We’re only a month into the Year of the Rabbit, but it seems like the Year of the Tiger is still making tracks, at least in the literary world (and with Charlie Sheen, who no doubt will soon land a book deal).
Today I read with delight that Jid Lee’s memoir, To Kill a Tiger (Overlook, 2010), has been named a Book of the Year Finalist in the autobiography/memoir category. Lee’s memoir chronicles her girlhood in South Korea at a time when relations between north and south were particularly tenuous. Lee later moved to the US to further her studies and is now a writing professor in Tennessee.
A half year before the Year of the Tiger kicked off, Aisling Juanjuan Shen wrote a spellbinding memoir, A Tiger’s Heart: The Story of a Modern Chinese Woman (Soho, 2009). Shen was born in the Chinese countryside, where girls are expected cook, clean, work in the fields, and give birth to sons. But Shen defied the odds and became the first in her hamlet to go to college. After struggling to make a name for herself as a business woman in China, she attained a dream few in her hamlet thought possible (or had heard of): she gained admittance into Wellesley.
Several months into the Year of the Tiger, Lisa Brackmann’s thrilling debut novel Rock Paper Tiger (Soho, 2010) hit the shelves. Brackmann weaves together the Iraq war, the high tech world of new China, and the remnants of old China–and doesn’t disappoint. Her heroine Ellie Cooper is a brassy, no-nonsense, US vet who finds herself entangled in a high-stakes game of crime and betrayal–both real and virtual. Good stuff.
Last month saw the release of Cheryl Lu-Lien Tan’s A Tiger in the Kitchen: A Memoir of Food and Family (Voice, 2011). She tells the story of her rebellious teenage years, where she leaves her home in Singapore to study in my hometown of Evanston, Illinois. Tan enjoys a successful career in publishing before returning home to spend a year with her family in the kitchen, learning not only great recipes, but also haunting family secrets. Sounds juicy!
And then of course there’s Amy Chua’s memoir, which came out on the tail of the Year of the Tiger. My 12 year-old son is now reading Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother (Penguin, 2011). When I asked him at dinner tonight how he likes the book, he gave me a thumbs up.
“But aren’t you glad you don’t have parents like that?” I asked.
“Those kids get to travel so much, so I wouldn’t care,” he replied.
Other tiger-titled books published this and last year include a biography of the infamous American athlete–Tiger: The Real Story (De Capo, 2010). If you’re looking to read about real tigers, check out The Tiger: The True Story of Vengeance and Survival (Knopf, 2010). Back to fiction, Teá Obreht’s novel, The Tiger’s Wife (Random House, 2011), looks promising.
Whatever your interests, one of these tiger books is bound to leap out.