Spoiler Warning

Book reviews and discussions may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Is July Over Already?

How's your reading of Snow Flower coming along? If you're all available and up for it, let's have our discussion this Sunday, August 1 at 9 pm mtn time. Hope to see you all there!!!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

July, My Friends

Da da da dummmmm.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
Lisa See

This book had me crying by page 32, and I did a lot of reading in utter amazement. It was SO thought provoking and has really stayed with me. It has over 700 reviews and is rated at 4.5 stars. A decent 480 reviews were 5 stars. Here is the description from Amazon.

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. See's engrossing novel set in remote 19th-century China details the deeply affecting story of lifelong, intimate friends (laotong, or "old sames") Lily and Snow Flower, their imprisonment by rigid codes of conduct for women and their betrayal by pride and love. While granting immediacy to Lily's voice, See (Flower Net) adroitly transmits historical background in graceful prose. Her in-depth research into women's ceremonies and duties in China's rural interior brings fascinating revelations about arranged marriages, women's inferior status in both their natal and married homes, and the Confucian proverbs and myriad superstitions that informed daily life. Beginning with a detailed and heartbreaking description of Lily and her sisters' foot binding ("Only through pain will you have beauty. Only through suffering will you have peace"), the story widens to a vivid portrait of family and village life. Most impressive is See's incorporation of nu shu, a secret written phonetic code among women—here between Lily and Snow Flower—that dates back 1,000 years in the southwestern Hunan province ("My writing is soaked with the tears of my heart,/ An invisible rebellion that no man can see"). As both a suspenseful and poignant story and an absorbing historical chronicle, this novel has bestseller potential and should become a reading group favorite as well.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Lily at 80 reflects on her life, beginning with her daughter days in 19th-century rural China. Foot-binding was practiced by all but the poorest families, and the graphic descriptions of it are not for the fainthearted. Yet women had nu shu, their own secret language. At the instigation of a matchmaker, Lily and Snow Flower, a girl from a larger town and supposedly from a well-connected, wealthy family, become laotong, bound together for life. Even after Lily learns that Snow Flower is not from a better family, even when Lily marries above her and Snow Flower beneath her, they remain close, exchanging nu shu written on a fan. When war comes, Lily is separated from her husband and children. She survives the winter helped by Snow Flower's husband, a lowly butcher, until she is reunited with her family. As the years pass, the women's relationship changes; Lily grows more powerful in her community, bitter, and harder, until at last she breaks her bond with Snow Flower. They are not reunited until Lily tries to make the dying Snow Flower's last days comfortable. Their friendship, and this tale, illustrates the most profound of human emotions: love and hate, self-absorption and devotion, pride and humility, to name just a few. Even though the women's culture and upbringing may be vastly different from readers' own, the life lessons are much the same, and they will be remembered long after the details of this fascinating story are forgotten.–Molly Connally, Chantilly Regional Library, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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There is one thing, though. Snow Flower and Lily have a questionable moment in the chapter titled Catching Cool Breezes (pg 83). If this chapter were ignored, (imho) it absolutely would not alter the story in any way. I energetically suggest you skip it. If you decide to read it, don’t come after me. I warned you.

Monday, July 5, 2010

This one shoulda stayed a secret...

Jespy's review of The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes Booth by Diane Chamberlain

Has anyone ever told you a big secret that they had been keeping for over twenty something years and you had to sit there and act interested in hearing the secret, but really you couldn't care less? If so, then you know exactly how it feels to read this book.

I had a hard time getting through it, as it is chalk full of unsympathetic characters with nonsensical political views. It had a depressing vibe to it. Not because the story was particularly sad and not because they all blew up in the end, but because the characters led depressing lives and had no redeemable qualities. The bad choices CeeCee made (one after the other) were annoying. I didn't care what happened to her (or anyone else in the book, for that matter), so I was not compelled to pick it up and read on my own. The only thing motivating me to read was not wanting to miss out on the awesome rip-fest dicush. (Which didn't even happen--thanks a lot blogger.)

On a positive note, the opening line in this book was probably the best opening I've ever seen in a book. Better than, "The early summer sky was the color of cat vomit."<--name that book.

Thanks for taking care of June's pick, Hotpants! Sorry the dicush didn't work out. "Too little, too late," eh?

Due to unforseen circumstances...

Blogger isn't working, you can't see anyone else comments. (I'm sure you were all leaving tons of them too) So the therefor the discush is canceled...not rescheduled, just canceled. It was a pervy book anyway. Please feel free to leave comments on the reviews for this month only.
In case you were wondering how I felt about the book, I'll let you know now.
I read this book about 2 years ago while I was up at my friend Alison's cabin. I was very sick and in bed hopped up on cold medicine. She recommended it to me and I remember liking it. That is pretty much all I remember. I also remember Memzy coming over for a visit a couple weeks later and I was still sick on pain medicine and was a total B to our waiter. And I also remember going to Anna's and going to lunch with my cousin Rachel and meeting her fiance who was raised in a polygamist colony. That is all I remember about that whole summer. I was planning on rereading the book, but then as I was hearing people not liking it so much it made me not in the mood to reread it. After reading the reviews it seems I made the right decision. Even though I "need my soft porn". Thanks aunt Shell for outing my as an addict. I was planning on coming out on my own soon anyway.
For reals though, I did not feel sympathy for CeeCee as a teenager. I thought she had other options than to steal the kid and run away.

Alright now, let's move on with something new!

Official Discush

Let's get this partay started.