The Fortune Cookie Chronicles

  • #26 on the New York Times Best Seller List
    and featured on The Colbert Report, Martha Stewart,, CNN, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Charlie Rose Tomorrow, Newsweek, Entertainment Weekly, and NPR stations coast to coast. Also selected for Borders Original Voices and Book Sense. Follow me on Twitter! Fan me on Facebook.

  • Musings

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    New Paperback Covers. Choose one.

    Saturday, April 3rd, 2010

    Twelve is going to reissue my paperback with a new cover with my photo by Nina Subin. Which one is better?

    “Fortune Cookie Chronicles” Coming to a Syllabus Near You

    Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

    Meryl Gordon, director of magazine writing at NYU’s Arthur Carter Journalism Institute, assigned my book to her undergraduate class. I’ve never seen this many copies of my book outside a bookstore!

    Type “How Long” into Google…It’s Not What You Think

    Monday, October 26th, 2009

    A while ago, Google introduced an auto-suggest function based on what other people commonly searched for. I have found this immensely helpful, and it gives you a peak into what other people are thinking about. (This seems obvious now, but was not so much when I wrote a 2002 article about Google’s logs). It’s particularly […]

    Another Fortune Cookie Chronicles Blog?

    Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

    I was intrigued to discover another Fortune Cookie Chronicles blog at This one is also written by a Jen, but in Arkansas (I’ve only been there once). It came to my attention through Google Alerts, since I have a search on “Fortune Cookie Chronicles.” Curious what she will write.

    Fortune Cookie Chronicles Appears on NYTBR Paperback Row

    Saturday, May 2nd, 2009

    In The New York Times this Sunday. THE FORTUNE COOKIE CHRONICLES: Adventures in the World of Chinese Food, by Jennifer 8. Lee. (Twelve, $13.) An American-born Chinese (and a New York Times reporter), Lee investigates the Chinese restaurant business — the origin of fortune cookies (Japan), the beginning of door-to-door delivery in New York, the […]

    A Different Shade of Fortune

    Friday, April 3rd, 2009

    It’s interesting to see how the paperback and the hardcover are different shades of orange.

    Fortune Cookie Chronicle Takeout Boxes

    Monday, November 10th, 2008

    These were created and executed as the JCC of Greater Washington as part of my talk. I think they were absolutely adorable and I took one as a souvenir.

    I’m not really speaking in Kyrgyzstan

    Thursday, November 6th, 2008

    View Larger Map I just discovered that due to a missing negative sign in my lat long coordinates, I had one of my appearances mapped to Kyrgyzstan instead of New York City. It was 40.792239, 74.003563 vs. Park Avenue. Which means the New York City is roughly equidistant from Greenwich as Kara Kuldza (the nearest […]

    My Worlds Converge: Fortune Cookies meets City Room

    Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

    This piece by Willie Neuman talks about fortune cookies (protesting the M.T.A.) on City Room. Some of the sayings (none by Confucius, as much as we can see) “If you cut transit service, this cookie will give you heartburn.” “Raising transit fares will wreak havoc on your love life.” “In a tough economy, it is […]

    What is a library memorial?

    Monday, August 25th, 2008

    What is a library memorial? Whatever it is, someone has created one for my book at Ford City Public Library. At first I thought, are either me or my book passed from this work? Then I realized it was in memory of Margaret A. Westwood from The Pontious Family . Maybe she liked Chinese food?

    I was hacked (with WordPress footer Spam) but now am saved

    Saturday, August 23rd, 2008

    In poking around my blog because of layout issues, we discovered I had a bunch of spam links in my footer. Like a hundred links to, with horrible things like cialis and viagra. About a month ago, I started noticing some very strange search queries bringing people to my site, like “pantyhose” and things […]

    My book is sold at the Olympic MPC!

    Saturday, August 23rd, 2008

    My friend from the WSJ told me he bought my book at the Olympic’ss Main Press Center bookstore.  So my book has a little piece of the Olympics!

    Fortune Cookie Chronicles, the Hong Kong Edition?

