‘They don’t read, they watch TV. They don’t go to the theatre but to the disco. What with all this sms and computers I wouldn’t be surprised if Xiao Xu has forgotten how to write Chinese characters altogether!’ Nai Nai raged on.
‘How many times have I told him that the one who doesn’t like to read is no better than the one who cannot read?’” —Pallavi Aiyar
‘Chinese need to be more practical Ma,’ my son says all puffed up with importance. He has the guts to condescend to me! His mother! ‘Calligraphy doesn’t make money Ma; Poetry doesn’t buy cars.’
But I ask you maomi, what is the use of money without poetry? What use is a fancy car when you lack a soul? Is practicality of more value than beauty?’” —Pallai Aiyar Chinese Whiskers
Sitting here in Beijing, watching the crowds, and considering the prospect of 1.2 billion bored people looking for something to read, I realize that the shift to e-publishing could not have happened at a better time for the environment.
Now the authors just have to figure out a way to get paid for their e-books.
Open Letters Monthly
Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 (via thelifeguardlibrarian)
Take that, you deriders of Science Fiction.
We do not spend a lot of time reviewing movies here at the Peking Review. There are enough people doing it, and we rarely feel like we can add much the conversation. At the same time film is in our view (tainted as it is by Asia and the U.S. West Coast) a medium that occasionally reaches the level of literature, and it is important to understand why and how that happens.
Part of the answer lies in the people who write for the screen, and part in those who mould a written work, a band of players, and a hundred different crafts into a motion picture: the director. We are particular fans of those directors who do more than just direct, an example of which is offered up in “Out of the West,” a David Denby New Yorker article about Clint Eastwood.
In the article, Denby captures why we like Eastwood as a director:
If Eastwood likes a story, he buys or commissions the script, moves rapidly into production, shoots the film on a short schedule and, until recently, on a modest budget. If he knows an actor or an actress’s work, he doesn’t ask for a reading. He casts quickly and dislikes extensive rehearsals and endless takes. If someone else is supposed to direct, then falters or becomes too slow or indecisive for his taste—as did Philip Kaufman on “Josey Wales,” and the writer Richard Tuggle on “Tightrope”—he pushes him aside and takes over. Like Bergman, Godard, and Woody Allen, he works hard and fast, an impatient man who likes calm and order, and relies on the same crew from picture to picture. As a professional code, this seems obvious enough, but, in recent years, who else in big-time American filmmaking but Eastwood, Allen, and, more lately, the Coen Brothers has practiced it?
We agree, but we would like to throw in two other names of directors who work like this, and frequently wind up on-time and under budget: Kevin Smith and Robert Rodriguez, and in particular the latter. We also think that there is more to this than art: the future of Hollywood as a business depends on more directors working like this.
click to read:
Jonathan Lethem on Norman Mailer
Merrill Markoe on Susan Orlean’s Rin Tin Tin
Ben Ehrenreich, Joshua Clover, and others on the Occupy Movement
Neal Pollack on one of Donald Westlake’s pseudonyms
Megan Abbott on Tom Perrotta’s latest
Loren Glass’s history of Grove Press, Part 2
Sara Marcus on Ellen Willis
—On the LARB Blog: OccupyLinks, Radar LARB, and Rita Williams on her mentor, Alison Leslie Gold (via lareviewofbooks)
Awright, LARB is just starting to kick some literary ass!
reflectedsunlight asked: I’m fascinated by the fact that you’re Jewish and live in China! Are you Chinese?… http://t.co/Wr6tWTra
Photo: And you know what? If you could illegally download a car, it would be a lemon. http://t.co/GsC6vlkc
Jeff’s Gourmet Glatt Kosher Sausage Factory & Deli Meats, Los Angeles, California - This is the place we… http://t.co/UDXdkkgf
KATE MERKEL-HESS on two new histories of rural China
and MAURA ELIZABETH CUNNINGHAM on Hong Kong’s Chungking Mansions
Empty Stools of Rural Village Life in China (Xinhua) from All-China Women’s Federation http://bit.ly/nF7Ack
The Gender of Memory: Rural Women and China’s Collective Past
University of California Press, August 2011. 472 pp.
Eating Rice from Bamboo Roots: The Social History of a Community of Handicraft Papermakers in Rural Sichuan, 1920-2000
Harvard University Asia Center, 2009. 335 pp.
Until recently, “China” brought to mind for most Americans farms, farmers, and the rural countryside, not the factories and mass industrialization we think of today. This view of a more rural China is what also once dominated the most widely read books about the country, from the hardworking impoverished villagers of Pearl S. Buck’s The Good Earth, to the rural rebels of journalist Edgar Snow’s Red Star Over China. It’s easy to forget about the rural facets of this populous nation in the midst of its freeways and fast trains, skyscrapers and construction sites. This isn’t surprising, since China has more urban centers of a million-plus residents than any other country on earth and, for the first time in its history, as many people living in cities as in villages. Last year, Chinese scholars predicted that its rural population would halve by 2030, from today’s 900 million to 400 million. Meanwhile, the gap between wealthy urban areas and their poor rural counterparts grows ever wider: 99 percent of China’s most impoverished citizens hail from the countryside.
China’s changing countryside demands our attention, and these two authors give us insights into a very different rural China that existed even a decade ago.
CSIS: Engaging Laos: A strategic part of the ASEAN Puzzle http://t.co/4kpYCPOB Any bets on Laos standing up to China?
Engaging Laos: Strategic Part of the ASEAN Puzzle | Center for Strategic and International Studies http://t.co/OHNWpS9w
RT @TheAtlantic: RT @TheAtlanticWire A guide to the reactions and tributes to Steve Jobs http://t.co/XM7scWsy
RT @dissreviews: Modern Homes for Modern Families in Tianjin, China, 1860-1949, by ELIZABETH LaCOUTURE. http://j.mp/o9kvUk
So what if I just spent $80 dollars on Amazon books after spending $60 last night at Barnes & Noble. Shopping therapy.
I so get this. I have 59 days left on my wife’s new book purchase moratorium. Not that I’m counting or anything…