Sunday, July 13, 2014

What is Lisa See reading?

Featured at Writers Read: Lisa See, author of China Dolls.

Her entry begins:
I’m reading three books right now. All three of these seemingly unrelated books are actually connected to research I’m doing for my next book. Mmmm…what could it possibly be about?

I’ve been reading Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio by Pu Songling for about a year. Pu Songling was a failed imperial scholar, who, in the 17th-century, traveled around China, collecting hundreds of stories of fox spirits, ghosts, demons, vampires, enchanted objects, and other eerie creatures and happenings. Pu referred to himself as the Historian of the Strange, and all the stories are presented as being “true.” Some of them are very short – a paragraph or two, while others are as long as twenty pages. They make very good bedtime reading, except when they’re too scary.

I’ve always loved books on science that I can actually understand. I guess you’d call the genre popular science. I recently returned from a research trip to Yunnan province, considered the birthplace of tea. Yunnan is a global biodiversity hotspot. There are more animal and plant species in that single province than altogether in the rest of China. It also has more ethnic minorities than the rest of the provinces in China combined. This made me...[read on]
About China Dolls, from the publisher:
The New York Times bestselling author of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, Peony in Love, and Shanghai Girls has garnered international acclaim for her great skill at rendering the intricate relationships of women and the complex meeting of history and fate. Now comes Lisa See’s highly anticipated new novel, China Dolls.

It’s 1938 in San Francisco: a world’s fair is preparing to open on Treasure Island, a war is brewing overseas, and the city is alive with possibilities. Grace, Helen, and Ruby, three young women from very different backgrounds, meet by chance at the exclusive and glamorous Forbidden City nightclub. Grace Lee, an American-born Chinese girl, has fled the Midwest with nothing but heartache, talent, and a pair of dancing shoes. Helen Fong lives with her extended family in Chinatown, where her traditional parents insist that she guard her reputation like a piece of jade. The stunning Ruby Tom challenges the boundaries of convention at every turn with her defiant attitude and no-holds-barred ambition.

The girls become fast friends, relying on one another through unexpected challenges and shifting fortunes. When their dark secrets are exposed and the invisible thread of fate binds them even tighter, they find the strength and resilience to reach for their dreams. But after the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor, paranoia and suspicion threaten to destroy their lives, and a shocking act of betrayal changes everything.
Visit Lisa See's website.

Writers Read: Lisa See.

--Marshal Zeringue