Wednesday, September 7, 2016

I'm in Withdrawal, but Sinking into New Books

I'm suffering from having come to the end of my wonderful medieval historical tome,  When Christ and His Saints Slept by Sharon Kay Penman. I want to continue with the second book in her Plantagenet series sometime in the future.

In the meantime, no book on hand measures up to the pleasures of the one I just finished.
I have started reading The Stranger's Child, published in 2011, written by Alan Hollinghurst, the Man Booker Prize winner. Many critics stated that  this book is even better than his previous book, which won him the prize. I suppose it's that fact that made me buy the book 5 years ago. I can't judge the book yet--I'm close to 50 pages in to this 450-page book, and my poor soul is still happily lingering in the 12th century.   

For fun, I'm still reading Kitchen Chinese by Ann Mah.
The story is about a New York City second daughter of first-generation Chinese parents. Her sister Claire earned accolades at Harvard and at Yale Law School, and now works in Beijing, working for a law firm that deals with U.S.-Chinese partnerships. When Lai Joah, who desperately wanted to make it in New York magazine journalism is let go, she takes off for Beijing to live with her sister and to hope that some of Claire's luck will rub off on her.

She is hired by an expat-English language magazine, Beijing NOW, and eventually falls into restaurant journalism. So, it's crucial to note that the most fascinating part of the book are the descriptions of Chinese cuisine, and all the multi-faceted types of Chinese cuisine. Very interesting! Caution: Don't read this book while you're hungry. 

A lot of attempts at romantic interest in the novel, but more than one-third of the way through, no man of sincere interest for either sister. Things must change soon, because so far the book is relatively static, as in linear. Sigh.  I will report back. But I will say if you are into Chinese cooking, which I so definitely am, you will enjoy this book whether the plot finds legs or not. Lots of interesting descriptions about what it's like to live in the Beijing of today, which I have enjoyed.

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