Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Book # 23 - Honolulu

Alan Brennert
Audiorecording - 14 CD's

A young Korean girl named Regret sought a new future by traveling to Hawaii as a picture bride. She found out that the streets of Hawaii were not paved with gold as she had heard it described back home. In Hawaii, she lived a hard life on the plantation with her husband Mr. Noh, and eventually suffers at his brutal hands. She ran away, taking the train to Honolulu, where the train took her farthest from her husband. There, she forges a new life and a new identity as Jin. She eventually finds love, and a renewed friendship with her fellow picture brides.

This is a colorful and wonderful story. Alan Brennert is a master of telling stories about people overcoming the most dire circumstances of life.

The story rambled a little bit, at some point diverting from Jin's life to the history of discrimation of native Hawaiians by the white people who have claimed the land as their own.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Book # 22 - This Burns my Heart

This Burns my Heart
Samuel Park
Finished 4/5/2012

Soo-Ja Choi, a beautiful young Korean woman, dreamt to be a diplomat one day. Her parents dreamt of finding her a good husband. What seemed to be a compromise changed the course of her life. She lived her life with determination and a strong will to overcome all the suffering. She became a dutiful wife, an obedient daughter-in-law, a loving mother. She felt an emptiness in her heart, which can be filled only by her one true love.

Set in 1960's Korea, the changes in Soo-ja's life reflected the changes in her country's history.

Book # 21 - Water for Elephants

Water for Elephants
Sara Gruen
finished 4/2/2012

Jacob Jankowski looks back on his early life in the circus. As he sat in the nursing home, he reminisced on how he joined the circus when his life fell apart with the data of his parents. Set in the depression and prohibition, this story depicts the difficulties of the circus traveling across the country to give levity to the country's otherwise dreary existence. Jacob made friends and enemies as he performed his duties as the circus animal doctor.

My favorite character in the book was Rosie the Elephant.