Books I Am Reading or Have Read...

Ever since I graduated college I have made a point to not waste my time reading any book that does not interest me.  I have recently been offered the opportunity to write a couple of book reviews before the books are released, but after reading a little synopsis of the book content, decided against it.  However, since I AM always currently reading something, I like to recommend those books that I find extraordinary.  Today, I would like to recommend books written by the author, Amy Tan.

I just finished reading "The Joy Luck Club" and previously read "The Bonesetter's Daughter"; on my bookshelf I have a copies of "Saving Fish From Drowning" and "The Hundred Secret Senses" also just waiting to be read.  Amy Tan is a wonderful author whose books contain a recurrent theme of China and America and the joining of old and new cultures.  Her stories generally revolve around family; Chinese immigrants, specifically the relationships between traditional Chinese mothers, who have raised their daughters in western society and in turn those daughters have lost a bit of their heritage to the great dismay of the elder.

I'm not sure why, but the orient has always fascinated me; even as a child.  In geography, I just loved reading about and viewing photos of Japan and China...thus, my love for books written by Amy Tan, I suppose!  I love her description of China through the eyes of an elderly person, who survived the war torn country of years past.  Their traditions, superstitions, words of "wisdom" and even their tales of long ago, are not unlike those of the elderly we encounter here.  I know at times, we tire of hearing old stories of past times, but Tan allows her readers to experience both sides of the story, per se, allowing the reader to understand the reasons the older person behaves as they do.

As I read her stories, I find that American mothers and daughters are not that different from the Chinese ones found in Tan's books.  Even the relationship that I have with my own mother echos strains of these same issues.  Mother is going to be 83 years old next week and I am 49.  She grew up during The Great Depression, while I grew up in the 60's.  Just like the mothers and daughters in Amy Tan's stories, my mother can at times be a bit ornery, bossy and feels as though "her" way is the only "right" way for something to be done.  I, like the daughters, often times feel she tends to be a little negative or extreme in her views and can't understand why she behaves in that manner.  However, in Tan's stories, reading each person's views and seeing how they were raised and what beliefs were ingrained in them allows us to become thoughtful of our own lives and relationships.

So, if you are looking for a good "summer" (or any time...) read, go the library, bookstore or grab your electronic book source and snatch up a book written by Amy Tan; let her whisk you away on a journey through China, through the generational differences that occur between mothers and daughters.  I assure you, you will not be disappointed!

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