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A2/Ypsilanti Reads 2008: Red Azalea

Tue, 09/11/2007 - 7:39pm by amy

This is one of three titles under consideration for this year's Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Reads, which will focus on China and America: Bridging Two Worlds.

Red Azalea is Anchee Min’s celebrated memoir of growing up in the last years of Mao’s China. As a child, she was asked to publicly humiliate a teacher; at seventeen, she was sent to work at a labor collective. Forbidden to speak, dress, read, write, or love as she pleased, she found a lifeline in a secret love affair with another woman.

Miraculously selected for the film version of one of Madame Mao’s political operas, Min’s life changed overnight. Then Chairman Mao suddenly died, taking with him an entire world. A revelatory and disturbing portrait of China, Anchee Min’s memoir is exceptional for its candor, its poignancy, its courage, and for its prose which Newsweek calls "as delicate and evocative as a traditional Chinese brush painting."

Born in Shanghai in 1957, Anchee Min came to America in 1984. While attending English as a Second Language classes, she worked as a waitress, a house cleaner, a fabric painter, and a model. In 1990 she received a Masters of Fine Arts Degree from the Art Institute of Chicago. Min wrote Red Azalea in English over an eight-year period. It won the Carl Sandburg Literary Award in 1993 and was a New York Times Notable Book.

What did you think of this book? Tell us!


Here is a comment submitted to the Ann Arbor District Library website:

Submitted by TriciaT on Fri, 09/21/2007 - 2:37pm.

ANN ARBOR /YPSI READS - My ranking of the three choices would be 1-RED AZAELA, it tells a real story about the time of several changes of the Chinese government and the world changes of sexual choices, 2- BRIDEGROOM STORIES, nice to have a selection of stories which can be discussed for difference of ideas and also a little humor is wonderful, 3 -THE 8TH PROMISE,

Here is a comment submitted to the website by Al Chambers on 2007-09-24:

Strong preference for "Red Azalea." Anchee Min is both important, relevant and inspiring.

I think China is an excellent topic for this year's program

This comment was received by the Ann Arbor District Library:

Both The Bridegroom by Ha Jin and Red Azalea by Anchee Min are available in a recorded format from the Washtenaw County Library for the Blind and Physically Disabled so that people registered with our library will be able to participate in Ann Arbor Ypsilanti Reads. At this point, The Eighth Promise by William Poy Lee is not available in a recorded format. I would like to urge the committee to select one of the titles that is available to our consumers. We will then be able to read the selected title for our January 2008 Book Lovers Club.

Thank you for your consideration.

Margaret Wolfe
Librarian Coordinator
Washtenaw County Library
for the Blind & Physically Disabled

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