In an unending effort to promote reading and literacy, the IE will occasionally feature summer reading suggestions from people in our community. We hope our readers will be inspired to pick up a book and share it with others this season. In this installment, we ask the writer of the long-running and popular production, Sex in Seattle, Kathy Hsieh, what she suggests for great reading this summer.



Bel Canto
By Ann Patchett | thriller novel | 318 pp
“An epic novel with a multi-national cast of characters, Bel Canto is about a group of strangers being held hostage by terrorists,” said Hsieh. “The power of this book is its tender and nuanced portrayal of the friendships and love that still emerge even under the most horrific of circumstances.”

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
By Jamie Ford | historical fiction | 290 pp
“Read the book, then see the play!” said Hsieh. “Local readers will enjoy this romantic story of first love set in our own backyard. Seattle’s Chinatown and Nihonmachi are the backdrop for this story about a Chinese American boy who falls for a Japanese American girl in the days leading up to and after the evacuation of Americans of Japanese ancestry. Book-It Repertory Theatre will premiere the theatrical version of the novel in September.”

Memoirs of a Geisha
By Arthur Golden | historical novel | 448 pp
“Despite the controversy surrounding this book, I adore the emotional depth of the writing. Golden’s description of a young girl coming of age as a Japanese geisha captures the complexity and genuine wonder of youth in a visceral and palpable way,” said Hsieh.


Suite Francaise
By Irène Némirovsky | novel | 434 pp
“A poignant novel about the European front during World War II as written by a French writer of Jewish origin,” said Hsieh. “What makes this book my favorite about WW II is that it was written as the war was actually happening. The real-life events of Némirovsky’s life add one of the most haunting twists to this intensely humane portrayal of war.”

The Woman Warrior
By Maxine Hong Kingston | memoir | 209 pp
“I originally read this in college and I still consider it a must-read for all women and anyone Asian American. This creative non-fiction blends memoir and Chinese folklore into a compelling depiction of what it means to be Asian American in the 20th Century.”

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