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2019 Old & New Classic Challenge > Erin’s 2019 Old & New Classics of East Asia

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message 1: by Erin (last edited Feb 13, 2019 07:12AM) (new)

Erin (erinm31) | 609 comments A focus of my planned reading for 2019 is literature of East Asia, especially China and Japan. All of the authors are new to me except for Yasunari Kawabata and Cao Xueqin.

➜ = in progress

Old School (published before 1900)
🔹The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu (1008) (Japan)
🔹The Pillow Book by Sei Shōnagon (1002) (Japan)
🔹Spring Essence: The Poetry of Hô Xuân Huong by Hồ Xuân Hương (1801) (Vietnam)

New School (published between 1900-1999)
🔹Half a Lifelong Romance by Eileen Chang (1948) (China)
🔹 The Waiting Years by Fumiko Enchi (1957) (Japan) (finished Jan 16th)
🔹 Beauty and Sadness by Yasunari Kawabata (1964) (Japan)

Six Wildcards
🔹Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu (300 BCE) (China)
🔹The Tale of the Heike (1219) (Japan)
🔹The Peony Pavilion: Mudan ting by Tang Xianzu (1598) (China)
🔹The Warning Voice by Cao Xueqin (1791) (China)
🔹Spring Snow by Yukio Mishima (1968) (Japan)
🔹The Memoirs of Lady Hyegyŏng: The Autobiographical Writings of a Crown Princess of Eighteenth-Century Korea by Lady Hyegyeong (written 1795 to 1805, published 1985) (Korea)

Two Alternates
🔹Romance of the Western Chamber by Wang Shifu (1200) (China)
🔹Last Words from Montmartre by Qiu Miaojin (1996) (Taiwan) (finished Feb 13th)


message 2: by Aubrey (new)

Aubrey (korrick) | 2358 comments Nice. Now I'm thinking I should devote this particular challenge to people of color, seeing as how white my other challenges are (a common consequence of focusing on older works by women unfortunately).


message 3: by MJ (new)

MJ | 180 comments Nice! With another group challenge, I'm challenging myself to read as many books as I can that are by indigenous authors (or are non-fiction and about indigenous issues/history). Not sure I could fit many of those books into this bingo challenge though. Plus I need my classics fix at least once in a while. Good luck!

I have a copy of Tao Te Ching, but have never read it cover to cover.
And Beauty and Sadness is a lovely book.


message 4: by Erin (new)

Erin (erinm31) | 609 comments Aubrey wrote: "Nice. Now I'm thinking I should devote this particular challenge to people of color, seeing as how white my other challenges are (a common consequence of focusing on older works by women unfortunat..."

You should! I was expecting that I might see Cao Xueqin and Murasaki Shikibu on one of your challenge lists for next year! 😉

I know what you mean! I had looked into how far back I could set a century or decade challenge of women authors from around the world but it becomes increasingly difficult to find them “spaced right” so the older books that I want to read are finding places here and in my Bingo challenge. 😁


message 5: by Marilyn (new)

Marilyn | 685 comments Great list! I had The Waiting Years on my TBR list but currently can't get my hands a copy. I will be interested in your review.


message 6: by Erin (new)

Erin (erinm31) | 609 comments MJ wrote: "Nice! With another group challenge, I'm challenging myself to read as many books as I can that are by indigenous authors (or are non-fiction and about indigenous issues/history). Not sure I could f..."

Well, with both this challenge and the Bingo challenge there are many categories broad enough that you could include classics from around the world if you wish to! That was the direction I decided to take with my Bingo and Quest for Women Authors challenges. 🙂

I’m looking forward to reading both! I read Snow Country by Yasunari Kawabata this past year and found it quite beautiful, minimalist and the same time distinctly vivid.


message 7: by Aubrey (new)

Aubrey (korrick) | 2358 comments Well, Xueqin is definitely getting in there one way or another. Unfortunately for Shikibu, I've read both TToG and her diary, so unless something else that's substantial by her pops up, I've a number of very old Japanese memoirs by women to get to (ex: The Confessions of Lady Nijō or As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams: Recollections of a Woman in Eleventh-Century Japan).


message 8: by Aubrey (new)

Aubrey (korrick) | 2358 comments Marilyn wrote: "Great list! I had The Waiting Years on my TBR list but currently can't get my hands a copy. I will be interested in your review."

Enchi's a marvel. Her Masks is quite good as well. I'm hoping to randomly come across copies of her other work in the future.


message 9: by Erin (new)

Erin (erinm31) | 609 comments Aubrey wrote: "Well, Xueqin is definitely getting in there one way or another. Unfortunately for Shikibu, I've read both TToG and her diary, so unless something else that's substantial by her pops up, I've a numb..."

