Sometimes A Book Comes Along That Makes You Drop Everything Else You Are Reading


For the last two days I have been a part of a Rural Library and Literacy Leadership Institute that is embarking on a seven month journey together.  This was our first meeting together and I was thrilled to be a part of it, representing along with two others, the Brainerd Minnesota Public Library.  I will write more later about what we are doing as a group, but this morning I wanted to share one happening from yesterday.

Yesterday afternoon when we broke away for lunch our lunch time speaker was Kao Kalia Yang.  She is a Minnesota author that not only overcame great hurdles to learn English, but wrote a book, The Late Homecomber that has won two awards.  I am sad to say that prior to this encounter yesterday I was unfamiliar with Kao or her book.

When we walked to our seats where we would be dining I was excited to see that we each had a copy of the book waiting on our chair.  I whispered to my teammates that I loved events where books were given out!  As we started our salads, this petite 31-year-old woman took the microphone and I wish (WISH WISH WISH!) that I had recorded what she had to say, but wasn’t sure if that was the polite thing to do and she spoke so elegantly, so passionately that I am not sure I could have held my phone up anyway.

I found this speech of hers on You Tube, don’t be frightened by its length, if you can listen even to the first 4 minutes of it you will get why I was so impressed on. 



When Kao spoke yesterday I was so impressed by the passions she carried for her book.  I have heard other authors speak about hardships in their memoirs and it is like after talking about it so much they lose the power of the words they speak of – does that make sense?  Its like when they talk, it is so longer themselves they are speaking of but some other person.  This is not the case with Kao.  When she read from her book with such genuine emotion I knew I had to read her book… and read it this weekend.

SO this morning I will be putting on a wedding dress and zombie make up and participating in the Crosslake Monster Dash, but this afternoon… I will be reading The Late Homecomber and if it is as good as I think it is going to be…. look out Bookies Book Club I will be plugging this to you as well.  😀


Kao and I. Kao was born in Thailand’s refugee camp and immigrated to Minnesota when she was six. Kao is currently a Professor at Minnesota State University.

8 thoughts on “Sometimes A Book Comes Along That Makes You Drop Everything Else You Are Reading

  1. What a great experience! She is a lovely looking woman. We had many Southeast Asian immigrants living in our Valley…and I know many settled in Minnesota, too. It was fascinating to learn more about their cultures. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Sounds like this could be a very good book! Have fun at your Monster Dash, but hurry home – I’m looking forward to hearing what you think about the book! 😉

  3. I was privileged to hear Kao Kalia Yang speak at St. Catherine’s University as part of my Immigration class. She was fantastic and I’ve read her book twice now and wrote extensively on it. I’m so glad you had the chance to hear her and meet her.

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