River Town review

Before moving to Shanghai in 2018, I went through a dozen books about China to prepare myself. Several of those books belonged to the genre of ‘Westerners in China who write a book about their friends’, such as ‘Street of Eternal Happiness’ (Rob Schmitz), ‘Wish Lanterns’ (Alec Ash), and ‘Young China’ (Zak Dychtwald). It’s an […]

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Little Aunt Crane review

A story from China in the chaotic 20th century that starts brutal, yet becomes more fragile and delicate, chapter by chapter. And when the tale is through, you’ll love Duohe, Erhai, and Xiaohuan, and you’ll love mantou and noodles, or something simple as an egg, touching the fabric of your shirt. Little Aunt Crane (It’s […]

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Warcross review

It’s easy to dislike this book (but hard to hate, I guess). Because Warcross by Marie Lu is full of youth-adult fiction clichés, and everything feels just a bit too exaggerated. Plus the pacing of this book feels wrong, first too slow and then too fast. But it’s also easy to like, for Warcross is […]

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Developing Chinese

Developing Chinese: Advanced Speaking Course 2 review

Firstly, I love the HSK system because it’s clever and introduces compound words/characters really well. In HSK1 you may learn 谢谢Xièxiè (Thank you), in HSK3 觉得Juédé (Think), in HSK4 感谢Gǎnxiè (Thank) and 感觉(Gǎnjué). You can forgive HSK for becoming increasingly written language (especially HSK5 & HSK6). And although I cannot really compare HSK1 to 高级口语, […]

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Ready Player Two review

Ready Player Two is a bit like ‘meh’ movie sequels that take the same cast of a popular movie and basically copy the story: old wine, new bags. But I absolutely loved Ready Player One, and so I also loved being back in The Oasis with Wade and the gang, this amazing mix of nostalgia […]

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The Vegetarian review

It’s several years after reading this book that I’m writing this review. I’m wondering now why I read books, whether the key is enjoyment, relaxing down and winding down the day. Or whether books should teach me something new, let me live a life I do not have. Or perhaps they should teach me something […]

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A God in Ruins review

I loved ‘A God in Ruins’, so here comes a list of superlatives. Yet some people will surely feel this is a boring book, 468 slow-paced pages, which you need to read at an even slower pace to understand, to feel. Who likes such books anyway? It has over 50,000 ratings on GoodReads in 2021, […]

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Champions Day review

This book is insane. It tells about the races held at Shanghai in the 19th and 20th century, even going into details of which specific movies played in which cinema and at which time, and what specific people wore at days of the races. Yet it is not all fluff; the overload of details’ purpose […]

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Oracle Bones review

I love books like this. Written with love for stories, and build on stories upon stories. And it makes you reflect on your own life too. While I was reading this, I thought: Wow, Hessler lived in China in such an amazing time, from 1995 to 2006 (when this book was published). There were no […]

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The One Minute Sales Person review

The book is a bit full of typical American self-help advice, and some of its exaggerated ‘pump-yourself-up’ self believes don’t land — but despite this, I still rate it five out of five. I read it about 6 years ago and I bought it again in China to read it again now. Key points for […]

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