Chrissie's Reviews > A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers

A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers by Xiaolu Guo
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's review
Jul 15, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: china, great-britain, fiction, philo-psychol, relationships, kirkus, text-checked

I loved this short little book. At the start there stands the words: "Nothing in this book is true, except for the love between her and him." The depiction of her, Ms Z's, love for him is so true that the book truly shines. This is reason enough to read the book. In addition how it feels to struggle in a new country with a new language is fabulously described. That a land's culture is entwined with its language is another important aspect of the book.Finally there were interesting tidbits about China and its language that I enjoyed. I so wish Ms Z was a person I knew, so our friendship could continue.
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Comments (showing 1-41 of 41) (41 new)

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message 1: by Lee (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lee Chris, I'm so glad you enjoyed this lovely book as much as I did. I was particularly struck by the beauty of the last paragraph and thinking about how much her English had progressed by the end.

Chrissie Then we started sending messages to eachother.

message 3: by Lee (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lee Wow, I can't believe you found this! I won't forget it now. I really loved this book.

And I remember not knowing if you were a man or a woman because at that time your profile picture was the rocks and your user name was just Chris. It feels like so long ago.

message 4: by Lisa (new) - added it

Lisa Vegan How sweet you two!!!

message 5: by Lisa (new) - added it

Lisa Vegan And yes, I remember when we first became friends you were Chris, Chrissie, and at the very first I thought you were a man! I think you had a ball as your avatar.

Chrissie Lee and Lisa, the reason I called myself Chris is b/c I had just stopped with a diabetic blog b/c I was done saying what I had to say and I thought I should say less about myself on the internet. So I told myself, just use Chris and don't blab. Well, that didn't last long. I really cannot stop saying what I think. It goes against my grain. Then I figured, fine use the name I really use too. The avatar was a stone. I took a picture of a postcard. Then I worried that myabe that was illegal, so I changed that to one of my own photos of the boulders at Menehan in Brittany. Now of course, the avatar is Oscar and I. As a kid living in the US I absolutely HATED the name Chris b/c I thought it was a boy's name, but my parents wanted to use that name. They decided. See I was right - Chris is a boy's name. My husband calls me Chrissie. Otherwise nobody in my family does.... What can't I decide my own name.

Lee, it is kind of cool what happened from sharing thoughts on a particular book. It spoke to both you and I. It took me ahile to find it. I wonder where that book is physically? It must be in Sweden. It is now a very special book for me :0)

Both of you are super good friends.

Lisa,No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War IINo Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II is GOOD. You get to know the personalities of FDR and Eleanor and other. You end up understanding why they make the decisions they make. I am very impressed witrh FDR as a person. I just plain like him. He had compassion for others. there are the ordinary historical facts too, but I cannot read a book just filled with dry facts. I fall asleep.....

message 7: by Lee (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lee Chrissie, thanks for hunting that down. I feel the same way about you. :-)

I'm quite interested in Eleanor Roosevelt but haven't read anything about her yet. I might take a look at this book.

Chrissie It is about both Franklin and Eleanor. I really do like it b/c I like history books that explain what made the people tick. Then it is easier to understand the decisions they made. I must say I LIKE Franklin. I have only read 80 pages. The book sort of fits everybody because there also the normal facts given too. I have alot to learn so some of it is too much for my feeble brain. The more you know the moe things become intereting, but you have to start somewhere. This is new stuff for me. I already feel like I know the Franklin. I hope I get to feel that way about Eleanor. Their relationship is very unusual and they work together wonderfully as a team, irregardless of ther marital disputes. He had an affair when he was 30, but I am wondering why this happened. Often there are mistakes made on both sides. Right now I just have numerous questions about Eleanor. I hope they will be answered by this book.

message 9: by Lisa (new) - added it

Lisa Vegan My mother (who was alive at the time Eleanor was) loved Eleanor Roosevelt, and my dad always appreciated Franklin for doing what he did to contribute to end the Great Depression. What I've learned about Franklin since, how he didn't help Jews who wanted to seek refuge in the U.S. from Nazi occupied Europe, has somewhat altered my view of him somewhat, but I'm still interested in both of them and assume I'd like much about both if I read this book/other books.

Chrissie, Thank goodness you became yourself here and started blabbing again. We'd have never really gotten to know you if you'd stayed distant, and I'm really grateful to have gotten to know you. And I love all your photos!!!

message 10: by Lee (last edited Sep 13, 2010 11:53AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lee It sounds great so far Chrissie. The other book I've had on my list for a while about the Roosevelts is The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey. That one looks really interesting to me.

Oops, I see you've read that one already and you've given it 5 stars! I might start with that first. I think it would be a good discussion book.

message 11: by Lee (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lee I agree with Lisa, we love you and all your blabbing! What's the point if you can't be yourself?

message 12: by Chrissie (last edited Sep 14, 2010 08:51AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Chrissie Well concerning my babbling, I figure sometimes I will go in the wrong direction or say something stupid, but who cares. I make mistakes. It is just to admit it and go on. We are all human.

