Welcome to the My Favorite Books Blog Hop! I’m glad you stopped by. Throughout the month of April, we’ll be hearing from bloggers and fellow bibliophiles about a topic we can’t say enough about — books! Old books, new books, fiction, non-fiction, it doesn’t matter. Everyone is encouraged to participate.
Each Tuesday, I’ll be adding a post about a book that I resonated with me in some way. And I can’t wait to hear from all of you.
A few simple rules:
- To participate, scroll down to the bottom, add your name to the list, and grab the link provided. Insert that into the blog post you wish to add.
- Make sure the list of attendees is added to your blog post.
- Be a good hopper and visit other blogs throughout this event. Be a great hopper and add some comments along the way!
I hope everyone enjoys! Happy Hopping!!
Pearl Buck’s The Good Earth
In last week’s blog hop post, my friend Andrea Patten asked, “How many times have you picked up a book and fallen in love simply because it was exactly what you needed at the time?” Well, that got me thinking about some of the books that have fallen into my life at precisely the right moment.
One such book is Pearl Buck’s The Good Earth. It was during a particularly difficult period in my life. I was eating lunch with a friend and she began to tell me about a book she had just finished reading. She looked at me and said, “You’ll love it.”
She was right.
I had never ventured into Buck’s novels before. A novel about China seemed unfathomable to a simple country girl from rural Georgia. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Buck’s novel takes us on a journey of a poor Chinese farmer, Wang Lung and his wife O-lan. Society looks down on Wang because he has nothing but through hard work and gritty determination, he is able to become prosperous. With each successful crop, he is able to buy more land from those who no longer wish to farm. Eventually, those who looked down on him come to see him as an equal, if not a superior.
But he also faces struggles along the way. There is drought and famine, temptation and corruption. We see a good, pious farmer fall victim to the trappings of wealth and opportunity. We see a family lose and try to regain its spiritual foundation.
In many ways, this novel helped shine a light on some issues that I had been facing. Not that I’d ever experienced precisely the same events that unfolded in the book, but his experience had mirrored some of my own difficulties in life. I had grown up on a farm and had a deep rooted appreciation for the land and those who work it. I had been determined to make something of myself in my youth. I had worked hard and had created a successful business. And I had watched everything I worked for disappear when that business failed during the last recession.
I had lived through my own personal famine and was emerging on the other side when I read this book.
I can’t say what impact this novel would have had on me if I’d read it at any other time. There’s no way to know if it would have held the same influence. I’m sure I would have appreciated the work, as it is an amazing literary read. Yet I’m also sure that the overall impact would have been different.
This book was originally published in 1931 and won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction the following year. A movie followed in 1937 starring Paul Muni and Luise Rainer. The movie is entertaining but it’s not on par with the classics like Gone With the Wind or Casablanca. And it is nowhere close to the book.
After all, you shouldn’t judge a book by the movie.
I’d highly recommend taking a journey to historical China through Buck’s novel. Whether you’re facing difficulty or not, this book has immense wealth to offer the reader.
(Jennifer B. Duffey is the author of two novels and a collection of short stories. To download a free copy of her latest novel, The Face in the Mirror, click here.)