It’s been two months since I started my International Literary Project and I finally finished Asia.
The Far East is a fascinating place. The culture and land is very unique and it saddens me that it is being Westernized. I did my best to touch on all the countries in some way and I think I did well.
- India: A Portrait by Patrick French – A detailed look at India’s political, economic and social history. The book is easy to read and very informative; however, it is written by an Englishman and I suspect bias. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the book.
- China In Ten Words by Yu Hua – I did not realize this book was a memoir when I decided to read it. It provides insight on life in Mao’s China and the impact it had on a generation.
- The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini – This book was too painful for me to finish. I struggled with my decision to not finish the novel but at the end of the day I couldn’t torture myself. It is beautifully written and a very emotional story.
- Paradise of the Blind by Duong Thu Huong – Paradise is exactly the type of book I wanted to read for this project and a late addition on the list. Written by a female Vietnamese author it provided me with an on the ground experience. Although there is nothing particularly unique about the story, I enjoyed the opportunity to learn about Vietnam outside of wartime. Recommend
- A Fortune-Teller Told Me by Tiziano Terzani – I LOVE this book. Terzani is an engaging writer and I couldn’t put it down. This book was written 20 years ago but so much of it could have taken place today (although I imagine it’s probably impossible to avoid an airplane now). The antidotes are entertaining and left me with the feeling that I had traveled world with him. Highly Recommend
- The Patience Stone by Atiq Rahimi – Since I wasn’t brave enough to finish The Kite Runner I decided to read another Afghan novel that included an introduction by Hosseini. Short and simple this was a fast read.
- Apollo’s Song by Osamu Tezuka – Although it is increasingly popular in America I feel that Manga is a very Asian form of literature. Tezuka has been deemed the godfather of Japanese manga comics so I decided to read one of his most popular editions. It was interesting to read and reminded me of the Roslin/Adama story I love so much.
- How To Be Compassionate by His Holiness the Dalai Lama – I was always interested in but never knew very much about Buddhism. This book introduced me to the basics and I found it quite interesting. I think the philosophy is admirable and it would be a much nicer world if people took them to heart.
The restaurant portion of the ILP was a bust. First due to the proposed restaurant being closed and then to financial constraints but that’s ok. I made plenty of “Asian” meals to make up for it.
Watching movies turned out to be another challenge because Netflix doesn’t offer much. However, I did watch Jiro Dreams of Sushi and found it enjoyable.