I loved River of Doubt! I also very highly recommend Mornings on Horseback. Another book by David McCulloughn that I will read isThe Path Between the Seas, about the Panama Canal. The latter two are about Teddy. McCullough is a fabulous writer. I felt I wanted to know more about FDR.... Just when I said to you that I needed more info on Eleanor, the book switches to her. Teddy was her uncle. I thought Teddy and Franklin are cousins... This hasn't been discussed yet. Why she is who she is is being discussed. Lots of information about their childhood experiences. Eleanor helped to get Jews into the US during WW2, I need to see what circumstances explain FDR's choices. This is hard to understand right now b/c he is a person who cares for the poor and needy and he is not an Isolationist while everyone in the US was fighting him to NOT send airplanes to help the Allies. We are talking 1940 still. When FDR decided to do something he did it. he was raised to go after what he believed in. Anything is possible if you decide you will do it.But he cannot say no to people, or fire people....that doesn't mean he did what everyone said only that he would nod and then latter do what HE thought was right. Others have said that in fact a blatant no would have caused less hard feelings. I tend to agree with the author's explanations. It does seem strange that this man with such empathy didn't help the Jews into the US. Few countries did! That is what is so disgusting in WW2. There is alot to learn. Harry Hopkins and Missy and Tommy are also interesting people in their own right.

message 13: by Lee (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lee David McCullogh seems to have a following! And the Roosevelts seem to be quite the interesting family. I will have to read something before I can comment on your comments - LOL! I'm totally ignorant about the subject.

Chrissie Lee, I have read about Teddy Roosevelt, but I have never read about the Home Front in WW2 or Franklin or Eleanor. It is about time I did.

message 15: by Lisa (new) - added it

Lisa Vegan I've heard David McCullough speak. He's a wonderfully interesting person, as well as an excellent writer.

Chrissie Lisa, what did McCullough talk about? I am impressed with Doris Kearns Goodwin's writing too! Where did you tell me heard about her? Was it at NPR?

message 17: by Lisa (new) - added it

Lisa Vegan I've heard them each speak at least a couple of times. They talked about their new books at the time but also about current events and took audience questions. I heard them both at the Herbst Hall which is across the street from our city hall. It's a series of lectures, actually a few series a year, called City Arts & Lectures. I've loved them both every time, particularly Goodwin.

message 18: by Lee (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lee Cool!

message 19: by Lisa (new) - added it

Lisa Vegan Yes, I love those lectures. I particularly like the Academy of Sciences series because the people & topics are science based. I've heard so many good people at that series various years, including Oliver Sacks and Jane Goodall.

Chrissie I am jealous! I have Uncle Tungsten sitting here on my shelf...... I need more reading time.

message 21: by Lisa (last edited Sep 14, 2010 09:59AM) (new) - added it

Lisa Vegan Chrissie wrote: "I am jealous! I have Uncle Tungsten sitting here on my shelf...... I need more reading time."

One of the times I heard Sacks was when that book first came out so that was the book he was talking about. I loved the book. I'm lucky to see them but they also usually sign books and I never get to have that done. For one thing, I almost always take out their books from the library and even if I could afford to buy the books, the friend(s) I go with never want to wait around. The lectures/talks are usually in the evenings and the signings are after the talks, usually at about 9:15-9:30.

message 22: by Chrissie (last edited Sep 14, 2010 10:52AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Chrissie It must add quite a bit to hear the author's speak. the book will probably have an other dimension. Another wonderful thing about where you live. Life in such a city has its advantages.

This is a lovely blab corner for us three :0) All subjects are allowed!

message 23: by Lee (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lee Love it!

message 24: by Lisa (new) - added it

Lisa Vegan Chrissie, It does. Sometimes I've heard them before and sometimes after and sometimes instead of reading the books. My favorite person to see (and I've seen her about 4 times) is Anna Quindlen. I saw Sue Grafton only once and it was in the balcony, but she was wonderful too. I've seen so many authors. The local bookstores also have readings and signings but the talks/lectures are better because they digress from their particular book a lot more. The bookstore events are free though. We pay for the talks/lectures. Oh, Dave Eggers is a hoot! He's local so we can see him a lot. At one talk he brought cookies for the audience. So cool.

message 25: by Lee (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lee He brought cookies? That's so cute.

message 26: by Lisa (new) - added it

Lisa Vegan Lee wrote: "He brought cookies? That's so cute."

