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Call It Sleep
All the beauty of Joyce with none of his pretension, accessible and poetic, spiritual and religious. By far my most intense reading experience.
Aug 2006
Apr 11, 2007
Gravity's Rainbow
I still get tremors of terror and nausea when I look at this book; I can't bring myself to open it. But I know it was good.
Oct 2007
Oct 19, 2007
The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies?
Way too long and doesn't stick closely enough to the point of the book (which is telling us what we can learn from traditional societies). Also, a lot ...more
Jul 2013
Aug 29, 2013
Accordion Crimes
Longwinded and preoccupied with history. In other short stories and books Proulx proved herself a master at casting a compelling story before a meanin ...more
Feb 2007
Apr 11, 2007
A modern-day Don Quixote set in a nondescript Chinese town, "His Country: A Song Belongs To Us" is a funny, absurd, romping look at the life of Zuo Xi ...more
Dec 31, 2013
Jan 01, 2014
The Orphan Master's Son
Adam Johnson's writing feels obsessively honed for the first half of this novel, which is about a North Korean tunnel soldier who eventually murders a ...more
Dec 2013
Dec 07, 2013
This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral — plus plenty of valet parking! — in America’s Gilded Capital
Leibovich at least gives the appearance of pulling no punches in this sprawling screed about the nepotistic, incestuous relationships between governme ...more
Aug 30, 2013
Aug 29, 2013
The China Fantasy: How Our Leaders Explain Away Chinese Repression
Mann's book boldly throws light on the United States' culpability in the Chinese Communist's Party's uncanny longevity since 1949 as the sole politica ...more
Jan 2013
Oct 17, 2013
The Razor's Edge
Maugham does the rare thing of combining exuberance and sensitivity, seriousness and flippancy. The book moves swiftly and pleasurably, and yet at the ...more
Jul 20, 2008
Jul 15, 2008
China Cuckoo: How I Lost A Fortune And Found A Life In China
This book is complete shit. Kitto writes about everything you don't care about (such as what he ate for dinner with his girlfriend who he only breaks ...more
Jan 2011
Nov 08, 2011
The Stories of Breece D'J Pancake
Stark and crushing, and more than anything beautiful. The best American short shories I've read (sorry, Salinger).
Oct 2007
Mar 27, 2008
The Village of Waiting
Great Peace Corps memoir....George Packer's writing about having a nervous breakdown, inadvertently spending a night with a prostitute, and nearly goi ...more
May 2011
Nov 08, 2011
Red Azalea
Min's style fits her subject matter perfectly--short, short sentences with a lot of force. This is one of those stories about the Cultural Revolution ...more
Sep 2011
Nov 08, 2011
About Face: A History of America's Curious Relationship with China, from Nixon to Clinton
Poorly written in places, quite dry, and Mann makes it painfully clear that he can't speak Chinese (note to China historians in the West: learn Chines ...more
May 2011
Nov 08, 2011
Country Driving: A Journey Through China from Farm to Factory
Hessler still gives wonderful context to everyday life in China, but many of the passages in this book lack the passion he brought to his last book, O ...more
Apr 2010
Nov 08, 2011
Wild Grass: Three Stories of Change in Modern China
Johnson's writing is pretty mediocre and the editing is not great, but the last section of the book, about the suppression of Falun Gong, the religion ...more
May 2011
Nov 08, 2011
Infinite Jest
Wallace created a roaring behemoth of a novel that seems timeless and yet completely embedded in the present. He also convinced me to never seriously ...more
May 03, 2009
May 05, 2009
New Practical Chinese Reader Textbook 5
This one is much better than book 4, which consisted entirely of super boring passages. This one spices it up a bit, but there's not a lot of variety. ...more
Nov 2011
Nov 08, 2011
A skillfully written study on the ruthlessness of life in mid-20th century America. Beautiful at points, disjointed at others, with an ending unfortun ...more
Feb 2007
Apr 11, 2007
Iron and Silk
A funny, very easy to read book about China in the eighties. Salzman doesn't convey a whole lot of substance outside his own story, but the writing is ...more
Oct 2011
Nov 08, 2011
Nineteen Eighty Four
I still don't particularly like this book, but it was interesting to read while living in China. Orwell's prescience is a little scary.
Sep 2011
Nov 08, 2011
The Trial
Just one of the best. Although I read a different translation...couldn't find it on Goodreads....
Aug 2011
Nov 08, 2011
In Persuasion Nation
Some of the stories are great and funny and imaginative; some of them are cloyingly "pomo".
Jun 2011
Nov 08, 2011
Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China
See my review on my blog:
Sep 2010
Nov 08, 2011
Tide Players: The Movers and Shakers of a Rising China
Zha's writing is a tad cloying at times, and she uses way too many exclamation points; but it's fascinating to get an "insider's" look at some stories ...more
Nov 22, 2011
Nov 08, 2011
A Star Shines Over Mt. Morris (Mercy of a Rude Stream, #1)
Not a great read, but an essential introduction to the MORS series, a look at the creative birth of a genius, possibly the only of its kind in the mod ...more
Dec 2006
Apr 11, 2007
Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace ... One School at a Time
When I first read the book, I didn't know that there were issues with its veracity. Only a few months later did I find out; I recall thinking that alt ...more
Apr 2011
Nov 08, 2011
I thought this book was excellent. Hanhan tells an engaging story through a series of dialogs between a poorly educated, pregnant prostitute and a mor ...more
Feb 2012
May 17, 2013
Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West
McCarthy's vocab is really good, although the plot often hangs on conventional and boring conventions of suspense and hyperbole. maybe that's what wes ...more
Jul 2007
Sep 16, 2007
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
An almost completely enjoyable experience, except for the shaky development Sammy's whole ashamed homosexual experience, and Chabon's use of the phras ...more
Nov 2007
Dec 08, 2007
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