Summer Reading Redux

In the midst of summer busyness–caring for the kids, yardwork, household projects–I have been trying to get some reading done. Well, I had to return Belong To Me (mentioned in my last post) to the library. I had Mark check it out for me when it was due last week, and then today, it was due again, and I figured they wouldn’t let me check it out again. I am more than half-way through, and I want to finish it. I just haven’t had the time to get to it.

I did finish The Good Earth, and it was worth reading. If you don’t know, it is the story of a farmer in China before the revolution. The farmer, practically worships the land. With the help of his stalwart, former slave wife, O-lan, Wang Lung survives a brutal famine and goes back to his land to farm it and become rich. He amasses more and more land, and becomes a lord in their small town. He also takes a second wife, a real sign of wealth.

What is great about this book are the themes that run through it–the benefit of hard work as opposed to slothfulness, the benefit of long-term faithfulness as opposed to betrayal, true humility versus false humility, being grateful for the gifts you receive in this life, etc., etc. The story is set in a pagan culture where false gods are honored and the people are superstitious, so the benefits of the gospel are missing. But the good and beneficial elements of these qualities to families and communities are still evident.

After I finished the book, I checked out the 1937 film based on it from the library. The movie had a happier ending and Wang Lung’s character was more foolish than in the book, but it was still a good reflection of the novel.

From looking at, it looks like there are 2 sequels to the first one: Sons and A House Divided Maybe I’ll get to reading them next summer!

5 thoughts on “Summer Reading Redux”

  1. I finally finished Book 6 of Harry Potter — I started the series after the 7th book came out. Now I’m waiting for the PB version of #7 to add to my collection. My reading is so slow and erratic that I don’t want to borrow from the library. Your choices of fiction seem to me more impressive than mine, but I must admit I’ve enjoyed HP. You make The Good Earth sound very interesting. It was always on my recommended reading lists in high school, but I never did read it.

  2. Mom,

    You would like The Good Earth, I think. Although shortly after it starts, there is a famine that seems to go on forever. (I suppose a real famine would seem to go on forever, too. So perhaps this is part of Buck’s plan.) But even in that depressing section, the writing is compelling enough to pull you through.

    I am still not done with HP 1. I keep finding other things I want to read more. It is hard for me because I know the story already from hearing a lot of it on tape or cd when driving the kids around or just hearing them talk about it.

  3. I feel like I am back in 9th grade lit. We read The Good Earth in class that year and I recall the discussions and study around it rather vaguely.

    I myself need to catch up to my 9 and 7 yr old in their HP reading…only finished 4 of the books so far myself. But the kids are very cute about whispering quietly to their dad regarding storyline/plot topics when I’m close by so they don’t reveal any spoilers!!

  4. Tricia,

    I think a lot of people read The Good Earth in high school. A friend of mine said she did, and then reread it as an adult and got a lot more out of it.

    Good for you on your HP reading. It is pretty cute that your kids are trying to keep from ruining the story for you. Funny.

  5. I picked up the sequel to the Good Earth today and read a few chapters. It picks up almost immediately from the first book and hasn’t quite captivated me yet, probably because I don’t find the sons likable.

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