Sunday, May 24, 2009

Reading A Good Book

I recently read "The Good Earth" for the third time over the course of the last 20 or so years. The book was on the reader's club book list at our local library so I was inclined to read it again as it is one of my all time favorite books. I thought I would share a little about the "The Good Earth" with you.

The Good Earth was written in 1931 by Pearl Buck and was the bestseller book in the US in 1931 and 1932. It was reviewed by all the major newspapers and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1932.

In many ways the book is a study of culture, character, values, roots and hard work. The author has the ability to draw you in and allows you know the two main characters within the first page or two. She writes with such raw imagery that captures you and causes you to feel a connection to the characters and their lives. Pearl Buck enlightens the reader to the ancient traditions of China and in some ways emphasizes the injustice of these traditions.
The Good Earth is a portrayal of a poor farmer's life and his bond with the land which is as relevant to our own ancestral roots as it is to rural China. Wang Lung is a very complex man which is depicted in his relationships with his wife, children and village. He, along with his wife O-lan, work very hard to earn enough many to buy land. O-lan is a very unique character. She was a slave in a wealthy household until she comes to share her life with Wang Lung. O-lan is a very hard worker and Wang Lung thinks of her as a strong and competent woman to raise his children and maintain the home. Her relationship with her husband, as with all women and husbands of rural China, was in a subservient fashion. Again, the author empathizes the injustice of the culture and tradition.

Through the years, Wang Lung's family suffer poverty and famine but their strength of character sustains them through stark conditions that most would think inconceivable. At one time they were reduced to begging on the streets, Wang Lung refusing to sell his land. Things turn around as China begins to prosper and Wang Lung continues to buy land. He eventually becomes a wealthy landowner. What Pearl Buck shows here with the evolution of a proud hardworking peasant to a wealthy landowner is very disheartening. The disintegration of this man and his family as they become alienated from the land and its noble values is sad and is portrayed so eloquently by Pearl Buck.

Have you read The Good Earth? If you haven't read the book I encourage you to do so;The Good Earth should be on everyone's reading list. Here is a link with a summary of the book and actually h
as a review of each chapter.

What books are on your reading list this summer? Let me know, I am looking for some good books to read.

A book is like a garden carried in the pocket. ~Chinese Proverb


  1. Just purchased "Good News About Injustice"...its a book on human trafficking--so I'm expecting a heavy but worthwhile read.

    The author started the International Justice Mission ( organization that I would LOVE to someday work with--filming and photographing these little ones forced into sex trade.

    Maybe I'll borrow your book at the beach this summer...sounds like a good one :-)

  2. The Good Earth is probably my all-time favorite novel and so I really liked learning more about its history from your review! After I read it a few years ago, I checked out the old movie based on it and as I remember, it was pretty good. Kind of slow for modern tastes, but had some amazing special effects for the time. Speaking of movies, Lindsey at BDF, have you seen the 2006 movie, "Holly"? Just saw it a few weeks ago and it did a nice job of educating about human trafficking.

  3. Oh, and I'm reading "ninth witness", the 9th book in the AD Chroncicles series by Bodie Thoene. It's historical fiction about New Testament characters.

  4. I read it several times and loved it each times ... the chinese proverb is so true .

    I love reading so much ....right now I am reading DUONG THU HUONG , la terre des oublis ...I just start this book yesterday evening but so far I like it ...

    that's really funny because today I start writing a blog post about some of my recent readings ;) :)

  5. Hey Carol..I haven't seen it (I have to admit--I rarely watch movies and VERY rarely make it through a whole movie without sleeping).

    I'm going to check it out! Thanks for the recommendation.