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The Outlaws of the Marsh, V1 of 2
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Past annual reads > January - March Chapters 1 - 25

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Book Wormy | 1984 comments Mod
Q1 Discussion.


message 2: by Book (last edited Feb 02, 2018 11:50AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Book Wormy | 1984 comments Mod
General questions to start with.

1) Are you looking forward to the book?
2) What are your first impressions?
3) If you have read the previous 2 yearly reads (Story of the Stone or Romance of the Three Kingdoms) how does this feel compared to them?
4) Share any quotes or scenes that strike you as we are going along.
5) How are you tackling the book?


message 3: by Sue (new)

Sue Dix | 61 comments Book wrote: "General questions to start with.

1) Are you looking forward to the book?

I am looking forward to the book, especially as I have never participated in a really read. I think it will be an interesting experience and I hope the book lives up to my expectations.



MaryAnn (EmilyD1037) | 1 comments 1. I am looking forward to reading this book.
I didn't read the other two, but I will get to
them eventually.


message 5: by Pip (new)

Pip | 1409 comments I read The Story of the Stone and really enjoyed it. Sadly I only managed a quarter of the first book of The Romance of Three Kingdoms. I took a quick peek to be able to answer this question and the similarities to the other two seem strong at this point: lots of genealogy and poetry#


message 6: by Book (last edited Jan 01, 2018 11:46AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Book Wormy | 1984 comments Mod
1) Having read both the previous yearly reads I have been kind of dreading this one that said 3 chapters in and it is not bad so far.

2) Similarities in writing style the poems, the genealogy and the fact that the 2 heroes from Romance are already mentioned in this one. Also it is believed that the author of Romance may have written or edited this.

5) I am attempting to read a chapter a day for this quarter then I will have a long break before the next volume, not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing. Will have to make notes so I can refresh my mind before the next section.


message 7: by Chili (new)

Chili Hanson (chilipinkcat) | 59 comments 1. I am looking forward to to this book. It will be my first yearly read. I hope I can stay on track. I tend to get way ahead or way behind.


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... | 894 comments 1. I will admit it -- I am dreading it. I generally read a book from beginning to end and often only have one book going at a time. So, and annual read is very intimidating for me.


message 9: by Jen (new)

Jen | 1608 comments Mod
1) Are you looking forward to the book?
- not really. I think I would have been looking forward to it if not for the prior two annual reads. Not that I didn't enjoy them but would have preferred a break from Chinese literature.

I'm still waiting for my book to be delivered so will start it when it arrives.


message 10: by Book (new) - rated it 3 stars

Book Wormy | 1984 comments Mod
Jen wrote: "1) Are you looking forward to the book?
- not really. I think I would have been looking forward to it if not for the prior two annual reads. Not that I didn't enjoy them but would have preferred a..."


It's actually an easier read so far than the previous 2 books less poetry more action but probably as much drinking as Stone ROFL


message 11: by Diane (new)

Diane  | 2041 comments Book wrote: "t's actually an easier read so far than the previous 2 books less poetry more action but probably as much drinking as Stone ROFL "

Having read all three, this is by far the easiest one to read. I am considering re-reading it, but If I do, I won't be able to start it for a while.


message 12: by Book (new) - rated it 3 stars

Book Wormy | 1984 comments Mod
This made me laugh there is a young attendant Fu An who is better known as Dried Pecker Head wonder if that had the same meaning then as it does now ROFL


MaryAnn (EmilyD1037) | 1 comments 1) Are you looking forward to the book?
I am actually scared to read it. A book
that long always worries me.

2) What are your first impressions?
I haven't started reading it yet, but I will soon.

