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You may remember that one of my New Year’s Resolutions was to read one physical book and listen to one audiobook every month. I had two physical books this month because I struggled to finish Joy Luck Club the month before. Last month, my goal was to listen to Modern Romance, finally finish Joy Luck Club and then also finish All The Light We Cannot See. I got 2/3 done.
Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari
You all must go to your audible account and buy this audiobook. Seriously. Or at least go to your library and put yourself on the waitlist. I say this for two reasons, 1) it’s fascinating, and 2) Aziz Ansari narrates it and he is hilarious!
The book starts with a super funny introduction, and just gets better from there. I was hesitant to start this book because I doubted how useful it could be considering I’m already in a serious relationship, and it’s written by a comedian. After several friends, and then people I met at a company (not mine) party in Suncadia, raved about how it’s not what you expect and it’s sooooo good, I added it to my ToDoist “Books to Read” list.
And there it stayed, until May.
I had a couple of Audible credits saved up because for the two months prior I checked out the audiobooks on my list from the library. So I figured it was a good time to try Modern Romance.
The book makes you think about how we look for a partner in the modern age. It considers the expectations we put on strangers, the reason online-dating does and doesn’t work for people, and the impact that modern communication has on our relationships.
I never participated in online dating, but this audiobook discussed a lot of the issues my friends have experienced on there. It also gave me some insight into the way J and I communicate. All around, this is definitely one of the best audiobooks I’ve listened to this year.
If you’re doubtful about how funny Aziz can be while reading a book (rather than acting on a TV show), just watch this clip from his appearance on Jimmy Fallon.
And if you’re doubtful that he can provide peer reviewed, actually supported information about dating and romance, even with the help of trained researchers, he has something to say:
“Unlike phone calls, which bind two people in real-time conversations that require at least some shared interpretation of the situation, communication by text has no predetermined temporal sequencing and lots of room for ambiguity. Did I just use the phrase “predetermined temporal sequencing”? F**k yeah, I did.” – Aziz Ansari
Have you read Modern Romance? What did you think??
Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
My grandma gave me this book years ago and said that I would enjoy it. It took me a lot longer to get into than other fiction books because it follows 8 different main characters. As soon as I started to relate to woman, it switched to a different woman. I also had to move back and forth to remember which character was speaking during that particular chapter. I was very glad that I read a physical copy of this book so that it was an easier process.
The Joy Luck Club follows four women and their four daughters. By the end of the 2nd part (there are 3), I finally connected with several of the characters. The mothers immigrated from China, while the daughters were born in America. It made me really think about the things I think I know about my own mother, and what is probably her true reality.
The mothers had so many insights that the daughters never saw. And even though they raised their daughters themselves, there was a major cultural-misunderstanding between them both. The mothers could not understand the choices their daughters made, and several of the daughters dismissed really valuable wisdom from their mothers either because they thought it was antiquated or because they simply could not understand what she was trying to say because of the language barrier.
I’m shaking, trying to hold something inside. The last time I saw them, at the funeral, I had broken down and cried big gulping sobs. They must wonder how someone like me can take my mother’s place. A friend once told me that my mother and I were alike, that we had the same wispy hand gestures, the same girlish laugh and sideways look. When I shyly told my mother this, she seemed insulted and said, “You don’t even know little percent of me! How can you be me?” And she’s right. How can I be my mother at Joy Luck?
The interactions between the daughters was also really interesting, especially the level of competition they felt among each other when they thought their own mother was more proud of their friend than themselves. I think Amy Tan did a great job showing the friction from all sides that could arise in a variety of family/neighborhood situations. Overall, I would suggest this book to any woman who struggles in her relationship with her own mother or daughter. Despite how long it took me to read, it really is a compelling story, and by the end, I was sitting at breakfast at the Hyatt Regency in vancouver, crying over my chorizo hash.