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The Joy Luck Club author Amy Tan sent this letter to be included in the Library's Resource Guide:
Some of the most memorable moments of our lives arise in the form of shared experiences: the victory celebration of our underdog team, the common gratitude of surviving a devastating earthquake, the shared loss of the hometown leader. We are surprised by what we feel. Despite our differences of gender and age, race and politics, religion and personal experience, we are united. We are surprised and comforted by that, and we are glad that it happened.
A book can be the open doorway through which we enter into a land of democratic imagination. We can become imaginary people, endure their circumstances, crises and triumphs and thus transform our souls in the skin of those fictive lives. And when we emerge, we shake off the cloaks and hats of those imaginary persons and become our real and very idiosyncratic selves, each with our similar and different opinions. We may divulge what the experience was like. There is no right or wrong way to tell this. But some of us will remark on family traits unknowingly passed on from generation to generation. We may now recall missed or chosen moments that changed for better or worse the course of our lives. We may now better sense the ordinary routines and details that have enriched us or held us back. We may be surprised privately and publicly that others have had similar discoveries, that we have been unconsciously united in this way.
I hope you will be surprised and comforted and glad that it happened.