Ah, my mistake! For some reason I had thought that TToG was as yet on your TBR too! 😅 I look forward to hearing what you think of those memoirs!


message 10: by Erin (new)

Erin (erinm31) | 609 comments Marilyn wrote: "Great list! I had The Waiting Years on my TBR list but currently can't get my hands a copy. I will be interested in your review."

Maybe it’s something with the copyright/publisher of the English translation? I was surprised at the limited availability of The Waiting Years relative to other Japanese as well as Chinese works of the same era. 🤔 Fortunately, I should be able to get a copy through inter-library loan.


message 11: by Petra (new)

Petra Wonderful list, Erin!
I have a fondness for East Asian literature as well. Tales of the Genji is high on my list to read, too. I wanted to get to it this year but failed at that.

I recommend Six Records of a Floating Life by Shen Fu. I found it quite entertaining and interesting.


message 12: by Erin (last edited Dec 04, 2018 05:52PM) (new)

Erin (erinm31) | 609 comments Petra wrote: "Wonderful list, Erin!
I have a fondness for East Asian literature as well. Tales of the Genji is high on my list to read, too. I wanted to get to it this year but failed at that.

I recommend [bo..."


Thank you for the recommendation! Six Records of a Floating Life has been on my TBR list and a lot of good reviews... 🤔 Okay, I shall add it! 😁

I’ve seen that several members are interested in reading The Tale of Genji and it would be great to have it as one of the quarterly long reads but I think it only made it on the poll once... I will probably try nominating it again for spring but not wait longer than that to read it myself.


message 13: by Bob, Short Story Classics (new)

Bob | 4779 comments Mod
All I can say is Wow! what a list. Happy reading.


message 14: by Erin (new)

Erin (erinm31) | 609 comments Bob wrote: "All I can say is Wow! what a list. Happy reading."

Thank you! 😄


message 15: by Aubrey (new)

Aubrey (korrick) | 2358 comments You'll be pleased to know, Erin, that I've wrangled the entire Story of the Stone Cycle into both my Bingo and O&N challenged, so I'm officially committed to it for 2019. (Three cheers for SotS being on the Telegraph list, if in a highly truncated form).


message 16: by Erin (new)

Erin (erinm31) | 609 comments Excellent! 😁 And I am pleased to see both The Story of the Stone and The Tale of Genji on the list, although surprised the former is in abridged form, as you pointed out, when other entries on the list are trilogies and even Proust’s entire septology. 🤔


message 17: by Erin (new)

Erin (erinm31) | 609 comments Okay, my list is finalized! I prioritized “definitely reads” here, based on other challenges and planned buddy reads. I definitely want to read a classic Chinese play so have included both a main selection and an alternate — hopefully, I’ll read them both! 😁

Books that I hadn’t room for on this list but which I still hope to read this year are in my personal challenges thread.


message 18: by Lotte (new)

Lotte | 196 comments Great concept and list! I want to read The Tale of Genji in the near future, so I'll be keeping an eye out for your review ;-).


message 19: by Aubrey (new)

Aubrey (korrick) | 2358 comments Nice finalization, Erin. I've loved and greatly liked a number of your reads, and I hope to be spurred to adding your others that I haven't already aquired.


message 20: by Susie (new)

Susie | 731 comments Looks like a great challenge...Good Luck!


message 21: by Erin (new)

Erin (erinm31) | 609 comments Aubrey wrote: "Nice finalization, Erin. I've loved and greatly liked a number of your reads, and I hope to be spurred to adding your others that I haven't already aquired."

Thank you! 😃 I look forward to your thoughts on ‘Spring Essence’! I believe I requested it through interlibrary loan, but it’s taking a bit longer than the others. Speaking of which, I am anxious to start the next volume of ‘The Story of the Stone’ but will be delayed by a week or two as I was over-excited/ambitious in requesting books for this and my Century of Women Authors Around the World Challenge! 😂

Lotte wrote: "Great concept and list! I want to read The Tale of Genji in the near future, so I'll be keeping an eye out for your review ;-)."

Thank you! Right now I’m planning to start ‘The Tale of Genji’ in March, or once I finish ‘The Story of the Stone.’ 🙂

Susie wrote: "Looks like a great challenge...Good Luck!"

Thank you! 😊


message 22: by Aubrey (new)

Aubrey (korrick) | 2358 comments Ah, good luck with your interlibrary loan adventures, Erin. I went the longer route of acquiring most of the books I'm using for this challenge, but I'll making use of various libraries, including an online PDF, so hopefully those cooperate.


message 23: by Erin (new)

Erin (erinm31) | 609 comments Aubrey wrote: "Ah, good luck with your interlibrary loan adventures, Erin. I went the longer route of acquiring most of the books I'm using for this challenge, but I'll making use of various libraries, including ..."

