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Smithsonian Center Launches Asian and Pacific American Online Book Club

"I love to read, especially Asian American authors. But do you know the feeling of finishing a great Asian American novel and wishing you could turn to someone and talk about it?" asks freelance writer Grace Hwang Lynch on her blog HapaMama.com.

Wanting more interactive discussions, Hwang Lynch said she approached Terry Hong, who writes the Smithsonian BookDragon blog about starting an online book club, "and it turned out she had already been talking to the Smithsonian APA Center about starting a similar program."

So, together, the three created The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center BookDragon Book Club, launching this month. They will read a new book every month and feature interviews with authors, book reviews, insights by cultural experts and academics, videos, opportunities to share reactions and opinions, all coming together in a live virtual discussion.

The first book was an obvious choice.

"As a part of the Smithsonian's ongoing effort to usher in an Asian Pacific American canon, it's only fitting that the BookDragon Book Club's frontier title is 'Pioneer Girl,'" said Adriel Luis, Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center Curator of Digital and Emerging Media, "Bich Minh Nguyen's novel is a classic for our new era — breaking narrative ground across race, gender, and generations."

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— Frances Kai-Hwa Wang