Now is the time when every New York magazine and newspaper begins to fill its pages with previews of the movies to be released this summer and the books for your holiday. That means films such as Revenge of the Sith, the latest Star Wars contribution from George Lucas and Steven Spielberg's War of the Worlds - neither exactly original. It also means books such as the novel, The History of Love, by Nicole Krauss, and the essay collection, Everything Bad Is Good For You, by Steven Johnson. But among the predictable and the promotional, an increasing number of mainland Chinese artists are gaining recognition. I must be careful not to over hype this - after all, in the past we have seen Chinese-American writers such as Amy Tan and actors like Jet Li bring some elements of Chinese culture to the US without creating much more than a temporary phenomenon. However, this time the inroads appear deeper, and the range broader. The directors, movie stars and writers concerned often focus on the loves and struggles of ordinary (and sometimes extraordinary) Chinese. For example, The New York Times dubbed Jia Zhangke 'the greatly gifted young Chinese director'. Jia's latest movie, The World, a drama set in a Chinese theme park, based on the lives of young migrant workers in Beijing, is due for release on July 1 in the US. Tony Leung, who played a leading role in Wong Kar-wai's 2046, is also in the spotlight. The New York Times and New York magazine both selected him as one of a handful of actors to keep an eye on this summer. In a rarer occasion, the books section of a recent issue of the New Yorker magazine introduced novels by mainland writers Su Tong and Mo Yan, which were reviewed by novelist John Updike. New York's Tribeca Film Festival, which wrapped up its annual event earlier this month, showed this may not be a coincidence. The top narrative feature award went to Chinese director Li Shaohong for her Stolen Life, about the sale of babies in China. This is the third year running that a Chinese director has received this award. And while this hardly means that the American masses will be glued to Chinese movies this year, it does seem that the chattering classes are catching on. There are now dozens of Chinese movies available on the online DVD rental service that is increasingly popular in the US - something that would have seemed impossible a few years ago. Perhaps Rick Bruner is right. After seeing a series of Chinese movies last year, the New York blogger claimed that the Chinese 'are going to buy and sell our asses before breakfast in a couple of years'. Perhaps breakfast is too optimistic - I might just settle for before dinner.