Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Blossoms and Bayonets in the News

Just got word that Blossoms and Bayonets made the Local Paper. Such fun.

Also want to share a great review from Cliff Garstang, a former resident of Korea and author of What the Zhang Boys Know:
As a former resident of Korea (I was a Peace Corps volunteer there in the 1970s) and a student of its language, history, and culture, I enjoyed this book very much. It tells a story that is often overlooked, about the brutal Japanese rule before and during WWII. We're all familiar with the concept of "comfort women"--the sex slaves that the Japanese forced into service from Korea and their other "colonies"--but this book puts a face on that atrocity, as well as the conscription of young Korean men and the abuse of Korean patriots.
The story is told by three narrators--two Korean boys and their mother--beginning from just before the start of the war. It's a harrowing tale, and one definitely worth reading.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Walking through the clouds

I'm always a bit behind the times. I just learned from a fellow USCPFA member that this glass bridge in Hunan province--built 4700 feet above sea level, being 200 feet long--opened last July. Visitors are given booties to wear to keep the glass clean, although apparently the walk is so terrifying for some, that they prefer sliding along on the mountain side rather than even stepping foot on the glass. What an amazing sight. Has anyone been on it?
(photos courtesy of ChinaFotoPress)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Family Read for the Holidays

This past weekend at the Holiday Fair, a woman approached saying their family planned to read Blossoms and Bayonets together, as the book/the history was something that would make for a good family read. I'm still moved.

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