The current book on my nightstand it The Calligrapher's Daughter by Eugenia Kim. I am about 1/3 in and I am enjoying the story a lot. The flow is easy and relaxed, yet gets across the historical attitudes of the time frame very well. The feel of the characters is genuine and with each page I feel I know them like family. I have never read much about Korea, so I find this story engaging for the historical information as well. Asian culture is a wonderfully fascinating thing to learn about and I'm really glad I grabbed this one.
Years ago I was enthralled with Amy Tan's books. They were wonderful and heartfelt. I learned much about Chinese culture and attitudes.After finishing my current read, I am inspired to go back and re-read them AND get my hands on those I haven't yet read. I never saw The Joy Luck Club movie, but Amazon has it both on DVD and Prime rental, so I plan to check it out.
The same fascination held true for James Clavell's books. Not many of my teenaged friends were even remotely interested in his amazing Asian Sagas. I was hooked like an addict and read them as fast as I could. While I enjoyed the t.v. mini-series adaptations as well, I never thought they were given quite the justice they were due for such in-depth stories. Personally, I think it would be awesome if they were re-made into current t.v. series. That is probably the only way to truly get into the characters, stories and history.
If Asian history and culture interests you, I think all of the books above would go a long way to fulfilling your curiosity, while providing deep characters and masterful story telling. Others you might consider include From A Far Land by Robert S. Elegant, though this is hard to find a copy of. Another I enjoyed was Shinju by Laura Joh Rowland. I intend to read more of both author's books if I can get my hands on them.
I can't remember a time I didn't like to lose myself in books. As a kid I read a lot of young mystery and who-dun-nit such as Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys, plus books like The Outsiders series. Around age 10 or 11, my Grandfather got me reading more serious material when he decided I could borrow his Agatha Christie books. One at a time he lent them to me until I completed the entire collection and I loved every one of them. Next he tried to get me into Ian Fleming's 007 stories. Those books did not do it for me, but who didn't love Chitty Chitty Bang Bang? On a side-note, would you believe I never saw a James Bond Movie until I was dating Hubster? Oddly enough, I LOVED the movies. Go figure, huh?
Anyway, that's what I'm currently up to, when I am not tackling free Craig's List furniture refinishing and upcycling projects...