Amy Tan has compiled a wonderful collection of shorts in her autobiographical collection, The Opposite of Fate: A Book of Musings. This is a must read for any Tan fan, but really stretches beyond and I feel would be of interest to many, not just fans of her books.
Most of the stories revolve around lessons that Tan has learned through her life experiences, including things that she is still figuring out and processing. She is never preachy, the book is more of just her life, as the way she has experienced it. Her unique experience.
As with any collection, some stories are stronger than others. in particular, I enjoyed the section titled, Strong Winds, Strong Influences. I really didn't know much about Tan's personal life prior, but after reading this, I think her own life is probably more fascinating than anything she has written in fiction.
She has lived around the world, nearly been killed several times, lost family members at an early age and had to identify the body of one of her best friends murdered in a horrific way. Tan has a lot to say on being an author and public figure, particularly with regard to public perception and boundaries. She also speaks a lot on being considered a voice for Asian-American literature or an authority on Chinese mother-daughter relationships.
Mostly, after reading this collection, Tan comes across as someone that would be awesome to have as a dinner party guest. She comes across as funny, insightful and extremely fascinating.