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review 2017-03-29 19:16
Dragons of Silk
Dragons of Silk (Golden Mountain Chronicles) - Laurence Yep

This book is not related to any of the others in the Golden Mountain Chronicles as far as I can tell (and I've reread them all within the last two years or so... most of them this month). So don't go into this expecting a story revisiting any previous characters or storylines.

 

Parts of the book reminded me of Amy Tan's novels (mother vs daughter, born in China vs born in America conflicts). Not in a bad way, just in way that felt obvious to me. I was reading and then I was thinking, "This is the same stuff Amy Tan writes about" and then I was back in Yep's story. It didn't feel cliche to me, it felt more like, a lot of Chinese people probably experienced these generational problems.

 

As with the Golden Mountain Chronicles I enjoyed the modern day bits more than the historical. There are some instances of emotional and physical abuse in the book, especially early on. I thought they were pretty well handled, but I also have no personal experience dealing with abuse.

 

Yep does play into one of my biggest pet peeves. At the end of the book there is a new generation of kids that are half Chinese/half white. And of course one has blonde hair and one has blue eyes (or something like that) because that's what all half Asian/half white people look like in books. I know that half Asian/half white kids exist with very distinct "white" and/or "Asian" features, but most of the half Asian/half white people I know have brown hair and brown eyes.

 

Dragon's of Silk is worth checking out if you're a fan of Yep, but I wish it weren't included in the Golden Mountain Chronicles. It just doesn't fit.

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review 2017-03-20 21:55
Dragonwings
Dragonwings - Laurence Yep

I'm falling behind on my reviews. I'll try and catch up before the month is over.

 

I've slowly been reading Yep's Golden Mountain Chronicles this month. I don't think I've ever read them in chronological order. It was fine for the first four because they were written sequentially. Dragonwings has a very different feel from the first four probably because it's at least a decade older than those first books.

 

The narration style is very different which makes it feel more historical. It also covers a much longer time period than any of the other books.

 

The book explains a lot and at first it felt like a book written for non-Chinese people. As I was reading though, the explanations felt more like they were necessary for historical reference than explaining Chinese culture.

 

I do like that Yep italicizes English words and dialogue. It's an easy way to recognize the code switching in the book and normalizes Chinese (as opposed to most books that italicize the "foreign" words).

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text 2017-03-19 21:19
Reading progress update: I've read 362 out of 536 pages.
The Name of the Rose - Umberto Eco

"This?" I asked, showing him a work whose pages were covered with abstruse letters. And William said, "No, that's Arabic, idiot! Bacon was right: the scholar's first duty is to learn languages!"

 

"But you don't know Arabic, either!" I replied, irked, to which William answered, "At least I understand when it is Arabic!" And I blushed, because I could hear Benno snickering behind my back.

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text 2017-03-19 17:32
Reading progress update: I've read 347 out of 536 pages.
The Name of the Rose - Umberto Eco

And now they're just name-calling:

"Is it my fault if Louis reads my writings? Surely he cannot read yours, you illiterate!"

"I? Illiterate? Was your Francis a literate, he who spoke with geese?"

"You blaspheme!"

"You're the blasphemer; you know the keg ritual!"

"I have never seen such a things, and you know it!"

"Yes, you did, you and your little friars, when you slipped into the bed of Clare of Montefalco!"

"May God strike you! I was inquisitor at that time, and Clare had already died in the odor of sanctity!"

And so on...

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text 2017-03-19 17:19
Reading progress update: I've read 345 out of 536 pages.
The Name of the Rose - Umberto Eco

"Alborea, his face purple, observed that this monk Jerome had been in Greece perhaps fifteen years, whereas he had been there since his boyhood. Jerome replied that the Dominican Alborea might perhaps have been in Greece, but living a sybaritic life in fine bishops' palaces, whereas he, a Franciscan, had been there not fifteen years, but twenty-two, and had preached before the Emperor in Constantinople. Then Alborea, running short on arguments, started to cross the space that separated him from the Minorites, indicating in a loud voice and with words I dare not repeat his firm intention to pull off the beard of the Bishop of Kaffa, whose masculinity he called into question, and whom he planned to punish, by the logic of an eye for an eye, shoving that beard in a certain place."

 

Such a ludicrous image. Learned men indeed!

 

And then there's a brawl.

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