Like my fellow Debs, I read a lot. A ton. And very quickly, mostly because quick is all I have these days.
Caveat: I may be quick, but I’m not always timely (also like my fellow Debs – Debs of a feather flock together, and all that), meaning that books released in 2006 may not cross my desk until, oh, 2008 or so. So the title I am about to put forth is six years old, but by far the best book I read in 2006, so here it is:
Aside from the usual accolades (PEN/Faulkner Award, National Book Award Winner, Pulitzer Prize Finalist, NYT Notable Book, yada yada yada), it is a damn good book. It’s eloquent, easy to read, but multi-layered and complex. It’s literary fiction at its best, and carries a moral: Be careful what you wish for (because you just might get it). It also has one of the best first lines of a book: “Every summer Lin Kong returned to Goose Village to divorce his wife, Shuyu.” Now how could you not start reading with an opening like that?
But here’s the other thing I love. The author, originally a Chinese national, was illiterate until his mid-teens, lived through the Cultural Revolution, studied in America, wrote a bunch of poetry and books, and now teaches English at Boston University (he use to prof at Emory , too). Plus there’s all those awards and that Pulitzer Prize thingy. I have to say I admire that about a writer. I mean, sure it makes me feel like a wimp for whining about not finding time to write, but it also makes me respect the process of writing even more, and pushes me to be a better writer.
Who, or what, helps you be a better writer?
13 Replies to “Wait No More by Deb Mia”
I wondered if it was good….thanks for the insight! I read a lot and very fast too 🙂 which can be a pain when you have to buy three novels per flight when traveling to keep the boredom at bay………..
Mia, Ha Jin is a gift to literature. Not only is his first line mesmerizing, the last page of that book has haunted me daily — and I read it when it debuted. The last page of Anne Tyler’s Digging to America is nearly as good, but is the antithesis emotionally. Great posts, Debs. This has been a fun week.
I am a first line junkie. This one is great.
Talk about getting a reader’s attention. Mia, you just sold another copy of HA JIN since I need to know what happened “every summer.”
Oops. The above should read, “copy for HA JIN.”
This looks like of fantastic book. I’m finally able to get back into the swing of things because my youngest is now in preschool. I appreciate your review.
I read this one a few years ago and loved the opening line, which hoooked me right away. It really is a beautifully written novel. Thanks for reminding me to pull it out and dust it off! 🙂
I really have to get this book now. Is that a National Book Award sticker I see on the cover? Must be excellent literary fiction. Thanks for the review.
Arrrggghhh! Look people, I’m PACKING for god’s sake, how am I going to read all these amazing books y’all are coming up with? Sounds fascinating, Mia. On the list!
Now I’m starting to panic because I need to read all the week’s recommendations! This sounds incredible and I agree–that opener is delicious.
This one just got put on my list too. The first line is fantastic. Thanks, Mia!
Sounds fantastic and what a life story. I love the idea of looking at something like that as inspiring rather than shame (for having not accomplished so much) inducing…
Hmm..I’m part Chinese and I definitely need to read Waiting. It sounds like a wonderful book that will help me to learn a lot more about the Chinese culture.
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