Goodnight Nobody and The Kitchen God’s Wife

Time for a reading update!

I know I had it posted that I was reading The Primal Blueprint but I’m not reading it very consistently so I took it down. I’m not very good with non-fiction books, so even though I’m completely convinced a primal food perspective is the way to go, I haven’t actually read everything Mark Sisson has said about it yet. I read his blog daily on Mark’s Daily Apple and I’ve read bits and pieces of both The Primal Blueprint and Primal Blueprint Fitness. If I have anything profound to add about The Primal Blueprint when I do actually get through the whole book, I”ll post about it. But I think it’s safe to say I think it’s worth reading and I would recommend it to anyone.

Goodnight Nobody, Jennifer Weiner
This was a fun read. I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was a random book I picked up at the Goodwill recently (.99 for 10 books!) I am skeptical about just about every one of the books, but for .99, who could pass that up? This is a mystery with a feisty, Sex In The City type main character and I enjoyed the silly twists and turns the story took. Overall, a good fun read. Great for breaking away from heavier reading.

The Kitchen God’s Wife, Amy Tan
I got this book at a book exchange shelf when we stayed at our timeshare in Texas last month. I’m so glad I picked it up! I read The Joy Luck Club years ago and loved it. So when I saw this I had to grab it. It was a challenging read but good at the same time.

It is hard to describe this book in just a few words. It has so much depth and offers so much in terms of character development, study of Chinese culture, the trials and suffering of war, reflection of human nature, and so much more. The perspective and voice, as told by the 77 year old Chinese mother, was challenging for me and forced me to read slower, but that’s not a bad thing. It stretches my brain to read a book like this.

I am often emotionally affected by the books I read, so if the main character is struggling, suffering, or otherwise unhappy, it tends to bleed over into my own life. It’s something I’ve noticed over time. There was a book once, that I read in 2002, that made me so angry while I was reading it that I would pick fights with Don after reading sessions, simply because it got me so worked up. At the time I didn’t know what was going on but that experience helped me finally see what was happening. Now, I know to look at what I’m reading when I’m feeling blue, or extra cranky. I almost put The Kitchen God’s Wife aside because I’ve felt a gray cloud floating over me during the few weeks I was reading it. How can that be when I’m sitting here telling you I enjoyed it? I did. It was a good reading experience. But it was hard. The life of the mother in prewar and wartime China was full of struggle and hardships. Amy Tan is wonderful at showing the strength of people in the face of hardship and showing how we as people can survive all sorts of injustice, loneliness, heartache, tragedy, and how through it all, hope and love can still prevail.

Towards the end of the book I decided to mark pages with quotes that struck a cord with me. I wish I had been doing so since the start. Amy Tan is one of those writers who has little gems of thought scattered throughout her stories that I wish I could pocket and keep with me for later reflection. Maybe saying this here will help me remember to find a way to mark and remember those passages in later books. I managed to mark two passages toward the end I’d like to share with you.

“When your mind stands still, all kinds of bad thoughts can come in.”

“I don’t know why something that made me so happy then feels so sad now. Maybe that’s the way it is with the best memories.”

There were so many more wonderful little nuggets of wisdom in this book that make it worth reading.

The books that help you the most are those which make you think the most.
~ Theodore Parker

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3 comments

  1. Kevin just put Primal Blueprint on my Nook, I can’t wait to find some time to read it.

    That is so funny how a book caused you to pick fights with Don. I wonder if I do that….

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    1. It was the first book of the Sword of Truth series (Wizards First Rule.) I almost wouldn’t finish it but Kevin pushed me to give it a chance. And of course I was glad I did. But boy, that first book was really a doozie for me. It made me so mad. More often than not I notice books bumming me out, but every once in a while one gets me worked up that way.

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  2. I also read and loved The Joy Luck Club many years ago. I’ll give this AT book a shot, when I’m ready for something on the serious side. (Those moods do descent upon me, though that happens much less frequently now than when I was a teenager. All I wanted then was doom and/or gloom–preferably “and”!)

    10 books for $0.99 is a win, even if the books themselves aren’t the best. I’m with you on this!

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