The Books

Not a Self-Help Book: The Misadventures of Marty Wu is published by Shade Mountain Press.


From the back cover: “Marty Wu, compulsive reader of advice manuals, is easily flustered. With a job she longs to quit and a formidable mother who’s impossible to please, she ricochets between the stress of New York and the warmth of extended family in Taiwan. Strewn with bi-cultural wisecracks, Marty’s diary reveals her anxieties and frustrations, her pipe dream to open a boutique costume shop, and her discovery of family secrets old and new.”

Buy it here. And here. And please leave a review. Every last one counts.

Some praise:

“An expert combination of humor and deep feeling… Digs deep into the particular challenges of defining and asserting an artistic identity in the world.”—PANK Magazine

“Ceaselessly surprising and entertaining… Lai’s debut is an unexpectedly radical book on our deeply complicated relations with parents.”—Hyphen Magazine: Asian America Unabridged

“Simultaneously sardonic and sincere, Marty speaks to her diary (and to the reader) as one might address a very good friend. It’s as if Marty is addressing you personally, and the effect makes you feel closely connected to the story.” —The Collagist

“By turns humorous and harrowing, Not a Self-Help Book displays Yi Shun Lai’s astute observations of family conflict and cultural complexities…Marty’s journey is sad, funny, maddening, and ultimately uplifting.” Anjali Banerjee, author of Maya Running, Haunting Jasmine, and Imaginary Men

“Quirky, hilarious, and continually surprising, Not a Self-Help Book takes us across the world and back on a breathless search for personal meaning. Anyone who has ever felt trapped between her dreams and family expectations will love this book.” —Tiffany Hawk, author of Love Me Anyway

“One part joy, two parts laughter, and three parts I-can’t-believe-she-just-did-that, Lai’s dynamic narration introduces us to voices as surprising as they are satisfying. A story honest as it is heartbreakingly hilarious.” —Camille Griep, author of Letters to Zell

Your Country is Beautiful is a book of 10 flash essays and hand-drawn maps. Each provides a front-row seat to disaster relief through my work for ShelterBox, an international disaster relief agency. You can order it by e-mailing me directly: yishun(at)thegooddirt(dot)org. Each copy is $15. Half the purchase price goes back to ShelterBox USA. So far we’ve raised nearly $500.

You can buy it here:

How many booklets?






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *