I’ve just completed the God knows what number revision of my novel(I lost count a long time ago). While I have to admit it is one-hundred times better than the first draft, it is still not where it needs to be. I hope this isn’t coming across too negative. To be honest, while I’m not […] […]
Title: Red Fire: Growing Up During the Chinese Cultural Revolution
Author: Wei Yang Chao
Setting: Beijing, China 1960s
Ever wondered what it would be like to be a witness to history, to watch these watershed moments take place in front of your eyes? From what I’ve read, the answer is – terrifying. Wei Yang Chao was a witness to one of the biggest revolutions in history, especially if you go by the sheer number of people involved. He attended one rally that included over a million people, and the prospect of violence at every turn. He was lucky to survive.
This book is a first-hand account of the Cultural Revolution in China. Chao was there after the Summer Palace was destroyed. He was a witness to the rise of the Red Guard. He saw teachers and other “enemies of the state” tortured, sometimes to death. His own parents were victims of a “struggle session” as soldiers his own age smashed through the house and beat his parents.
This was an incredible but grim read. To me it was nothing but terror and abuse, as the country fell into chaos. But Chao was more caught up in the struggle. At times, he wanted to fight against the class enemies, but when people he respected became targets, he would question why this revolution had to be so violent.
I would definitely recommend this book. I knew little about this time, so I found it darkly fascinating. It’s not for everyone. It is violent. But it’s an important record of real life.
I received this book free in exchange for an honest review.
Has this happened to you? You’re reading a book, and suddenly, you find a character that becomes more than a character, they become a person. They become real. You know what they look like, what they sound like, how they act, even how they think. And you think, ‘Yeah, I’d totally like to meet that person.’
So I’ve come up with my list of 5 people – and it was not easy to get it down to just five – that I need to meet. I don’t know if it’s a dinner party thing, or hanging out, or a long heart to heart conversation, but I need to meet these people. Like, really.
- Carswell Thorne, Cress by Marissa Meyer. You know you wanted to add him to your list, but I got him first. OK, you can add him too. Yes, Wolf is fiercer, Scarlet is more bad ass, Cress is more adorable, but Carswell is the one we all want to meet.
- Minerva McGonagall, Harry Potter series by J K Rowling. She’s tough, but she has such a dry sense of humor. I’m dying to know what she really thought about things. If she would let her hair down and really open up, you know she has some great stories to tell. I would LOVE to hear them all.
- Hermes, Percy Jackson series, Rick Riordan. He doesn’t get as much ink as Ares or Poseidon, but he seems like a fascinating guy. What makes him tick? What’s it really like there on Olympus? I want to know!
- Sazed, Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson. Sazed is this awesome figure in the series who supports everyone and learns and studies and plans and goes through all this stuff and then his story just takes this astounding turn right at the very end! I loved him so much.
- Rapunzel, Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon Hale. I love steampunk, and this feisty version of our heroine is so much fun. She’s just so real and so much more believable than the Brothers Grimm version who just waits in a tower for some dude to come rescue her. This one rocks and I love her!
So I’m tagging anyone who wants to use this meme because I really want to see what someone else comes up with! Have a great weekend, readers!
Some characters you love, some you hate, some you love to hate, but then there’s characters that just made you cry. Here’s my picks. (Might be some spoilers!)
- Auri – Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss. Ari is sweet, vulnerable, and elusive. Her story, The Slow Regard of Silent Things, was simply magical and yet completely heartbreaking.
- Rosemunde – Doomsday Book by Connie Willis. No spoilers here, but Rosemunde is a little girl in the 14th century. Trust me, it’s a tearjerker.
- Sabriel – trilogy by the same name by Garth Nix. This was a great series, but it pushed the emotional buttons.
- Cedric Diggory – HP4 by J K Rowling. Sure, there were other deaths that were worse, but this was the first.
- James Herriot – All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot. This one was not so much this character as all the situations and clients he meets. If you haven’t read this series, you really need to.
- Nobody Owens – The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. I loved this one. I don’t remember if I actually teared up, but I did get emotional.
What was on your list? Which characters made you cry?
“If you’re struggling with writing a character, write 20 things that the reader will never know about your character. These will naturally bleed into your writing and provide a richness even though you don’t share the detail.”
You’re having a tea party for 5 guests. You may invite anyone from any book. Who would you invite and why? What would you serve? What do you do?
My guests. I’m going to make this an all female party, because it’s my meme and I can, so let’s get that out of the way. My picks would be
- Elizabeth Bennett. She’s witty, intelligent, and I’m dying to ask her about life in Regency era England. As well as gossip about our husbands. (Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen)
- Jane Marple. Also intelligent, and such a great source of gossip. It would be lovely to really hear an expert on human behavior. (Miss Marple mysteries by Agatha Christie)
- Scheherazade. She could entertain us with some amazing stories and I’d love to hear whether the sultan was worth all that in the end. (Arabian Nights)
- Molly Weasley. She’s a mom, like me, and we’d both welcome a chance to talk about our kids. And she’s an unbelievable badass as well. (Harry Potter series by J K Rowling)
- Meg Langslow. She’s not so funny all by herself, but as the calm within the storm, her tales would be hysterical. (Meg Langslow series by Donna Andrews)
Menu. Right, any party I attend would be better with chocolate, so let me start there. We’d have a chocolate fondue, tea or coffee for my guests and more chocolate for me. Maybe Molly Weasley would surprise us with some magical desserts and Scheherazade could bring Turkish Delight.
Activity. Maybe a few old-fashioned parlor games? I think Miss Marple or Elizabeth Bennett would be the winners there. Then we could just sit around and tell stories and eat the chocolate.
Right, so that’s my list. What about you? Who would you invite and why?