Saturday, July 18, 2009

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
by Lisa See

Published in 2005. 258 pages.

I've had Snow Flower and the Secret Fan on my to-read list for a long time, so I was happy that my sister picked it for our book club back in May.

Lisa See's website has reviews of the book, links to information about foot binding and the secret women's language Nu Shu, and book group discussion questions.

Here are a few of my favorite passages from the book:

For my entire life I longed for love. I knew it was not right for me - as a girl and later as a woman - to want or expect it, but I did, and this unjustified desire has been at the root of every problem I have experienced in my life.
But this is the nature of fate. You make choices that are good and sound, but the gods have other plans for you.
If a man does not value his wife upon marriage, why would he treasure her after? If he sees his wife as no better than a chicken who can provide an endless supply of eggs or a water buffalo who can bear an endless amount of weight upon its shoulders, why would he value her any more than those animals? He might appreciate her even less, since she is not as brave, strong, tolerant, or able to scavenge on her own.


Saturday, July 04, 2009

The Eternal Smile: Three Stories
by Gene Luen Yang and Derek Kirk Kim

Published in 2009. 170 pages.

"A fantastical adventure through the worlds we live in and the worlds we create."

I am a big fan of Gene Luen Yang's American Born Chinese, so I was excited to discover The Eternal Smile at the library.

Last August, Derek Kirk Kim wrote about the project on his blog. When the book was released at the end of April, Gene Luen Yang wrote about it in this blog post.

Of the three stories in the book, I liked "Urgent Request" the best - but "Duncan's Kingdom" and "Gran'pa Greenbax and the Eternal Smile" were great too.


Friday, July 03, 2009

Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Published in 2007. 353 pages.

I found the writing to be somewhat uneven - which is sometimes the case in a memoir - but the content of Ayaan Hirsi Ali's Infidel is such an important one! That the basic human rights of women and female children can be violated with such little thought and/or in the name of religiosity is tragic, and we all need to be a little more aware of the problem so that we can find a solution.

Here are a few quotes:

Holland's multiculturalism - its respect for Muslims' way of doing things - wasn't working. It was depriving many women and children of their rights. Holland was trying to be tolerant for the sake of consensus, but the consensus was empty. The immigrants' culture was being preserved at the expense of their women and children ... [page 246]
The message of this book, if it must have a message, is that we in the West would be wrong to prolong the pain of that transition unnecessarily, by elevating cultures full of bigotry and hatred tworad women to the stature of respectable alternative ways of life. [page 348]
It is possible to free oneself - to adapt one's faith, to examine it critically, and to think about the degree to which that faith is itself at the root of oppression. [page 350]