The train that was delivering Junie to Trout River was just pulling out of the station and gathering speed, and already the compartment was filling up with cigarette smoke and the gregarious sound of sunflower seeds being cracked open. [opening of Swimming Back to Trout River]
She didn't need to look at the titles on the shelf to know which ones to take out. As she reached for them, she discreetly nudged a few backward so that they fell into the crevice between the bookshelf and the wall.She put the small stack on a chair.The ringleader took a quick survey of the titles."Shred them," he said. [excerpt from 25% of Swimming Back to Trout River]
A lyrical novel set against the backdrop of China’s Cultural Revolution that follows a father’s quest to reunite his family before his precocious daughter’s momentous birthday, which Garth Greenwell calls “one of the most beautiful debuts I’ve read in years.”
How many times in life can we start over without losing ourselves?
In the summer of 1986 in a small Chinese village, ten-year-old Junie receives a momentous letter from her parents, who had left for America years ago: her father promises to return home and collect her by her twelfth birthday. But Junie’s growing determination to stay put in the idyllic countryside with her beloved grandparents threatens to derail her family’s shared future.
What Junie doesn’t know is that her parents, Momo and Cassia, are newly estranged from one another in their adopted country, each holding close private tragedies and histories from the tumultuous years of their youth during China’s Cultural Revolution. While Momo grapples anew with his deferred musical ambitions and dreams for Junie’s future in America, Cassia finally begins to wrestle with a shocking act of brutality from years ago. In order for Momo to fulfill his promise, he must make one last desperate attempt to reunite all three members of the family before Junie’s birthday—even if it means bringing painful family secrets to light.
“A beautifully written, poignant exploration of family, art, culture, immigration, and most of all, love,” (Jean Kwok, New York Times bestselling author of Searching for Sylvie Lee) Swimming Back to Trout River weaves together the stories of Junie, Momo, Cassia, and Dawn—a talented violinist from Momo’s past—while depicting their heartbreak and resilience, tenderly revealing the hope, compromises, and abiding ingenuity that make up the lives of immigrants. [Goodreads Summary]
In the tradition of Yangsze Choo's Night Tiger and Min Jin Lee's Pachinko comes a magical saga that explores what it really means to love.
In the aftermath of World War II, Goh Junja is a girl just coming into her own. She is the latest successful deep sea diver in a family of strong haenyeo. Confident she is a woman now, Junja urges her mother to allow her to make the Goh family's annual trip to Mt. Halla, where they trade abalone and other sea delicacies for pork. Junja, a sea village girl, has never been to the mountains, where it smells like mushrooms and earth, and it is there she falls in love with a mountain boy Yang Suwol, who rescues her after a particularly harrowing journey. But when Junja returns one day later, it is just in time to see her mother take her last breath, beaten by the waves during a dive she was taking in Junja's place.
Spiraling in grief, Junja sees her younger siblings sent to live with their estranged father, Suwol is gone, the ghost of her mother haunts their home--from the meticulously tended herb garden that has now begun to sprout weeds, to the field where their bed sheets are beaten. She has only her grandmother and herself. But the world moves on without Junja.
The political climate is perilous. Still reeling from Japan's forced withdrawal from the peninsula, Korea is forced to accommodate the rapid establishment of US troops, and her grandmother, who lived through the Japanese invasion that led to Korea's occupation understands the signs of danger all too well. When Suwol is arrested for working with and harboring communists, and the perils of post-WWII overtake her homelands, Junja must learn to navigate a tumultuous world unlike anything she's ever known. [Goodreads Summary]
From a compelling new voice in women's fiction comes a mother-daughter story about three generations of women who struggle to define themselves as they pursue their dreams.
Simran Mehta has always felt harshly judged by her mother, Nandini, especially when it comes to her little "writing hobby." But when a charismatic and highly respected journalist careens into Simran's life, she begins to question not only her future as a psychologist, but her engagement to her high school sweetheart.
Nandini Mehta has strived to create an easy life for her children in America. From dealing with her husband's demanding family to the casual racism of her patients, everything Nandini has endured has been for her children's sake. It isn't until an old colleague makes her a life-changing offer that Nandini realizes she's spent so much time focusing on being the Perfect Indian Woman, she's let herself slip away.
