Loved this book! Fine story and writing, and really neat descriptions of food and fascinating information on the Chinese philosophy about the properties of food and how the top chefs interested in the imperial style strive to complement and balance the perfect banquet.
I enjoyed the perspective on Chinese culture from someone who lived there and studied the language. It is probably more interesting for someone who has studied the language, even briefly as I did, than for someone who hasn't studied foreign languages, and particularly Mandarin.
I got a kick out of this funny book. While some of the characters were a tad stereotypical, the situation was unusual in the juxtaposition of British vs. American culture. The issue of adoption and wanting to know where you came from was thoughtfully handled.
I loved the beauty of the writing in this book. The attention to detail in the prose--the lyrical descriptions and wonderfully imaginative word choice made for a very stimulating and artistic read, in keeping with the major theme of the philosophy and creation of a Japanese garden. In addition there is a compelling story of an interesting protagonist set during and after WWII in what is now Malaysia.
I recommend this highly.
Very nice book for tweenagers (and their moms) set in Puritan New England. Has themes of religeous freedom and outsiders who don't fit into the local community. Great topic for youth, and very well written with engaging characters. Probably wouldn't appeal as much to boys.
Relaxing read with pleasant characters and nice little town. Very sweet cozy romance. Nothing deep.
A Contempletive and Poetic novel. The novel is mostly the internal voice of an elderly man whose lover has recently passed away. It is the story of an outsider--a gay British man living in California, teaching college classes. He no longer "fits in" to his neighborhood which has changed around him. He feels alienated where he is, but belongs nowhere else. He is resentful of or disgusted by the heterosexuals breeding all around him and has several erotic fantasies, which might make some readers uncomfortable. This is not an action novel--very little happens, but it has beautiful prose and a distinctive point of view that I hadn't seen before.
I really enjoyed this book. It is wonderfully funny detailing the highjinks of the denizens of the Seattle/Microsoft, suburban, private school crowd with a sweet underlying family story. The writing is very lively -- the story is told through the email messages, letters, etc. of various characters, each with very distinct voices. While some of the story elements are silly and outlandish for comedic effect, it is not vapid--there is humanity in the emotional unfolding of the story. The narrator gamely takes on some (briefly) required accents, but her main strength is in her energetic characterizations. She also sings exeptionally well for the one verse of a Christmas carol.
While the basic storyline (set in Cambodia during the regime of the Khmer Rouge) is tragic, the lyrical imagery and the embedded stories of spirits brings beauty to the sordid details, and the tone is one of hope and celebration of life.
Warning--lots of sexual content.
While I occasionally lost track of which character was being discussed, I attribute that confusion to my practice of multi-tasking. Wonderfully written variety of characters interwoven in a small British town.
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