Hapa Reads: Issue 008
Trash (Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis) by Anne Rice
I currently finished reading Anne Rice’s Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis. It is trash. There is nothing that is even remotely redeeming about this book, yet, I read it. I’ve been reading Anne Rice’s vampire books since I was 11. I’m not proud.
The World of Extreme Happiness by Fances Ya-chu Cowhig
Rebecca Lee Lerman
I was unable to see the Manhattan Theatre Club’s production of this play back in 2015. As an actor and playwright who SHOULD be seeing as much theatre as possible, I decided to grab a copy of this play to read. It had me floored. It’s a smart, funny, and unflinching look at class, modern China after the cultural revolution, the horror of being born female, and any society, where you associate happiness with money—only to lose your soul to capitalism.
The Ketch-Up Book by Bari Huie
Y’know those lists of books you should read? Like, “100 classic titles every person under 50 should have read already lest they face utter social humiliation” or “Top 50 hardcover summer reads with 500+ pages”? I hate the pressure of HAVING to read something by Hemingway or Salinger, and I found the first couple chapters of Vonnegut’s God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater unbearable. If it was written by an old white guy before 1999 (or, really, at any time, ever) I just don’t find it relatable.
As a palate cleanser after chucking the Vonnegut, I picked up The Ketch-Up Book, a booklet edited and self-published by my late uncle Barry Huie. Uncle Barry (who went by “Bari” in print) was a Chinese Jamaican draftsman with a passion for writing. In his later years, he published a number of booklets of original poetry and prose. Ketch-Up (more like “catch up,” not the condiment) is 32 pages of Jamaican sayings -- translated from patois -- accompanied by Uncle Barry’s witty explanations. While it’s not a narrative, it’s comforting to read something about my culture by someone with the same background. It’s refreshing and… relatable.
Product manuals for Biologique Recherche and Environ
I recently left my position at Exhale Spa, one that I held for almost 10 years, to join an amazing team of gifted facialists at Georgia Louise Atelier. While I’d love for my commute to involve continued reading of the incredibly moving Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, I am eyeballs deep in skincare manuals. I am currently tackling the active ingredients and practical application of two extensive product lines -- South African Environ and French Biologique Recherche. Both lines use bovine-sourced colostrum in products that I’m completely obsessed with. I’m losing my mind over colostrum’s ability to rapidly soothe and nourish inflamed skin. Stay tuned for more expertise.
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
Gen Parton Shin
Sapiens talks about the history of humankind, which is about 150,000 years. Considering recorded history is only about 3% of that time, it gave me an entirely different outlook on the world we live in today. The idea that sticks with me is with the concept of what we consider “natural.” In Sapiens, Yuval Noah Harari describes how anything that is physically possible, is by definition, “natural.” We live in a world where our values are influenced heavily by society, yet, taking a step back to reexamine the fact that every value you live by was at one point created by another human who has no more agency over you than any other human being including yourself, gives you a lot of freedom to do whatever the f*** you want in life.
Mindhunter by John Douglas and Mark Olshaker
Of course me, the self-proclaimed murderino and person who read the Golden State Killer book is reading Mindhunter. Yes, this book inspired the eponymous Netflix show. While the show stands on its own thanks to David Fincher (one of the directors and executive producers) and an impeccable cast, the book has its own spectacular merits. Written by John Douglas, the man who essentially helped create criminal profiling, the book delves into the development of the FBI’s Behavioral Science Unit. But the best part for any true crime fan is the chronicling and profiling of the criminals. Charles Manson, Richard Speck, Ed Kemper, and so many more are examined. And I. Am. Here. For. It. Mindhunter is better than any true crime show and you should read it right now!!
The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
Another Mohsin Hamid novel (last issue was Exit West) -- an amazing novel about a Pakistani man’s account of living in NYC before, during, and after 9/11. Not as serious and heavy as it probably sounds.