Friday, September 21, 2012

China: A Hundred Flowers, National Book Festival, and My Recommended China Books

Pictured here is former Chinese Chairman Mao Z...
Pictured here is former Chinese Chairman Mao Zedong announcing the founding of the People's Republic of China on October 1 1949... (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Readers interested in more about China, as well as aspiring book reviewers, should read Eugenia Zuckerman's review in The Washington Post today (September 21, 2012), "A bloom in the dark of Mao's China." It's about Gail Tsukiyama's novel A Hundred Flowers from St. Martin's Press. 
     Author Tsukiyama is expected at the National Book Festival this weekend, on the Mall between the Lincoln Memorial and the Capitol. The festival, initiated by former First Lady Laura Bush and in its second decade, is entrance-free. If you cannot get to the festival, you can check out C-Span if you have TV cable. They will cover some authors speaking about their books, and I hope that author Tsukiyama might be one of them. 
     I was in Beijing after Mao's rule, and I saw his Little Red Book at sidewalk displays near Tienanmen Square. U. S. news magazines in the book's hay-day did not, in my view, take Mao or his red book seriously enough; if they did, they hid it well. However, Nien Cheng, in her book, Life and Death in Shanghai, told how she used the book's declarations to state her case often when brought before her inquisitors, when she was in prison under one of Mao's purges. 
     A Hundred Flowers is mainly about people thrown together in a hard time and scraping from their miseries some different kind of beauty. The novel is based on history under Mao and the review describes it as a book of "secrets, guilt and regret swirling through" the story; the reviewer adds "it might have been a book about betrayals - from those of Mao to those within the family" of the story. 
     I plan to read A Hundred Flowers next. 
I recommend-from my collection on China:

--Life and Death in Shanghai-a memoir by Nien Cheng 

--The Unknown Story of Mao by Jung Chang, author of Wild Swans, and Jon Halliday. Time called it “An atom bomb of a book.” In the same vein, if is a bombshell of disclosure of evil at work in the life of one man and his tyrannies toward “friend” and foe.  

--Mao and China: a Legacy of Turmoil by Stanley Karnow, Introduction by Nien Cheng, author of Life and Death in Shanghai-“Anyone who wishes to understand the Communist revolution in China should read this book”- from the Introduction

--Hudson Taylor and China's Greatest Century-series by A. J. Broomhall

--Man of Suffering by Watchman Nee

--The Heavenly Man by Brother Yun

--Bill Wallace of China by Jesse C. Fletcher_pre-Mao

T--he Good Earth by Pearl Buck_pre-Mao_ (author withstood literary criticism for this book that was appreciated by many people in China)  

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