The Fortune Cookie Chronicles

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  • Archive for October, 2007

    It’s like, he showed up in my apartment and wanted to talk about my couch

    Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

    A few nights ago, I had dinner with my friend Seth, who had a copy of the galley and was reading it. He wasn’t inherently interested in Chinese food a a topic, yet he was drawn in by the book and could see people telling each other to read it (I was trying to figure […]

    Enthusiastic, unprovoked word of mouth from our sales reps

    Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

    My editor forwarded me some nice comments from the sales reps, who are now reading the book to gear up to sell to independent bookstores. As it was explained to me, two things move books: national media and word of mouth. Word of mouth works best when the sales reps get excited, pass that enthusiasm […]

    Sending out my galleys

    Monday, October 29th, 2007

    This is the view from the conference room while I was stuffing my personal galley mailings (to go with the ones that my editor, Jon Karp, and the publicist, Cary Goldstein, did). I sent out 100 galleys, with handwritten notes. My hand hurt. Over the weekend, my mom sent me an email on behalf of […]

    An elevator button with the perfect fortune cookie message

    Wednesday, October 24th, 2007

    This is in every elevator in the NYTimes building, pointed out to me by the mysterious artist, who created a digital tribute and then made me guess where it was from… If only this were true in real life…

    This txtmsg made my day…

    Monday, October 22nd, 2007

    Arrived today at 7:44 p.m. from a friend. “Just saw a guy on the subway reading your  galley. He is 70 pages on and loving it. His name is Ian Chin. Works at Hachette.” My friend was so excited that he interrupted Ian even as he was listening to his iPod. And the galleys only […]

    The editorial spirit of the NYTimes best sellers’ list is churn and novelty

    Monday, October 22nd, 2007

    Clark Hoyt, the New York Times public editor, takes on the New York Times best seller list this weekend. Basically what is revealed is that the New York Times list is subjective judgment as well as objective sales — it’s not literally the best selling lists in America at any given point. “The editorial spirit […]

    Maybe they think “fortune cookie” is a euphenism for mysteries of the Chinese orient?

    Friday, October 19th, 2007

    Ever since this post about my friend Adam’s first successful case on prosecuting a pedophile, I have noticed a lot of people landing at my site because of their search for “chinese porn” or “porn chinese.” (I wonder if these guys think “fortune cookie” really means “in bed”). Fortune Cookie Chronicles, as of this today, […]

    Poem: “After Challenging Jennifer Lee to a Fight” (me, the bully version?)

    Thursday, October 18th, 2007

    This poem, by Aimee Nezhukumatathil, was sent to me in e-mail today by a friend After Challenging Jennifer Lee to a Fight I hesitate, because what would my father say? My aunts in India are swathed in sarees, glass bangles and crimson nails. Their perfect ropes of hair, oiled and glossy black, never betray them […]

    It’s my book! In the form of an NYU workshop! (On November 13)

    Monday, October 15th, 2007

    I was forwarded an email about this event over the AAJA list: Found In Translation: An Exploration Of How Asian Cuisines Become Part Of The American Culinary Landscap My first thought as I read the description: It’s almost like my book (only more general than just Chinese). Here is the description: How does ethnic cuisine […]

    And maybe that 7-11 clerk is actually an anthrax specialist too

    Monday, October 15th, 2007

    I saw this sign while driving through Kansas hunting Chinese restaurants.

    I’m so Chinese-ish that I have a Bag of Bags

    Monday, October 15th, 2007

    I was cleaning out my closet this weekend. Gave away one of my two air mattresses that I found there — neither of which I bought (how did this happen?) plus one of three extra blankets that has accumulated there. Deep inside the bowels of the closet found one of those huge Chinese red-white-and-blue plaid […]

    Scrabulous! Hanging out with your friends without having to be in the same place

    Sunday, October 14th, 2007

    I’ve recently become addicted to Scrabulous (as a WSJ article highlights) — which is like Scrabble on Facebook, only they can’t use the Scrabble name probably because of Intellectual Property reasons. I can play like 20 games simultaneously, often with people in many different countries or people I have not spoken to physically in years. […]

    My galleys are here!

    Sunday, October 14th, 2007

    Got an email from my editor who said my galleys have arrived as of Friday. He says they look great. Now am in the process of compiling a spreadsheet of journalists, food bloggers, and other people who would take an interest in a book on how Chinese food is All-American. They don’t have to write […]

    No salad dressing in Paraguay?

    Thursday, October 11th, 2007

    My friend Emily, who is a Fulbright scholar in Paraguay, said it lacks salad dressing. In lieu of mailing the bottles (heavy), I sent her powered packets to Paraguay, which she explains is sort of like the Nebraska of South America — landlocked and flat.

    There should be no such things as negative fortune cookies

    Wednesday, October 10th, 2007

    The New York Times business section writes about ominous fortune cookies that are coming out of Wonton Food in Long Island City. (Why is it in business and not like Dining In/Dining Out or Metro? Because it was a business editor who got the original weird fortune that sparked the idea). I helped out a […]

    A prescient fortune cookie for the mysterious artist in the NYTimes lobby

    Wednesday, October 10th, 2007

    Almost every day for the last few months (even on weekends), you could see a man wearing a T-shirt hunched over his Apple Powerbook in the lobby of new The New York Times building. He would be furiously tapping away while little green lights would pulsate across the longs chains of screens dangling in formation […]

    God is Not Great is a National Book Award finalists (which affects my life just a tiny bit)

    Wednesday, October 10th, 2007

    Christopher Hitchen’s book, God is Not Great (now with its own Wikipedia entry!), is a National Book Award finalist. Which is fantastic. It affects my life only in a little bit in that Cary called e-mailed me this morning to tell me we have to move my pre-pub dinners with booksellers up a week in […]

    The scene of an accident. I wonder how the owner felt.

    Tuesday, October 9th, 2007

    I (and many others) walked by broken Sanyo flat-screen television on October 8, 8:30 a.m. Corner of West 70th and Columbus in Manhattan. For some reason. I found this scene incredibly New York. I wonder where the owner is, what happened, and how (he? she?) felt when the screen hit the ground.  

    Hiking the High Line

    Tuesday, October 9th, 2007

    I took a walk on the High Line this past weekend with my friend Josh as part of Open House New York — one of the first times that the public could (legally) walk along the High Line. And yes, the urban Cinderella experience is really as cool as everyone says it is.

    They’ve Starbucked the Kong!

    Saturday, October 6th, 2007

    I went back to Harvard yesterday with my friend Chris and stepped into the Hong Kong Chinese restaurant and was shocked. They’ve renovated the venerable half-century old Hong Kong Chinese restaurant (which until now basically looked like something from Happy Days, vinyl booths, cracked linoleum and all) and made it look like Starbucks on the […]

    No stars for Wakiya from Bruni.

    Friday, October 5th, 2007

    I’m a bit delayed in posting this as I am still not being a vampire and blogging all day, but Frank Bruni of The New York Times gave Wakiya a harsh no star rating (which technically is “satisfactory,” but really isn’t, especially given what you pay for it). As he writes…”To get to these tables, […]

    “Jenny from the blog”

    Friday, October 5th, 2007

    My friend, Noam, quipped that last night. (One of those weird world things…Oddly we went to the same elementary, middle school, high school, college, worked on the same school paper, now both work in the same company — but the weirdest part of all. we grew up in the same building in Morningside Gardens.)

    Page proofs! Only $1.25 per change.

    Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

    I got my page proofs back from Twelve/Hachette, along with a very stern warning: “This will be your only opportunity to review the typeset pages, so please be sure that all changes you wish to make are included.” It also says, “Each change costs roughly $1.25. However this is not a per line or per […]

    Frozen Indian-Chinese food, at a Patel Brothers near you!

    Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

    I went shopping at Patel Brothers in Jackson Heights with my friend Roopa the other day, and saw these frozen Indian-Chinese dishes to go! (sorry for the poor photo quality, I took it with my Treo and the lighting in the freezers was bad). Hakka noodles is to Indian-Chinese food what lo mein is to […]

    I am no longer a vampire! I am a full-time blogger!

    Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

    As of this week, I joined the staff of City Room, the New York City blog on, full-time (a small item ran on the blog of The New York Observer). I no longer work nights 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. It is very weird coming into the Nytimes building while it’s daylight outside. My […]