China and Serbia

ATWIB 2013I made a trip back to China for my X book. And really, I think it’s the personal name rather than the family name, but at this point I’m running with it, since I didn’t have a lot of options and I’ve already read Malcolm X’s autobiography (which I loved). I then hopped over to Kyrgystan/Serbia/Bosnia for my Y entry. My China book was by a Nobel winner and was a big ambitious combination of folktale, vignette, literary criticism, Chinese history, and scenery. What it lacked was plot. I liked the glimpse of China, but I didn’t really like the book. The Serbian tale wasn’t great literature, but it was a nicely paced thriller and felt like a huge relief after slogging through the China entry. Now I’m headed off to read some Zola, and then and I’ll be on to the book title part of the challenge.

Meanwhile, a blogging friend is doing NaNoReadMo because she is burned out on NaNoWriMo. I’m not burned out at all about NaNoWriMo, but I just can’t do it this year. I can do a little extra reading, so my goal is to get through as many of these as possible: IMAG0198
Looks like fun to me!

Here are the reviews for X and Y:
Soul MountainSoul Mountain by Gao Xingjian
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I know this guy won the Nobel, but this book was a slog, at least on audio. Chapter 72 contains a debate on what comprises a novel. That explains this book. It’s called a novel, but it’s more a collage of folktales, pieces of Chinese history, vignettes (mostly between men and women), travelogue, environmental commentary, and literary criticism discussion. On one hand I felt I had a great exposure to many things Chinese, and on the other, I felt ready to just be done with it already. After about 100 pages, I thought “ok, I get it,” but it kept going. And I never really felt like it went anywhere. Some books that are hard to process make me want to go back and tackle them again with the big picture behind me, but I have no desire to revisit this one. I don’t think I’d find anything more there than I found the first time. This could be me (probably is) or the book, but I’m pretty sure it’s true. I’m giving it a 3 because I did feel that I got a feeling for the country in listening to it, but it’s a low 3.

The Warriors (Michael Parson & Sophia Gold, #4)The Warriors by Tom Young
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What if an uncaught Serbian war criminal tried to reignite the ethnic conflict in former Yugoslavia? That is the premise for this book. It’s well-paced, clear, with nicely constructed characters. It was inspired by the author’s time in the region in the Air National Guard. The book is a good thriller and a sobering reminder of the places hate can take us.

Progress report:

Around the World (goal: 52 total including at least 6 in each of 6 different regions) 27
Asia/Mideast: 6 (Israel, China, Afghanistan, Japan, Iran, Pakistan)
Africa: 2 (Madagascar, Libya)
Europe: 6 (England/UK, Ireland, Monaco, Poland, Spain, Italy)
Caribbean/Central America/North America: 5 (US, Cuba, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Jamaica)
Oceania: 2 (Fiji, Marshall Islands)
South America: 1 (Brazil)
Extra: 4 (Scotland, Greece, Holland, India, Serbia)

Around the US (goal: 50 states, DC, and PR): 19 (AZ, CA, CO, GA, HI, IA, IN, KS, LA, MA, MI, MN, MS, NM, NJ, NY, PA, RI, WV)

1001 Books (goal 52): 21

A to Z challenge (must be completed in order–26 author last names A to Z then 26 titles A to Z–strategy is all!): 25
Authors: Auster, Beinart, Chandler, Donovan, Eugenides, Faulkner, Grau, Hosseini, Ishiguro, Joyce, King, Lewis, Murakami, Nasar, Ondaatje, Preston and Childs, Quinn, Rushdie, Scott, Trevor, Updike, Vonnegut, Wouk, Xingjian, Young

About Beth Parks Aronson

I am Director of the Lamar University Psychology Clinic and run the clinical track of the Applied Psychology Masters Program. Previously, I was a psychologist in private practice in Jenkintown, PA where I specialized in anxiety disorders and working with people living with chronic and life-threatening illnesses. I am a little addicted to good literature. Ok, a lot addicted.
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