Sunday, August 30, 2009

Book review: Letter from Peking

Yesterday I finished "Letter from Peking" by Pearl S. Buck. This is the second Pearl S. Buck novel I have read, the first being "The Good Earth." I didn't like this one quite as well as "The Good Earth," but it was still a worthwhile read. It is the story of a family torn apart by war. Gerald, half-Chinese, stays in China, while his wife and son move to her family home in Vermont. It is heartbreaking to see what this family goes through as they are forced to live separate lives yet always keeping their loved ones in their minds. Each one goes through stages of grief and handles the situation in his or her unique way. One thing I liked about this novel is that the narration is very simple and straight-forward. So many times in modern literature, the prose is so flowery and overly descriptive that something that should take one page becomes 10. Buck's novel is short, but effective.

In its place, I've picked up "Water for Elephants" by Sara Gruen. I'm only a short way into it, but I've liked what I've read.

I also finished my audio book, "The Jane Austen Book Club." I had already seen the movie so there were no real surprises here. It wasn't deep, but for an audio book, which I listen to while working out, I'm not looking for that. I want something fun and/or light, and that's what I got. My new audio book is "Change of Heart" by Jodi Picoult. With Picoult, once you've read one you've pretty much read them all, since she's so formulaic. It's entertaining so far, though.

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