Books Build Bridges is a community read program hosted by Hamilton East Public Library each fall to build community through shared experience, provide diverse reading opportunities and engage our community with noted authors.
Jamie Ford is the award-winning author of the bestselling novel Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
, which was awarded the Asian Pacific American Award for Literature and was on the New York Times
bestseller list for over two years. For more information on Jamie Ford, please visit www.prhspeakers.com
In the opening pages of Jamie Ford’s stunning debut novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, Henry Lee comes upon a crowd gathered outside the Panama Hotel, once the gateway to Seattle’s Japantown. It has been boarded up for decades, but now the new owner has made an incredible discovery: the belongings of Japanese families, left when they were rounded up and sent to internment camps during World War II. As Henry looks on, the owner opens a Japanese parasol.
This simple act takes old Henry Lee back to the 1940s, at the height of the war, when young Henry’s world is a jumble of confusion and excitement, and to his father, who is obsessed with the war in China and having Henry grow up American. While “scholarshipping” at the exclusive Rainier Elementary, where the white kids ignore him, Henry meets Keiko Okabe, a young Japanese American student. Amid the chaos of blackouts, curfews, and FBI raids, Henry and Keiko forge a bond of friendship–and innocent love–that transcends the long-standing prejudices of their Old World ancestors. And after Keiko and her family are swept up in the evacuations to the internment camps, she and Henry are left only with the hope that the war will end, and that their promise to each other will be kept.
Jamie Ford is the great-grandson of Nevada mining pioneer Min Chung, who emigrated from Kaiping, China, to San Francisco in 1865, where he adopted the Western name “Ford,” thus confusing countless generations. Ford is an award-winning short-story writer, an alumnus of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, and a survivor of Orson Scott Card’s Literary Boot Camp. Having grown up near Seattle’s Chinatown, he now lives in Montana with his wife and children.
Join us via Zoom to hear Jamie Ford's author talk, broadcasting live from the Fishers Library, followed by a Q&A session to conclude this year’s Books Build Bridges experience.
Pick up a complimentary copy of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
at the Fishers or Noblesville Library beginning August 15, while supplies last. Copies are also available for checkout at the libraries or through HEPL’s digital collections.