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skylee
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In the past week I read stories by Di An (Beyond the Western Pass), Cao Wenxuan (Crows) and Li Er (Where are you) (hm, I thought there was a fourth author, but I suppose I was mistaken). All in Pathlight, summer 2015 issue, if anyone wants to read a long. Di An is good, but somehow I don't think she's quite Big L-Literature. I hope she keeps writing, she will be at one point. The Cao Wenxuan story was nice. I also liked the Li Er story, told from the perspective of an unborn twin boy, but I'm pretty sure I'm missing the actual point and that's a bit frustrating, because I suspect the point is a good one.

 

In Chinese, I finished the Di An book, the ending is alright, I liked the book as a whole. Would recommend. Found some Yan Ge stories in the library and those are up next.

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In the past week I read short stories by Jia Pingwa, Sheng Keyi (A little life) and Ouyang Zi. I liked the Ouyang Zi story best, about a mother who was trying to make up for the loss of her young son by taking young lovers, and her remaining son who tried to win his mother's love by having his boyfriend become her lover.

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Amazon recommended me a Sci Fi Classic from the 90s which I bought, started and stopped reading a few pages in ... until recently: The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson, turned out to be one of the most enjoyable books I've ever read, and unexpectedly (to me) is set in a future-imagined China. An extremely cool book.

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Started Snow Crash on your advice laurenth -- not yet sold on it as I was with the Diamond Age but I'll give it more time, and I didn't actually like Diamond Age much to begin with.

 

Meanwhile in Chinese I finished the novel 芙蓉如面柳如眉 by 笛安 which Lu mentioned approvingly. Clever plot structure, kept me reading to find out what happened, despite some of the longish passages about what it's like to be a beautiful young woman and what it's like to be a plain-looking schoolgirl ... I may not have been all that close to the target audience really. Now 圈子圈套 3 about the life of a driven, dashing big shot in the software world running rings round the opposition ... again, not necessarily my world but easy to see why Imron enjoyed this trilogy .... 8)

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13 hours ago, realmayo said:

what it's like to be a plain-looking schoolgirl

I couldn't necessarily relate all that well either, but if you read it as an account of intense bullying and shaming in a boarding school, it becomes a more universal theme. Glad you liked the book!

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In the past week I read short stories by Chi Zijian (A Horse and Two People), A Yi (In the Penal Colony), Su Tong (Early One Sunday Morning) and Wu Ming-yi (Death is a Tiger Butterfly). I liked them all a lot. When a while ago I asked a number of knowledgeable people in China which authors they recommend, I of course was given many different names, but one of the few names I heard more than once was Chi Zijian's, and this story shows once again why. A Yi is one of my favourite Chinese writers, I read his 鳥看見我了 and loved it. Police literature, basically, and not just a whodunit that it well-written, but actual literature that happens to take place in police circles. Liked the Su Tong story as well. And I was surprised to find a Taiwanese writer like Wu Ming-yi featured in a Chinese government-backed periodicall like Pathlight.

 

Also reading Kim Stanley Robinson's The Years of Rice and Salt, what if-literature where the 'what if' is: what if the plague in the 14th century had wiped out not one-third of Europe but pretty much all of Europe? It has all kinds of interesting implications, from the discovery of America (from the other side, by the Chinese) to the discoveries of gravity and the laws of nature (by an Arabic Leonardo da Vinci). There are some glaring mistakes in the Chinese parts (random mixing of pinyin and Wade-Giles, locating Nanjing 'on the Cantonese coast') but fortunately I don't know enough pre-revolutionary Chinese history to notice too many of them, so it's enjoyable enough.

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In the past week I read only two stories (it hasn't been a very productive week), both in Dutch translation. One by Jiang Danwen, which was rather too abstract for my taste; and one by Zhu Wen, which I liked a lot. Popular young Chinese painter has moved to the US and is struggling and lonely there. Then one day he suddenly meets... himself, but a different version, somehow.

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In the past week I read short stories by Shi Tiesheng ('The spirit of the chair), Ma Yuan ('An old song of the Himalaya), Deng Yiguang (Wolves walk atwain) and Gerelchimig Blackcrane (The nightjar at dusk). I had never read anything by Shi Tiesheng before and really liked his tone. His story was basically about compassion, with friends, strangers and even a now-abandoned wheelchair. The other three stories nicely fit into a 少數民族 theme, and not even by design. I found the Deng Yiguang story a bit too simple, with wolves that were a bit too humanized for my taste, but it was still good. Liked the other two stories as well.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Currently reading 《许三观卖血记》by 余华. I'm a couple dozen pages from finishing it and have enjoyed it thoroughly. It has been a very easy read and in that both the vocabulary and grammar are simple. As language learners, the structure if the writing is really conducive to memorization as things get repeated multiple times by different characters within the space of a few pages.

