Monday, April 12, 2010

a book report: snow flower and the secret fan

There are days, weeks, months even that i forgo writing to read everything i can get my hands on. 
this has been the case the past few weeks for me.

Yesterday I read on the way to church,
I brought my book with me to the back yard in the late afternoon as Mea roamed around me on her tether,
I opted out of watching a movie and instead, laid in bed reading
And finished the last pages with tears pooling in my eyes, hours after Curtis had fallen asleep.

It has been a rare feeling these days to become so enthralled in a book that I lose track of time, that I cry when it ends, that I feel like a part of me is dying with the closing of the last chapter. It is a feeling I love and hate simultaneously. To finish a book that moves me is a bittersweet pleasure.

I keep a little journal in my nightstand with all the titles of books I’ve read, neatly written inside.
I read eight books in 2007.
12 in 2008.
13 in 2009
And so far I've read 3 books to start out 2010.

In the past two weeks I have read two of those three books.
The first of the three was called Someone Knows My Name, by Lawrence Hill and took me nearly six months to finish.
I wrote about it {here}

Last week I read The Linett Bird by Linda Holeman.

This week it was Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See.

It was a story set in nineteenth century China, during the days where young girls endured the painful ritual of foot binding and where wives only roles was to have sons.

The story follows Lily and Snow Flower as they become a laotong pair – which is a relationship made between two girls, a bond stronger than marriage, meant to last a lifetime through the traditional secret written language that only the Chinese women know. It follows them as they grow from small children with feet that are free, to wives and mothers with lives that are as bound as their tiny misshapen feet.

The story was poignant, profound, heartbreaking and beautifully written. I highly recommend it to anyone even slightly interested in the history of women in China or in other cultures in general. It opened my eyes to a culture I knew nothing about and the images it painted, along with the photographs I found while researching this time period online, will surely stick with me far beyond the fictitious story.

This year, I have read of a young girls journey into slavery from Africa,
I have read about one girls journey from a British whorehouse into the beauty of India
And now I have read this story of young girls growing up in the culture of China, where girls were born to be married out.

So, what’s next on my reading list you ask?
I’m not sure exactly.
I’ve got an entire bookshelf full of novels I have yet to read – from the half price bookstore, borrowed from friends, gifts from family.

I love novels, they transport me to another place and there are few feelings more comforting than to crawl into bed with a book that you can’t wait to open.

I don’t always soak books in, like a sponge, as I am doing these days.
Some months, even years I find myself not enjoying anything I pick up.
Sometimes no books hold my interest, and I’d rather go to sleep without reading a page or two.

But right now, I go to sleep later and later, because a page or two, just doesn’t do it.
I must read chapters and chapters before turning down the corner of the page and turning off the light.

It is a good feeling to be so enthralled in a book that you forget the need for sleep.


rona said...

that will be next on my reading list. just finished almost moon...........dark but great. still alice was one i will never forget. water for elephants was a treasure. thank you for this one. looking forward to it and to our visit this weekend.

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