Wednesday, July 19, 2017

China's Past and Future in 2 Book Reviews

There is so much to love about this book! It's appealing to young and old alike. It was lent to me by sisters, ages 14 and 12. They were effusive in their praise. As a work of historical fiction, it gave them context for our class reading of Red Scarf Girl, which is memoir, China's own version of Diary of Anne Frank. Letters in the Jade Dragon Box is how I washed down Red Scarf Girl, which has an overall oppressive feeling because of the weight of oppression Jiang Ji-li truly felt. Reading this one next helped me to feel more hope for China. It is an LDS author who weaves a story of conversion and re-conversion throughout, using actual missionary history in Hong Kong to give it life. At first, the historical footnotes caught me off guard, but I came to appreciate the depth these post-chapter explanations provided. They make this book an excellent study tool for those interested in China's past and present, particularly from a religious freedom perspective. I feel this book gave me more of a connection to China, celebrating its beauty, art, and culture, while telling the very sad story of the 1960's Cultural Revolution which tore so many families apart. I highly recommend this to both adults and young people. Reading it in the same semester with Red Scarf Girl is even better.

I was moved to tears by Ji-li Jiang's story many times. I came away from this book feeling strongly that if everyone read it, the world would be a less oppressive, less ignorant, more sympathetic place. This book is a plea for compassion and law. In her epilogue Jiang says, "This is the most frightening lesson of the Cultural Revolution: Without a sound legal system, a small group or even a single person can take control of an entire country. This is as true now as it was then."
I now have a deeper respect for the United States Constitution and the rule of law, as well as the importance of kindness and generosity in building and maintaining community life. Good books entertain you. Great books make you ask yourself questions about things that matter. The best books change you in the reading. You come out a better person. Red Scarf Girl is one of these.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Typing 100wpm to Save the World

Guess what!

My story is kinda funny, actually. I was that geeky kid who thought PC-Fastype was a game, and I used to hurry home after school just so I could hop on the computer and try to beat my previous time and accuracy. PC-Fastype was this super basic typing program with a blue screen and possibly yellow or white font, and it made this sound when you took too long to type something: bump, bump, bump, bump. Only imagine the sound as a nasally, pixelated alarm, and then you'd have what was chasing me across the screen every day. Man, I loved that game. What? Game? I mean, Typing Efficiency Improvement Program. Anyhow, by the time I was off to BYU for college, I could pass any typing test above 104wpm with 96%+ accuracy, depending on the day.

Little did I know how useless this skill would prove as my life progressed.

Still, I always enjoyed being able to type quickly and accurately. In fact, one time during NaNoWriMo, [cue daydreamy stare] I sat down to write, and ended up with 11,000 words of pure brilliance in one stupendous night of compulsive ice-water-drinking and urgent bathroom visits. What a rush!

So anyways, now that I'm on Fiverr, you can take advantage of my insanely nerdy typing skills. Just pick your package through Fiverr, and it will prompt you to send me an audio file, scanned doc, or even a cell-phone pic of your messy, hand-written pages. I'll have that whipped into a shiny, beautiful, and fully editable GoogleDoc for you faster than you can recite The Declaration of Independence by memory. Or 2 days. Whichever comes first. I can, of course, do it faster, but it's gonna cost ya extra!

Try me out for $5.