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skylee
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hq.wong(王泓钦)

Hi,I recommend the book <<红拂夜奔>>,written by Wang XiaoBo(王小波).

王小波 is one of my favourite writers, his novels were combination of criticism and black humour. Though his most famous book is Golden Time(黄金时代),I prefer 红拂夜奔. This book based on a tale of three persons(李靖,红拂,虬髯公) in Tang Dynasty, but the original story was excessively and creatively recasted.

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Someone told me that Dan Brown is overrated and that Umberto Eco is a lot better, and so far this book is pretty good.
The difference imo is that Eco writes books whereas Dan Brown wastes paper. I don't like all of Eco's books, but Brown is just a rubbish writer.

Now reading Decadence Mandchoue. It consists of about equal parts sex scenes (mostly gay, some with the Empress Dowager) and late Qing palace intrigue. The gay sex is not really my cup of tea and the veracity of the palace gossip is questionable, so I keep wondering if I should really be reading this. Still it's quite a good book, and definately unique. I really love the way Backhouse writes Chinese dialogue: transcription (Wade-Giles), characters, and English explanation (or French, as the case may be). I wish more books did this. Nothing gets lost in translation, it adds so much.

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Finished 《狼图腾》 and have started on 《在细雨中呼喊》.

《狼图腾》started out quite well, but then I found it got very repetitive (everything good in China and the world, now and throughout all of history is because of 狼s and how great they are :roll:) I really lost interest towards the end of the book and I think that made it much harder to finish than the other Chinese books I've read so far.

Definitely looking forward to some more 余华, whose other books I've quite liked.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Perhaps I should be ashamed of this. I have bought (!) and am reading "Dead Reckoning" by Charlaine Harris. :)

PS - I did plan to read a newish 余秋雨 book during my last trip, but didn't manage to do it.

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I did as well! I have a layover in an airport coming up and I love some southern vampire mind fluff to pass the time. ;)

Other than that, I've been too busy to read but my next one will be Unfamiliar Fishes by Sarah Vowell. I love her writing and am really looking forward to it.

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Finished 《在细雨中呼喊》 and am about to start on book one of 《平凡的世界》.

《在细雨中呼喊》was good, but at times it seemed a bit disjointed. The book is a series of recollections by the protaganist about his childhood, but rather than having a linear timeline, it regularly skips around in time, so you need to pay attention otherwise it's easy to get lost.

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And now I've finished it. Was excellent.

胡发云, 如焉@sars.come is the original title

It's set in Wuhan during the SARS outbreak. The descriptions of the quarantines and the destruction of pets are incredible. The main story is about an older woman who starts using the internet for the first time and comes out of her shell. I recommend it. Anyone else read it?

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  • 2 weeks later...

I've finally, after 5 months, finished 大江大海. Now reading a very weird but unexpectedly good little book titled Bear v Shark. Comes down to a critique of consumerism, but I like the way it's written. Will start my next Chinese book once I'm back from my holiday.

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  • 2 weeks later...

OK, this is very silly, but I've purchased the Portuguese translation of "I am number four", the children's bestseller novel. After I finish reading it, I'll re-assess my Portuguese language skills.

水浒 is still on the menu, but that's heavier stuff taking more concentration (and a thick dictionary). This is beach reading.

And before you ask, I needed something easy, with a story that's simple, and I was choosing between this and a witch detective in stilettos. Comics don't seem to exist here, the few I could find are more expensive than actual books.

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reading Michael Meyer's "The Last Days of Old Beijing: Life in the Vanishing Backstreets of a City Transformed". About half way through, and completely recommend it to any and all with an interest in the changes to what remains of old China and it's architecture. A very thorough narrative, but easy to read.

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I am reading Bill Bryson's "At Home" still have about 140 pages to go. But as my reservation of Peter Hessler's "Country Driving" expires today, I have brought it home, and will start reading it now. It seems very unlikely for me to finish it in two weeks ...

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Finished book 1 of 《平凡的世界》, and am now on to book 2. I have to say that I really like this so far. It tells the story of the lives of several villagers from a rural area in China at the tail end of the cultural revolution (book 1 goes from 1975-1978).

It reminds me in some ways of 《空镜子》 . Although it has completely different setting and story, it has much of the same feeling to it in the way it tells the story of the joys and tears faced by ordinary people in their everyday lives. For anyone who enjoyed 《空镜子》, you'll probably enjoy this book.

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Currently am reading Peter Hessler's "Oracle Bones." As before in "River Town' date='" the back story is as interesting as the main narrative thread.[/quote']

I read more than half of Oracle Bones a few years ago, and enjoyed it a good bit. I saw the trad-Chinese edition (!) of his latest book, "Country Driving", at a book fair, but didn't buy it because it was quite expensive. Maybe one day.

So who's been reading Japanese authors? I'm reading the Chinese edition of Johnny the Rabbit 《兔子强尼》 by Akira Higashiyama (東山彰良) (incidentally he doesn't even seem to have a wiki page in English). It's black-comedy hard-boiled noir about a rabbit PI. Bought it for the nice cover, stayed for the gratuitous couplings. I'm also reading bits of Murakami (mostly his short pieces & What I Talk About When I Talk About Running) on my phone, which is more convenient but less pleasant. Learning a lot of words along the way, though sometimes more literary than practical.

I read a bit of 《蜗居》 for a span some time ago based on the recommendations for the drama here. Didn't get sucked in enough to go further.

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I'm making my way through 家, but am taking a bit of a break from it to read 猫城记 by 老舍. 猫城记 is satire about a fella that crashes onto Mars and discovers a race of cat people.

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So who's been reading Japanese authors?

I'm reading 凉宫春日的忧郁 (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya). I got the text online in traditional, and I used Google translate to convert it to simplified, and then made it into a Kindle e-book.

It feels like cheating to pick non-native Chinese reading material, but with the investment of time it takes to finish a book, it's so much easier to pick one I'm already familiar with and have a good chance of liking it.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Despite my earlier disappointment with Jared Diamond I am now reading Guns, germs and steel. Less boringly written than Collapse, although I still don't think Diamond is a great writer. Can't really put a finger on what I don't like though.

Another problem: he mainly writes about things I know little about, so I take his word for it when it comes to agriculture or animal husbandry or climate. But then he got to talk about language and he got all kinds of things wrong. I think it was the Sumerians that he said had a writing system that was oh so complicated, with pictures and rebuses and combining pictures with other pictures to indicate you only mean the sound not the meaning... I thought, this sounds familiar. He goes on to say that because the writing system was so very complicated, only a few scribes could learn it. Now I'm willing to believe that only a few scribes actually mastered it, but China, Hong Kong and Taiwan all have a literacy rate of over 90% with a writing system exactly like that, so some explanation is missing there.

Or elsewhere, where he gets the usage of kanji and kana wrong; or in another chapter, where he says that the Chinese dialects differ as little as Spanish and Italian. I've heard an Argentinian and an Italian talk to each other in their own languages without much trouble, I doubt a Sichuanese and a Wenzhounese could do that.

Well, I'll finish it and move on to something better. Hopefully.

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