I just finished reading "Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress" by Dai Sijie, translated by Ina Rilke. It is soooooo good. It is the story of two youths in China during the 70's "Cultural Revolution". The boys are taken from their politically despised, educated, affluent, parents and "re-educated" in the country. Of course I have heard of the "Cultural Revolution" but at the time it was in full force I was raising two children with an errant husband in the backwoods of Oregon's north coast region, beautiful but isolated. Now, 40 years later this book has "opened my eyes" to the vileness of that time for the millions of Chinese people. But, the book is more than an expose of that time, the suffering, and the politics. It is a gritty, story of friendship and loyalty and the exultation that comes with discovering freedom (Balzac), and love. I've already passed it on but let me know and when it comes back, I'll save it for you. Now I have to read his other novel, "Mr Muo's Traveling Couch".
My most recent wonderful movie is, "The Emperor's Club". And it is a neat movie. Of course I'm a big Kevin Kline fan. Hollywood calls him, "Kevin De-Kline" because he turns down so many scripts, opting for scripts of substance and import. That being said, this is a movie for young people - teenagers, and adults alike. It is about honor and respect in the schoolroom and in life. It is humorous and entertaining but serious where cheating seems to get the upper hand sometimes and where the "best man" doesn't always win. I have watched this movie 3 times over the years and each time I enjoy it just as much. I think it's a must watch for teens on a "life choices" level with enough shenanigans to hold everyone's interest. No sex or violence.