Friday, September 27, 2013

One Bookstore Less in California - Poppies Bookstore

Address: 3614 E Pacific Coast Hwy, Torrance, CA 90505
Phone: (310) 373-5553
Hours: Forever Closed For Business

It's always discouraging for me to see that small businesses can just disappear in a brink. I bought a few books there back in July 2013 and today when I went back, I found the space completely empty with for rent signs on the window. Now, there is one less bookstore in Southern California after Borders closed its mega store within less than a mile back in 2011. It's really sad.

What about you, do you feel sad if you see a neighborhood bookstore goes out of business?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Book Review: Stepping on Roses, Vol. 1

This Japanese comic book is so hilarious!  It's easy to read and extremely entertaining. For anyone who is looking for an hour of good laugh, or a brief distraction from all the stress of the day,  this is the book. It only takes about an hour to finish the whole book. But of course, this is only Volume 1 of a total of 9 Volumes.

Some of the scenes in the book are shockingly funny, eg. in a cramped run down studio apartment in the Meiji Period in Japan where there are babies and toddlers crying and running around,  with one of them shaking a poor old hen trying to get her to give an egg because he is hungry!!!

I will definitely read volume 2 to see how the poor, uneducated and illiterate heroine is coping in high society.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Book Review: With Heart

Written by Dorothy Garlock, this is a satisfying romance novel about a very likable couple during the great depression.  It's an interesting story set in a quiet little town in Oklahoma which I have never visited and am glad to learn about the Native Indian heritage and cowboy culture.   It's an entertaining novel about the good old fashion romance that developed in the midst of an intriguing mystery behind a small mid-western town. For once in a long time, I finished reading a book without cursing myself for wasting time on an illogical and poorly written story that has self-centered,  stupid and confused heorines.   The book's author writes a lot better than a lot of the contemporary romance authors nowadays.  It's interesting how authors from the older generation seem to write better English than younger ones... Why ?

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Monday, September 16, 2013

The Kid Stays in the Picture: A Notorious Life

The reason that I become curious about reading this book is because I stumbled upon the favorite things of the author at Wall Street Journal.  It was because of his favorite things that I went look up who he is and then I found this book he wrote....Sometimes one's encounter with a book is as fateful and accidental as the encounter between two people....Do you feel that way?  If so, share with us your fateful and accidental encounter with one of the books you read in our comment area below and we will send you a free gift in return.

Have you read this bookSubmit your review for this book and get a beautiful jewelry set for free!!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Powerful Asian Women More Than 1400 Years Ago

My American friends always asked me if I loved the book "Snowflower & The Secret Fan", I said no because it was the same old westernized fiction of the same old boring feet binding story.

I don't know why Westerners always have this fixation about Chinese women or Asian women being weak, suppressed and passive.  Examples of strong and ambitious women are numerous throughout the history in Asia.  Above is a drama about the first female ruler in Korea over 1500 years ago.  The history about the 2 female characters are real, Princess Mishil, an ambitious and influential female politician who obtained her princess title by being the  concubine of a series of  Kings and Princess Deokman, the daughter of a King whom Princess Mishil put to the throne. Determined to break Princess Mishil's control over the emperor and the royal family, Princess Deomkman later became the first female emperor in Korea, defying the centuries old succession rule and the social status of the kingdom.  The TV series is based on the history of these two women and is about their love of their country.  It's about the competition of two women who wanted to possess the country for their very different dreams and ambitions.  As a Chinese, I learnt a lot about Korea's culture by watching this dramatization of a piece of Korean ancient history.  I learnt that there were 3 nations back then and that it was not unusual for women from the royal family and nobility to marry more than 1 husband and to bear children with several husbands... I learnt that China's Tang dynasty later also had its first female emperor about one generation later.. I wonder if the Korean Queen was the inspiration.

This would have been a great historical novel in Asian theme.  It depicts the desire of power and love of 2 Asian women, and their dreams and hope.  Without one of the women, there wouldn't be the other, and yet with one of them, there can't be another. The nation would be lost without these women and history would be re-written.  This piece of Korean history is so fascinating that I just have to share the theme song and the MTV of the dramatized TV series....and I have to say no great historical novel so far,  can beat this TV series ...Queen Elizabeth's story became boring, compared to this....These two ladies in ancient Korea exercised tremendous courage, wit, and fought their life long battle for their dreams with great grace. They didn't submit to their destinies, but rather they were determined to make destinies and to make history.  Remarkable!  On the other hand, "Snowflower & the Secret Fan" is simple minded, one dimensional story that uplifted Snowflower's poor background by mere marriage, which doesn't make sense to me at all. Rich people would never marry poor farm girl in that era.  If a poor farm girl were to married into a wealthy family and defy all the rules that banned it, then lots of plotting and scheming had to be done... But  only Chinese women would know how to fight and defy such rules and certainly not by sitting there hoping they got the right birthdays...this is why a historical novel written by a westerner normally doesn't convince.

You can click here to buy the entire TV series on DVD with sub-title.