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Deblovestoread
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Pickpick

Thanks to #20in4 I finished the tagged book in time for today‘s discussion with the #LiteraryCrew group. It covers a lot of historical ground from 1938 - 2005 of one Chinese family beginning with the War of Aggression between China and Japan. I loved the character Meilin but Renshu felt a little flat to me. The tension he lived with wasn‘t fully realized IMO.

Librarybelle Glad it was a pick for you! 8h
Andrew65 That‘s brilliant, thanks for playing along 👏👏👏🙌🥳🍾🥂🥰📚 7h
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AllDebooks
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#20in4

Goals accomplished ✔️
Peach Blossom Spring - still processing this amazing novel for #literarycrew #buddyread 😍 @Librarybelle
The Night Watchman- finished my choice for #AAM hosted by @Soubhiville
Catching up with the #Pemberlittens on the tagged

Great conclusion to the months reads @Andrew65

Andrew65 That‘s brilliant, thanks for playing along 👏👏👏🙌🥳🍾🥂🥰📚 The readathons always help my reading, especially at the month end. 7h
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Librarybelle
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It is time for this month‘s discussion of the #LiteraryCrew #BuddyRead . I have 6 questions posted under the spoiler - you can find them on my feed, through the book‘s feed, or by searching the hashtags. If there is anything else you wish to discuss with the group not covered by the questions, comment below!

Also, next month‘s book is Matrix by Lauren Groff. If you have not already asked me to tag you for the posts, let me know below! Thanks!!

julieclair I will be a few days late to the discussion this month, but really looking forward to it. My hold for Matrix just came in today, so I‘m all set for February! 17h
Bklover I‘m like @julieclair - I‘m still a few days out. I‘ll check back to the discussion as soon as I finish. 15h
mrp27 Picked up Matrix from the library so I‘m all set for February. 13h
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PurpleyPumpkin I‘m hoping to finish this by the weekend. 😅 I‘ll be sure to check back then. Thanks for posting the questions! 13h
janeycanuck I finished up on Sunday! Heading off to the questions now 😊 6h
Librarybelle I‘m behind with reading too, @julieclair @Bklover @PurpleyPumpkin …hopefully soon! 5h
Librarybelle So glad you‘re ready for February, @julieclair @mrp27 ! 5h
52 likes8 comments
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Librarybelle
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6. Each of the main characters, Meilin, Renshu/Henry, and Lily goes on a kind of journey. For each of them, what is the journey? How are their journeys similar—and how are they different? What are the events that change them the most and how are they changed? ~from publisher reading group guide #LiteraryCrew #BuddyRead

Deblovestoread Meilin‘s journey was about survival and finding a home. Renshu lived the journey parents want for their children a good education, a good job and a happy family. Lily needed to figure who she was and strive for what she wanted not what was expected of her. 15h
mrp27 Agreed. Merlin‘s journey was one of survival, Henry‘s journey was to succeed and Lily‘s journey was one of discovery, herself and her family‘s. 12h
janeycanuck Their journeys really moved up the hierarchy of needs, didn‘t they? Meilin‘s journey was about getting that physical safety & struggling for basic needs. She was able to provide that as a foundation for Renshu, who then went on a journey of psychological development - getting past his worry that the govt would be able to get him, he never felt that safety, and of wanting to just belong and be like everyone else. But Lily - she wanted to feel like 5h
janeycanuck She had purpose and was making a difference in the lives of others. 5h
Sargar114 Well said @mrp27 (edited) 5h
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Librarybelle
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5. Discuss how the novel explores motherhood. What does a mother owe to her children? Is Meilin a good mother? Is Rachel? How is raising a child different during a time of great struggle—such as during a war? In what ways are their challenges the same? ~from publisher reading group guide #LiteraryCrew #BuddyRead

Deblovestoread Yes, I think Meilin was a wonderful mother, always striving to find safety, always providing in rough times, encouraging Renshu in his studies and not trying to hold him back. Rachel was a good mom, too but got lost a bit when she couldn‘t pursue her dreams alongside Henry‘s choices. 14h
janeycanuck For Meilin, mothering Renshu was about physically keeping him safe - she threw herself over him more than once to protect him. But for Rachel, in a different time and place, I think it was more about emotional safety for Lily. She knew it hurt Lily to be cut off from her heritage and she did what she could to provide that to Lily but she couldn‘t do much given Henry‘s stance. 5h
Sargar114 @janeycanuck well said. 5h
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Librarybelle
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4. Languages are important in this book. How is language used both to bring people together as well as keep people apart? ~from publisher reading group guide #LiteraryCrew #BuddyRead