3) If you have read the previous 2 yearly reads (Story of the Stone or Romance of the Three Kingdoms) how does this feel compared to them?
I have never read the two previous books ... see comment #1

4) Share any quotes or scenes that strike you as we are going along.
None so far

5) How are you tackling the book?
I like the idea of 1 chapter per day.
Less intimidating that way.


message 14: by Book (new) - rated it 3 stars

Book Wormy | 1984 comments Mod
Question 6 - Give examples of corruption found in this section
Question 7 - Give examples of honour found in this section

Remember your spoiler tags :)

< Spoiler > to start < / Spoiler > to end just remove the spaces in my example


message 15: by Daisey (new)

Daisey | 255 comments 1) Are you looking forward to the book?
I really have no expectations going into this book, but I do like the idea of having read one of these Chinese novels.

2) What are your first impressions?
I'm 4 chapters in and so far I'm enjoying it more than I expected and am finding some parts humorous.

3) If you have read the previous 2 yearly reads (Story of the Stone or Romance of the Three Kingdoms) how does this feel compared to them?
Haven't read either of them.

5) How are you tackling the book?
I have a kindle version, so I've been reading a few pages at night when I'm caught up or ahead on my planned Serial Reader reading.


message 16: by Book (new) - rated it 3 stars

Book Wormy | 1984 comments Mod
My chapter a day has now fallen behind to a chapter every other day but that is fine we have all year :)


message 17: by Daisey (new)

Daisey | 255 comments I'm making a slight adjustment to my strategy for tackling the book since finding a collection of graphic novelizations of the story available through my library. There are 20 volumes and the first one matched the first five chapters of my 100 chapter Kindle version. So, I'm going to attempt to read about 5 chapters, or what it seems the next volume covers, and then read the next graphic novel volume. With a fairly slow long read, I think the visuals might help me with keeping track of characters, and it's a fun addition.

Outlaws of the Marsh Volume 1 Spirits and Bandits by Wei Dong Chen


message 18: by Book (new) - rated it 3 stars

Book Wormy | 1984 comments Mod
Daisey wrote: "I'm making a slight adjustment to my strategy for tackling the book since finding a collection of graphic novelizations of the story available through my library. There are 20 volumes and the first..."

That sounds fun Daisey.

My copy has the odd picture in it but not anything that helps keep track of people.


message 19: by Daisey (last edited Jan 15, 2018 08:54AM) (new)

Daisey | 255 comments Book wrote: "This made me laugh there is a young attendant Fu An who is better known as Dried Pecker Head wonder if that had the same meaning then as it does now ROFL"

I'm cross referencing two translations now and again. One has the translation you gave and in the other (The Water Margin: Outlaws of the Marsh) the nickname is translated as "Stinking Dickhead" which I think might be even worse.

So far, I've found the two versions I'm referencing very similar, but one scene caught my attention as being different. When Lu Da says he will persuade the bandit bride groom to change his mind about marrying the girl. Consider the last sentence of each.

The Water Margin: Outlaws of the Marsh Chapter 4 - Grandpa Liu thought this a suitable opportunity for the monk to act as mediator, so he requested the guest to come with him. He took a candle, and going to the bridal chamber pointed, saying "This is the room. Please enter." Grandpa Liu took the candle and departed, as he did not expect trouble.

The Outlaws of the Marsh Chapter 5 - Grandpa Liu was anxious to have the monk reason with him. I'll show you to the her room," he replied. Holding a lighted candle, he escorted the chieftain around a screen to the door of the bridal chamber. "This is it," he said. "Please go in." He departed with his candle. Not at all sure their plan would succeed, he wanted to get out of the way fast.


message 20: by Book (new) - rated it 3 stars

Book Wormy | 1984 comments Mod
Daisey I have your second quote version and yes Stinking Dickhead is probably worse LOL


message 21: by Dree (new)

Dree | 243 comments I am very much looking forward to this (I have not read the other two in past years—I’m new here!). I have the 70-chapter version from the library. I haven’t started because I am struggling to schedule the January reads with the quarterly read with the annual read. So this keeps getting ignored, because “I have all year”. Who thinks this strategy will come back to haunt me?


message 22: by Book (new) - rated it 3 stars

Book Wormy | 1984 comments Mod
That’s what I did last year Dree ended up spending most of November and December catching up and not reading much else.


message 23: by Jen (new)

Jen | 1608 comments Mod
So I ordered my book Dec 22. Finally got an email from the third party seller (after it never arrived) saying they don't know what happened and refunding my money. So I had to order it again. Hopefully I'll get it before the year is over.


message 24: by Book (new) - rated it 3 stars

Book Wormy | 1984 comments Mod
So how is everyone getting on? I have just finished chapter 16 and the story about the presents is my favourite so far.

