International Literary Project: Asia

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.  
  4. Paradise of the Blind by Duong Thu HuongParadise 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
  5. 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
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.


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