Monday, January 26, 2009

3 down, 106 to go

I am very happy to report that I have already crossed three items off of my list. First, I had a Jane Austen Day with one of my best friends, Julie. We spent nearly two days watching films, including the 5-hour, 1996 A&E version of Pride & Prejudice (wonderful!), the 2007 BBC version of Persuasion (so good!) and the 2006 Masterpiece Theatre version of Jane Eyre (not a Jane Austen-inspired film, but it was fabulous!).

And I finished reading Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China. This book was amazing and is now one of my top five favorite books of all time. Written by Jung Chang, it tells the story of herself, her mother and her grandmother during 20th Century China.

I think Publisher Weekly said it best: Bursting with drama, heartbreak and horror, this extraordinary family portrait mirrors China's century of turbulence. Chang's grandmother, Yu-fang, had her feet bound at age two and in 1924 was sold as a concubine to Beijing's police chief. Yu-fang escaped slavery in a brothel by fleeing her "husband" with her infant daughter, Bao Qin, Chang's mother-to-be. Growing up during Japan's brutal occupation, free-spirited Bao Qin chose the man she would marry, a Communist Party official slavishly devoted to the revolution. In 1949, while he drove 1000 miles in a jeep to the southwestern province where they would do Mao's spadework, Bao Qin walked alongside the vehicle, sick and pregnant (she lost the child). Chang, born in 1952, saw her mother put into a detention camp in the Cultural Revolution and later "rehabilitated." Her father was denounced and publicly humiliated; his mind snapped, and he died a broken man in 1975. Working as a "barefoot doctor" with no training, Chang saw the oppressive, inhuman side of communism. She left China in 1978 and is now director of Chinese studies at London University. Her meticulous, transparent prose radiates an inner strength.

I think you should read this book. Now.

And finally, I made a bacon, avocado and lettuce sandwich (with a lot of trimmings!). It is Cam's recipe and it was simply marvelous. You can find the recipe here on my new recipe blog: A Cooking Bird.

3 comments:

Jonathan et Kari said...

Noted.

Thanks for the recommendation.

Abby said...

This is definitely on my new list!

Holly said...

My book club read that book about a year and half ago and your right IT WAS AMAZING, I highly recommend it to anyone!