Friday, April 22, 2011

Some good books

The Imperial Cruise by James Bradley. Ever wondered how the idea of Nazi-ism got started? Why the sudden push for an Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere? What sparked WWII? I always thought the world had just gone mad (a bad 60-year cycle, as fengshui people would say). Not so, writes James Bradley, documenting early Americans and especially focusing on the first President Roosevelt who promoted a Japanese Monroe Doctrine. The work is eye-opening....and humbling.
A Helmet for my Pillow by Robert Leckie. HBO did a series called The Pacific, which documented some of the worst battles in the Pacific during WWII (and with Steven Spielberg directing, no gore was left to the imagination.) While I had trouble watching the series, covering my eyes each time bombing started, I was fascinated that the characters in the series were based on real men. One such man was Robert Leckie who wrote a bunch of books about his wartime experiences. A Helmet for My Pillow was like reading someone's letters home--funny, endearing, heartwrenching.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Awe-inspiring Grace

The buzz in my children's worlds recently has come from UCLA. A student there got on you-tube to offer her opinion of library manners--or the lack thereof. While I hate to subject people to such nonsense, and cringe everytime I hear her talking about "hordes of Asians" --as certainly 99% of them are Americans who happen to speak more than English--one must see the video in order to understand one man's response. And there was an outpouring of response. Shame, anger, disgust, etc. I fell in the latter category, as in "How did someone like that get into UCLA???? Is this the type of politician we have to look forward to?" But one man--Jimmy Wong--wrote a song. It's tune is fun and simple, the lyrics poke good-natured fun (all the way down to his exaggerated Japanese accent), and the monies he receives when you buy his song as an i-tune download go to Tsunami Relief. Ching-Chong. I'm in awe of such grace.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Places to Help Japan

The other day I was talking with a friend about Japan, and she said she hadn't heard of any fundraising efforts. I was thinking that all I've seen is fundraising for Japan--but then perhaps it is because I'm looking, looking, looking. For those who also haven't seen any fundraising efforts, I found a great blog which listed places to help out Japan Let me know if you find other places.

What People Are Saying About My Half of the Sky

My Half of the Sky was the BookSense Pick for August 2006 as well as a Forbes Book Club Pick.

"McBurney-Lin tells a wonderfully entertaining story with the traditional coming-of-age theme (which is experienced universally)...weaving in the cultural challenges of growing up in China's rapidly changing social system."
Mary Warpeha, co-President of the Minnesota Chapter of US-China Friendship Association
March 2010

"The novel ...includes many of the tales and the folk ways of the people living in the rural areas of South China, still followed provincially. The story takes place in current China, but could relate the dilemma of any young woman in rural China through the ages."
Kitty Trescott, National Board of the Midwest Region of US-China Friendship Association. March 2010

"A lot is expected of a young Chinese girl. My Half of the Sky by Jana McBurney-Lin is the story of Li Hui, a young girl who has just achieved marriageable age. She seeks to make the most of herself, but the expectations all around her make it difficult, as her parents seek to use her as pawn to their advantage, she is faced with what she believes to be true love. She must balance career, romance, and family, all to somehow make everyone happy, a tough endeavor indeed. An engaging and entertaining read from beginning to end, "My Half of the Sky" is a poignant tale of the modern Chinese woman, and recommended for community library collections.
--Midwest Book Review November, 2008

“It is a rare women’s novel that sensitively describes the life of a young educated woman in modern-day China in its full complexity, without resorting to unnecessary sentimentalism. Jana’s deep knowledge of the realities of life in China and Singapore makes the reading extra rewarding. In fact, with every new page the novel gets harder to put down and you find yourself gobbling it up before you know it. Finally, the author has given a voice to the Li Hui in all of us, as we struggle for the golden middle between tradition and the modern momentum of our world.”
Isabella Sluzek
Friends of the Museum Book Review 2008

You'll be rooting all the way for Li Hui as she struggles, ahead of the curve, to be her own woman in an emerging, modern China. Jana McBurney-Lin's My half of the Sky is a beautiful, witty, touching debut novel.
Thomas B. Sawyer
Head Writer TV Series "Murder, She Wrote,"
Author - The Sixteenth Man

A complex and mesmerizingly original tale of a young Chinese woman caught between the modern world and the pull of her ancient culture. McBurney-Lin’s intimate portrait of China sparks with insights and is peopled with characters so rich and alive, they seem to breathe on the page. Dazzling and unforgettable.
Caroline Leavitt,
Author - Girls in Trouble

McBurney-Lin's debut novel is a gift. Li Hui is a memorable heroine, a young woman torn between her heart and her culture.Her daunting journey is a trip into China's complicated soul, and a deeply moving exploration of love, honor, duty, and loss." Frank Baldwin, Author - Balling the Jack

My Half of the Sky is a wonderfully-crafted story that was obviously written with a piece of McBurney-Lin's heart. A masterpiece."
Lee Lofland, Author - Howdunit: Police Procedure and Investigation

My Half of the Sky heralds the arrival of a fantastic new storyteller. With artistry and precision, Jana McBurney-Lin's clear-eyed prose takes the reader on a new journey into a past world that speaks to a modern sensibility, a modern world, a modern woman. This is a book to be treasured.
Emily Rapp, Author - The Poster Child

Through vivid descriptions of sights and smells, Jana McBurney-Lin's My Half of the Sky is a haunting, emotional journey of what it means to be an honorable female in modern China. Jill Ferguson, Author - Sometimes Art Can't Save You