Film: Flying with You 一起飞

Flying with You is not my first Chinese movie (Wong Kar Wai!), but it is the first Chinese movie I’ve watched since learning Chinese. Starring Korean singer/actress Jang Na-ra and Chinese actor Jimmy Lin, this romantic comedy will not have you rolling on the floor laughing. Still, it’s not bad (不錯); watchable I’d say.

Baby comes from a wealthy family and lived in South Korea for a while, so her Chinese is not “native.” When she returns to China,Baby accidentally catches a robber and becomes good friends with the victim, Lin Yuxin. Yuxin arrived on the same day to look for her boyfriend, whom Baby promises to help find. In the meantime, Yuxin is invited to stay with Baby. That same day, Baby is “kidnapped” by a former solider who is now a flier, Xu Yifan. They end up spending a night in the woods together until they are found by the police who Baby’s boyfriend, Xiao Han, has hired.

Overall, it’s a cute movie. However, I’d say the plot is a little dry. I mean, there is drama, but the drama is played out in an intense way. In fact, the drama is glossed over and focuses more on the romance developing between Baby and Yuxin. Nonetheless, I think it’s a good movie for Chinese learners. Although I couldn’t understand everything, the actors didn’t speak in the usual light-speed way Chinese people in N.Y. seem to speak. So, I was actually able to catch a few words and phrases I’ve learned so far.

 

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Jhumpa Lahiri: Interpreter of Maladies

988261_682712241754797_999308452_n The Interpreter of Maladies is a collection of nine short stories involving the lives of Indian American immigrants and their children. Some stories document the struggle immigrants go through as they attempt to adjust to a new society. Some characters want to hold on to their own cultural identity, or at least a peace of it. Others find it difficult to immerse themselves into the American way of life and, therefore, feel like an outsider. Sometimes, even the American-born children of immigrants feel like outsiders, unable to truly identify with either culture. In other cases, American-born children are largely disconnected from their heritage. For example, in the title-story, when Mr. and Mrs. Das visit their home country for the first time, they seem more like American tourists than Indians returning home.

Although none of the stories are action-packed, each one does take a small unexpected turn in the end. Also, the theme of love is evident in each story. For instance, in “A Temporary Matter,” Shobar and Shukumar are both aware of their faltering marriage. While both seek a new beginning, Shobar is alone in hoping for a new beginning together. However, love is not always related to romance. For example, in “When Mr. Pirzada came to dine” and “The Third and Final Continent,” love is more about friendship.

In general, although this book was a good way to pass time in the cardio room, it wasn’t a can’t-put-it-down type of book. Maybe the lack of action had something to do with it because it did seem kind of slow. But overall, I would recommend this book to immigrants and children of immigrants for I think they would definitely be able to relate to many of the experiences relayed in the book.

John Green & David Levithan: Will Grayson, Will Grayson


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It’s not so unusual to think that there is at least one person in this world who shares the same name as you. And in the Digital Age, all you have to do is Google or Facebook your name to find out who that is. What is highly unlikely, however, is that you would unexpectedly run into this person in a porn store after you’ve been ditched by your friends or “stood up” by your online relationship. Even more unlikely is that this person would end up dating your best friend or that you would end up dating that person’s best friend. But that’s the very story of straight Will Grayson and depressed and gay will grayson.

Will Grayson, will grayson is the first LGBTQ YA fiction I’ve read so far. For me, the book was less about homosexual relationships and more about how when we learn to look past our own hurts we can truly see how much we love and how much we are loved. We are able to truly see ourselves and truly see others. In fact, I didn’t even really notice the fact that two boys were falling in love. Of course this doesn’t matter. My point is that although Will Grayson, will grayson inolved homosexual relationships, it had much larger themes that overshadowed the fact that it features gay characters.

John Green: The Fault in our Stars

Hazel Lancaster and Augustus Waters meet at a weekly support group meeting for cancer patients, which both are sort of forced to attend. That very same day, their relationship begins with a movie, V for Vandetta, and an exchange of book recommendations. Hazel recommends An Imperial Affliction.

An Imperial Affliction becomes an essential part of their developing relationship. Upon completion, Gus becomes almost as curious as Hazel about how what happens to the characters in the book as the book literally has no ending. So Gus, who is obsessed with living a purposeful life, decides to use his last Wish (via Make a Wish Foundation) to help bring closure for Hazel. Despite several obstacles, both travel to Amsterdam to meet the author of the book himself, Peter Van Houten. Surely, he will know the fate of his characters.

The book ends a bit differently from what I initially expected. It’s not necessarily a happy ending, but it’s also not necessarily a sad one. But it is nonetheless heart-warming. Frankly, I miss the book already!
Overall, I highly recommend this book. It’s more than just a love story of two teenagers struggling with cancer. It’s also a story about finding infinity within a limited time frame.