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Not All Librarians Fit Bookish Image

May 12, 1991

Gish Jen says she is distinctly sensitive to being considered an Asian-American novelist. (Jen was quoted as saying): "To view Asian-American novelists as springing from a common mold may also sell them short . . . Stereotyping . . . makes me fume." ("Dodging Literary Labels," April 29).

How then can she make a comment like "I always hated the name Lillian. It sounded like a librarian." Like Gish Jen, I am a writer and have spent my life among books. I dare say she has made use of many libraries and the services of librarians, as I have. And no, they do not all wear spectacles, wrap their hair in buns and fear men. Nor are they all female.

Just as all Asians are not the same, neither are all librarians.

MERRILL JOAN GERBER

Sierra Madre

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