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Liked Tan? Try these.

March 8, 2007

I read The Joy Luck Club so long ago that I couldn’t tell you if June-May/Jing-Mei is the narrator, but over the past few years I’ve read other books I would suggest if you enjoyed “A Pair of Tickets.”  One is non-fiction and autobiographical, one is fiction and similar to Tan, and the last is just fun Chinese-American “chick lit.”

The first is called Watching the Tree by Adeline Yen Mah.  It’s sort of a primer to Chinese culture, very American-friendly.  I’ve always meant to read her autobiography Falling Leaves, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet so I can’t suggest it, but I have a copy of Watching the Tree and I love it.  I think sometimes we tend to forget how homogeneous our American culture is and how different the world out there can be.  Faith Adiele helped remind me of that, and this book definitely reinforces it.

The second book is by Gish Jen, called The Love Wife.  In the same way that Amy Tan is considered Chinese-American literature, so is Gish Jen.  That is to say, you’ll find the same blend of intelligence and wit and heartbreak and loss and joy and possibility in Jen as you would in Tan.  Carnegie, who is first-generation Chinese-American, and his wife “Blondie” are trying to raise a family of two adopted Chinese girls and their biological son.  It examines both what it means to be American and be a family.  It looks at the mixing of cultures as being difficult, and gives a realistic view of overseas adoption.  And it’s still funny and touching and real, in the way that all the best fiction tends to be.

The last book has the cute title of The Dim Sum of all Things.  I loved this book.  Kim Wong Kelter does a fantastic job of showing what it’s like being stuck between two cultures.  I especially liked her take on the creepy American guys who think it’s so awesome to “collect” an Asian girlfriend like collecting manga and superhero comics.  Not that I think that this, say, REMINDS ME OF MY FRIEND’S FIANCE OR ANYTHING.  *cough*  Er, anyway, I see there’s a sequel.  Could SOMEONE write a chick lit book without a sequel please?  (And without focusing on the labels in the characters’ clothing.  I just don’t care.)

So…just some suggestions for you guys–some “Further Reading,” if you will.

Also, why the HECK would someone post their school essay in the Amazon.com review section for The Love Wife?

One more thing: Only one more exam (unfortunately tomorrow) and then I’m freeeeeeeeeee!  I already went to the library and got Bleak House to watch over the break, because Burn Gorman rocks my world so hard.  He’s exactly what they were talking about in Kissing Jessica Stein when they said “sexy-ugly.”  If I have time–if I’m not too busy writing papers–I’ll probably also go through as much of the the BBC Jane Austen collection as possible, with the exception of the Colin Firth P&P because I own it, because it is wonderful AND, on top of the wonderful, it is Firthy.

Have a nice break, y’all!

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