"...I wrote the word 'fly' on my ballet shoes to remind myself of my goals." Li Cunxin
Seven ladies were present at Jennifer’s house to discuss Mao’s Last Dancer, the autobiographical bestseller by one of the world’s best ballet dancers, Li Cunxin. Thank you Jennifer for hosting and for the excellent book choice. Why did Jennifer choose the book? “I Saw it at bookstore pile of books on sale- Mao was the triggering word”. She had recently been to China and wanted to know more. It turned out that half the book club had been to China and it was just fascinating to hear all their comments mostly confirming that the author’s presentation of his home country was very authentic.
“I truly believe that the ultimate measure of one's success in life is not what position you have occupied or how much money you have, but what kind of person you have become, what difference you have made to the people around you.”
― Li Cunxin, Mao's Last Dancer
We all loved the story; in its captivating simplicity, we learned about rural China, family values, ancient Chinese wisdom, Mao’s totalitarian regime, defection, ballet academy routines, young and old love, suffering, and success.
The club rating 7.7/10
Here is what our members said:
Lindsay (7) “!” comment quotation lost in action. Sorry!
She had such wild stories from her China visit... starting with a five-star hotel spa that doubled as a bordello, the rest of her “adventure observations” can not be repeated here!
Elisabeth (6) “the real story of poverty, suffering, and love”. Elisabeth had found also the movie version, would be interesting to see how well it stands up for the book.
Candy (8) “appreciated all the ancient animal-related wisdom: the frog, the bird, but what about the cricket?” - club agreed the pearls of wisdom helped us understand the culture and strong family values in the peasant society.
Jennifer (8) “poverty is relative," which prompted a lively discussion about the current situation in China. And more travel stories!
Andrea (8) “not a literary masterpiece”, thus some reduction in points for often a bit sluggish feel on plot development. Andrea reconfirmed the issue also treated in the book: westerners, still a rare sight in many villages, being stared at.
Ruth (9) “best book club book after the miniaturist, after confusing beginning enjoyed very much."
Kirsti (8) “Amazing life story. How can someone be so lucky with everything! Wondering if the not so rosy sequences been left out? The book would have been a top read if somehow better edited. “
Kirsti found it fascinating to do her own research too. https://www.nytimes.com/1981/05/02/us/chinese-dancer-and-bride-tell-of-love-and-a-scare.html
Next book club date It also doubles as the book club's Christmas Party! Don’t miss it! Ruth is hosting with the season’s best delicatessen and pink bubbly. Tuesday 15 December @ 10 am
Book to discuss: Us Three by Ruth Jones
Ruth (OUR Ruth) has kindly provided us with these Welsh to English ‘translations’:
Ruth certainly knows what she talking about!
Island hopping or interrailing: traveling around Europe before going to University. Cracking: Welsh term for good Glengettie tea: strong tea Rhosllanerchaigog:a village in Wales Llanfairpwllgwyngullgogerychwyndrobolwlllantysillogogogoch: A village in Anglesey North Wales, Shortened to llamfairpwlch Waltzers: a fairground ride Simon Bates: Our tunes, people sending their requests into a radio show to be played on air. Fair play: okay Going steady: a long term relationship Calon Lan: A song sung at welsh rugby matches 2021 Schedule January 26 Candy is hosting, South Sound area Book: TBA
February 23 Elisabeth is hosting, 7 MB area Book: The Bright Hour by Nina Riggs
Last but not least, please note that January 1 is our ILC membership cut-off date, so if you have not renewed yet, please pay the dues (25KYD) at any December gathering or contact Lindsay or any Committee member for online bank transfer instructions. Happy reading! Kirsti ILC book club coordinator