Bulosan at 75: Contemporary Filipino/Filipinx Memoirs

Carlos Bulosan’s fictionalized memoir America is in the Heart was published 75 years ago this month. The passionate and incendiary account captures the brutality and casual cruelty meted out to Filipino migrants in America, persecution that would continue as the poet and labor organizer was subsequently blacklisted and targeted by the FBI. By the time Bulosan died in his early forties, collapsing on the lawn of Seattle’s King County Courthouse and buried in an unmarked pauper’s grave, his once bestselling book had fallen into obscurity. Decades later it would be revived as a seminal work of the Filipino diaspora and the Asian American immigrant experience.

Since that time much has changed, and much hasn’t. Here are just a handful of the many outstanding memoirs at your local library by Filipino/Filipinx* writers to show how far we have and haven’t come.

Continue reading “Bulosan at 75: Contemporary Filipino/Filipinx Memoirs”

Comics before Cinema! Part Three

This is the third and final feature of comics as the original source material before their cinematic adaptations. I admit that I have not watched or read many of what I’ve listed (though not for a lack of trying!) and I made it a point to explore outside the expansive DC and Marvel universe. Today I will be showcasing the nitty gritty of graphic novels and comics, and how those stories and find humor in pain. If you liked what you’ve seen on screen, try reading it…because sometimes the comic book is better.

The Crow by James O'BarrThe Crow by J. O’Barr

The classic gritty  90’s movie The Crow has left a lasting impact on pop culture thanks to Brandon Lee’s starring role. Originally published in 1989, the original comic follows Eric who was brought back to life by a crow as an unstoppable avatar of vengeance. After a ten year hiatus, O’Barr wrote Crow with Dead Time, a story O’Barr envisioned as a new film. Continue reading “Comics before Cinema! Part Three”

Graphic Medicine

Ever read a comic story with a character that has arthritis? How about someone who lives with anxiety and depression? PTSD? Food poisoning? If so, then you’re already familiar with Graphic Medicine!

Graphic Medicine is a genre of comics (with a website!) that examines the intersection of the comics medium with the discourses of healthcare, providing an accessible and impactful method of communicating and sharing illness narratives. These comics cover the spectrum, from published graphic novels (El Deafo), crowd-funded anthologies (Corpus), self-published web-comics (Kate or Die!) and zines ((No) Pain: A Guide to Injury Prevention for Cartoonists), with Graphic Medicine sometimes the focus of the work, other times simply present in a particular character or storyline. Continue reading “Graphic Medicine”

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Comics and Graphic Novels

Seattle Reads recently celebrated Vietnamese American cartoonist Thi Bui’s comics memoir The Best We Could Do. Bui is one of many, many great Asian American and Pacific Islander American cartoonists. In honor of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, librarians at The Seattle Public list created a list of work  from some of these brilliant cartoonists. Below are a few selections.

Blame This on the Boogie by Rina Ayuyang

Vibrant, kinetic colored pencil drawings gorgeously illustrate Ayuyang’s memoir full of touching and hilarious stories of Filipino American culture, Pittsburgh, music, dance, motherhood, and pop-culture fandom. Continue reading “Asian Pacific American Heritage Month: Comics and Graphic Novels”

Seattle Reads: An Interview with Thi Bui

In celebration of Seattle Reads 2019, Jess Boyd spoke to Thi Bui about her award- winning graphic novel, The Best We Could Do (TBWCD), the 2019 Seattle Reads selection.


An Interview with Thi Bui
by Jess Boyd

Thi Bui’s The Best We Could Do is a story that moved me, my family and my community. It gave voice to feelings and frustrations that I had yet to articulate and acted as a medium to bridge generations and countries.

The story is a multigenerational saga told through Bui’s past and present selves. Bui generously shares herself at different moments throughout her life, as a child, as a sibling, as a new mother, allowing us to see the far reaching ripples of war, and the way that those ripples can become waves that carry people across oceans.

Jess Boyd: Where was the birthplace of your creativity?
Thi Bui:
I have to take a moment to allow myself to accept the compliment embedded in this question. “Ya not creative!” shouts my inner Viet.

Okay, it’s good now. I remember making things and daydreaming when I was a kid as a form of escape. Whether I was escaping my drab physical environment or tense emotional environment, I’m not sure … maybe both? It’s not like that anymore but that was how being creative started — first as an escape and then as a rebellion.

Why is it important to remember and reflect on the past?
We apes learn slow and we keep having to learn the same lessons over and over again. History keeps us humble and it also lends us perspective. Continue reading “Seattle Reads: An Interview with Thi Bui”