Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Good Women of China by Xinran

Thank you for your wonderful discussion on Pride and Prejudice - now it's back to contemporary real issues of women, starting in China.
We will be reading The Good Women of China - Hidden Voices by Xinran.

Here's a book summary:
In 1989, Xinran, a Beijing journalist, began broadcasting a nightly program on state radio that was devoted entirely to personal affairs—a radical concept in Communist China. In response, she received thousands of letters from women, many with questions about sexuality; one woman wondered "why her heart beat faster when she accidentally bumped into a man on the bus."

Eventually, Xinran persuaded her superiors to let her share some of these letters on the air, and in this groundbreaking book, written after she moved to London, in 1997, she has also included stories that didn't make it past government censors. This intimate record reads like an act of defiance, and the unvarnished prose allows each story to stand as testimony.

We will be meeting at the Grove Fillmore in Pacific Heights neighborhood! Looking forward to seeing you there.

Next books to read:
March - Mornings in Jenin - Susan Abulhawa

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Happy Start to 2011!

Also - great time to read comfort books in this season, so before we dive back into our books of realities of women's lives globally - we started festively with Jane Austen! We decided to read her most popular novel Pride and Prejudice.

The carefully controlled and chess-like movements of polite society often conceal passionate hearts, keen minds, and rebellious wills. High-spirited Elizabeth Bennet attempts to stay true to her ideals while her meddlesome mother schemes to get all five Bennet sisters married and to secure their family's fate at all costs. Can a girl who refuses to abandon her independent and scrutinizing ways find true love and a faithful heart? More than one unexpected twist and shocking revelation await our heroine as she must choose between the dashing Mr. Wickham and proud, aloof Mr. Darcy.

How different are we now from the times of 18th century when women wasn't valued until they were married? Do we live a better life now where women have a choice in the matter? Is love overrated? Some of these questions we grappled during our discussion. But we ultimately decided that we loved this book because of the love/hate tension of one of the most romantic couples in literary history.

PS: Some members like the idea of watching the BBC Pride and Prejudice series as a follow up!