Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Ladies with Soul

Last month I went to the KL International book fair with the hope of buying some great works of literature, I have even searched thru the web in “1001 books to read before you die” and in Oprah’s book club. Some of the interesting titles that I had found were Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity & Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird. Hard covers like Nigella’s Express costs well over RM100.

Of course being a thrift shopper, I like my books cheap even though it’s not a Booker Prize winner or a Times best seller’s list. My preference with novels are those with lots of dialogue. But I always buy books which have good recommendations, so if it happens to be a bestseller than I’m lucky. So I went to Payless Books to get discounted paperbacks novels. This time around I was looking for a specific writer, Anne Rice. Inspired by her novel, The Body Thief, following the adventures of Lestat, the vampire from Interview with the Vampire. I was excited to find two of her other titles, The Mummy, or Ramses the Damned and The Witching Hour. The other author that I was lucky to find was Amy Tan’s Hundred Secret Senses and The Bonesetter’s Daughter. I’ve read Joy Luck Club, but I didn’t remember the book having a huge impact on me.

I find that even though Anne Rice’s story in with The Body Thief was intense and exciting, The Mummy was a bit flat and ludicrous. Its like watching a B-grade movie, except I was reading it. I mean how ridiculous for a mummy (Ramses) to be resurrected after thousands of years and then falling in love with the first person that he sees. And Ramses being able to accept the world so easily. I would’ve expected that he turned evil like that dude in “The Mummy” movie. Another painful book by her, is the Witching Hour which was said to be her most ambitious novel ever (haha I’m a bit outdated as she’s written this sometime in the 90s). It’s a terribly slow read as she painfully describes each character with unnecessary details, which I couldn’t care less about. I’ve yet to finish the book, but probably I’ll come round to it once I’m out of reading materials!

Amy Tan’s books are just wonderful! Both of her books are about family relationships and Chinese traditions or rather, superstitions. I feel like, being an Asian and having some Chinese blood myself (albeit several generations removed), I was able to identify with her Chinese characters. Her writing is both funny and informative and the descriptions of Chinese traditions are quite vivid. Its both believable and entertaining. In the Bonesetters Daughter, the story revolves around several decades where once upon a time dragon bones were collected for medicinal purposes. It’s a really touching story about a mother and daughter and the way Chinese families function. In The Hundred Secret Senses, its more funny and lighthearted as the second main character’s sister can actually communicate with Yin people (the dead) and having conversations with them which spooked her half sister (the main character). Amy Tan is now one of my favourite writers, as long as she keeps writing about Chinese family living in America (which is her recurring theme in both novels). This is her forte. I think she will suck if she writes about something else because this is her life, being a Chinese heritage living in America.

4 comments:

MRS.CURMUDGEON said...

OOh, I love Anne Rice's books on the Mayfair witches.The vampire gets a bit ...blah...after the Memnoch series.

I WAS (note, WAS) an avid Anne Rice fan back in high school.Use to sneak read them during Sejarah period (itu sebab saya dapat 7 untuk sejarah, skian timerkasih).

Miss you lah.

Beautiful Life said...

Hey Lisa, miss you too...I am so backwards in getting the latest books titles, but who cares kan as long as you get something to read. I think now I LOVE AMY TAN hehehe and ralat sikit her books were written in year 2000 and not in the 90s as I've claimed (titles that I'm reading anyway).

I still haven't finish The Witching Hour and Snowball Oranges, gila boring sial both books. Snowball Oranges is so fake, the characters are not so beleiveable.

Anonymous said...

Oprah's 4 interviews with Jill Bolte Taylor were the first that Oprah did after Eckhart Tolle and they take everything Tolle talks about to another level. Oprah's copy of Jill's book, MY STROKE OF INSIGHT, was dog-eared and all marked up and kept reading from it the way she read from A New Earth and recommended it highly.

Oprah's recommendation was enough for me. I read My Stroke of Insight and I loved it too. This story is as inspiring as The Last Lecture or Tuesdays with Morrie - and even better, it has a Happy Ending!

I bought the book on Amazon because they have it for 40% off retail and they also had an amazing interview with Dr Taylor that I haven't seen anywhere else - Here is the Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/My-Stroke-Insight-Scientists-Personal/dp/0670020745/ref=pd_bbs_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1211471755&sr=1-2

Anonymous said...

I read "My Stroke of Insight" in one sitting - I couldn't put it down. I laughed. I cried. It was a fantastic book (I heard it's a NYTimes Bestseller and I can see why!), but I also think it will be the start of a new, transformative Movement! No one wants to have a stroke as Jill Bolte Taylor did, but her experience can teach us all how to live better lives. Her TED.com speech was one of the most incredibly moving, stimulating, wonderful videos I've ever seen. Her Oprah Soul Series interviews were fascinating. They should make a movie of her life so everyone sees it. This is the Real Deal and gives me hope for humanity.