I like the way characters from Romance of the Three Kingdoms are mentioned Chao Gai says of Wu Yong "You're better than Zhuge Liang"


message 25: by Gail (new)

Gail (gailifer) | 1380 comments I finally got my book. I also ordered it in December and was told that it shipped but it never arrived. I asked them to send again with a tracking number but it just arrived on my doorstep (without them giving me a tracking number). It is rather frightening sitting there on top of all the other books I would like to read. However, I have never done a yearly read and I am rather looking forward to that.


message 26: by Book (new) - rated it 3 stars

Book Wormy | 1984 comments Mod
Question 8 what was your favourite story in this volume?
Question 9 are you looking forward to the next volume?
Question 10 pose your own question for they group to discuss :)


message 27: by Book (new) - rated it 3 stars

Book Wormy | 1984 comments Mod
Questions 6 & 7

(view spoiler)


message 28: by Book (new) - rated it 3 stars

Book Wormy | 1984 comments Mod
Question 8 my favourite story is the last one in this volume (view spoiler)

Question 9 I am looking forward to the next volume as this one ends on a cliff hanger and I am looking forward to seeing what happens.


message 29: by Book (new) - rated it 3 stars

Book Wormy | 1984 comments Mod
Overall I give this volume 3 stars the stories are amusing and it is easy to read but so far there is nothing deep.


message 30: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan | 29 comments Halfway through volume 1 - Chapter 16. Very easy and very enjoyable to read. My first annual read and not sure what this question stuff is about.


message 31: by Gail (new)

Gail (gailifer) | 1380 comments I have finished Chapters 1 thru 25 and it is a bit of a lark in terms of reading. I think I enjoyed the last chapter the best as it was more complex than just “fighting 50 rounds” with no one winning. I am enjoying the characters and how the stories evolve, almost like cartoons, from one set of people to another over the chapters. I am enjoying the slightly off characters the best, such as Sagacious Li, who shouldn’t be a monk but had to become a monk. It is amazing how highly evolved the bureaucracy was in China at this time with all sorts of clerks and officials, many who were clearly making a living in not strictly honest ways. It is also interesting that people with highly developed fighting skills will have heard of each other even if they have lived many many li away. The loyalty between different levels (classes?) of people is also interesting. One thing that is a bit annoying is that all the women seem to be devious or at least not trust worthy. One loyal wife did kill herself when her husband had to abandon her but in general I don’t think the society of the times valued women too much.
My favorite expression so far: There are 36 solutions to this problem but the best one is to LEAVE.
Looking forward to the next batch
Of this we’ll say no more.....


message 32: by Book (new) - rated it 3 stars

Book Wormy | 1984 comments Mod
@ Gail or if you wish to know what happens... :)

Dan just answer any of the questions you want to and if you have a question to ask the group feel free to post it here :)


message 33: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan | 29 comments Just complete the first Volume. One day early, although Imstarted 45 days late.

My first annual, and this is a pretty easy one to read. It is interesting that all the bandits - at least so far, and at least at the management level of the banditry, are good people who were forced or tricked or just chose to commit a crime and flee to the Marsh, as they were wanted men. And few of the governing class show much feeling at all, just selfishness and desires for more.

The adultery and murder of the last chapter, and the stealing of the birthday presents around Ch. 17 were the two most enjoyable chapters to read.


message 34: by Diane (new)

Diane  | 2041 comments 1) Are you looking forward to the book?
Yes and no. I read it a few years ago and liked it, but I am really not looking forward to re-reading such a long book.