mcctrish Language certainly made Meilin an other in Renshu/Henry‘s house and it broke my heart 18h
mrp27 It broke my heart when Henry stopped speaking it out of fear and when he stopped Lily from learning it. That kept them apart. I loved how Lily and her grandma didn‘t let the language differences keep them from happily communicating. 12h
janeycanuck @mrp27 yes, I felt the same. And it just ended up hurting Lily because she felt like she didn‘t belong anywhere. 5h
janeycanuck Meilin used language to build connections and relationships several times - she learned several new dialects in China and then when she was in Taiwan, she knew the way to get rice was by learning some of the language. Language helped her adapt and fit in wherever she went. 5h
Sargar114 @janeycanuck you bring up a good point along with @mrp27 Meilin used language to build connections and Renshu/Henry saw language as a barrier and by doing that forced Lily to find a way to connect with Meilin despite they‘re inability to speak the same language. 5h
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Librarybelle
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3. What was your favorite fable in the novel? Was there one lesson that resonated with you more than the others? ~from publisher reading group guide #LiteraryCrew #BuddyRead

mrp27 I didn‘t really have a favorite fable. I know it‘s a big part of the story but other than peach blossom spring I don‘t even really remember the others. 12h
janeycanuck Hmmm… I don‘t really remember any of the stories either, aside from Peach Blossom Spring. 5h
Sargar114 The one that stood out to me was the monk that grew the fruit tree in seconds. I think this is where the audio version also wasn‘t as good. It was hard to differentiate the fables from the overall story at that point. 5h
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Librarybelle
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2. How do ideas from Tao Qian‘s poem ‘Peach Blossom Spring‘ echo with larger themes in the novel? What was your reaction when Henry discovered how the original poem differed from Meilin‘s version? Why did Meilin change the story? ~from publisher reading group guide #LiteraryCrew #BuddyRead

mcctrish I think Meilin changed the ending so Renshu/Henry would make choices always looking forward and not to second guess himself. It‘s true that you can‘t go back to what was. I wondered how many of the students who went west for school went back to China. It would have been hard work in school and settling in but after 8 years that‘s a significant amount of time. The differences between the 2 places would be big 18h
Deblovestoread Completing the story would have suggested loss. Meilin was all about moving forward and finding home wherever you were. 15h
mrp27 I got a little confused by this. Didn‘t the book say that Meilin didn‘t even know the ending because she never fully unrolled the scroll? Either way, I think she left it with a positive ending to give hope to both her and Renshu. I also found the poem also mirrored Henry‘s life. 12h
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janeycanuck For me, it felt like she was trying to protect him from the way life usually goes - keep the rose-coloured glasses on, for lack of a better phrase. He was just a kid, he didn‘t need to know that life is full of unwinnable choices yes! 6h
janeycanuck Oh, and I think that America was Renshu‘s Peach Blossom Spring. I think he felt that returning to Taiwan could do nothing good for his life, so he stayed in the US, thinking it was his Peach Blossom Spring. But really, it wasn‘t because he was trying to force it to be something it wasn‘t. The political challenges just followed him there and continued to hang over his head. 5h
Sargar114 @janeycanuck I gathered it was her way of protecting Renshu/Henry as well. 5h
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Librarybelle
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1. What purposes do Meilin‘s scroll stories serve throughout the narrative? What do they mean to Meilin? In what ways do they shape the person Renshu/Henry becomes? ~from publisher reading group guide #LiteraryCrew #BuddyRead

AllDebooks I loved this part of the story. I thought they were Meikin's way of connecting to her roots, her lost husband and Renshu. The way she used them to ground him during periods of trauma or when he was unsettled were very moving. The stories from the scrolls helped her focus on the here and now, to ''keep moving forward", teaching Renshu to do the same x 20h
AllDebooks *Meilin 20h
mcctrish I agree with @AllDebooks it was a favourite part of mine as well, for a little while I read with fear thinking it would be stolen. I thought it was a way to make the two of them a family of 3 18h
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Deblovestoread I agree with these comments. It was a way for Meilin to share Renshu‘s heritage with him while also providing the comfort stories can give in times of upheaval. 15h
mrp27 I agree with everything said here. The scroll was a connection to her husband and to their dreams they had, their future. I felt too that it grounded her and gave her strength. 12h
janeycanuck Yes, the scroll stories were definitely a grounding presence for Renshu. I think they also helped Meilin feel like she had some semblance of control in a world that turned upside down over and over. It was the one thing that was constant, her tie to the past and what she put her future hope in. 6h
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