Here are a few of my favorites for grown ups that I've read lately.
I hadn’t read any Amy Tan before I read this book, although I did see The Joy Luck Club. What I loved about this book is that it is part memoir, part writing advice. The book is not a narrative, but a series of essays, some for other publications about her life and her writing. The essay where she describes finding a Cliff Notes about her book is not to be missed--especially if you need a laugh. Her thoughts on being a multicultural author were interesting. Despite the fact that she writes what she knows, she’s constantly criticized for not portraying Chinese culture in a good light, for not providing good Chinese male role models, etc. I loved her response. Her purpose, as a writer is not to educate or to remake Chinese culture or people’s perceptions of it. Her purpose is to write what is true. May we all have the courage to do the same.
GENTLEMAN IN MOSCOW by Amor Towles
I tend not to like most best-sellers, but this one astounded me. It has all the things I love: the backdrop of the Russian revolution, nods to some of my favorite classic literature, and a hero who loves manners and is a true gentleman. This was a book I savored for its lovely turns of phrase, wide scope (though it takes place in one location), well-drawn characters, and wit. Not to be missed!
THE AWAKENING OF MISS PRIM by Natalia Sanmartin Fenorella
This is a translation of a Spanish novel. I first heard about it on Faith's blog, Life is Art, and knew I would love it. It's sort of a modern Jane Eyre-esque novel with a librarian meeting a curmudgeon, who is a cross between Darcy and C.S. Lewis. I loved all the literary allusions, but also the frank discussions of philosophy and Christian thought I rarely see in fiction. I also loved this idyllic town where feminists support women working less hours (yay to that!) so that they can focus on their children and their gifts and passions. And the portrayal of homeschooling as a suitable alternative to regular education spoke to me as well. It's a very different novel--if you like philosophy and Jane Eyre, it might be your cup of tea.
Have you read any interesting books for grown ups lately?
P.S. I'll be taking a break from blogging for the rest of the month and the first week of September. I will be back on September 11th with a post about MARI'S HOPE--the final installment in Sandy Brehl's trilogy about a girl surviving the Nazi occupation of Germany. See you then!