WWW.Wednesdays: What are you reading?

The blog “Should Be Reading” started a series called http://www.Wednesdays.

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To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next

Here are my answers for May 21, 2014.

What are you currently reading?

Two books, both on China.

  • One is nonfiction, a reportial  on China by husband-wife journalist team Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl Wudunn  called China Wakes: The Struggle for the Soul of a Rising Power. I am almost half-way through. I know so little about China that I cannot comment on how accurate it is.  It is already 20 years old, so I would suspect it is at least somewhat outdated.   However, it is highly readable, engaging, and informative–especially for a reader (like me) whose knowledge of contemporary China is hazy at best.  Some of the reviewers said they focused too much on the sensational rather than the ordinary.  That may be true, but perhaps that is to be expected from journalists.  In any case, I love it so far and would recommend it to others interested in China.
  • A mystery novel set in China called Flower Net by Lisa See.  Lisa See is Chinese-American (as is Sheryl Wudunn, by the way).  This is the first of her “Red Princess” novels which feature American attorney David Stark and Chinese detective Liu Hulan.  I have a soft spot for mystery novels set in foreign countries, so I am really enjoying it.   See is obviously writing for people who know little about China.  She often inserts comments into the narrative like “Chinese people are quite reticent so….”    On the one hand, this seems intrusive, but on the other hand, I find cultural insights informative.    There is actually quite a bit of overlap of themes between China Wakes and Flower Net.

 

What did you recently finish reading?

Her by Christa Parravani.  I did a post on this book last week.

What do you think you’ll read next?

Not sure.  I have so many books piled up, begging me to read them!  But maybe this one:

How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity and the Hidden Power of Character by Paul Tough. I heard an interview with him on NPR. He tries to answer the question of why some children succeed while others fail. He believes much of it has to do with character rather than with IQ or other cognitive traits.

What about you?  What have you read recently?

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