This morning I finished Imperial Woman by Pearl S. Buck. I enjoyed reading it, but I'm not sure I would recommend it to other people. The writing can be very dry at times, especially because Buck loves to focus on all the tiny details in a person's dress or building decorations. I enjoy that sort of obsessive attention to minutiae, but I know it would bore my boyfriend to tears. Tzu Hsi, the main character, is not a very likeable woman. She's cold, aloof, spoiled, and clearly thinks the world of herself. There has never been any as ambitious and power-hungry as she. Anchee Min's also written a fiction book about her called Empress Orchid; I'm going to try to get a copy of it off of BookMooch or Paperbackswap.
The phantom kettle stopped. I wonder what that sound was.