Friday, August 15, 2008

What I Am Reading

I love to read! The problem is finding (MAKING) the time to do so. I have way too many magazines stacked around the house and it stresses me out thinking of all that is there to be read. Right now I am 3 days behind on reading the daily paper and have a hard time throwing it out before I've read it. But I always catch up eventually.

During our Gatlinburg vacation in the spring I tried to started to read The Kite Runner and I also have the follow up book, A Thousand Splendid Suns. I didn't get too far with the Kite Runner. The movie has already been made based on the book, and it's on video. And I still have not finished the book. I tried again when we went to AZ. I have read and re-read the first 2 chapters so many times I am not sure when I will go back to it.

So I was reading a women's local newspaper and I saw that there was a new book called Peony in Love by Lisa See. One of my favorite books of all time called Snow Flower and the Secret Fan was written by Lisa See, so I had to check out Peony in Love from the library. This book is set in 17th Century China. It tells the story of a lovesick 16 year old girl being forced into an arranged marriage with someone she has never seen. She gets caught up in reliving a story from a tragic opera, ends up starving herself and just before her wedding day, dies from a broken heart. This happens in the beginning of the book which surprised me. The character was well developed and central to the book, then dies. What is next, I wondered? Well, I have not finished the book yet, but the rest of the story is about her ghost/spirit being unable to find peace as certain rituals for her funeral and afterlife were not followed properly. For years as a "hungry ghost" she watches over the man she loves and then manipulates the girl he marries many years later.

I've always been fascinated with stories of women in China's culture, from the geishas and concubines, to the ritual of feet binding, embroidery work, etc. In this particular book, women are not allowed to be seen by men before marriage, are not encouraged to read or learn, are ashamed if they give birth to a girl, etc. It's all so different and fascinating to read about. I also really enjoyed Memoirs of a Geisha, so I am seeing a theme here!

I plan to finish the book this evening. It's one that you want to race through the book to finish, then you are sad because it's over. If you are looking for a good, memorable, haunting read, check out either of these two books mentioned from Lisa See. And let me know what you think!