I’ve decided that I do not currently participate in enough challenges (note the sarcasm) and so I am joining the China Challenge, hosted by Jennie of Biblio File. I came across this challenge through Eva’s blog A Striped Armchair and when I thought about it I noticed that I actually have four books on China on my bookshelves, waiting to be read. Thus, it wasn’t all that hard to decide what books I want to read for this challenge. I am still looking for a good non-fiction book on China and I could do with some more fiction-recommendations as well. I am joining the Fast Train to Shanghai level, which has the following rules:
Read 5 books about China before september 2010
1 should be a translated work of fiction by a Chinese author (or not translated if you have the language skills.) I will make exceptions for Chinese authors that also write in English– their English works are fine.
1 should be nonfiction
I’m thinking that I’d like to participate on some of the activities mentioned for the Silk Road Trek (for example, reading a Chinese blog, watch a Chinese movie, eat Chinese food, etc), but I know I won’t be able to read 10 books on China this year. So I might just cheat and report on these activities anyway.
The books that I have selected for now are:
- Red Dust by Ma Jian: A book about a journey through China by the author. I picked this book up a few years ago at a book sale. It’s part of the Vintage books “Take Your Imagination East” series. [Finished Reading 04/07/10: Read Review]
- Miss Chopsticks by Xinran: Another booksale buy. Part of the blurb is the fascinating sentence: “Women, their father tells them, are like chopsticks: utilitarian and easily broken.” I think I could read this for the Women Unbound Challenge as well, but we’ll see. [Finished reading 03/24/10: Read Review]
- Becoming Madam Mao by Anchee Min: This has been on my shelves for forever, I don’t even remember when or where I got it from. I’ve never read it, because the size of the book makes me hesitant to pick it up. I think this book will be the hardest to actually start reading for this challenge.
- Wu. The Chinese Empress Who Schemed, Seduced and Murdered Her Way to Become a Living God by Jonathan Clements: This might be my non-fiction pick for this challenge, although I might want to read more non-fiction about China this year. It’s advertised as “the true story of the first and only woman in Chinese history to become ruling emperor’. Something about this line tells me that this might be a rather too-popular non-fiction read. Actually, I bought it thinking that it would be a fiction book. But there are some notes at the end of the book, so let’s just say I’m curious to see what I’ll think of it when I’ve read it.
I have a copy of Wild Swans by Jung Chang waiting to be reread on my shelves. I remember how I loved this book when I was a fourteen-year-old, but I’m thinking that I might want to add a book that I haven’t read already.
Do you have any recommendations on books I might like to read about or related to China?