A Trio of Books Reflect Today’s Headlines
by Beth Goehring
“It’s a small, small world,” as those of us who rode excitedly in that little boat bobbing through the Pepsi-Cola pavilion at the 1964 World’s Fair may remember. (I apologize. That tune by the Sherman Brothers of “Mary Poppins” fame is an earworm like no other!) 50-plus years on, the fact of that lyric is impressed on us every day as we watch world leaders interact and migrants search for a place to rest. These three books give us some insight into the history of some of the cultures in today’s headlines.
A second novel is a tricky thing and many of them disappoint. Not this one. Min Jin Lee’s first book, Free Food for Millionaires, wowed everyone, but Pacinko is on a whole different level. A good, old-fashioned family saga, this is a heartbreaking, fascinating story you’ll be sorry to finish. Set in Korea and Japan, a fisherman’s daughter fights her own battles through a tumultuous century of occupation, war, and a fragile peace. Get the book.
From its first sentence, “Big Angel was late to his own mother’s funeral,” Urrea’s talent pulls you in and makes you an honorary member of the de La Cruz family, in San Diego by way of Mexico, as they celebrate a birthday and a funeral, the familiar fireworks and finality of everyone’s life. Get the book.
First novelist Spencer Wise takes you inside a Chinese factory owned by an American family. Father and son rivalry and a complicated love affair propel the plot; his talent as a stylist and his family history in the world of global manufacturing put a shine on a topical issue that’s so distant for most of us. Get the book.
Beth Goehring believes, with apologies to Lorelei Lee, that rather than diamonds books are a girl’s best friend…and a boy’s, a man’s and a woman’s. For more than twenty-five years, through Book-of-the-Month Club and its related clubs, she’s sold popular fiction, mysteries, romances, cookbooks, children’s books, play scripts, behind-the-scenes tales of the movies and theatre, and lifestyle books. She lives with her husband in Manhattan.