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One Million Characters

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About this blog

A blog chronicling my attempt to read 1,000,000 Chinese characters in articles and books in 2019.

Entries in this blog

murrayjames

849,249 Characters to Go

The past few weeks I have not read much in Chinese. This is because I recently received some excellent news, news about something that will keep me very busy in 2019, far busier than I expected. Going forward, I will need to set aside time specifically for reading Chinese, or it will be difficult to meet my million-character goal.

 

A few weeks ago I finished a short story by 20th-century Shanghai author 施蛰存. The story is 《在巴黎大戏院》. It is part of a collection of short stories available online. The story is about a man on a movie date with a girl. The man is a neurotic mess, overthinking every word his date says and every movement she makes. The man is also probably an adulterer—he’s married—and a weirdo/pervert. At one point, the man, nervous and sweating profusely, is handed a handcloth by his date. He wipes his sweaty face, then discreetly tastes (and even sucks on) his date’s handcloth. Eww. The narrative is told entirely from a first-person, in-his-brain running-commentary perspective. The language is simple, but I found the story difficult—even unpleasant—to read. The man is weird and obsessive and I did not enjoy being inside his head. That being said, I will read more short stories from 施蛰存. He is a famous author and surely not all of his stories are like this.

 

Today I finished reading 《分析Sonny Stitt即兴与演奏特点——以专辑《Only the Blues》中曲目 《Blues for Bags》为例》. It is the thesis of an undergraduate music student at 中国音乐学院 in Beijing. The topic of the thesis was jazz saxophonist Sonny Stitt. I am something of a Stitt expert, having studied Stitt and his music for years, and having written a 552-page doctoral dissertation about him. (Link for the curious.) The student reached out to me to ask some questions about Stitt and jazz music analysis. I don’t want to name the student since he is not a public figure. But his thesis was pretty good, especially compared with other work in jazz studies in China I have read.

 

Link to 施蛰存’s《在巴黎大戏院》:
http://telestarbookshelf.blogspot.com/2005/03/blog-post_13.html

 

Some statistics:
Characters read this year: 150,751
Characters left to read this year: 849,249
Percent of goal completed: 15.1%

 

List of things read:
《三八节有感》by 丁玲   (2,370 characters)
《我在霞村的时候》by 丁玲   (10,754 characters)
《在延安文艺座谈会上的讲话》by 毛泽东  (18,276 characters)
《自杀日记》by 丁玲   (4,567 characters)
《我没有自己的名字》by 余华   (8,416 characters)
《手》by 萧红   (7,477 characters)
《牛》by 沈从文   (8,097 characters) 
《彭德怀速写》by 丁玲   (693 characters)
《我怎样飞向了自由的天地》by 丁玲   (2,176 characters)
《IBM Cloud文档:Personality Insights》 by IBM   (25,098 characters)
《夜》by 丁玲   (4,218 characters)
《虎雏》by 沈从文   (46,945 characters)
《在巴黎大戏院》 by 施蛰存 (6,181 characters)
《分析Sonny Stitt即兴与演奏特点——以专辑《Only the Blues》中曲目 《Blues for Bags》为例》 (5,483 characters)

murrayjames

860,913 Characters to Go

Since my last post, I read a collection of four short stories by 沈从文. The short stories are titled 《虎雏》, 《黔小景》, 《三三》, and 《医生》. The stories were written in 1931. They are easy to read and understand.

 

The stories contain a diverse cast of characters from different parts of China: The Shanghai-based author and his military brother stationed in Hunan. Merchants traveling a public road in Guizhou. The mother and daughter with a grain mill and their visitors from a nearby city. The itinerant doctor and the crazy man in the mountains of Sichuan. Each of the four stories has a different setting and tone. The plots are quite different, though there is a thematic connection between them: in each of the four stories, a person dies in a peculiar way.

 

The stories range from pretty good to very good. One story is engaging but anticlimactic. Another story is boring. Yet another story has touching characters but no plot. 沈从文 is a gifted storyteller. Certain parts of 《虎雏》 and 《医生》are exciting and hard to put down. 《医生》is also funny. A doctor goes missing for several weeks. He returns to find his co-workers waiting for him inside his home. The doctor thinks they have gathered to welcome him, but actually they gathered to divide up his possessions. The titular young woman 三三 is strong-willed and sweet and is probably my favorite character from these stories. The stories are an enjoyable read, but none of them are as good or as powerful as the author’s《牛》.

 

This is the longest text I have read in 2019 so far (about 47,000 Chinese characters total).

 

Link to the short story collection:
https://www.ixdzs.com/d/117/117016/

 

Some statistics:
Characters read this year: 139,087
Characters left to read this year: 860,913
Percent of goal completed: 13.9%

 

List of things read:
《三八节有感》by 丁玲   (2,370 characters)
《我在霞村的时候》by 丁玲   (10,754 characters)
《在延安文艺座谈会上的讲话》by 毛泽东  (18,276 characters)
《自杀日记》by 丁玲   (4,567 characters)
《我没有自己的名字》by 余华   (8,416 characters)
《手》by 萧红   (7,477 characters)
《牛》by 沈从文   (8,097 characters) 
《彭德怀速写》by 丁玲   (693 characters)
《我怎样飞向了自由的天地》by 丁玲   (2,176 characters)
《IBM Cloud文档:Personality Insights》by IBM   (25,098 characters)
《夜》by 丁玲   (4,218 characters)
《虎雏》by 沈从文   (46,945 characters)

murrayjames

907,858 Characters to Go

Yesterday I finished reading a series of articles by IBM, in Chinese translation. The articles pertain to a commercial service called Personality Insights. The service helps companies find the right customers by analyzing text posted on Twitter and other social media platforms.
    
IBM claims it can predict human behavior by looking at Tweets. The Personality Insights service creates psychological profiles of Twitter users based on the words they use on the platform. According to the research that underlies Personality Insights, the words that people choose reveal aspects of their personality. By studying a person’s words, IBM can predict if that person is altruistic, trusting, orderly, self-disciplined, assertive, excitement-seeking, prone to worry or anger, artistic, intellectual, and more. The words people choose also reveal their needs and values. IBM claims it can predict if a person is likely to use credit cards when making a purchase, is susceptible to impulse buying, is likely to buy environmentally-friendly products or eat organic foods, is likely to start their own business, is likely to invest in a start-up, what kind of books and movies the person likes, etc.

 

Here is the sales pitch, in IBM’s own words:

 

Quote

通过Personality Insights 服务,企业可以将这一构想变成现实。通过利用企业和社交媒体数据的组合,企业可以应用分析来更深入地研究个人客户的特质。企业可以将这些结果用于更高质量的潜在客户开发、更精细的客户细分以及相关性和个性化都更高的专注市场营销。

 

The IBM Cloud website contains a demo of the Personality Insights service. I tried out the demo using some Tweets and other texts I wrote. I was unnerved but not surprised at how accurately the service predicted my personality. Maybe IBM predicted that, too.

 

Here’s a link to the demo:

https://personality-insights-demo.ng.bluemix.net

 

Since my last blog post I have also read three short works by 丁玲. The first work is《彭德怀速写》. It is a brief 1936 paean to celebrated CCP general Peng Dehuai. The second work is 《我怎样飞向了自由的天地》. It is a 1946 autobiographical essay. In the essay, 丁玲 writes on a number of topics: the May Fourth Movement, two feminist comrades that inspired her, her relationship with her mother, and her literary beginnings. The third work I read is 《夜》. It is a 1941 short story about a husband and a wife and their relationship in trying times.

 

The Personality Insights articles can be found on the IBM Cloud website. The website contains numerous articles; I read those describing and marketing the service, and explaining the personality research that undergirds it. Those articles are titled《关于》,《个性模型》,《大五类人格 - 随和性》,《大五类人格 - 尽责性》,《大五类人格 - 外倾性》,《大五类人格 - 情绪程度》,《大五类人格 - 开放性》,《需求》,《价值观》,《消费偏好》,《用例》,《使用指南》,《服务实战》,《服务背后的科学》, and《研究参考资料》. Here is a link:

https://cloud.ibm.com/docs/services/personality-insights/index.html?locale=zh-cn#about

 

Text of 《彭德怀速写》:
http://www.millionbook.com/mj/d/dingling/000/002.htm

 

Text of 《我怎样飞向了自由的天地》:
http://www.millionbook.com/mj/d/dingling/000/004.htm

 

Text of 《夜》:
http://www.millionbook.com/mj/d/dingling/dlzp/004.htm

 

Some statistics:
Characters read this year: 92,142
Characters left to read this year: 907,858
Percent of goal completed: 9.2%

 

List of things read:
《三八节有感》by 丁玲   (2,370 characters)
《我在霞村的时候》by 丁玲   (10,754 characters)
《在延安文艺座谈会上的讲话》by 毛泽东  (18,276 characters)
《自杀日记》by 丁玲   (4,567 characters)
《我没有自己的名字》by 余华   (8,416 characters)
《手》by 萧红   (7,477 characters)
《牛》by 沈从文   (8,097 characters) 
《彭德怀速写》by 丁玲   (693 characters)
《我怎样飞向了自由的天地》by 丁玲   (2,176 characters)
《IBM Cloud文档:Personality Insights》by IBM   (25,098 characters)
《夜》by 丁玲   (4,218 characters)

murrayjames

940,043 Characters to Go

Today I finished reading the short story《牛》by 沈从文. It is one of my favorite things I have read in Chinese.

 

The story is about a farmer nicknamed 大牛伯 and his ox 小牛. One day, while plowing the field, 大牛伯 gets angry and strikes the ox in the leg with a wooden mallet. The rest of the story is devoted to the aftermath of this event. When he realizes his ox is seriously injured, 大牛伯 starts to worry about his future. How will he plow the field without his ox? Can the ox’s leg be healed? Should the ox be sent to the butcher? 

 

The story is a fable of surprising moral and psychological depth. I was hooked from the first paragraph. Here it is:

 

Quote

有这样事情发生,就是桑溪荡里住,绰号大牛伯的那个人,前一天居然在荞麦田里,同他的耕牛为一点小事生气,用木榔槌打了那耕牛后脚一下。这耕牛在平时是彷佛他那儿子一样,纵是骂,也如骂亲生儿女,在骂中还不少爱抚的。但是脾气一来不能节制自己,随意敲了一下,不平常的事此因就发生了。当时这主人还不觉得,第二天,再想放牛去耕那块工作未完事的荞麦田,牛不能像平时很大方的那么走出栏外了。牛后脚有了毛病,就因为昨天大牛伯主人那么不知轻重在气头下一榔槌的结果。

 

For most of the rest of the story 沈从文 explores, in plain language, the thoughts and emotions of 大牛伯 and his stricken ox. 大牛伯 feels guilty for hurting his ox. He is also angry with the ox for being hurt and suspects it of exaggerating the seriousness of its injury. The ox enjoys finally having an opportunity to relax in the hot sun. But it also feels guilty it cannot plow the field for its master, because it wants to make him happy. 

 

If you like the paragraph quoted above you will like《牛》.The tone and style of that paragraph are representative of what follows. I loved this story, and look forward to reading more works by 沈从文.

 

Text of《牛》:
http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_53fc4c510100m2sg.html

 

Some statistics:
Characters read this year: 59,957
Characters left to read this year: 940,043
Percent of goal completed: 6.0%

 

List of things read:
《三八节有感》by 丁玲   (2,370 characters)
《我在霞村的时候》by 丁玲   (10,754 characters)
《在延安文艺座谈会上的讲话》by 毛泽东  (18,276 characters)
《自杀日记》by 丁玲  (4,567 characters)
《我没有自己的名字》by 余华  (8,416 characters)
《手》by 萧红  (7,477 characters)
《牛》by 沈从文 (8,097 characters)

 

[Thanks to @Lu for pointing out that the animal in this story is an ox, not a calf.]

murrayjames

948,140 Characters to Go

In the last few days I read two short stories: 《我没有自己的名字》 by 余华, and《手》by 萧红.

 

The two stories address a common theme: the humanity of damaged people, juxtaposed with the cruelty of everyday people.《我没有自己的名字》is the story of a boy with very low intelligence, 来发, and the harassment he receives from other boys in his village.《手》is the story of a poor girl with abnormally-colored hands, 王亚明, and the harassment she receives from her classmates and her school president. While 来发 and 王亚明 are dimwitted and dirty, they are good people who do not deserve the abuse they receive from their peers. They also do not object to this unfair treatment, which emboldens their abusers.

 

I have noticed a theme appear in several 20th-century Chinese stories. There is a maligned but ultimately sympathetic person (e.g.: 来发, 王亚明, 贞贞 in 丁玲’s《我在霞村的时候》). The person is damaged or compromised in some way, either by birth (来发, 王亚明), or by societal circumstances outside their control (贞贞). The damaged person is righteous, while the “normal” people in society are callous and cruel. The damaged person suffers loss, but faces this loss with equanimity. 

 

Both《我没有自己的名字》and《手》are short (under 10,000 characters). They are also easy to read. I would not recommend《我没有自己的名字》. The story is stylistically underwhelming and less engaging than 余华’s longer works, like《活着》and《许三观卖血记》. I would recommend《手》, although I don’t know quite what to make of 萧红’s style. I have added two longer works of hers,《生死场》and《呼兰河传》, to my reading list.

 

Text of《我没有自己的名字》:
http://www.rain8.com/article/class6/3582.htm

 

Text of《手》:
https://www.kanunu8.com/book3/8047/175923.html

 

Some statistics:
Characters read this year: 51,860
Characters left to read this year: 948,140
Percent of goal completed: 5.2%

 

List of things read:
《三八节有感》by 丁玲   (2,370 characters)
《我在霞村的时候》by 丁玲   (10,754 characters)
《在延安文艺座谈会上的讲话》by 毛泽东  (18,276 characters)
《自杀日记》by 丁玲  (4,567 characters)
《我没有自己的名字》by 余华  (8,416 characters)
《手》by 萧红  (7,477 characters)

murrayjames

964,033 Characters to Go

I recently finished reading the 1928 short story《自杀日记》by 丁玲.

 

This story has much in common with the novella《莎菲女士的日记》, a better-known work that 丁玲 published the same year. Both stories are about troubled young women in large Chinese cities who record their thoughts in diary form. 丁玲 gives both young women transliterated western names: 莎菲 and 伊萨. In some ways the women have similar temperaments. They are angsty, reclusive, and uninterested in the young men who fall in love with them. While both women are deeply unhappy—to the point of wanting to end their lives—their unhappiness manifests differently. 莎菲 is brooding, impetuous, judgmental, misanthropic. 伊萨 is apathetic. Finding no meaning in life, she resigns herself to a nihilistic suicide: 她只觉得这生活很无意思,很不必有,她固执的屡次向自己说:“顶好是死去算了!”

 

Like other works by 丁玲 from this period, the language is not difficult for a Chinese language learner to understand. The story is short, just over 4,500 characters long. Here is a link: https://www.kanunu8.com/book3/8372/186036.html

 

Below are some statistics and a list of the works I have finished reading this year. Despite showing only 3.6% my goal complete, I am ahead of my reading schedule, because these numbers do not include works currently in progress. Next up to finish is the 余华 short story《我没有自己的名字》.


Some statistics:
Characters read this year: 35,967
Characters left to read this year: 964,033
Percent of goal completed: 3.6%

 

List of things read:
《三八节有感》by 丁玲   (2,370 characters)
《我在霞村的时候》by 丁玲   (10,754 characters)
《在延安文艺座谈会上的讲话》by 毛泽东  (18,276 characters)
《自杀日记》by 丁玲  (4,567 characters)

murrayjames

968,600 Characters to Go

I recently finished reading《在延安文艺座谈会上的讲话》by 毛泽东. It is a series of five talks on literature and art that Mao delivered between February and May 1942 at Yan’an. In these five talks, Mao expounds the purpose of revolutionary literature, criticizes the defective thinking of his Yan’an comrades, and prescribes widespread intra-party thought reform for these defects.

 

Below is my loose paraphrase of Mao’s arguments with corresponding quotations from the text, and a brief thought on mainstream art in modern-day China.

 

=

Literature is a part of the machinery of the revolution. It is a weapon used to unite and teach the people, and to strike and destroy the enemy.

我们今天开会,就是要使文艺很好地成为整个革命机器的一个组成部分,作为团结人民、教育人民、打击敌人、消灭敌人的有力的武器,帮助人民同心同德地和敌人作斗争。

 

Literature is not neutral. Writers must be on the side of the proletariat, the people, and the Party.

我们是站在无产阶级的和人民大众的立场。对于共产党员来说,也就是要站在党的立场,站在党性和党的政策的立场。

 

Unfortunately, many comrades champion petty bourgeois ideas. They view the intelligentsia and petty bourgeoisie as more important than the workers, farmers, and soldiers. They stand with the petty bourgeoisie and express petty bourgeois ideas in their work.

在实际上,在行动上,他们是否对小资产阶级知识分子比对工农兵还更看得重要些呢?我以为是这样…… 他们是站在小资产阶级立场,他们是把自己的作品当作小资产阶级的自我表现来创作的

 

There is much of value in Chinese and foreign literature traditions. What has value should be kept. Older literary forms can be used, but they should be changed, filled with revolutionary content, and pressed into the service of the people.

对于中国和外国过去时代所遗留下来的丰富的文学艺术遗产和优良的文学艺术传统,我们是要继承的,但是目的仍然是为了人民大众。对于过去时代的文艺形式,我们也并不拒绝利用,但这些旧形式到了我们手里,给了改造,加进了新内容,也就变成革命的为人民服务的东西了。

 

Some comrades mistakenly believe that all art must flow out of “love,” as though love were some transcendent ideal untouched by social class. Others argue that literature should reflect “human nature.” But human nature is a concrete thing with a class dimension, not an abstract concept. What is often called “human nature” is actually capitalist individualism. Literature must not proceed from so-called abstract notions of love, freedom, truth, or humanity. The presence of these errors in the Party show that some comrades have been deeply influenced by bourgeois and capitalist ideas. These comrades should cast off this influence, and study Marxist-Leninist thought.

但是我们有些同志… 说什么一切应该从“爱”出发。就说爱吧,在阶级社会里,也只有阶级的爱,但是这些同志却要追求什么超阶级的爱,抽象的爱,以及抽象的自由、抽象的真理、抽象的人性等等。这是表明这些同志是受了资产阶级的很深的影响。应该很彻底地清算这种影响,很虚心地学习马克思列宁主义…… “人性论”。有没有人性这种东西?当然有的。但是只有具体的人性,没有抽象的人性。在阶级社会里就是只有带着阶级性的人性,而没有什么超阶级的人性。我们主张无产阶级的人性,人民大众的人性,而地主阶级资产阶级则主张地主阶级资产阶级的人性,不过他们口头上不这样说,却说成为唯一的人性。有些小资产阶级知识分子所鼓吹的人性,也是脱离人民大众或者反对人民大众的,他们的所谓人性实质上不过是资产阶级的个人主义,因此在他们眼中,无产阶级的人性就不合于人性

 

We must not love our enemies. We must not love noxious social phenomena. Rather, we must seek to destroy them.

