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Press and blog appearances

Daughter of Xanadu's visibility has continued strong since publication.  Here are the latest reviews, blog interviews and guest blogs:

May 3:  Article based on interview, Norelle Done on Seattle Wrote blog.

April 8: 5-star review on The Bookaholics by Aik Chien of Malaysia.

March 23: Amber of Squeaky Clean Reads wrote a review saying: "Daughter of Xanadu is not squeaky clean, but mostly clean."

March 21: Damsels in Regress: Bringing history back to life (review and interview by Emilie Bishop)

March 16:  Black Fingernailed Reviews (5-star review)

March 14: Dreaming in Books (review)

March 9:  Shauna Yusko, librarian at Evergreen Junior High in Redmond interviewed me for her blog after my school visit there on March 3.

March 2:    PaperTigers.org, a website devoted to multicultural books from around the world for children and young adults, with a particular focus on the Pacific Rim and South Asia (interview and review)

Feb. 27:     Reading the Past (review, with comments)

Feb. 13:    Historical-fiction.com (guest blog)

Feb 9:       Feathered Quill (interview)

And here's the latest press:

Mercer Island Patch posted this article online on Feb. 11, 2011:

-- "When East Meets West: Author Dori Jones Yang," by DeAnn Rossetti.  Daughter of Xanadu, an adventurous and romantic tale by Dori Jones Yang, could easily be seen as a parallel to her own life in this century in the United States."

"That's Shanghai" magazine posted this review on urbanatomy on Feb. 11, 2011:

-- The first review in China, called "Move Over Mulan," by Tom Carter

Did Marco Polo really go to China?

I have heard this question a lot, and someone asked me just yesterday. Here's my answer:

Yes, it seems highly likely he did. From the day he got back home, people thought Marco Polo was exaggerating or lying about the fabulous wealth and wonder of the empire he claimed to have visited. In those days, Venice was the most powerful, prosperous city in Europe, and Venetians did not want to believe there was a land that was far more advanced. In fact, they called Marco “Il Milione” because he claimed to have seen “millions and millions” of jewels, people, soldiers, everything.

About 50 years after his book came out, an extremely popular travel book appeared, by “John Mandeville,” about a journey to the Orient. It was lively and fun to read, and told of terrific monsters, dog-headed cannibals, people with ears hanging to their knees, and men whose heads grow beneath their shoulders. It later proved to be mostly invented or borrowed from other writers, so that made people wonder about the truth of Marco Polo’s book, too.

For hundreds of years, Europeans could not travel safely to the Far East, so they had no way of checking. However, when Europeans began to explore Asia, they found that most of Marco Polo’s descriptions of remote places were remarkably accurate. Many Europeans did travel to China during the relatively peaceful years of the Mongol Empire, both traders and priests, so it is not hard to believe that one of them wrote a book about his travels when he got home.

For a scholar's explanation of these doubts, see F. Wood's Did Marco Polo Go To China? A Critical Appraisal by I. de Rachewiltz. I find his arguments compelling.

- November 13, 2010 - 

Online reviews of Daughter of Xanadu

Heather of Michigan, prolific reader and blog reviewer, has become the first person to review Daughter of Xanadu. Here is the link to Heather's review. ("This book was fantastic.")

And the second-ever: Rebecca Herman's review.  ("a fascinating historical novel.")

And a third from Lydia on goodreads. ("flipping pages with excitement")

ARC cover

How did these readers get a chance to review Daughter of Xanadu before publication? It started with Holly.  She has a book-review blog called Good Golly Miss Holly Books, and she wrote to me and asked if she could start an ARC tour.  I admit, I had to learn what an ARC tour was.

ARC stands for Advance Reader's Copy; the publisher prints up a limited number of ARCs for each book, before publication, to send out to reviewers.  As the author, I was given only three ARCs of Daughter of Xanadu, and one I had to read and mark up as the final step in the editing process. Several online reviewers contacted me as soon as Random House put up the book description on its website; I was amazed and impressed at how eager and pro-active they were, but I was reluctant to let go of one of my three precious copies.

When Holly contacted me, though, she promised that, if I sent out one ARC, TEN online reviewers would read and review it.  The ARC would travel around the country, around the world, to eager online reviewers. So I sent one of my three copies off on an around-the-world ARC tour, with my hands shaking in the hope that the reviews would be positive!  So far, so good.

If you write online reviews and want to get on an ARC tour, let me know!

- October 5, 2010 -

What is Xanadu?

Good question. And how to pronounce it?   Sounds like “Zanna-doo.”

Many people think Xanadu is a mythical place – like Shangri-La. Other people think Xanadu is just a movie and a song by Olivia Newton-John, about a nightclub!

In fact, Xanadu was a real place, site of the summer palace of Khubilai Khan. In Chinese, it’s called Yuan Shangdu, which means “the Upper Capital of the Yuan Dynasty.” Marco Polo called it Chandu, Shandu, or Xandu, depending on which version of his book you’re reading.

A famous English poet named Samuel Taylor Coleridge had a dream about it and wrote a poem in which he called it Xanadu, and that’s the spelling that stuck.

Let me tell you, Xanadu is not easy to locate.

In 2007, I set out

Khubilai Khan exhibit at the Met

Chabi 2

News: Khubilai Khan takes New York by a storm!

Well, in a way. A new exhibit just opened at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art called "The World of Khubilai Khan: Chinese Art in the Yuan Dynasty." And I thought I was the only one obsessed with the Mongols!

Now hundreds - maybe thousands - of people are visiting the Met to see this special art exhibition and attend a dizzying array of lectures, gallery talks, concerts, symposia, and film showings.

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