    Friday, August 22nd, 2008

    Google alerts just made me aware of a blog called Fortune Cookie Chronicles: Hong Kong. At first I thought it might be blogspam (I get these fake links to my site all the time), but this was a real blog by a real girl! The description: This blog will track my year-long experience in HK […]

    A Fortune Cookie Chronicles book club at the Fortune Cookie Chronicles Powerball Restaurant

    Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

    This is very adorable. I got a great email leading me to the photo above. “I’m the organizer for my neighborhood’s book club. We read your book last month and then ate at King Buffet, which is one of the fortune cookie winning restaurants here in Lawrence, Kansas.” The photo is of them holding up […]

    The Fortune Cookie (Chronicles) goes to China

    Tuesday, July 29th, 2008

    My editor, Jon Karp, just let me know that we’ve licensed Simplified Chinese rights (Mainland China) to Shanghai Sanhui Culture & Press. Which is very very exciting. Yay. Even if fortune cookies won’t be sold in China, a book about them will be. The best part of foreign rights is how they are titled and […]

    Is a sex site? Web Sense thinks it is

    Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

    So my friend at the City Council sent me this screenshot. Apparently my blog (this blog) has been blocked by Websense for being a “sex” site, which I find endlessly amusing. Maybe the “in bed” aspect of fortune cookies is coming to the fore? (I wrote an article about Web Sense and Saudi Arabia back […]

    Book Publishing Industry Panel on July 22

    Monday, July 14th, 2008

    This is next week… Harvardwood is pleased to present our first-ever publishing industry panel event! The panel will feature authors Ceridwen Dovey ’03 (Blood Kin), Jennifer Lee ’99 (The Fortune Cookie Chronicles), and Nancy Redd ’03 (Body Drama), publishing manager and acquiring editor at Penguin Publishing Molly Barton, and Jennifer Joel ’98, book agent at […]

    I’m here. Really.

    Monday, July 14th, 2008

    Sorry for the lapse of blogging. I’ve been coming out of orbit and been busy, well, not doing anything to do with the book for like 10 days (which was lovely)  — this basically included blogging. (Lots of life transition now.) This week book is back in full force. Wednesday at the Harvard Club, Thursday […]

    Sneaking in on Google’s top search page for “fortune cookie”

    Tuesday, July 1st, 2008

    I noticed a few weeks ago that people were landing at my blog with search of just “fortune cookie” so I was curious where the book was on Google’s search results. It looks like I snuck onto the front page of results. I don’t even sell fortune cookies.

    99 copies of book on the shelves (at the NYPL)

    Sunday, June 29th, 2008

    Previously, as I noted, as of May 1, there had been like 19 copies at the NYPL, with a bunch of holds. Then today, a  reader sent me an email saying they got a gigantic order in Just wanted to let you know that I finished reading your book this morning (I thought NYPL was […]

    Laundry. A Luxury.

    Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

    You know your life is really out of whack when you are excited (as I am) that I finally have a chance to do laundry. (I hear the dryer spinning in a peaceful whirl). I am just coming out of orbit now. I have an event this Sunday (Jews! Hamptons!) and another Monday. And then […]

    WAMU: Kojo Nnamdi Show, and musings on radio interviews

    Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

    I finally got my chance to appear on the Kojo Nnamdi show on WAMU in Washington, which means that except for Chicago, I’ve been on all the major NPR markets: New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Boston, Washington, Philadelphia (WHYY’s building is soooo nice) + assorted markets in New Hampshire, Colorado. I have to […]

    Fortune Cookie Chronicles as a QPB “Main Selection”

    Sunday, June 15th, 2008

    I heard from my publisher this week: Quality Paperback, an affiliate of Book of the Month Club, decided to use Fortune Cookie Chronicles as the Main Selection as opposed to (I think) just a regular or alternate selection. They are going to issue an early paperback (will this look like the permanent paperback?) Suddenly I […]

    Auditioning for the Jews, who love Chinese Food (and Books)

    Thursday, May 29th, 2008

    So I recently went to Los Angeles for a two-minute audition held by the Jewish Book Council, which coordinates the Jewish Book Network of some 100 Jewish book fairs and events around the country. It is a combination of speed dating and the gong show or “JDate and a camel auction“, as Rachel Donadio wrote […]

    Fortune Cookie Chronicles in Accra, Ghana

    Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

    Yay. Fortune Cookie Chronicles hits sub-Saharan Africa before I do (I have only been to Mauritius). Sent to me by a fan. This is the independence monument with Kwame Nkrumah, pan-Africanist.

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