Thursday, September 27, 2012

A Double Highlight

There were many highlights to the book fair last Saturday other than the beautiful blue sky. I ran into several China lovers: a couple who'd lived for a year right near my husband's hometown; a couple who not only had lived in China and Taiwan, but in points all over the globe; a mother and her adopted daughter from China. It was like an all-day party.
At one point, I was talking about My Half of the Sky to an interested reader, when another woman approached.  I was about to start my explanation over again, when she interrupted: "Oh, I loved that book."
"Have you written your thoughts for a review?" I asked.
She said she hadn't....but now that I mentioned it, she'd be happy to.
The woman was Robin Levin, author of Death of Carthage. She not only shared her love of the book with me, but went home and put her thoughts on Amazon, Good Reads, and her own website.
That was a double highlight.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sonoma County Book Festival September 22

The Sonoma County Book Festival is coming Saturday, September 22....and I'll be there.  If you're in the area of the Santa Rosa Downtown Courthouse Square and Central Library from 8-4, please stop by my table to say 'hello.'

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Mandatory Mandarin K-12

A good friend just alerted me to the following interesting news on NPR:  In Georgia, Bibb County's superintendent has come up with the Macon Miracle, which includes mandatory Mandarin for all students K-12. "Students who are in elementary school today, by 2050 they'll be at the pinnacle of their career," Dallemand says. "They will live in a world where China and India will have 50 percent of the world GDP. They will live in a world where, if they cannot function successfully in the Asian culture, they will pay a heavy price," he said. How exciting is that?"

Saturday, September 1, 2012

A small treasure

We have a lovely new library.  It has computer terminals as far as the eye can see, electronic check-out locations, even a coffee bar.  I've visited a few times....mostly to get wi-fi access while I'm in town.
But....I liked our old library with its well-worn chairs and dusty shelves.  I knew exactly where the history section was, the adult fiction, the children's fairytales.   
The other day I realized I had nothing to read.  I had given my Kindle to my daughter so she'd have access to a never-ending supply of English-language books while in China.  So I decided to give our shiny new library another shot.  
I went past all the glitzy bars and snack area, the beeping terminals, the fancy computers and immersed myself in the shelves.  Oh, so many wonderful books.  The treasures I found.  I'm now hooked--not on old or new--just on the books.
Book of the Week:  The Girl with the White Flag by Tomiko Higa.  6-year-old Tomiko is the youngest member of a large family in Okinawa, Japan, in April 1945 when the war intensifies.  Within months, she is left alone,wandering, trying to survive.  It is a riveting--and amazing--piece of history.

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