Oct 18, 2015

Sunday Salon: The Secret Language of Women

Welcome to the Sunday Salon where bloggers share their reading each week. Visit The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated Bookreviewer.

Saw the movie, The Martian, today and enjoyed it even more than the award- winning space film, Gravity. Lots more complex science and intimations of the future in space travel. 
We also ate at a new Brazilian cafe, where my favorite course was the dessert - flan (custard with carmelized sugar on top).

I found two library books about Nushu, the secret writing used by women in China to communicate privately. The novels are set in nineteenth century China. 

The Secret Language of Women by Nina Romano, published Sepember 29, 2015 by Turner Publishing
Genre: historical novel

Book description: Zhou Bin Lian, a Eurasian healer, and Giacomo Scimenti, an Italian sailor, are lovers driven apart by the Boxer Rebellion. Married to another and forbidden from her chosen profession as a healer, Lian is forced to work in a cloisonné factory while her in-laws raise her daughter, Ya Chen. It is in Nushu, the women’s secret writing, that she chronicles her life and her hopes for the future. But her quest for freedom comes at a costly price: the life of someone close to her, lost in a raging typhoon, a grueling journey to the Yun-kang Caves, and a desperate search for beauty and love in the midst of brutality. (publisher)

I was intrigued by the title, The Secret Language of Women, as I first heard about Nushu from author Lisa See. 

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See,  paperback published May 21, 2011 by RandomHouse
Genre: historical fiction

Book description: 
In nineteenth-century China, when wives and daughters were foot-bound and lived in almost total seclusion, the women in one remote Hunan county developed their own secret code for communication: nu shu (“women’s writing”). Some girls were paired with laotongs, “old sames,” in emotional matches that lasted throughout their lives. They painted letters on fans, embroidered messages on handkerchiefs, and composed stories, thereby reaching out of their isolation to share their hopes, dreams, and accomplishments.

With the arrival of a silk fan on which Snow Flower has composed for Lily a poem of introduction in nu shu, their friendship is sealed at the tender age of seven. As the years pass, they reflect upon their arranged marriages, loneliness, and the joys and tragedies of motherhood. The two find solace, developing a bond that keeps their spirits alive. But when a misunderstanding arises, their lifelong friendship suddenly threatens to tear apart.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is a journey back to an era of Chinese history that is as deeply moving as it is sorrowful. This lyrical and emotionally charged novel delves into one of the most mysterious of human relationships: female friendship. (publisher)

I am eager to read both books to learn more about this unusual bit of history! Have you read either of these novels? 

New on my shelf: 
The Fairy Tale Girl, a memoir by Susan Branch, published September 15, 2015 by Spring Street Publishing
Genre: illustrated memoir

Book description: Based on the diaries Susan has kept since she was in her 20s, THE FAIRY TALE GIRL is book one of a two part series. Together the books are an illustrated memoir, designed with her whimsical watercolors and personal photographs. It's a story of love and loss, mystery and magic that begins in a geranium-colored house in California, and ends up, like any good fairy tale, on the right side of the rabbit hole, in a small cottage in the woods on the New England Island of Martha's Vineyard. (publisher)

Grabbed from my shelf: 
Taken In: Southern Sewing Circle #9 by Elizabeth Lynn Casey, published August 5, 2014
Genre: cozy mystery
Book description: Winning an appearance on a New York based morning show means the trip of a lifetime for librarian Tori Sinclair and the Sweet Briar Ladies Society Sewing Circle. Member Dixie Dunn wants to use the vacation as an opportunity to rendezvous with a man she met online. Tori must clear her friend's name when she is later charged with his murder. (publisher)

What books caught your interest last week? 


  1. I never heard of that secret language, how interesting, I'd love to read the book. I've heard of different sort of secret means of communication, but never one just between women, thanks for sharing ! Enjoy your week-end :)

  2. We heard Lisa See speak about how her cultural heritage affected her life and her son's wedding. But I haven't read her work. So much to read, so little time.

  3. I've heard of the secret language of the fan but didn't know much about it. This book and really all of your books this week sound interesting. I'm definitely going to look for Taken In. It looks like my kind of book!

  4. Wow, lovely books! I am especially drawn to The Fairy Tale Girl. Thanks for sharing...and here are MY WEEKLY UPDATES

  5. I loved The Martian too. I hadn't read the book and am glad I hadn't as I had no expectations and it was much funnier than I imagined!

  6. Harvee, I read Snow Flower and the Secret Fan and enjoyed learning about nu shu and laotongs. Enjoy your reading this week! I hope to find time to read this week!

  7. To be honest I had never heard of the secret language but they do sound beautiful books.

    Have a great week and happy reading!

  8. Snow Flower is one of my all-time favorite books. LOVE it.


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