Students excited for "Beyond the Book' - The Lookout - LCC's Independent Student Newspaper Since 1959
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Students excited for "Beyond the Book'

Beyond the Book Miki

LCC student Miki Lee said she appreciates the topic of LCC’s “Beyond the Book” selection, “Interior Chinatown.”  Photo by Mallory Stiles

Mallory Stiles

By Mallory Stiles
Editor in Chief

LCC’s Beyond the Book program is officially up and running! The shared reading program is marking a new school year with the title, “Interior Chinatown” by Charles Yu, and students are absolutely loving it.

All LCC students and staff are invited to join in reading this book, written in the form of a screenplay. It scrutinizes race, immigration, assimilation, stereotypes and pop culture.

The LCC Library recently launched a research guide to go with “Interior Chinatown.” The guide includes materials and resources on the author, racism and stereotypes, representation in popular media, immigration, screenwriting, the hero’s journey narrative archetype, and the Chinese Exclusion Act. It also links to a form that faculty can use to request a class set of free books.

All employees and students are welcome to pick up a free copy of the book by visiting the Research Help Desk on the second floor of the TLC Building. Print and digital copies are also available to check out from the LCC Library.

LCC student Miki Lee was all smiles when she heard the news of this year’s choice.

“It’s good to see,” Lee said. “I would read anything about Asians because there isn’t enough diversity. Of course LCC is diverse, but I mean when it comes to books and movies and stuff.”

This year’s pick is extremely relevant and addresses the often looked-over issue of discrimination against Asian Americans, especially post-pandemic.   

Department of Justice statistics show hate-crimes committed against Asian Americans account for a lesser percentage of hate-crime each year. However, according to npr.org, the number of incident reports involving Asian Americans nearly doubled in 2020.

Unfortunately, the world is still swelling with hatred. “Interior Chinatown” is beginning to make waves and heal a few hearts along the way.

LCC student Leiana Mireles lit up the moment she finished the promotional blurb about the book.

“For me, since, it centers around his oriental background; I can understand where he is coming from,” Mireles said. “I am Japanese so I can sort of relate. I would be really excited to read this.

“I am going to get my free copy now!”

Being overlooked, as a child or adult, for any and all reasons, can be detrimental to one’s identity, and the sanctity of being heard should never be forgotten. This book redefines the term “must-read.”

In the very first few pages, Yu talks about a light that is reserved for the main character. The unattainable nature of his thoughts on ever being in that spotlight, even for a second, is haunting.

“Black and white always look good,” the book states. “A lot of it has to do with the light. They’re the heroes. They get hero lighting, designed to hit their faces just right. Designed to hit White’s face just right, anyway. Someday you want the light to hit your face like that. To look like the hero.

“Or for a moment to actually be the hero.”

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