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Adulthood Is a Myth by Sarah Andersen
The Amazing World of Gumball: After School Special by Ben Boquelet
Anna's Corn by Barbara Santucci
The Arrangement by Sarah Dunn
The Better Country by Dallas Lore Sharp
Boy Dumplings by Ying Chang Compestine
Brownies and Broomsticks by Bailey Cates
California by Edan Lepucki
Camera and Lens by Ansel Adams
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Over the Moon by Frank Cottrell Boyce
Cleopatra in Space: The Thief and the Sword by Mike Maihack
Draw! by Raúl Colón
Giant Days, Volume 3 by John Allison, Max Sarin, and Whitney Cogar
Goodnight June by Sarah Jio
Half a Chance by Cynthia Lord
I Love Him to Pieces by Evonne Tsang
Jem and the Holograms, Volume 2: Viral by Kelly Thompson
A List of Cages by Robin Roe
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
Real Friends by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham
Scarecrow Magic by Ed Masessa
The 78-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton
Shopaholic Ties the Knot by Sophie Kinsella
Six Impossible Things by Fiona Wood
The Stone Heart by Faith Erin Hicks
The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson
Tagged by Diane C. Mullen
This Land I Love: Waterloo County by Carl Hiebert
Waiting is Not Easy! by Mo Willems
Witches' Bane by Susan Wittig Albert
XO, OX: A Love Story by Adam Rex

Miscellaneous
Armchair BEA introductions
April 2017 Inclusive Reading Report
Best Practices
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (May 01)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (May 08)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (May 15)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (May 22)
It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (May 29)
Mapping the roads of the American nightmare
Read Our Own Books - April 2017

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

My Kind of Mystery Reading Challenge 2017 February - January 2017-8



Pachinko: 05/07/17

Pachinko by by Min Jin Lee

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee is the billed as a multigenerational story of a Korean family. While that's true in the strictest sense, it's mostly the story of tenacious Sunja and her efforts to keep her family together.

To set the stage for Sunja's life, the novel starts earlier with her grandparents and her father — the only surviving child, born with a cleft pallet. He though dies young, leaving his widow and daughter to run the boarding house during the Depression.

Sunja ends up pregnant by her older (and married) lover. He offers to take care of her and their child if she agrees to stay in Korea and continue to be his mistress. Sunja, though, has too much self respect to let anyone define the terms of her life. Instead, she finds a new path — as the wife of a missionary living in Osaka. Her life bounces through the possibilities like a ball in a Pachinko machine.

The move to Osaka during the Depression is the set up for the rest of the book. Sunja's decision to leave her home creates ripples for herself and her family and those play out through the remainder of the book. Sunja's family saga looks at the Japanese occupation of Korea, World War Two, the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the rise of Japanese business in the States, and the most recent Japanese recession. All of it is seen through the lens of a Korean immigrant, her children, and grandchildren.

Later on, the pachinko theme is further explored as Sunja's children both (though under very different sets of circumstances) end up working in Pachinko parlors. Pachinko parlors were one of the few open jobs for Koreans in Japan

Pachinko is the first book by Min Jin Lee since her debut in 2007, Free Food for Millionaires. I must admit that I was unduly harsh in my review of her debut and over the years I have grown to appreciate it more than I did as a first time reader. Lee's books need to be read slowly and deliberately.

Four stars

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Comment #1: Tuesday, May 09, 2017 at 19:59:53

Dragonfly

Isn't it interesting how we change and evolve as readers. There are so many books I didn't appreciate years ago that now I'm like... huh? How come I didn't like it?? Pachinko is in my TBR hope to read it too and hopefully I'll like it :)



Comment #2: Tuesday, May 09, 2017 at 19:18:00

Pussreboots

I read it as an ebook because I knew we were planning to move and I didn't want to add to the work of packing yet more books. I think though if I weren't planing to move, I'd prefer it as a hardcover. It just seems like a book that would be beautifully designed and constructed.