It was adorable. He was adorable. He said he made them, they were from a mix, but good. He was so cute! I loved his book A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, though he was talking about other stuff. He has his own charity here, where volunteers teach writing & reading, etc, tutoring to kids who need it, And there's a pirate shop on the premises. He's one imaginative guy.

message 27: by Lee (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lee A pirate shop! How cute. He sounds like a great guy.

message 28: by Chrissie (last edited Sep 14, 2010 10:18PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Chrissie Lisa, that is tremendous all the different writers you have heard. Egger's cookies is special! When people do such teeny little things it can make such a difference! Those teeny little things. That is how it usually is in life. !the big things that are so big and important let you down....but the teeny lifftle pleasures are in fact the big things to not forget. I think. That is why I want little pleasures in any book even if it is a difficult time that is being depicted. I have to ask my brother if he has been to the Herbst Hall and its lectures. What a resource. I checked out all the authors you mentioned. i have in fact read none of them. It must have been inspiring to hear them.

message 29: by Lisa (new) - added it

Lisa Vegan They're one of my favorite things to attend, Chrissie. I've heard many authors so I'm sure you've read books by some I've seen. I've also seen some people whose books I haven't read, and I still get so much out of hearing them, even if I never end up reading any of their books.

Tell your brother this is the Herbst Hall across the street from city hall and not the one by the same name at Fort Mason. They're the various City Arts & Lecture series talks.

I agree with you, Chrissie, that "little" things can be big and can make all the difference.

message 30: by Lisa (new) - added it

Lisa Vegan Here's their main web site:

Then, if you click on Programs and Events you get to:

and then you can click on the various series to see who's appearing:









The 826 Valencia scholarship program is Dave Eggers's baby.

message 31: by Lisa (new) - added it

Lisa Vegan Right now, there's an awful lot of TBA; I don't know why!?!

Chrissie Lisa, I do not know what TBA means..... I sent my brother an email;0) about Herbst Hall. thank you! Americans use tons of abbreviations that mean nothing to Europeans. Or it is just me that doesn't know.

I have to tell you that Oscar has really straightened out, well not his hair. He only does two things that are bad . He keeps hopping up on our bed and he walks a little ahead of me when he is on the leash. The latter is kind of my stupid need for excellent behavior, but first they walk a little ahead, then it's a foot ahead and then soon they start pulling you. Then I am in trouble. He is so strong!!!!! I have better control than my husband - he plays around with him. He gets so mad and then Oscar knows he is the one in control. With dogs you never, ever can just sit back and go with the flow. Always a new challenge. When they get old, they calm down, but you have other difficulties. I remember when Skye could not see the steps out in the park and I taught him to listen to my warning. Things are looking up. I hope I am not jinxing something......

Can you buy a season's ticket at Herbst Hall? San Francisco sounds wonderful - but still I would be scared of living on the earthquake fault.

message 33: by Lisa (new) - added it

Lisa Vegan I'm terrified of earthquakes!

TBA = to be announced. Sorry I wasn't clear. I thought that's what they say.

Yes, you can buy a whole series at a time, and get discounts if you do. There are various other discounts too.

I guess I'm horrible because I love dogs on beds. Pulling on the leash I don't like. Even smaller dogs are strong! I wasn't 100% good about not letting my dog walk ahead. It does take constant work with dogs, even if not aiming for perfection.

Chrissie Lisa, this is the first dog we have not allowed up on the bed...... Me, I do not like it. I like gushing on the bed. Probably he understands my inner thoughts. It is more when the dogs are young and rambuntious that this with leash training is an issue. Later they cool it and on't pull you around. Really, as long as they don't PULL, it doesn't matter...... but I sort of think I should try now when he is young to teach him properly. He doesn't ever pull now except if he jumps for at a pigeon or a butterfly. My new method is to change directions when he goes to far ahead, but they are not machines. There has to be some leeway. Seeing me walk must look very silly.

Chrissie Oh, I forgot to say! I am totally captivated by Eleanor now. Without her, I am not so sure his terms in office would have been so remarkable.

message 36: by Lisa (new) - added it

Lisa Vegan Chrissie wrote: "Oh, I forgot to say! I am totally captivated by Eleanor now. Without her, I am not so sure his terms in office would have been so remarkable."

Yeah, I've admired her and my mother really did.

My new method is to change directions when he goes to far ahead,

Oh, I remember doing that Not consistently enough though.

Chrissie Lisa, I am writing a review of the Roosevelt book if you are interested in reading it. I cannot say I think spoilers are that important with history books....

I just came in from a walk with Oscar, and now I am thinking this whole training thing is stupid. He know vey well waht I want. I know very well what he wants - to run and have fun! As slong as he doesn't pull, who cares.

message 38: by Lisa (new) - added it

Lisa Vegan Chrissie, I'm on my way out. But I will look for your Roosevelt review!

Chrissie ONLY if it will help yu to decide whether you want to read it. there is tons about Eleanor. I would say actuallly more about her than him. I haven't read everything yet. I love it. You laugh alot. You should meet their cook, Fluffy!!!!!

message 40: by Lisa (new) - added it

Lisa Vegan Chrissie wrote: "You should meet their cook, Fluffy!!!!! "

Sounds very intriguing!

Chrissie It is funny!

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