我们不能爱敌人,不能爱社会的丑恶现象,我们的目的是消灭这些东西。

 

Many petit bourgeois writers write pessimistic literature that exposes the darkness in society without also showing the light. Capitalist writers invert light and darkness, portraying revolutionaries as thugs and themselves as saints. Only true revolutionary writers praise and expose correctly. All dark powers that harm the people must be exposed, and all the revolutionary struggles of the people must be praised. This is the fundamental duty of revolutionary writers.

许多小资产阶级作家并没有找到过光明,他们的作品就只是暴露黑暗,被称为“暴露文学”,还有简直是专门宣传悲观厌世的…… 反动时期的资产阶级文艺家把革命群众写成暴徒,把他们自己写成神圣,所谓光明和黑暗是颠倒的。只有真正革命的文艺家才能正确地解决歌颂和暴露的问题。一切危害人民群众的黑暗势力必须暴露之,一切人民群众的革命斗争必须歌颂之,这就是革命文艺家的基本任务。

 

Revolutionary writers must expose the invaders, the exploiters, the oppressors, and their harmful influence on the people. Revolutionary writers must not expose the people themselves.

对于革命的文艺家,暴露的对象,只能是侵略者、剥削者、压迫者及其在人民中所遗留的恶劣影响,而不能是人民大众。

 

Literature is subordinate to politics. But literature is also a tool of great political influence. Revolutionary literature is like a gear and a screw. These tools are less important than other parts of the machine, but the machine cannot function properly without them.

文艺是从属于政治的,但又反转来给予伟大的影响于政治。革命文艺是整个革命事业的一部分,是齿轮和螺丝钉,和别的更重要的部分比较起来,自然有轻重缓急第一第二之分,但它是对于整个机器不可缺少的齿轮和螺丝钉,对于整个革命事业不可缺少的一部分。

 

How can we know if the primary motivations of a writer are correct and good? Not by listening to what the writer says, but by observing the effect of that writer’s work on society.

检验一个作家的主观愿望即其动机是否正确,是否善良,不是看他的宣言,而是看他的行为(主要是作品)在社会大众中产生的效果。

 

In light of many false ideologies that have taken hold among the comrades, what is needed is a strict rectification campaign. Many comrades are unclear of the difference between the proletariat and the petit bourgeoisie. Many comrades have joined the Party with their bodies, but have only partially joined the Party in their thinking. The minds of these comrades are filled with the thoughts of the exploiting class; they do not know what proletariat thinking is, what communism is, what the Party is. So although most within the Party and its ranks are pure, for the future of our leadership, there must be a serious transformation in the thinking and organization of the Party. To transform the organization of the Party, first we must transform the thinking of the Party. There must be an ideological struggle against non-proletariat thinking.

同志们中间还有很多的唯心论、教条主义、空想、空谈、轻视实践、脱离群众等等的缺点,需要有一个切实的严肃的整风运动。我们有许多同志还不大清楚无产阶级和小资产阶级的区别。有许多党员,在组织上入了党,思想上并没有完全入党,甚至完全没有入党。这种思想上没有入党的人,头脑里还装着许多剥削阶级的脏东西,根本不知道什么是无产阶级思想,什么是共产主义,什么是党……

因此我们的党,我们的队伍,虽然其中的大部分是纯洁的,但是为要领导革命运动更好地发展,更快地完成,就必须从思想上组织上认真地整顿一番。而为要从组织上整顿,首先需要在思想上整顿,需要展开一个无产阶级对非无产阶级的思想斗争。

 

[end paraphrase]

 

=

A concluding thought: Back when I lived in China, I ascribed the bathos, banality, and overwrought patriotism of much modern-day mainstream Chinese music and television to government censorship. But I also sensed that such an ascription was pat and lacked explanatory power. Seeing mainstream Chinese music and television in light of Mao’s instructions on literature and art makes a lot more sense. One of the many things Mao did at Yan’an was come up with—and inculcate—a framework for understanding the making of art in modern China. He provided artists and future leaders of the Party with answers to questions like: Why make art? Who is art is for? What does art do? How should art be made? At Yan’an, Mao made a positive case for Chinese art that serves the people and their Party. This view of art was highly influential and informs the making of art in China to this day.

