Dragonwings, Laurence Yep

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Dragonwings, Laurence Yep

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Sep 23, 2013, 2:08 pm

You see this book on bookshelves, but you NEVER see the others. I was surprised to find out that it is part of an entire series, following one family through many generations! Who knew?! I mean, you did if you got the books when they came out, of course, but I wish that they sold them all together. This one stands alone, so I assume they all do, but I bet it's a lot better to have the whole thing and read it from beginning to end.

I only knew that there was a certain rightness in life -- the feeling you got when you did something the way you knew you should. p12
Loved this. If only it were true of everyone listening, that we could all do this.

And all the demon houses looked so strange. They were boxlike in shape, with no courtyards inside them, as if the demons hated fresh air but liked being shut up in something like a trunk. p16
Loved the combination of Chinese and American culture here. I'm sure it's true of the whole series, which just makes me want to read them all.

After the song, the demoness spoke some more about dragons and I began to feel sorry for her. Her dragons were sly, spiteful creatures who stole peoples gold and killed people for malicious fun. They sounded more and more like what Mother and Grandmother had told me about the outlaw dragons. It was a shame that the demoness had not gotten to know the true dragons of the sea, who were wise and benevolent. p142-143
Again, loved the combination of culture and how both can be true and are simply accepted. Awesome to see that culture and belief can remain.

Another thing to say for the demoness was her genuine interest in learning about people as people. Where some idiot like myself would have been smug and patronizing, the demoness really wanted to learn. And like Father, she was not afraid to talk to me like an equal. p148-149
If only we could ALL see people as people and just let it be. Honestly? In this day and age, where the internet is all over the place, we're replacing discovery shows about culture and such with reality shows about idiots running around and making fools of themselves. Really?

/Perhaps the truth of the dragon lies somewhere in between the American and Chinese versions. He is neither all-bad nor all-good, neither all-destructive nor all-kind. He is a creature particularly in tune with Nature, and so, like Nature, he can be very, very kind or very, very terrible. If you love him, you will accept what he is. Otherwise he will destroy you. p169
Natural and figurative dragons here. Beautiful writing that also parallels the book's tone of Americans and Chinese managing to share space together in times that weren't so accepting.

It should be noted that as I was reading this book, the anniversary of 9/11 came up, which happened the very day I read about the great earthquake. Parallels and all sorts, let me tell you. If you ever want to get more out of a story of destruction and despair, read it on the anniversary of a tragic thing you can remember seeing with your own eyes.
The demons we met would have been grateful now for a crust of bread or a cup of water -- things they would have turned their backs on just twelve hours ago. I felt very small. p223
There, you see?

Rats skittered over the rubble, blinking evil red eyes at the harsh sunlight.p225
WHY are rats eyes evil? If a dragon can be a good thing... What am I missing? Is there a cultural thing that says rats are evil? Beyond the obvious, I mean? 'Cause if you can fix the American misconceptions about dragons, you can say the rats were just blinking their eyes in the sun. Also, wild rats rarely have "red" eyes, from what I can recall, unless there are wild, albino or tan varieties out there. Most rats have dark eyes.

I loved the description on p268, but I'm going to make you read it for yourself. :)

And all of a sudden I saw that if life seems awfully petty most of the time, every now and then there is something noble and beautiful and almost pure that lifts us suddenly out of the pettiness and lets us share in it a little. p298-299
A beautiful way to end my notes. It's the spirit of the book, really.