Today's post is short and sweet. I'm not quite comfortable with the mantle of "blogger" yet, seeing as this is only my second post on this site and my second blogging attempt since Xanga over a decade ago. Anyway, I thought that some of you who are interested in learning more about China would like a few recommendations.
For starters, there's A LOT of stuff out there about China and Chinese, both online and in print. Lots of it sucks, to be honest. There are way too many books about the "China threat" written by people who know nothing about what's actually going on there - not to say that I'm an expert by any means. To get you started on your path to enlightenment, I have two recommendations - a book about contemporary China by a great writer and a website that collects contemporary works in Chinese and couples them with decent translations.
Age of Ambition by Evan Osnos
This is a must-read for anyone wanting to look back on their time in China (which is when I first found it) or anyone wanting to learn more about what modern life is like there (albeit from the eyes' of an outsider). What's nice about this book, though, is that unlike so many other China books written by non-Chinese authors, Evan Osnos doesn't whitesplain China to you. Instead, Age of Ambition highlights many of the complexities and contradictions of contemporary Chinese culture as well as the struggles that many people face from the perspective of a reporter. To get a taste of his writing, check out some of Evan Osnos' excellent pieces in The New Yorker.
Read Paper Republic
In learning Chinese, one of the hardest things I’d run into was trying to find decent source material to learn from. So many of the contemporary pieces recommended around the internet are all about the Cultural Revolution. After reading one or two, you kind of get the idea. Also, unlike Age of Ambition, these are all works written by contemporary Chinese authors. What’s so nice about Read Paper Republic is that they provide tons of different pieces of contemporary literature – from children’s books to magical realism. I’ve only recently stumbled across this site, but it’s a rare gem! There are tons of works online, for free, to browse from – and all of the Chinese is accompanied by fantastic translations. Give some of these works a try. You might even find a favorite new author!
University of Leeds Writing Chinese
Okay, so here’s a BONUS recommendation –> Writing Chinese from the University of Leeds. If you need more book recommendations than the ones you found on Read Paper Republic, visit this website for lots of other great books. They’ve even got a book club that you can sign up for! I plan to polish my book review skills and sign up for free books to review! How great is that!
I’m opening comments up for this post so that you can give me your own recommendations. Let’s hear ‘em!
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