Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Books I'm Longing to Read (or Waiting on Wednesday)

Yes, I am still (sort of) trying to trim my book collection. But there are still some books I'd like to read and that I'm looking forward to.

Pearl of China by Anchee Min
From the bestselling author of Red Azalea and Empress Orchid comes the powerful story of the friendship of a lifetime, based on the life of Pearl S. Buck.

In the small southern town of Chin-kiang, in the last days of the nineteenth century, two young girls bump heads and become thick as thieves. Willow is the only child of a destitute family, Pearl the headstrong daughter of zealous Christian missionaries. She will ultimately become the internationally renowned author Pearl S. Buck, but for now she is just a girl embarrassed by her blonde hair and enchanted by her new Chinese friend. The two embark on a friendship that will sustain both of them through one of the most tumultuous periods in Chinese history.

Moving out into the world together, the two enter the intellectual fray of the times, share love interests and survive early marriages gone bad. Their shared upbringing inspires Pearl’s novels, which celebrate the life of the Chinese peasant and will eventually earn her both a Pulitzer and a Nobel Prize. But when a civil war erupts between the Nationalists and Communists, Pearl is forced to flee the country just ahead of angry mobs. Willow, despite close ties to Mao’s inner circle, is punished for loyalty to her “cultural imperialist" friend. And yet, through love and loss, heartbreak and joy, exile and imprisonment, the two women remain intimately entwined.

In this ambitious new novel, Anchee Min brings to life a courageous and passionate woman who is now hailed in China as a modern heroine. Like nothing before it, Pearl of China tells the story of one of the twentieth century’s greatest writers, from the perspective of the people she loved and of the land she called home.

Due out in March from Bloomsbury

In the Company of Angels by Thomas E. Kennedy
A luminous love story and an internationally acclaimed masterpiece, published in the United States for the first time.

Born in 1944 in New York City, Thomas E . Kennedy spent his youth hitchhiking and writing his way around the United States before moving to Europe, where he has quietly published over twenty books. In the decade from 1995 to 2005, he wrote the Copenhagen Quartet, four novels set in the Danish capital, his adopted home. Published in Ireland and Denmark, the Copenhagen Quartet won international awards and was hailed as a “masterpiece” by Duff Brenna. Critics concurred, establishing Kennedy as a daring writer of rare grace and vision. Yet his work has never seen major publication in his native country.

In the Company of Angels is the first novel of the Quartet to appear here, a powerful story of two damaged souls struggling from darkness to light. Imprisoned for teaching political poetry to his students, Bernardo Greene has been tortured for months in Pinochet’s Chile when he is visited by two angels who promise that he will survive to experience beauty and love once again. Months later, in Copenhagen, where he has come for treatment, the Chilean exile befriends Michela Ibsen, herself a survivor of domestic abuse. In the long nights of summer, the two of them struggle to heal, to forgive those who have left them damaged, and to trust themselves to love.

Taking on the very best and the very worst of human experience, In the Company of Angels is a moving, achingly human story that achieves a fable-like quality rare in contemporary fiction. Dense with wisdom and humanity, this already acclaimed novel is a riveting testament to the resilience and complexity of the human heart.

Due out in March from Bloomsbury

Petals from the Sky by Mingmei Yip
When twenty-year-old Meng Ning declares that she wants to be a Buddhist nun, her mother is aghast. In her eyes, a nun's life means only deprivation - 'no freedom, no love, no meat'. But to Meng Ning, it means the chance to control her own destiny, and to live in an oasis of music, art, and poetry far from her parents' unhappy union. With an enigmatic nun known as Yi Kong, 'Depending on Emptiness', as her mentor, Meng Ning spends the next ten years studying abroad, disdaining men, and preparing to enter the nunnery. Then, a fire breaks out at her Buddhist retreat, and Meng Ning is carried to safety by Michael Fuller, a young American doctor. The unprecedented physical contact stirs her curiosity. And as their tentative friendship grows intimate, Meng Ning realizes she must choose between the sensual and the spiritual life.
Due out February 23rd, from Kensington Books.

What books are you looking forward to reading?


Sandy Nawrot said...

Hmmm...I'm thinking that BLOB is really starting to get you down, with books like these out there!

drbethnolan said...

I love Anchee Min's books -- I'll have to look for that one!

I'm excited to read "The Postmistress" (I believe by Sarah Blake). It came in the mail yesterday! :) -beth

Meghan said...

I share your anticipation for Pearl of China - I actually requested it from Amazon Vine last week! I have another book by Anchee Min, so I hope hers are good.

bermudaonion said...

Two Asian themed books - I love books set in Asia, so they look good to me!

Michelle said...

I just love the cover to "Pearl of China." I've entered to win an ARC everywhere I've seen it!

Vera said...

I saw Petals from the Sky on Shelf Awareness too and am very intrigued!

Old Bookworm said...

Oh! I must get ahold of Pearl of China!! I've never read Anchee Min; and, I'm a BIG fan of Pearl S. Buck. Petals from the Sky sounds good too--Oh my, the list just keeps growing!

Katy said...

Pearl of China sounds lovely!

BTW, I have an award for you here:

Kacie said...

Oh man, Pearl of China sounds awesome, since her life already intrigues me. You know the one area of life that she didn't talk about much was her divorce. I know that's common, it's too critiqued and too person. Now that she's gone, though, I wish I knew the story of her two marriages - as a missionary kid myself I feel like her story is probably quite poignant

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