Sunday, January 2, 2011

Stealing Buddha's Dinner


I hope 2011 is off to a productive and pleasant start for you all! I was able to make it home yesterday evening, after racing the sunset (the sunset won, but only by an hour). I had purchased a lot of goods in my hometown (helllll-ooooo Costco!) and it took me forever to haul all of that PLUS my gigantic, heavy suitcases from my trip into my apartment. I unpacked everything, only to realize how messy my apartment is. I even left dishes in the sink. Yes, I had rinsed them, but still--gross. I cleaned my apartment for three hours last night, and six hours today. Still, I feel as though I've gotten nowhere. I think that's because I've been unable to complete any tasks. I received four pounds of coffee for Christmas, so I've been very ADD all day.

To wind down for the evening and drink some hot chocolate, I decided to finish reading a book I had started in the Anchorage airport a few days ago: Stealing Buddha's Dinner by Bich Minh Nguyen. Before I tell you a bit about the book, I want to give some background on how I found it. My hometown has a chain of thrift stores, kind of like a Goodwill. Of course, there are different items at each of the three stores. This summer, I had been to the one closest to my house, looking for books. I found nothing. In chatting with my best friend, Jessie Mae (who I think has resolved to start buying all her books from this chain of thrift stores, because they're such awesome deals), she suggested I try the one closer to her side of town. It's her belief that they have lower prices and a larger selection. The prices are low anyway--hardcovers typically run anywhere from $2.29-$4.00; trade paperbacks are from $1.29-$3.50; and mass market paperbacks are $2.00 or less. ANYWAY, I found six books on that trip! This book was one of them. It was a hardcover in excellent condition (I'm pretty sure unread, too) and had a pricetag of only $1.29. Score! It was tucked away in the 'romance' section, although it is definitely not a romance novel. The point of this story: get your butt to your local thrift store, because you may find some hidden treasures :)
Back to the novel: this is a memoir about a Vietnamese girl growing up in Grand Rapids, Michigan in the late 1970's and the 1980's. The author, Bich Minh Nguyen, reflects on her desire to fit in with a community of blonde-haired, blue-eyed, Dutch-Americans. Nguyen describes her lust for American food--from Shepherd's Pie to Pringles to ice cream-- as well as the American lifestyle. In the novel, her father marries a penny-pinching second generation Mexican-American, who does not care about name brands or being a stay-at-home mother. Nguyen lives in a two-story house with her Vietnamese grandmother, two Vietnamese uncles, her father, her Mexican-American stepmother, an older stepsister, her older sister, and a Vietnamese-Mexican younger brother. She explains how her lifestyle and family ostracized her from a community she so strongly desired to fit into. This novel was a pretty quick read for me and was intriguing the whole time. The only complaint I have about it is that Nguyen skipped over her teenage years, which I think would have only enriched the novel. If you've ever felt like you just didn't fit in while growing up, this is definitely a story you can relate to.
 Here's my reading goal info:
Rating: 8/10
Pages: 256
2011 Reading Goal: 256/12,500

Also, I just discovered a program on Amazon called Amazon Vine. Has anyone ever heard of it? Apparently, Amazon selects customers who have the most helpful reviews to review products before they come out, like those bloggers I was talking about! I'm thinking I'll be writing more reviews on Amazon now...

UPDATE: I apologize for the randomness of this blog. I think I need to realize that just because I now have more than four pounds of coffee, that does not mean I need to drink it all today.

1 comment:

  1. This is not random! It's very interesting :) I just found your blog, and I'm now following!


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