The Next Best Book Club discussion

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Looking For Recommendations > Culture Books

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message 1: by Tara (new)

Tara (tbm126) | 274 comments Can anyone recommend books that accurately depict an unpopular (less well-known) culture? I'm more interested in modern cultures, but ancient ones work as well. Thank you!


message 2: by Erika (new)

Erika (erikareading) Tara, I'm not sure what exactly you are looking for but for nonfiction I would recommend a book called Leaving Mother Lake: A Girlhood at the Edge of the World

It's a memoir of a woman who grew up among the Moso people of China in the mountains. Later she travels to the big city to become a singer which is quite the adventure. It's easy to read and kind of a page-turner.

I have lots of other "culture" books on my GoodReads shelves but lots of them might be too academic or not the kind of culture you actually want to read about.


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

One book that comes to mind is Moloka'i - it's fiction but really draws readers into a time and place in Hawaii. When first hearing about it, members of my book club thought it might be depressing - but everyone loved the story and the setting.

Moloka'i by Alan Brennert


message 4: by Chantelle (new)

Chantelle (chantelle13) | 90 comments LOVED Molokai. I have Honolulu on my TBR shelf right now - home on my nightstand.


message 5: by Chantelle (last edited Mar 02, 2010 10:40AM) (new)

Chantelle (chantelle13) | 90 comments Or One Thousand White Women The Journals of May Dodd by Jim Fergus

or

Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse

or

The Well and the Mine by Gin Phillips


message 6: by Donna (new)

Donna (dfiggz) | 1626 comments I loved LOVED The Rice Mother by Rani Manicka


message 7: by Petra (new)

Petra I second One Thousand White Women.

There's also:

The Cairo Trilogy: Palace Walk; Palace of Desire; Sugar Street (Egypt)
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan (China)
A Fine Balance (India)
The White Tiger (India)
Things Fall Apart (Africa)
Rasskazy (Short Stories) including One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. (can't find a direct link: A Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich) (Russian Siberian Concentration Camp.....sort of a culture...in a way)
The Blood of Flowers: A Novel (17th Century Persia)
Child 44 (Stalinist Russia; murder mystery)


message 8: by Donna (new)

Donna (dfiggz) | 1626 comments I have alot of them on my TBR as well as ones that I have read and loved!


message 9: by Tara (new)

Tara Oh! Petra, I agree with One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

It's not technically present-day modern (obviously... the gulags are thankfully a thing of the past), but if you're interested in 20th Century Soviet Union, all of Solzhenitsyn is good.

And while Hawaii might not be an "unpopular" culture, another good one is Letters from Hawaii


message 10: by [deleted user] (new)

Chantelle wrote: "LOVED Molokai. I have Honolulu on my TBR shelf right now - home on my nightstand."

Just read the synopsis for Honolulu - that looks good too! Thanks for the tip. :)


message 11: by Petra (new)

Petra Tara wrote: ".... but if you're interested in 20th Century Soviet Union, all of Solzhenitsyn is good...."

Tara, I agree. I've only read a few Solzhenitsyn books so far but many more are on my TBR list. His writing isn't "dark", like a lot of Russian writers are, and the reader comes away from the story with a grain of hope, I find, despite some dire circumstances in the story lines.


message 12: by Brenda (new)

Brenda | 266 comments Posessing the Secret of Joy by Alice Walker - is a heartbreaking story about an African woman from a culture that practices female circumcision.


message 13: by Jackie (new)

Jackie (thenightowl) I recently read My Place, which is non-fiction. It was excellent and very informative in regards to the Aborigine culture.

If you like fiction I recommend anything by Amy Tan, which usually deals with Chinese culture. I also love The Twentieth Wife: A Novel and The Feast of Roses: A Novel, which focuses on the Indian culture.


message 16: by F1Wild (new)

F1Wild I really enjoyed Lisa See's autobiographical journey of her Chinese family in On Gold Mountain: The One-Hundred-Year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family On Gold Mountain The One-Hundred-Year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family by Lisa See and Denise Chong's The Concubine's Children The Concubine's Children by Denise Chong .


message 17: by Philip (new)

Philip (philiphabecker) What a great thread. There's always so much going on at TNBBC that it's sometimes easy to miss something.

I'm looking for 7th grade social studies reads over on the "lists" thread. A lot of these would be great, so I'm going to steal some of your posts and post them over there as well.


message 18: by Cassie (new)

Cassie (cassielo) | 42 comments Solibo Magnificent is a novel about Creole culture.


message 19: by Katie (new)

Katie some ideas:
Salvation on Sand Mountain: Snake-Handling and Redemption in Southern Appalachia (small religious group in Appalachia)
The Swinging Bridge (Indio-Trinidad)
Annie John: A Novel (Antigua)

all very interesting and well written books--Covington is a thorough and honest journalist, Espinet and Kincaid both hail from the cultural groups they take as subjects


message 20: by jessi (new)

jessi (infinitevantage) | 86 comments It's not the best-written book I've ever read, but Invisible Life by E. Lynn Harris was influential because he was one of the first authors to try to show the downlow (black gay/bisexual men who kind of lead secret lives).


message 21: by [deleted user] (new)

C wrote: "Solibo Magnificent is a novel about Creole culture."

This one looks fascinating - thanks!


message 22: by Cassie (new)

Cassie (cassielo) | 42 comments My pleasure! :)


message 23: by Tara (new)

Tara (tbm126) | 274 comments Thank you all very much! My "To-read" list is going to have a breakdown.... I love it ;o)


message 24: by Irene (new)

Irene (irena47) | 988 comments Chantelle wrote: "Or One Thousand White Women The Journals of May Dodd by Jim Fergus

or

Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse

or

The Well and the Mine by Gin Phillips"


The Well and Mine is a favorite of mine.


message 25: by Irene (new)

Irene (irena47) | 988 comments Jessi wrote: "It's not the best-written book I've ever read, but Invisible Life by E. Lynn Harris was influential because he was one of the first authors to try to show the downlow (black gay/bisexual men who ki..."

Yes, if you didn't read this book, you would not have known what they were talking about on one of the episodes of Law and Order.


message 27: by Bryan (new)

Bryan (blyoung) Kirinyaga: A Fable of Utopia by Mike Resnick

Yes, it's science fiction, but it also deals with the culture and customs of Africa, and how they clash with modern values. The first few stories set up ethical dilemmas that will have you thinking about right and wrong.

One of the best books I've ever read. Highly recommended to non-SF readers as well.


message 28: by Irene (new)

Irene (irena47) | 988 comments On your recommendation Bryan, I have added it to my TBR list. The last SF book I read was Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein. And I must say, I really liked it.


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