Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"Memoirs of a Geisha" - Fiction or Not? That is the Question...

I loved the book. It was a love story and I love love stories. The thing that struck me most is not the romantic side of it because there wasn't much romance at all. It was the how closely it brushed with reality. It's based during the depression and WWII. The descriptions that the author used is amazing. The characters trials and tribulations seem so real and so disturbing at times.

The life of a geisha during that period is glamorous, yet tragic. It's very glamorous in the way they are dressed and look, but the things they are forced to do and that are part of their job is mind boggling to me. In my reviews of the books I read, I will never give away the story or the ending of a book. It's just a brief review of what I thought and how it impacted me.

What struck me most is how female-centric the geisha world is. Almost all heads of geisha life from owners of the oyika and owners of the teahouses are all female. Even the females in the book dominate the men in their forms of manipulation. It's hard to believe for me, a westerner, that in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s that females were in so much control of a certain empire. In America at that time women were still very subordinate to men. Not to say that the idea of a geisha isn't subordinate to men, because it is, but the deciding factors in the entire book was by a female. The men have the money but the females make the decisions. In America around that time women were still viewed in who they marry. In geisha Japan, it seemed that the women were independent not needing marriage to define them.

The reason I titled my review as "Fiction or Not? That is the Question..." is because the book is written by Arthur Golden but at the beginning of the book it explains how a translator named Jacob has translated the entire story from the main character herself, Nitta Sayuri. I thought the only reason it was considered fiction was because the main character while telling her story had changed the names of some of the characters to conceal their identity. In the Translator's Note at the beginning of the book, it even says how she (Nitta Sayuri) wanted to wait to publish the book. She wanted to wait until most of the people she refers to in the book to be deceased. She also requested that she be deceased before it was published as well.

Because this "Translator's Note" seemed so real in the way it was written, I believed throughout the entire time I was reading the novel that Nitta Sayuri was a real person. Not until I reached the page after the final page of the text, was I surpirsed to see in the acknowledgement section that the character Nitta Sayuri and her life were completely fictional. I was shocked because the way the book was set up I truly believed that she and her life were the real deal.

Besides that I thoroughly enjoyed the book and would recommend it to anyone. I can't wait to see the movie to put faces to the names in the book. I usually hate when movies are made from books because they never really encompass the great work of literature that the book was, but I still would like to view it. I'll leave a review on the movie as soon as I view it.

Friday, March 18, 2011

"Memoirs of a Geisha" - First Impressions

I haven't seen the movie and I've just started the book. I've always been interested in the life and mysteries of the geisha. I always wanted to know more about them but never took the time to investigate. This book has given me the platform to do so. I started reading it a couple days ago. It usually takes me a while to read a book because I have 2 children and a husband and home to take care of, so I don't have much free time. When I do get free time, I grab my book.

My first impression of "Memoirs of a Geisha" is that is a compelling and intriguing story. I was drawn in immediately into the story. The main character is a real person and she is telling her experiences of becoming and being a geisha. It is considered fiction, but it is very much based on a real life story and events.

When I was 5 years old, I was a geisha for Halloween (I'll have to find that picture and post it). Ever since then, I've been captivated by anything geisha. Though through the years the only things I've known about geisha is the way they look; their hair, make-up, and kimono. I've also known that they perform dances and tea ceremony and entertain men, but other than that I have no clue. This book has so far given me the opportunity to dig into a world which is foreign to me.  The imagery is intense and descriptions are massive throughout the book. You are able to visual the setting and characters very well.

The book title is "Memoirs of a Geisha" and the authors name is Arthur Golden.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Review of "The Sun Also Rises" by Ernest Hemingway

I finished reading the book. I have to say it was okay. I wasn't compelled by the book and it wasn't a book that held my interest for very long. I love a book that will keep you turning pages long into the night, but this one didn't.

I am a huge history buff. I love learning about decades and centuries before my time. This book did captured the post WWI 1920s decade well. I love learning about how things used to be. However, that was it. There was I believe a weak story line and nothing interesting at all. The end of the novel was just as weak. I did learn a lot about bull fighting, but other than that I have not much to say. 

I understand that Ernest Hemingway is an award winning fiction writer, but as far as "The Sun Also Rises", I was not impressed.

I'm always looking for a great book to read, so if anyone can interest me in one, please by all means, let me know. 

I enjoy romance and love stories the most and prefer them when there's action involved. Please help me in choosing some literature that would interest me and I'm open to hearing about what you thought of "The Sun Also Rises".

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

"Not Much of a Reader"

All my life, I've never been much of a reader. I used to do poorly on the reading comprehension section of standardized tests. I would even get the cliff notes to any book before even trying to attempt to read it.Over summer break in school, we used to be assigned a reading list. I would pick the books that had movies produced and do my book report on the story through the movie of the book. I tried everything in order not to read. Just recently within the past year, I've discovered literature. I always knew it was there, but never saw the positive points of reading. I've been exploring the classics and trying to educate myself in all I've been missing. I've also just realized that I enjoy writing. I've always had a knack for it. On essay tests, I would make up things and ace the test. It was always amazing to me that I could write total b.s. and come out a winner. Due to my small case of insecurity, I've been avoiding showing my work to anyone and I figured blogging would get me over that hump and show me to embrace my love of writing. Little hints of support from my friends and family members have helped me get going on this.

So over the past year, I've been diving into literature first hand mostly looking toward the classics and working my way out. Recently, I've read romance, action, science fiction, etc. Currently, I'm reading a book by Ernest Hemingway, "The Sun Also Rises". I'm almost through with the book and will post my comments of what I think about went I'm through. To be frank, I don't see the big deal about Ernest Hemingway as of yet, but I'm going to be open-minded. He is one of the greatest writers of our time.