Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Thousand Years of Good Prayers by Yiyun Li

So, I'm taking a break from Slaves in the Family. On Saturday morning, I got a notice from my library telling me my materials were "due soon" and I panicked, having already renewed it once. How many times am I going to have to renew this before I actually finish reading it? It's a big book! Over 800 pages long! I thought, well, I don't mind purchasing it, so let's see what Powells has. So I went on their website and much to my excitement, they had it in stock for 6.95. Yay me! So I called their customer service line to ask exactly where it was. I was heading over to my mom's that day to get wedding gifts from Crate and Barrel, so I thought if there is on in Beaverton, I could easily stop by. If there was one on Burnside, I could stop by before heading to my moms. Luckily, I didn't have to go too far. There was one at Burnside. I immediately rounded up my things: laundry, purse, suitcase, and headed to Burnside. It was quite convenient because Powells has a parking lot for its about 5 story building. The customer service person told me exactly where it was: Purple Room-African-American Studies-Slavery-Reconstruction. Go it. I parked my car and off I went. I'm glad I went with a mission because knowing me, I can spend HOURS and way too much money at a place like that. I finally found the purple room and the africa-american studies section and there they were, 3 copies of Slaves in the Family. Two large soft covers and one hard cover. I debated whether I wanted a hard or soft cover and I went with the soft cuz I concluded it might not be *as* heavy, plus it was normal text so that cut a few hundred pages as well. When I pulled off the shelf, I knew I scored: 1.95 for a soft bound book. YES! So now that I have the book purchased, I will no longer accrue fines, or have to renew every three weeks.
I got interested in A Thousand Years of Good Prayers because as a movie junkie, I am constantly on the look out for new indie movies. I found the trailer on the apple site and was immediately intrigued. I have a soft spot for lost older men. The book is a collection of short stories and I believe the movie is about one of those stories that I have yet to stumble upon. Basically, the movie is about an elderly Chinese man that goes to live with his daughter in the United States, but really doesn't know who she is any more and at the same time, he's discovering new things about himself. It seems that it's mainly a book about him rather than the daughter and it's so infrequent that we ever get movies about elderly people. I look forward to finding that story in my reading. I've enjoyed this collection of short stories a lot too because they remind me of the "magical realism" that so many Latin American books are intertwined with. As a young child, I grew up hearing stories like that and thus, believing in them. As I read completely different stories from a completely different country, makes me realize how we, as humans, are so similar. In each culture, there are those slightly exaggerated stories passed down from generations to generations. But western culture seems to be squashing the imagination and wonder that these stories brought and it makes me a little sad. Everything has to be proved to be believed, it seems that few run on faith anymore. But I guess people would call me childishly naive because I want to blindly believe in these stories and the good in people. Oh well, call me naive. When I grow up and have my children, I will tell them the stories my mother has told me, and hopefully they can keep their imagination and wonder long enough to pass the stories to their children.

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