverman, who, as we got to talking, it turned out is writing a book about MFA creative writing programs (doing research at Boston University).  He gave me his business card, and a quick google reveals that Mr. Silverman was for many years a sports writer; then the President/CEO of the Book-of-the-Month Club; then served as President/Editor-in-Chief of the Viking Press, where he edited Saul Bellow, William Kennedy, and TC Boyle; and recently wrote a book (that I am very interested to read) about the “golden age” of book publishing, called The Time of Their Lives.  This, friends, is why I like staying at B&Bs.

26 March 2010

“…lyrical and insightful debut novel… Chung carefully describes the longing and loss felt by each of the characters she has flawlessly created.”

The Boston Globe


“…Chung reveals just enough information to intrigue, as though she knows the precise moment to take away her pen and move on… is equally adept at evoking the environments her characters enter…. excels in the specificity with which [the character] Jane talks about art… If you enjoyed Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake… you will also appreciate the sophisticated and nuanced examination of the lives of the Han family in Long for This World.”

Audrey Magazine


“Complex, many layered, and sensitive writing makes reading this small novel a delight. And delving into the characters’ family relationships will make readers examine their own.”


24 March 2010

Does everyone know that Boston = Beantown?  News to me (who sometimes has been accused of living under a rock).

Anyhoo, here I am — soon to get back on el Megabus and head back to NYC.  Thanks, Boston/Brookline — I hardly knew ye.  A more detailed report on the visit, with pics, forthcoming.

In the meantime, I’m late in linking to my recent post at The Millions — a consideration of the film UP IN THE AIR.  Warning: spoiler alert, and expletive alert.  If that doesn’t scare you off, check it out.

21 March 2010

First of all — happy spring to all.  It’s about time, no?

From friend Chris, news (w/pics) that the audio book of Long for This World is now officially available — narrated by Hillary Huber (from Tantor).  I’ve not heard it yet, but Chris is singing Ms. Huber’s (an Audie award-winner, I believe) praises.  If you give it a listen, let me know what you think.

19 March 2010

And now for something completely different…

It’s always more fun to talk about Pax the pup than about book promotions (though thanks to lit blogger extraordinaire Marshal Zeringue for finding a way to combine the two).  At Coffee and a Canine, a little shout-out to my best bud.

17 March 2010

MORE Magazine featured Long for This World as a “Books We’re Buzzing About.”  Check it out.  I admit it’s nice to have one’s book associated with the word “buzz.”

At Open Letters Monthly/Like Fire, a lovely, crisply-written, and astute review of Long for This World.   It’s wonderful when you feel a reviewer (Lisa Peet) really “got” your book and is even able to articulate (better than you yourself) the subterranean emotions and themes that you care about most.  Here’s the intro to the review:

When a novel, particularly a debut novel, is referred to as “ambitious,” there’s usually an implicit “but” present. In Long for This World, Sonya Chung takes on the dynamics of family—what draws it together and what pulls it apart—through the eyes of a number of players, male and female, old and young, Korean and Korean-American. Both her subject matter and her approach are ambitious, to say the least. The only “but” in my reaction, however, is but she pulls it off—and admirably.

14 March 2010

I knew I was a lucky duck to have my author photograph taken by Robin Holland, but I’ve just been struck by just how lucky.

Check out Robin’s new Web site.  Her portraits of well-known authors, artists, musicians, cultural thinkers, filmmakers, actors — over a period of some (I think) two decades — are just stunning.  I’d mention a few “highlights” here, but honestly, every single photograph is amazing.  Peruse the portfolio, and wonder why that other fella with no last name is doing all the portrait photography at the New Yorker.