What's the 30 Days of Bookery?
It's Friday, and time to give away another book that has something to do with City of a Thousand Dolls!
One of the very early influences on City of a Thousand Dolls was my then-obsession with geishas. I had read Memoirs of a Geisha--which is a lovely, if not always accurate novel--and wanted to learn more about this amazing subculture. I was also playing with an idea for a book about a city where girls are groomed for different fates, and the two ideas intersected quite nicely.
I went to the nonfiction section of my library and read everything I could. I was fascinated by the idea of a world made up of women and girls, and I loved the idea that someone could dedicated themselves to art and beauty as a career. That research underlined a lot of what I did with the girls of the City. And even though there are no longer many Japanese influences in the book, traces remain. The "little sisters" in the House of Music for example, and much of the House of Beauty.
I did not discover until much later that Mineko Iwasaki, the woman that Arthur Golden had credited as being one of his main sources for Memoirs of a Geisha, had written her own book. She wanted to combat what she felt was a poor portral of geishas and geisha culture. That book is Geisha, a Life, and that's the book I'm giving away today.
Summary from Goodreads
No woman in the three-hundred-year history of the karyukai has ever come forward in public to tell her story -- until now.
"Many say I was the best geisha of my generation," writes Mineko Iwasaki. "And yet, it was a life that I found too constricting to continue. And one that I ultimately had to leave." Trained to become a geisha from the age of five, Iwasaki would live among the other "women of art" in Kyoto's Gion Kobu district and practice the ancient customs of Japanese entertainment. She was loved by kings, princes, military heroes, and wealthy statesmen alike. But even though she became one of the most prized geishas in Japan's history, Iwasaki wanted more: her own life. And by the time she retired at age twenty-nine, Iwasaki was finally on her way toward a new beginning.
"Geisha, a Life" is her story -- at times heartbreaking, always awe-inspiring, and totally true.
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