 

I became aware of Mao’s talks on literature and art through an episode of the Chinese Literature Podcast. A link to that episode is below.

 

Link to the text in Chinese:
https://www.marxists.org/chinese/maozedong/marxist.org-chinese-mao-194205.htm

 

Link to the text in English:
https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/mao/selected-works/volume-3/mswv3_08.htm

 

Chinese Literature Podcast: “Art for the Masses: Mao Zedong’s Yan’An Lectures”
https://www.chineseliteraturepodcast.com/?p=493

 

Some statistics:
Characters read this year: 31,400
Characters left to read this year: 968,600
Percent of goal completed: 3.1%

 

List of things read:
《三八节有感》by 丁玲   (2,370 characters)
《我在霞村的时候》by 丁玲   (10,754 characters)
《在延安文艺座谈会上的讲话》by 毛泽东  (18,276 characters)
 

murrayjames

986,876 Characters to Go

Today I finished reading the short story《我在霞村的时候》by 丁玲. Like《三八节有感》, 《我在霞村的时候》was written by 丁玲 during her Yan'an period, and addresses the indignities Chinese women of the time faced from their countrymen. The story is told from the perspective of a writer who travels to Xia village from Yan'an to write and recuperate. Soon after the writer arrives, a commotion breaks out in the village. The commotion is due to the return of 贞贞, a young female villager who has been working as a Chinese spy and was abused by Japanese soldiers.

 

《我在霞村的时候》is not long; the story has about 10,750 Chinese characters. The language is not difficult either. 丁玲 writes in an undecorated prose style. She leaves many questions relevant to the story unexplored or unanswered. The result is an obviously moral tale that is nonetheless open to differing interpretations. Here is a link to the story: www.millionbook.com/mj/d/dingling/dlzp/003.htm

 

Up next for me is an article by 毛泽东. I will also continue with that far longer work I read parts of last year.

 

Some statistics:

Characters read this year: 13,124
Characters left to read this year: 986,876
Percent of goal completed: 1.3%

 

List of things read:
《三八节有感》by 丁玲   (2,370 characters)
《我在霞村的时候》by 丁玲   (10,754 characters)

murrayjames

997,630 Characters to Go

In “The 2019 Aims and Objectives Progress Topic” thread, I recently resolved to read one million Chinese characters in books and articles this year. Our esteemed forum administrator @roddy reached out to ask if I would chronicle my attempt to do this through posts on this website. And here I am.

 

My goal is to read one million characters in 2019. To accomplish this will require reading 2,750 characters per day, or three to seven pages of text per day, on average. That is a manageable amount of reading. However, it could quickly become unmanageable if I am not diligent. 2019 will be a very busy year. To meet my goal, I will need to stay disciplined while facing many demands on my time.

 

So far, I have finished《三八节有感》, a short 1942 article by 丁玲 about the treatment of CPC women at Yan'an. That article contains 2,370 Chinese characters. I am currently reading a second article by 丁玲, as well as a far longer thing I started last year that will take several more months to complete.

 

It is hard to overstate how helpful this website and its denizens have been to my Chinese language learning. In twelve years of studying Chinese, I have found conversation, motivation, tools, tips, and answers to many questions here. Hopefully this series of posts will be helpful to other Chinese language learners like other Chinese language learners’ posts have been helpful to me.

 

Some statistics:

Characters read this year: 2,370
Characters left to read this year: 997,630
Percent of goal completed: 0.2%

 

List of things read:

《三八节有感》by 丁玲   (2370 characters)

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