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review: La Geografia China/中国地理常识

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From the free give-away 2nd round this is my review of La Geografia China/中国地理常识 ISBN:978-7-80200-231-9

The first impression when unpacking the book was that it's physically of solid quality book with a wide range of subjects. The subjects are more then just the standard fair you usually see at books aimed at learners.

The second impression after spending some time with the book is that the physical quality is absolutely fine. I had the book unprotected in my backpack when I got soaked by a heavy shower. Result book was pretty wet but after drying the damage is limited to a few stains still perfectly fine. The book seems to be designed for durability rather then to impress visually. No glossy paper etc, but still a nice book.

The book contains short stories in Chinese followed by a translation in Spanish. The stories cover a wide variety of subjects. Though subjects like road and waterways, industry, agriculture etc are covered, the majority of the stories have a clear touristic angle. I love the variety of subjects, but some of the stories are so short (3-4 lines) that I wonder what the added value is as those only cover the absolute basics of the subject. Beside the stories there are loads of pictures in the book many very beautifull, but also some that look dated or just do not convey the beauty of the place as I experienced it. Most stories also contain one or more boxed facts. Though many of the features mentioned are well known, not all are. I sometimes felt a small map with a dot indicating the location of the feature would have been nice.

I experienced the Chinese stories as quite different in regard of language level. Some stories seemed quite easy while others were quite hard. I'm not sure or this is an issue with me or with the book. It may be just a reflexion of my familiarity with the subjects. In the Spanish parts I did not experience this level difference.   

At the end of the book there are 2 appendices. The purpose of the first one is not clear to me, it seems to be an incomplete list of places mentioned in the book. The second appendix is an overview of world heritage locations in China.

Overall a physically durable book with an interesting wide range of geographical subjects. Though heavy on touristic locations not all of them are very well known in the west(by me). So it has added value in getting to know Chinese geographics.






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