Going to the Jubilee Library for World Book Night flexed my reading muscles to such a degree that I whizzed through to the end of Brave New World (what a thoroughly depressing ending – can’t say I wasn’t warned, nor was I surprised) and finished it last night. (This may not seem such an achievement unless you know that I set it aside so I could read Jasper Fforde’s latest book and it’s a dystopia, never the easiest reads at the best of times.)
Almost as soon as I’d finished it, I started on Fan Wu’s book February Flowers, on my reading list for a while, and by the time I went to bed, I was almost through it. I’ll finish it later today. It’s an easy read, as most novels by Chinese women writers are, but that’s not to say it’s not worth savouring. (Dai Sijie’s Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress was the same, and he’s, well, a man. Hardly chicklit *shudder*) It focuses on the memories of a woman who’s recently divorced, of her time in university in Guangzhou in the early 1990s and her brief but intense friendship with a senior student. She wrestles with her feelings for this woman (there are seven years between them for various reasons), wondering about homosexuality but thinking she couldn’t possibly feel anything but friendship for Miao Yan. It explores her discovery of sex (Chinese girls can still be quite innocent compared to Westerners) and her confusion about who she is and what she wants. It sounds like a simple enough premise, and it is: but it’s a hell of a read.
Next on my list is another Terry Pratchett (don’t we all love him?) and I have those books I picked up on Saturday evening to get through, plus more Chinese books (including Soul Mountain by Gao Xingjian, the first Chinese writer ever to win the Nobel Prize for Literature). Actually, the list just goes on. I’ve had the Mencius on my shelf for a while (Mencius was a disciple of Confucius, so it’ll be interesting to see how his thinking diverged from his master as well as agreeing with him). And American Gods, of course, by the great Neil Gaiman. Man… So many books. (Wait a second while I… *yippeeeeeeeeeee!* Thanks.)
On top of that, I still aim to finish my w-i-p by the end of the month so I can send it to the bestie in Inverness and give a copy to Kala to take back to Amsterdam (Kala, I’m gonna bloody miss you, girlie). So, better get moving, then, hadn’t I?