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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    On hold, checked out, due. Fortune Cookies Chronicles in Libraries

    Thursday, May 1st, 2008

    In searching the NYPL LEO (and their research catalogue is CATNYP, adorable no?) I discovered there were 166 holds on 19 copies of the Fortune Cookie Chronicles at the NYPL as of May 1 (none seem to be in stock, oddly, they are all on order…didn’t this book come out two months ago?). This made […]

    This is the Chinese restaurant story about waizhou that started it all

    Sunday, April 20th, 2008

    Sometimes people ask how it came to be that I would write a story on Chinese restaurants. The story actually starts two years before the book with a story I did for the New York Times, published in January 2003, on a Fuzhounese immigrant family that travelled from New York City to rural Georgia to […]

    Why does television always want to film people walking?

    Saturday, April 12th, 2008

    I taped another television segment today, though this one is not intended for an American audience, and strictly speaking, may actually be banned from within our borders. Suffice it to stay, The Fortune Cookie Chronicles may be immortalized as part of U.S. propaganda. Anyway, we did (yet another) shot of me walking. Television people always […]

    Today is the day I guess I get kicked off the NYT bestseller list

    Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

    So Wednesday afternoons, the NYT bestsellers are revealed. Today the list comes out for the the week closing Saturday, April 5, and I think after a happy three-week run, The Fortune Cookie Chronicles will fall off the extended list. After popping in at #26 during my second week of publication, the last two weeks, I […]

    4.85 stars on Amazon

    Monday, April 7th, 2008

    Today I got my 20th review on Amazon (it’s a really short one though), so now the book has 17 five-star and 3 four-star ratings, which computes to 4.85 (and thus rounds up to 5 stars). I feel like I’m computing some kind of GPA.

    Yay Amy Harmon and Anne Hull.

    Monday, April 7th, 2008

    Two friends, both women journalists whom I have admired very much for the humanity and narrative grace in their writing, won Pulitzers today: Amy Harmon of The New York Times and Anne Hull of The Washington Post. Amy Harmon won for her series on the age of DNA in the category of explanatory reporting. Anne […]

    Projections are I will get my life back in about late June…

    Monday, April 7th, 2008

    Based on my calendar. Apologies to everyone who is falling by the wayside :(.

    So you want to publish a book? Panel discussion tomorrow, April 8

    Monday, April 7th, 2008

    The New York Chapter of the Asian American Journalists Association is holding a panel tomorrow, called “So you want to publish a book? A panel for your book publishing fantasies to come true.” We will cover:   ·         What do you need to get started? ·         How much research is required? ·         Common mistakes writers […]

    Is Fortune Cookie Chronicles a Borders Original Voices Choice?

    Sunday, April 6th, 2008

    Went to Chicago for a talk at Northwestern in the Chicago area for the Taiwanese students confeence, so (like a diligent little author) I went around to all these Chicago bookstores to sign stock. There were only two of eight copies left at the Evanston Barnes and Noble. And then I discovered something surprising. Apparently, The Fortune Cookie […]

    Lessons from TV

    Saturday, April 5th, 2008

    This is what I have learned over the last few weeks re television/video appearances. You do not dress for television the way you would dress in real life (or at least I don’t). For women, wear bright (but not too bright) solid colored tops: Royal blue, wine, maroon, emerald green. Pastels can be good (but […]

    Asian American Heritage Month is in May!

    Saturday, April 5th, 2008

    So May is coming up, which is Asian American Heritage Month (these “heritage months “are a funny American thing). This happens to be good timing because I’ve been asked to speak about my book at a bunch of Asian American events, some in companies where there are not that many Asian Americans running about — […]

    OC Register: confronted by a wall of me-ness

    Wednesday, April 2nd, 2008

    Richard Chang brought me physical copies of the paper where his Q&A with me ran. I have to say, I was kind of overwhelmed with the amount of me that was on that page. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a picture of myself that large before.

    The Underground Onepot Dinner in Seattle with Fold-Pak menus!

