Friday, September 11, 2009

Friday Finds

Being Chinese I am attracted to books dealing with Asian culture. Though I am the child of two immigrants I see myself as firmly American being born and raised in this country in a town where I was one of the few minorities. Growing up I never appreciated my culture, wanting to be Caucasian like all my peers and thus scoffed at learning Chinese and Chinese school as well as all the little tidbits and things my family would try to impart on me. Only as I grew did I learn to appreciate the culture and history of the country my family is from. I look back regrettably at the years I wasted not wanting to be bothered learning more about the culture I come from. Though I can carry a conversation in Chinese reading and writing are lost on me and probably always will be. I'm sad at the idea that my family's heritage might die with me as I lack the skills to pass on anything meaningful to my own children. I hope that my children will come to embrace and love their heritage at a younger age then I did. So it is with a natural curiosity that I have come to enjoy books written about Asian culture and by Asian writers. I very much enjoy Amy Tan and Lisa See's books as they teach me more about my heritage as well as incidences that I can relate well to in my own life. This week I found two new books based on Asian culture that have sparked my interest and I will be adding to my TBR pile.

The first is Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet about a Chinese boy falling in love with a Japanese
girl right before the start of World War II. When the war starts the little girl's family is taken away to interment camps and the little boy promises to wait for her in Seattle. After recently reading Lisa See's Shanghai Girls it touches a bit about the war and how Chinese immigrants feared being taken away to interment camps and trying to distinguish themselves from Japanese American

The second is The Calligrapher's Daughter which is based on Korean history, that
of which I admit I know very little about but am eager to learn more about. It deals with Korea during the time of Japanese occupation and the struggles of one girl trying to seek her own path while her father pushes her to stay on the traditional one.


  1. Although not Chines, but more Japan related, I have read this year The Housekeeper & The Professor; and Burnt Shadows which were both fantastic reads for me. I recommend those to you.

  2. I've seen both of these at Borders. I don't read very much Asian history... read Memoirs of a Geisha (loved it) and tried Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (couldn't stand the foot binding part).