Thank you!

I’ve acquired about half the books for this challenge but try to keep myself in check for both space and finances — try being the operative word there! 😂 But there is nothing like a beautiful edition of a beautiful book! 😊📚❤️


message 24: by Aubrey (new)

Aubrey (korrick) | 2358 comments Upon pulling out my copy of 'Spring Essence', I discovered it was a library discard. Ironic, in a sense, but also somewhat sad.


message 25: by Erin (new)

Erin (erinm31) | 609 comments Aubrey wrote: "Upon pulling out my copy of 'Spring Essence', I discovered it was a library discard. Ironic, in a sense, but also somewhat sad."

True. I am grateful to be able to get these books through interlibrary loan but it did surprise and disappoint me how many were not available from even a major city (by U.S. standards anyway, lol), not that they don’t have many translated books, but I was surprised they didn’t even have ‘The Saga of Gösta Berling’, by a western author and Nobel laureate.


message 26: by Hilde (new)

Hilde (hilded) | 68 comments Nice, what an interesting take on your challenge!
Hope you’ll enjoy your picks 😊


message 27: by Erin (new)

Erin (erinm31) | 609 comments Hilde wrote: "Nice, what an interesting take on your challenge!
Hope you’ll enjoy your picks 😊"


Thank you! 😊


message 28: by Erin (new)

Erin (erinm31) | 609 comments Aubrey wrote: "Upon pulling out my copy of 'Spring Essence', I discovered it was a library discard. Ironic, in a sense, but also somewhat sad."

I just received my copy of An Anthology of Vietnamese Poems: From the Eleventh through the Twentieth Centuries, in really pristine condition aside from its being a library discard. Sad that it seems to have gone neglected but I am grateful for the find — as well as for your bringing this anthology to my attention! I may not read the entire volume this year, but I plan to read the different translations of the poetry by Hồ Xuân Hương when I do read ‘Spring Essence.’


message 29: by Aubrey (new)

Aubrey (korrick) | 2358 comments Good to hear, Erin. I picked up my copy as the result of a spur of the moment decision at a sale a few years back. I find some good stuff that way sometimes.


message 30: by Erin (new)

Erin (erinm31) | 609 comments From when I first started The Waiting Years by Fumiko Enchi, the vividly portrayed characters drew me in and compelled me to read on. One thing I need to work on this year is reviewing books that I hold in high regard as I always feel that whatever I write is too simplistic or blandly panegyric and doesn’t do the work justice. For now I will just say that I recommend everyone read this book!


message 31: by Marilyn (new)

Marilyn | 685 comments Erin wrote: "From when I first started The Waiting Years by Fumiko Enchi, the vividly portrayed characters drew me in and compelled me to read on. One thing I need to work on this ..."

I need to track down this book. My local library copy was lost. Lost? Who loses a book?


message 32: by MK (last edited Jan 19, 2019 11:02AM) (new)

MK (wisny) | 2993 comments Marilyn wrote: "I need to track down this book. My local library copy was lost. Lost? Who loses a book? "


That just happened to me last week!! Children of Men was the book that was lost. Or, well, 'met an unfortunate end', was how they put it :p.

And oddly, I know someone else who this happened to just a few weeks ago, as well. The dog ate the book they borrowed from the library. No, really!

LOL


message 33: by Erin (new)

Erin (erinm31) | 609 comments MK wrote: "Marilyn wrote: "I need to track down this book. My local library copy was lost. Lost? Who loses a book? "

That just happened to me last week!! Children of Men was the book that was lost. Or, well..."


That is a shame! In the case of an out-of-print book I can’t help but suspect that it was not honestly “lost” but that someone decided to acquire it that way.

When I worked at a library, people temporarily lost books under car seats, sofas, etc. all the time — but fortunately they were usually eventually found! I did have to buy one book when one of my kitties decided to chew on the cover! O.o Fortunately, she never did this before or since but I was extra careful about where I left books for a while! And fortunately too it was a new release and so easily replaced.


message 34: by MK (new)

MK (wisny) | 2993 comments I was mightily curious about its fate, Erin! :D


message 35: by Erin (new)

Erin (erinm31) | 609 comments I just finished Last Words from Montmartre by Qiu Miaojin. I’ve never read anything like it; difficult to describe, it was at times beautiful and ugly, very personal and raw. I liked some parts much more than others, partly for style, but more so for what spoke to me personally. The explorations of gender, sexuality and a person’s energy has given me new perspectives, like I knew of two dimensions and never felt satisfied with any description of myself but Miaojin showed me a third dimension and now I may understand myself better. That is rather personal, but that is what this book is; I recommend it but leave all expectations and see where it takes you.


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