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What are the best things you read in 2020?


feihong

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Tomsima

Great list, and really interesting to see something a little different from usual, I'll have to give one of these a go and see how reading manga in Chinese works for me. This year I did a lot of reading both in Chinese and in English, and I'm afraid I didn't come across anything worth recommending here that hasn't already been shared in other threads. I just finished Shelley's Frankenstein though, which was a lot different to what I thought it would be like (horror sci-fi, but actually more like existential exploration of human nature)

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robertcslim

Thanks @feihong for that list.

 

Certainly it will be a drastic change for me - if there are English version. I am unable to read Chinese properly. Only individual characters so most of my readings are English translations of the great novels.

 

I also tend to read more on political / sociology , business and technology books.

 

Here are two books that I enjoyed

 

Superpower Interrupted

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52596733-superpower-interrupted

 

Has China Won?: The Chinese Challenge to American Primacy

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/51720954-has-china-won

 

 

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My Chinese reading is currently very limited but I started reading Mandarin Companion graded readers this year. So far I've finished:

 

我的老师是火星人 - My Teacher is a Martian

小明 - Xiao Ming, Boy Sherlock

卷发公司的案子 - Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Curly Haired Company

 

Currently I'm reading:

王子和穷孩子 - The Prince and the Pauper

 

Of these, My Teacher is a Martian was the first longer Chinese text I ever read so I'm very fond of it. I was also impressed by how the book managed to be entertaining despite being written in such simple language and very limited vocabulary. But my favourite one of the bunch would be The Prince and the Pauper that I'm reading right now. I'm a big history buff and I really enjoy the setting of fictional ancient China in the book.

 

Speaking of history. My favourite English reading this year would probably be A Brief History of Indonesia: Sultans, Spices, and Tsunamis by Tim Hannigan. It was a very entertainingly written general overview of Indonesian history. Despite being quite familiar with East Asia by now, I didn't know much about Indonesia prior to reading the book, so it was a nice introduction to the history of that part of Asia.

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Haven't read as much as I should this year (well, not in Chinese anyway..), but I can recommend 半小时漫画中国史

 

The series gives a brief walk-through of Chinese history, written in a light-hearted, comic style in sort of a comic book form. Found it pretty interesting as someone who's not taken any classes or anything on Chinese History. Nice to finally be able to recognize more of those historical reference you tend to run into all the time while learning Chinese/living in China.

 

The books seems to gotten quite popular in China as well. And they are dirt cheap!

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coffeepresto

I've just started reading novels in Chinese this year, and started with Cao Wenxuan's kids novels. Among his books, I really enjoyed 蝙蝠香 and 草鞋弯. I am also in the middle of reading all the Sailor Moon manga translated into Chinese 🙃  However, it's pretty annoying how they change the main characters' names from book to book. 😑

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murrayjames

Good idea for a thread. The best Chinese works I read in 2020 were:

  • 《吃事三篇》 by 莫言; and 
  • 《草鞋湾》 by 曹文轩 (see dedicated thread here).
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Best for me in 2020, 2 novels: 

盛可以《北妹》[Sheng Keyi "Northern Girls"]

残雪《黄泥接》[Can Xue "Yellow Mud Street"]

And a treatise on the Odes by Geoffrey Sampson: "Voices from Early China. The Odes Demystified". It makes the Odes fun and quite easy to read, bilingual poems, splendid translations and very good notes.

I intend to stay with Can Xue and the Odes for much of 2021.

 

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Tomsima
22 hours ago, Luxi said:

a treatise on the Odes by Geoffrey Sampson: "Voices from Early China. The Odes Demystified". It makes the Odes fun and quite easy to read, bilingual poems, splendid translations and very good notes.

Sounds great, but damn its pretty expensive, here in the uk the only price I can find is about £70, any tips?

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26 minutes ago, Tomsima said:

its pretty expensive

 

It is indeed (but very, very good).  Maybe you can try to contact  @Geoffrey Sampson, he is still a member here. The last few posts on this thread for more info

Classical Chinese study group - Page 6 - Classical Chinese - Chinese-forums.com (chinese-forums.com)

 

I imagine Interlibrary Loans is completely dead now. Failing that, your Uni library? Or a friendly professor who can borrow it for you? 

 

 

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Geoffrey Sampson

If you care to visit my webpage for this book, <www.grsampson.net/BVEC.html>, it offers you a discount code with which you can get 25% off the price from the publisher (which unless they have put it up very recently is about £69, so about £52 with the discount).  I know, it is expensive; but it's a very large book and was complicated to print, in two scripts.  It's the publisher rather than the author who sets the price, of course, and I wish it were more affordable, but for the quantity of material in it I don't honestly think the price is out of line with current norms.

 

Thank you Luxi for your very kind words!

 

Gong xi fa cai to all,

 

Geoff Sampson

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Tomsima

@Geoffrey Sampson Thats fantastic, thank you for the discount code information, and for what looks like an excellent read and contribution to the literature. I've already spent way too much money on books this month, so it might have to get squeezed into next month's budgeting or the month after that. I just took a look at the preview offered by the publisher and have to say, the attention to detail on the Tolkien-esque map is quite fantastic, I look forward to enjoying the translations even more in the near future. I'll share this with my students too, as I'm sure there's a small handful of them that are interested in reading the classics as they're being translated in modern English.

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