Mimi Kadakia failed her daughter, Nandini, in ways she'll never be able to fix---or forget. But with her granddaughter, she has the chance to be supportive and offer help when it's needed. As life begins to pull Nandini and Simran apart, Mimi is determined to be the bridge that keeps them connected, even as she carries her own secret burden. [Goodreads Summary]
Margot Lee's mother, Mina, isn't returning her calls. It's a mystery to twenty-six-year-old Margot, until she visits her childhood apartment in Koreatown, LA, and finds that her mother has suspiciously died. The discovery sends Margot digging through the past, unraveling the tenuous invisible strings that held together her single mother's life as a Korean War orphan and an undocumented immigrant, only to realize how little she truly knew about her mother.
Interwoven with Margot's present-day search is Mina's story of her first year in Los Angeles as she navigates the promises and perils of the American myth of reinvention. While she's barely earning a living by stocking shelves at a Korean grocery store, the last thing Mina ever expects is to fall in love. But that love story sets in motion a series of events that have consequences for years to come, leading up to the truth of what happened the night of her death. [Goodreads Summary]
Become enamored with the splendor of Paris in this heartwarming and delightful story about writing one’s own destiny and finding love along the way.
Vanessa Yu never wanted to see people’s fortunes -- or misfortunes -- in tea leaves.
Ever since she can remember, Vanessa Yu has been able to see people’s fortunes at the bottom of their teacups. To avoid blurting out their fortunes, she converts to coffee, but somehow fortunes escape and find a way to complicate her life and the ones of those around her. To add to this plight, her romance life is so nonexistent that her parents enlist the services of a matchmaking expert from Shanghai.
The day before her matchmaking appointment, Vanessa accidentally sees her own fate: death by traffic accident. She decides that she can’t truly live until she can find a way to get rid of her uncanny abilities. When her eccentric aunt, Evelyn, shows up with a tempting offer to whisk her away, Vanessa says au revoir to America and bonjour to Paris. While working at Evelyn’s tea stall at a Parisian antique market, Vanessa performs some matchmaking of her own, attempting to help reconnect her aunt with a lost love. As she learns more about herself and the root of her gifts, she realizes one thing to be true: knowing one’s destiny isn’t a curse, but being unable to change it is. [Goodreads Summary]
What would you change if you could go back in time?
In a small back alley in Tokyo, there is a café which has been serving carefully brewed coffee for more than one hundred years. But this coffee shop offers its customers a unique experience: the chance to travel back in time.
In Before the Coffee Gets Cold, we meet four visitors, each of whom is hoping to make use of the café’s time-travelling offer, in order to: confront the man who left them, receive a letter from their husband whose memory has been taken by early onset Alzheimer's, to see their sister one last time, and to meet the daughter they never got the chance to know.
But the journey into the past does not come without risks: customers must sit in a particular seat, they cannot leave the café, and finally, they must return to the present before the coffee gets cold . . .
Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s beautiful, moving story explores the age-old question: what would you change if you could travel back in time? More importantly, who would you want to meet, maybe for one last time? [Goodreads Summary]
Do you collect bookmarks? (submitted by Elizabeth @ Silver's Reviews)
I have a nice collection of bookmarks--ones I picked up at bookstores I have visited or those I could not resist buying because I couldn't resist. There's also those that I have been given as gifts. So, not so much a formal collection as a good mix of bookmarks I have gotten here or there over the years. I have ones made out of cardstock, ribbons, crochet, wood, metal, postcards, old tickets, or magnet clips. I have homemade ones (my favorite being one my daughter made me for Mother's Day years ago). Some have tassels or charms attached. There's never lack of a bookmark around my house. I probably have 50+. And yet I still often use receipts, post-its, and scrap paper I find lying around. Go figure.
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Be sure and tell me what you are reading and are up to!
