Beyond the Book: Background information when reading Secondhand World

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Secondhand World

by Katherine Min

Secondhand World by Katherine Min
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  • First Published:
    Oct 2006, 288 pages
    Paperback:
    Feb 2008, 288 pages

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Beyond the Book

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Katherine Min was born in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, and graduated from Amherst College and the Columbia School of Journalism. She currently teaches at Plymouth State University and the Iowa Summer Writing Festival.

Her short stories have appeared in many publications and have been anthologized, most recently in The Pushcart Book of Stories: The Best Short Stories from a Quarter-Century of The Pushcart Prize. "Eyelids" was listed as one of 100 distinguished stories in The Best American Short Stories of 1997. "The Brick" was read on National Public Radio's Selected Shorts program in 1999. "Courting a Monk" won a Pushcart Prize.


Did you know?

About 50% of East Asians (including Isa in Secondhand World) are born without a crease in their eyelids (probably an evolutionary defense against the extreme cold and extreme light of the Eurasian north and/or a useful protection against the windblown desert dust). Isa's mother urges her to undergo plastic surgery on her eyelids to make her "prettier".

Plastic surgery of the eyelids is known in the trade as blepharoplasty. The reshaping of the eyelid to create a crease is usually referred to as Asian blepharoplasty or sometimes Oriental blepharoplasty, The result is easier to see than describe.

According to the American Academy of Facial, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, 125,000 blepharoplasty procedures were performed in 2000 in the United States. The operation costs around $2,000 in the USA but less in many Asian countries, where it is increasingly popular.

This article was originally published in November 2006, and has been updated for the February 2008 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.

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