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roddy

Book reading for June / July?

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roddy

So for the last month or so I've been doing this and while it hasn't attracted a huge amount of interest, I wasn't that surprised - this was something I wanted to read and I was aware the subject matter and vocab might be off-putting. 

 

I was thinking of doing something similar in May, but wanted to see if throwing the book selection open might result in more interest. If we hit upon one I fancy reading, I'd take the lead in posting regular updates, or if someone else does that, I'd be commenting and trying to help out with any issues.

 

Ideas for books might come from here or here

 

Any interest / suggestions? 

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Lu

For my next book I'm currently hesitating between:

张悦然《誓鸟》, I don't even know what this book is about but Zhang is consistently good.

笛安《景恒街》, Di An's best, according to her agent.

曹文轩《草鞋湾》, a detective novel for children by the winner of the Hans Christian Andersen Award.

So if it's going to be either of those, I am in and then I also know what my next book will be.

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somethingfunny

The news today suggests June 1st as earliest date possible for schools returning.  So count me in.

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corian

So many, many things on my "want to read" list, but I might follow along depending on what is chosen.

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imron
2 hours ago, corian said:

So many, many things on my "want to read" list,

Write up a brief list here, and maybe one will be chosen!

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艾墨本

I was looking to read 《红高粱》but haven't read past the first page after shifting priorities elsewhere.  Might be fun to read that with everyone else here, or pick up whatever other book is decided on.

 

I'd also be interested in reading a collection of short stories or maybe picking a few to read with everyone here. Might help me branch out in what I am reading.

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roddy

曹文轩《草鞋湾》 is for ages 7-11 - that's an interesting idea, the print edition comes with a chart so you can follow the progress of the investigation. And I've been reading some pretty hard-bitten Spanish noir lately, this would certainly be a change.

 

There's a sample of the Di An here. It doesn't sound like the kind of thing I would normally read, but these are not normal times. "景恒街是北京CBD附近的一条街道,也是主人公关景恒的名字。这条街见证着他爱情、命运的转折,也见证着无数在爱欲纠缠的名利场里,起起伏伏的逐梦人生。" And more info on the Zhang Yueran.

 

Obvious advantages to a short story collection as well. 

 

 

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Geiko

If you need suggestions for short stories, I have at home and on my to-be-read list 《中国好小说》by 迟子建.

 

As for novels, I also suggest 严歌苓,I bought 《妈阁是座城》and《少女小渔》and never find the time to read them

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zander1

Could I suggest 《我只知道人是什么》by 余华? Yuhua’s fiction is often suggested as a good first book due to his simple language but I don’t think his essay collections get much attention on these forums. They have the benefits of being short self-contained essays and being reasonably accessible.

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edelweis

how do you all intend to get the same book to read?

do you conveniently have a Chinese bookstore next door, or huge piles of Chinese books at home,

or do you intend to get a legal or not so legal electronic version?

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Geiko

Either buy the book online or find an ebook, as I would do in normal circumstances. In fact, I've already ordered one of the novels mentioned here, but due to the coronavirus I don't know how long it will take to reach my home.

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ouyangjun

I really like this idea.  It would be nice if we could create a sub-group/sub-forum here to focus on a monthly book club.  When a book is chosen, I would suggest adding the following detail, which I think would make it more accessible to more people.

  • Book Title and a brief description of book
  • Reading level (beginner, intermediate, advanced) - maybe there is a way to make this more objective instead of subjective, for example total words, total unique words, total unique characters (this would obviously require an electronic format to pull the data, but would be interesting if it existed)
  • Where to buy and or download get the book

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Lu
2 hours ago, edelweis said:

do you conveniently have a Chinese bookstore next door, or huge piles of Chinese books at home,

I have huge piles of Chinese books at home, so I made sure to nominate a few books from those piles 😄 I also have a Chinese library nearby, although it's probably closed at the moment and I don't know how well-stocked it is on contemporary novels.

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imron
4 hours ago, ouyangjun said:

It would be nice if we could create a sub-group/sub-forum here to focus on a monthly book club

Already exists for the several times this has been tried in the past - Book and Story of the Month.

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jiasen

Can't help with any recommendations but I would be keen to join!

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murrayjames

Cool idea. It may be mid-May before I have the time to participate in earnest. But count me in.

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PerpetualChange

Would like to join, but you know May is like 4 days away, right? Not giving anyone much time to finish up their current novel 😂

 

I just started 撒哈拉歲月 (撒哈拉故事 + some additions) and it promises to be a relatively quick read but it will still probably take me  2-3 weeks to finish it. 

Since it's short stories, though, if the selected novel is close enough to my level I may be willing to take a break from it. Or you could just start with my book, and I'll have the head start! (guessing most have read it already, though...). Of the authors mentioned in those threads, 古龍 was one I already was considering as my next stop in the world of Chinese novels. 

 

So I my vote would be (selfishly) 三毛 《撒哈拉故事》/《撒哈拉歲月》 or (slightly less selfishnessly) 古龍《 流星蝴蝶剑》 . Count me in for either of those. 

 

Since those threads mentioned 余華 and 巴金, I'll do my best to participate if the selection is 《活著》 or 《家》, as I read both fairly recently, so count me in for those as well. 

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Xiao Kui

i read most of 草房子,another well-known title by    曹文轩. Though it was a kid's book I still encountered plenty of new vocab words, even as an advanced reader, and it touched on real social issues of the time.  The antics of the kids in that book reminded me of Tales of 4th grade nothing/Super Fudge or   Diary of a Wimpy Kid, though it was more literary than any of those.  Seeing the Cultural Revolution in a rural setting through children's eyes was also a refreshing take. So I would be on board to read the detective novel by this author suggested above.

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roddy

Well, as long as we start sometime in May...

 

The only thing I can see above where there's any agreement is 曹文轩' s 草鞋湾, the kids detective story. Which I realise might not be to everyone's taste, but Lu's going to be reading it anyway, Xiao Kui's said he's on board, and I'm keen to get us started on something. But if you're seeing someone else's suggestion you're interested in, say so. 

 

Problem for me is that I currently seem to be locked out of mainland ebook stores due a lack of a phone number. I can order a hard copy, but not sure how long that'd take to turn up. Someone's actually got it on Amazon.co.uk, but shipping from China. I'm trying to order a copy from JD.com, but the payment page seems unresponsive and I'm not sure how often I want to mash the "take my money" button.

 

Edit: I cannot believe this. The payment page was just immediately popping up a 'processing, please check later' message, but with no sign of anything actually being submitted or working. And then I thought... it can't be... in 2020? Closed Chrome, opened up Internet Explorer (remember that?), went through the same process while dismissing a few javascript errors and... 支付成功. No email confirmation or money left my bank yet though...

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PerpetualChange

@roddy have you tried ReadMoo? It's Taiwan's biggest ebook platform. It's pretty good. Somewhat of a different selection than a mainland bookstore I guess, but far better than Kindle/Apple/Google book stores. The books on the app are in traditional characters and set up in 直排 as default which I like, but you can switch it. The prices are reasonable. You can pay through Apple Pay or Google and don't need a phone number as far as I can tell. 

 

I did check, there's a number of books by 曹文轩 on there, but not the one you mentioned.  

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