2) What are your first impressions?
I don't really have first impressions since I read it previously. My first impressions then were favorable.


3) If you have read the previous 2 yearly reads (Story of the Stone or Romance of the Three Kingdoms) how does this feel compared to them?
I read both or the others and read this one before, too. This one is by far the easiest read, in my opinion. All three have a lot of violence, but I wouldn't necessarily consider this one the worst in that respect. Like the others, there are a lot of characters to keep track of.


4) Share any quotes or scenes that strike you as we are going along.
I didn't find anything really quote-worthy so far. I remember being surprised by the amount of gruesome deaths and references to bodily functions found throughout the book. I had forgotten about this. Some things never change throughout history, I guess. Although this book was written long ago, I suspect that many of the stories are based upon even older folklore passed down through the generations.


5) How are you tackling the book?
I have been reading multiple books at once, so this one has been taken in small doses over the course of the quarter.


Question 8 what was your favourite story in this volume?
Probably the robbing of the birthday gifts.

Question 9 are you looking forward to the next volume?
See answer to question 1. I have enjoyed revisiting the book, however.


message 35: by Dree (new)

Dree | 243 comments I am reading the 70-chapter version and have gotten through Chapter 25 and it's April 28, yay me! I have been reading a whole lot of this the last 2 weeks and actually kind of got into a rhythm with it. I am ready for a bit of a break, which means I will probably spend August and December also reading like crazy.

I have one question that I don't see addresses. While the subtitle says "Outlaws of the Marsh" in the book these men are referred to as heroes. Are they heroes in the sense that Robin Hood was a hero? They were stealing from thieves and fighting injustice kind of thing? Because that definitely seems like a common thread in many of the stories. To the point that they kind of run together for me.


message 36: by Book (new) - rated it 3 stars

Book Wormy | 1984 comments Mod
I would say that is why they are called heroes but for me they seen to start out as honourable men and then due to what happens to them they become outlaws. I don't think they are always honourable once they are forced to be outlaws.


message 37: by Daisey (new)

Daisey | 255 comments I just finally finished chapters 1-25, and I'm enjoying this book more than expected. Originally, I was reading a chapter or so a night, but then life got busy and I just fell asleep instead of reading, which also meant I was having a harder time keeping track of the story at that point. Recently, I picked it back up and have read several chapters close together again. For a while there it was getting incredibly violent without further development, but then I enjoyed the last couple of chapters more with the wife and the tea shop woman. I do wish since I'm reading this slowly around other books that I had made a character list to keep track of everyone as they come in and out of the story.

Gail, great way to end your post above. At first, I found that aspect of each chapter kind of annoying, but now it's just a part of the rhythm of the story.

Finally, I have been continuing to pair the novel with the graphic novelizations and that has definitely added to my enjoyment of the experience.


message 38: by Pip (new)

Pip | 1409 comments I am frustrated. I was trying to answer all the questions in this section before the battery died in my tablet and I lost the race! It died on me before I finished posting my answers and I have to start again on my phone. I have had a marathon read to catch up while flying from New Zealand to Hong Kong!


message 39: by Pip (new)

Pip | 1409 comments I found it so entertaining that I was not tempted by the inflight movies! I loved the repetition, such as "fear not officials - except those who officiate over you" or "of this we will say no more". Every story involved corruption of some sort. The most honourable character was Wu Yong, and even he was corrupted eventually. Honour is generally connected to how well a man can fight. Officials were motivated by how any decision they made affected their careers, not on the ethics of the situation.


message 40: by Pip (new)

Pip | 1409 comments The story that held my attention the most was the one involving Wu the Elder. The outcome was far too brutal for my taste! The story is set in around the Twelfth century at a time of comparative peace in the Song Dynasty, when "it was easy to get along if you were an official, but very difficult if you were a small functionary". My question to others is did you notice that several times Mount Taishan is mentioned as a description of someone who is well known, but in each case unrecognised? Taishan means big mountain, but more than that it is a place of cultural importance.


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