Category Archives: Book reviews

Chopsticks – everything you need to know (part 1)

The world can be divided into 3 areas depending on how people eat their food. The first area is where people use their hands to eat; this area, roughly speaking comprises most of Africa, the Indian sub-continent, the middle east … Continue reading

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‘Ferryman’ – the Scottish YA novel that is a best-seller in China.

Avid book readers in the UK would be hard-pressed to name the YA book by Claire McFall, a young Scots author, published in 2013. It has sold approximately 10,000 copies in Scotland, whereas in China over a million copies have … Continue reading

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The Year of the Shanghai Shark

It is ages since I wrote a book review, about time I remedied that! The Year of the Shanghai Shark by Mo Zhi Hong  is a wonderful lighthearted yet thoughtful depiction of an adolescent growing up in modern China. The … Continue reading

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On the Noodle Road: from Beijing to Rome with Love and Pasta

When the domestic exchequer is empty and the summer holidays are still some way off,  there is nothing better than making yourself comfortable and doing  some armchair travelling. I have recently enjoyed travelling  vicariously from China to Italy over the … Continue reading

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Women only – Nǚshū – a secret language

In this more and more globalised, interconnected world, certain languages are becoming increasingly dominant – English (or a variation of it) seems to be spoken just about everywhere – and ‘minor’ languages with fewer speakers are slowly dying if not … Continue reading

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Hanging Devils

I love reading crime fiction.  Since my teenage years I’ve worked my way through many of the great and lesser writers in the genre, from Agatha Christie, Ngaio Marsh, Raymond Chandler, Ed McBain, and John D Macdonald all the way … Continue reading

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My Thank Less task

A year or so ago my teacher Annie told me that I was doing something that most English-speaking westerners do – which is not usual in China – I was saying ‘thank you” too often. I didn’t really take much … Continue reading

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The Year of the Dragon 龙年

Chinese New Year is almost upon us and we leave behind the Year of the Rabbit and enter the Year of the Dragon  龙年 (long nian). The Dragon is the only mythical beast in the Chinese zodiac and unlike dragons … Continue reading

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K: The Art of Love

This book, K:The Art of Love, by Hong Ying was first published in Chinese and translated into English by Nicky Harman and Henry Zhao, and it has a fascinating history of its own – indeed it has been described as … Continue reading

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The Diary of Ma Yan – the life of a Chinese schoolgirl

In 2001, a French journalist Pierre Haski and others were travelling through the province of Ningxia in northern China together with the Chinese photographer Wang Zheng who came from that region, in preparation for an exhibition destined for Nice.  Their … Continue reading

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