The Bonesetter’s Daughter, by Amy Tan

Five stars, read in October/November 2017. It’s been several years since I last read Amy Tan and I was starting to wonder whether her books were a phase I’d grown out of. They are not. I deeply loved everything about this book, including (especially) the fact that in the audiobook, LuLing’s sections are beautifully narrated…

The Boat Rocker, by Ha Jin

One star, read in February 2017. I hated every page of this book. I started hopefully, because I was intrigued by Waiting and have been wanting to read Ha Jin’s other books for a long time. But my hackles went up on the first page—in the second paragraph—and I only got more and more suspicious until…

Waiting, by Ha Jin

Three and a half stars, read in February 2017. The best word I can choose for this book is bittersweet. I’ve had a difficult time figuring out how I feel about it. For some reason it took me a very long time to pick it up, but when I did, it was a sick day…

Empress, by Shan Sa

Two and a half stars, read in December 2016. Translated from French. This was a little dry; at times it felt like reading a catalog. A thousand horses in the parade, a thousand ministers, a thousand concubines, a thousand drums, and so on, sometimes for two or three pages. It made for easy skimming, though, which…

Boxers and Saints, by Gene Luen Yang

Four stars, read in December 2015. How can I use a word like “good” to describe these books, when everything inside them is so horrifying? And when I can feel elements of sympathy for all the different viewpoints represented, but there are none that aren’t also responsible for committing terrible atrocities? I feel like the…

Bird, by Crystal Chan

Five stars, read in June 2015. I immediately loved everything about this book, especially the protagonist. It’s not an easy book to read, in the sense that it’s full of sharp and overwhelming pain. But in the sense that I read the whole thing in less than 24 hours, and would gladly read hundreds more…

China Dolls, by Lisa See

One star, read in June 2014. I tried to give this two stars, but the more I thought about it, the worse it seemed, and I just don’t think it deserves the second one. I’m a devoted Lisa See fan, and the premise was so intriguing, so I don’t do this lightly. But I really did…

Song of the Silk Road, by Mingmei Yip

One star, read in August 2011. I saw this book at local bookstore a few months ago and fell in love with the cover, and I’ve been dying to read it since then. Now that I have, I regret to inform you that this book is absurdly, laughably, painfully bad. At first I wondered if it was…

Dreams of Joy, by Lisa See

Five stars, read in June 2011. It appears that my love affair with Asian historical fiction continues, although now we are back to China after having been in Japan for a while. This book is incredible. Dreams of Joy is the sequel to Shanghai Girls, and although it does a fairly good job of filling…