 

It's about a man and his family as they go through the great leap forward and the cultural revolution. It's not overly-political but instead focuses on the lived experiences that these events would cause if you didn't actively pursue joining them. All this doesn't happen until a good chunk in to the book. I enjoyed this though because it gave me time to develop a relationship to the characters and understand them deeply so that when things went south I had a feel for why they would make the decisions they did.

 

Another aspect I really enjoyed is the character development throughout the book. Unlike so much TV in China, the characters grow and develop through their actions and experience as well as a result of their aging. I'm leaving a lot out of this opinion to avoid spoilers.

 

I read this book as extensive reading while also reading 《活着》 (also by 余华) intensively. I'm only about 40 pages into 《活着》, though. Currently, I study the next chapter of words and then read the chapter a couple times or more while I get the words into mature. It's been a slow process. However, when I was reading《许三观卖血记》I noticed a big jump in known vocabulary, particularly since the topic is similar and the writer is the same. 

 

Just picked up a couple new books, as well.

 

1) 圈子圈套! Selected due to recommendations on these forums

2) 从出生到6岁:宝宝能力训练与早期教育: It was written by one of these teachers at 北师大 that I've been in touch with. It's a topic I'm interested in anyhow so I figured I'd give it a go. 

 

As a reference book, I'm also digging into 对外汉语教学语法释疑201 which has been a gold mine of incredibly clear explanations. Highly recommended.

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寻梦中国 [从乡村到城市的奋斗之路]by 范小林 (Colin T. Flahive)

 

I do believe this book was originally written in English and I am reading the Chinese translation. The English title on the cover is "Great Leaps: Finding Home in a Changing China".

 

I usually don't like reading translations and prefer to read the book in the original language, but I made an exception for this one as I like his story as he arrived in China around the time I first did (2000), so I can relate to his story of discovering China and discovering oneself at the same time and making a plan to stay long term in China.

 

Also, this is the first book that I am reading in Chinese so this is a big step for me. I find the language to be relatively easy for me to get through.

 

https://www.amazon.cn/图书/dp/B01LY137M2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1490536720&sr=8-1&keywords=寻梦中国

 

P.S. I picked up this book at 万圣书园 on 成府路 near the south gate of Tsinghua University here in Beijing. That is a great bookstore (Chinese titles only) and I recommend it to everybody.

 

twowheel

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艾墨本, are you going to carry on with 余华 too? After 活着 and 许三观卖血记 I read 第七天. It's quite different from those other two, a complete change of setting and style; a really good read, story-wise, and probably about the same difficulty level.

 

I'm about 30 pages in with 圈子圈套 - seems like the natural progression for users of this forum! - but I have to say I'm not really enjoying it so far. I'll stick with it for a while longer, I hope it gets better....

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In the past week I read stories by Xi Xi, Hang Ying, Sun Yisheng ('Apery'), Yu Hua ('Appendix'), and Shi Tiesheng again (an excerpt of his autobiographical novel).

Xi Xi remains one of my favourite writers, I love her short stories. She has a very subtle sense of humour and a lovely tone. The Hang Ying story ('Company') was nice too. The Sun Yisheng story, about Father who catches a monkey and tries to teach it to speak, was very well-written, it made a good turn in the middle and I liked how the author even made it a story of his own name. Shi Tiesheng I should read more of, this story was again good. And the Yu Hua story as well.

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5 hours ago, dnevets said:

艾墨本, are you going to carry on with 余华 too? After 活着 and 许三观卖血记 I read 第七天. It's quite different from those other two, a complete change of setting and style; a really good read, story-wise, and probably about the same difficulty level.

 

I'm about 30 pages in with 圈子圈套 - seems like the natural progression for users of this forum! - but I have to say I'm not really enjoying it so far. I'll stick with it for a while longer, I hope it gets better....

 

I have 《兄弟》here as well but based on Chinese Text Analyzer, it seems to be a big jump in difficulty. I'll look into 第七天 but first I want to step outside of 余华 for a bit. I wanna improve my modern-day vocabulary a bit and 圈子圈套 seems like a good fit for that.

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