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I haven't read any of the books you mentioned today, but they all seem like interesting stories (especially Swimming Back to Trout River).ReplyDelete
Breana - I finished Swimming Back to Trout River yesterday. It was really good. Thank you for visiting!Delete
I feel so much better that even with 50 plus bookmarks you use bits of paper to mark a page. I found old envelopes and junk mail to be particularly useful, though I have resorted to an unused Kleenex tissue if nothing else is around.ReplyDelete
Louise - I have used unused tissue too! LOL Whatever is handy, right? Thank you for stopping by!Delete
I rarely use bookmarks. I tend to use concert tickets and other things like that instead. Swimming Back to Trout River sounds really interesting.ReplyDelete
Carole - I have an actual bookmark in my current book, surprisingly. LOL It was in the right place at the right time, I guess. :-) Thank you for visiting!Delete
Such an interesting mix of reads. I like books from the sub continent because even though the country is just so close to us, it is so different. I like to read stories from India.ReplyDelete
Mystica - And even within the country, there are such a variety of different stories, aren't there? Thank you for stopping by!Delete
I haven't read any of the books you mentioned, but The Last Story of Mina Lee is on my TBR and Before the Coffee Gets Cold sounds like such an appealing premise!ReplyDelete
Suzanne - I hope we both end up enjoying The Last Story of Mina Lee when we read it. I hope to read Before the Coffee Gets Cold soon. I have heard such good things about it. Thank you for visiting!Delete
Interesting assortment of books. I have hundreds of bookmarks that are mostly unused these days as I read almost exclusively on my Kindle. This week I am spotlighting A Peculiar Combination by Ashley Weaver from my review stack. Happy reading!ReplyDelete
Kathy - Same here. Most of my reading is done via e-reader these days. I am reading an actual physical book right now though and am happy to say one of my bookmarks is getting some use. :-) Thank you for stopping by!Delete
Great excerpts that give us a hint of what is to come. Thanks for sharing, and here's mine: “THE NEXT WIFE”ReplyDelete
Laurel-Rain - Thank you for visiting!Delete
Great list of TBR books! They all look good. And I used to collect bookmarks. But now I usually just use my library slip, or whatever scrap I can find around the house. :) Have a good weekend!ReplyDelete
Lark - It's much easier to grab whatever slip of paper is handy, isn't it? All those bookmarks and that's what I do. LOL Thank you for stopping by!Delete
It must take you a long time to put these posts together. Kudos.ReplyDelete
Happy Mother's Day weekend to you!! What does the fam have planned for you?
Ti - Since I am not a off the cuff blogger, I do a lot of prep work ahead of time and these types of posts are actually not hard to do when I have the time to prepare in advance. :-) The only thing I really need to add in is the quotes of my current read.Delete
Thank you for the Mother's Day wishes! Same to you. :-) My Mother's Day was quiet and uneventful. Sundays are our only down days out of the week and so no complaints from me.
Thank you for visiting!
I do collect bookmarks. I have a lot of them. I like your collection.ReplyDelete
Mary - Thank you!Delete
I have a lot of book marks too, but I usually end up using receipts. :)ReplyDelete
Lauren - Just like me. LOL Thank you for stopping by!Delete
I bet I would like the Trout River novel. I am fascinated and horrified by the cultural revolution. My book is The Girl with the Louding VoiceReplyDelete
Anne - I think you would like Swimming Back to Trout River too. There are modern threads that run through the book as well (if you count the 1980's as modern), but I most liked reading the flashbacks to the past which often is the case when I read dual timeline fiction. Thank you for visiting!Delete
Have you read Lisa See's Island of the Sea Women? It's also about Jeju Island and is really good!ReplyDelete
Helen - I have read The Island of Sea Women and enjoyed it very much. :-) Thank you for stopping by!Delete
I'm really curious about "Swimming Back to Trout River" as I've seen this book being mentioned on a few blogs so I'm adding this book onto my wishlist.ReplyDelete
I love bookmarks! I used to buy them at one bookstore as they'd a wide collection but sadly it closed down a few years back so nowadays my bookmarks are usually from The Book Depository.
Melody - If you do read Swimming Back to Trout River, I hope you enjoy it. It is on the sad side, so be prepared for that if you do.Delete
I love bookmarks too. :-)
Thank you for visiting!
I almost choked on my own breath when I read, "Shred Them." UGH, don't. LOL. Happy weekend!ReplyDelete
Freda - Such an awful image--and to make her do it to her own books . . . Horrible! Thank you for stopping by!Delete
Great connect topic. I have read and enjoyed Well Behaved Indian Women. The Magical Paris Teashop sounds good.ReplyDelete
Kathryn - Doesn't The Magical Paris Teashop sound good? I can't wait to read it. I am glad to hear you enjoyed Well Behaved Indian Women. I look forward to reading that one. Thank you for visiting!Delete
Well behaved Indian Women has been on my TBR for too long 🤦🏽♀️ The Last Song of Mina Lee, with the dual timelines, sounds interesting too. Those are great picks. Before The coffee gets cold was nothing like I expected but that made it all the better!! I hope you enjoy it!ReplyDelete
Verushka - Thank you! I hope we both are able to make time for Well Behaved Indian Women soon. I am glad you enjoyed Before the Coffee Gets Cold! It sounds really good. Thank you for stopping by!Delete