    Tuesday, April 1st, 2008

    The underground dinner in Seattle via was held in this discrete loft entertainment space in a semi-industrial area in Seattle. Yay Michael Hebberoy for organizing and Jerry Traunfeld + Xuan Che for cooking, and Jerry’s partner, Steven (sp?), for designing the adorable menus with the Fold-Pak motif!

    It was snowing in Seattle…in March

    Tuesday, April 1st, 2008

    My plane to Seattle from Los Angeles was delayed because of snow (?!). Talk about climate shock.

    The deluge….just catching up.

    Monday, March 31st, 2008

    If you’ve noticed an insane number of blog posts today (I count at least 10, which is a record), that is because I am hurrying up to catch up with all these events that I have pictures fromt (also the Nixon Library gave me an insane number of separate blog posts). I also didn’t have […]

    The butt-to-seat ratio, the key to readings

    Monday, March 31st, 2008

    I’ve discovered at my events that it’s really not about the absolute number of people who show up (though that’s important), but more, it’s about the butt-to-seat ratio in the room. See above at Skylight Bookstore in Los Angeles. There were probably only 30 seats, but then a lot of people showed up from hearing […]

    Libraries versus publishers…how business models change

    Monday, March 31st, 2008

    When I spoke at the San Francisco Public Library, the woman who arranged the event (Joan) mentioned that the book had been very popular in the Bay Area. They had ordered about 40 copies of my book and all of them were out. Plus there were 71 holds (i.e. a waiting list) on those copies, […]

    Fortune cookies find their way back to Japan (and Mexico and Iraq)

    Monday, March 31st, 2008

    Tomoko, who played an important role in the Japan section of the book (and the wardrobe advice for the book launch) sent me this email today:   yesterday, as i was headed out of office, i noticed one of my colleagues had a bright orange book in her bag. i thought to myself, ‘wow, that […]

    The passing of Dith Pran, a legendary colleague

    Monday, March 31st, 2008

    One of our inspiring colleagues, Dith Pran, passed away early Sunday morning. He was the subject of the film, The Killing Fields, and the founder of the Dith Pran Holocaust Awareness Project, which aims to educate people on the Cambodian holocaust. Dith Pran was one of those legendary people you were honored to meet when […]

    Fortune cookies are not a “food’ (according to our federal government

    Monday, March 31st, 2008

    Fortune cookies are not necessarily food, at least, according to the federal government The Nixon Library made these adorable custom-made fortune cookies to promote my talk on Saturday (above). But the library is part of the National Archives which is part of the federal government which is not allowed to give out “food” as presents […]

    Fortune Cookies, the Hollywood version…

    Monday, March 31st, 2008

    Since I was in Los Angeles,  I met up Hollywood folks who are interested in optioning The Fortune Cookie Chronicles for a television series about Chinese food. Optioning of course, is a looooong way from anything ever happening. I’ve had other things optioned (Man Date), so know that there are many ways for projects to […]

    Signing books in book stores…a humbling (and encouraging) experience

    Friday, March 28th, 2008

    So during our downtime in San Francisco, I ran around to local bookstores with Naomi Epel “signing stock” as they say in industry parlance, which means that you sashay into stores and say you are an author and you want to sign your books. Very proactive authors do this (I should really do this in […]

    I’m sooooo tired, but I can’t sleep

    Friday, March 28th, 2008

    This is the first day in many days that I did not have to get up at some time for an interview or an event or something. I got up at 5:30 a.m. for a 7:45 flight at SFO. But even though I went to bed at 2:30 a.m. because I was up thinking about […]

    Alcohol makes people buy books…the San Francisco launch party

    Friday, March 28th, 2008

    On Wednesday night we had an amazing book event in San Francisco, spearheaded by Dave Lu of Fanpop (and aided with Jimmy, Ben, Lydia and James). It was 150+ people at Swig Bar on Geary Street, and it was a new promising model for a book event.

    Escorts, Drivers, and Literary Chaperones

    Thursday, March 27th, 2008

    So when authors go on book tour, they plug with this whole network of people who drive the authors from event to interview to hotel to bookstore to FedEx/Kinkos. Each city has a handful of such people, and in San Francisco I was hosted by the inimitable Naomi Epel, who has been doing it for […]

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