59 Books: Tina Kanagaratnam of Historic Shanghai on The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
In this podcast episode, I am honored to talk with Tina Kanagaratnam about the book The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck. Tina is a Bookish Expat with both strong literary and historical knowledge of China. I have been to a number of bookish events in Shanghai where Tina has joined in to provide some historic context to the texts that we were discussing. Every time I have blown away by how knowledgeable, insightful and personable she is. Tina is one of those people that balances intelligence, perspective and humor perfectly.
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A few quick things:
A special thanks to Damon Castillo for letting us use this instrumental version of the song “I got to be right” from his “Mess of Me” album. All of his music, concert info and such can be found at https://www.damoncastillo.com/. You can hear the entire song, with lyrics, at the end of this episode. If you are lucky enough to live in or near central coast CA, you can check Damon and his band out.
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Tina's geographic background is equally as fascinating. The short version is that she grew up in Singapore and the U.S. and moved to China with her husband in 1995. China was a large part of her bookish upbringing and the book The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck, was a part of this book backdrop of her childhood. The Good Earth is a story of farm life in rural China in the early 20th century. But, as Tina aptly points out, it is about so much more. Tina read this book as a child, as an adult after she moved to China and recently again. How does it connect to her own China journey? What did she learn about Chinese culture during these different readings?
SOUND NOTES: We recorded this episode in a new recording environment. As experiments go, some things worked well and some did not. My mic had some issues and there was a brief drilling sound about 30 minutes into the conversation. If you are sensitive to such minor sound issues, you may want to wait until next week’s episode. Also, for the WeChat messages in this episode, it was a choice to have them sound phone call like.
If you have any comments or questions about this episode, please feel free to connect with Steph on any social media platform, “stephfuccio”.