It’s Monday: What are you reading?

Word of mouth is one of the best ways to learn about new books or old classics that a friend has re-discovered. I tend to stick with authors I like, such as John Hart, but if a friend or book blogger tells me about something else, I can easily be tempted to try a book or author I’m not familiar with.

This week, I started another novel by Lisa See, The Island of Sea Women. I’ve read an enjoyed most of her novels. The book was released in 2019 by Scribner.

From the Publisher

“A mesmerizing new historical novel” (O, The Oprah Magazine) from Lisa See, the bestselling author of The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, about female friendship and devastating family secrets on a small Korean island.

Mi-ja and Young-sook, two girls living on the Korean island of Jeju, are best friends who come from very different backgrounds. When they are old enough, they begin working in the sea with their village’s all-female diving collective, led by Young-sook’s mother. As the girls take up their positions as baby divers, they know they are beginning a life of excitement and responsibility—but also danger.

Despite their love for each other, Mi-ja and Young-sook find it impossible to ignore their differences. The Island of Sea Women takes place over many decades, beginning during a period of Japanese colonialism in the 1930s and 1940s, followed by World War II, the Korean War, through the era of cell phones and wet suits for the women divers. Throughout this time, the residents of Jeju find themselves caught between warring empires. Mi-ja is the daughter of a Japanese collaborator. Young-sook was born into a long line of haenyeo and will inherit her mother’s position leading the divers in their village. Little do the two friends know that forces outside their control will push their friendship to the breaking point.

“This vivid…thoughtful and empathetic” novel (The New York Times Book Review) illuminates a world turned upside down, one where the women are in charge and the men take care of the children. “A wonderful ode to a truly singular group of women” (Publishers Weekly), The Island of Sea Women is a “beautiful story…about the endurance of friendship when it’s pushed to its limits, and you…will love it” (Cosmopolitan).

I’m enjoying the book. Younger readers may be surprised to learn that Japan occupied Korea for many years

What are you reading?

So, are you reading something wild and wonderful? If so, please share the title and author and what you think of it so far.

Malcolm

Author: Malcolm R. Campbell

Malcolm R. Campbell is the author of "Sarabande," "The Sun Singer," "At Sea," "Conjure Woman's Cat," "Eulalie and Washerwoman," and "Lena."

2 thoughts on “It’s Monday: What are you reading?”

  1. I am still reading Oliver Soden’s biography of Sir Michael Tippett, which is very readable, light yet full of interesting information but which at nearly 800 pages required the qualifier ‘still’ and had to be a Kindle copy. As leaven to that I’m reading ‘Dragons don’t eat meat’ by Kim Dougall. The title of this was the draw, although the cover is very off putting, but the innards (sampled before purchase) are a lot of fun being set in a future dystopia where magic has been released back into the world and, well, just … dragons! (Likes dragons.) Next I shall have a crack at ‘The Assault on Truth’ by Peter Oborne, in the hope of finding out where we went so very wrong politically. There will be something frothy to be read as a companion to that too.

  2. These sound like quality reading materials even though I’m not familiar with them. Kim Dougall’s book sounds interesting even if the cover isn’t very good. 800 words about a composer whose music I’m too deaf to hear. Probably won’t happen. You can report later about whether or not Osborne uncovers fake lies or true lies. Happy reading, and thanks for your list.

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