What I've been reading ~ Books 28 and 29 | The Life of K: What I've been reading ~ Books 28 and 29

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

What I've been reading ~ Books 28 and 29

Book 28/50 was Listen to the Squawking Chicken by Elaine Lui, which I read after hearing about it from some blogging friends.

From Goodreads:  Meet Elaine Lui’s mother. She’s “a movie, an Amy Tan novel, and a sitcom all rolled into one.”* Or as her daughter sums it up: “She’s Chinese, she squawks like a chicken, she is totally nuts, and I am totally dependent on her.”
With tales of brutal mah-jong competitions, all-cap texts (“YOUR BAD SKIN NEED SOUP”); public shaming, and pearls of occasionally-bizarre wisdom; Lui not only paints a portrait of a challenging, frustrating, fascinating woman that will make you laugh and cry—she eloquently describes exactly what it’s like to love someone who drives you crazy.

What I thought: I liked Lui's writing style but I quickly got tired of this book. It was stories of Lui's mother's involvement in her life, funny in parts, but book-worthy? I'm not sure.

My next read, book 29/50, is The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd. This was my bookclub's choice for July.

From Goodreads:  Hetty "Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.

Kidd’s sweeping novel is set in motion on Sarah’s eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid.We follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty-five years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love.
As the stories build to a riveting climax, Handful will endure loss and sorrow, finding courage and a sense of self in the process. Sarah will experience crushed hopes, betrayal, unrequited love, and ostracism before leaving Charleston to find her place alongside her fearless younger sister, Angelina, as one of the early pioneers in the abolition and women’s rights movements.

Inspired by the historical figure of Sarah Grimke, Kidd goes beyond the record to flesh out the rich interior lives of all of her characters, both real and invented, including Handful’s cunning mother, Charlotte, who courts danger in her search for something better.

This exquisitely written novel is a triumph of storytelling that looks with unswerving eyes at a devastating wound in American history, through women whose struggles for liberation, empowerment, and expression will leave no reader unmoved.

What I thought: It took me a bit to get into this book, but once I did, I really enjoyed it. I lot of it - the struggles of slaves and women of the time - make me upset and glad that I'm alive now. I cheered when they stood up for themselves, but cringed when they were punished for doing so. After finishing the book and reading the note by the author about how the characters were based on real people, it really hit home what life was like back then. I like the idea of taking an actual person and expanding on their story and filling in the blanks. I think it makes for a good story.

What are you reading? I'm always looking for suggestions!

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