Blogging the Bookshelf

Blogging my bookshelf – one book at a time

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Entries Tagged as 'Asian'

“I Love Dollars”, Zhu Wen

September 24th, 2009 · No Comments · Asian, Chinese, Short Stories

Ok, so I’ve been MIA from Blogging the Bookshelf for a while now (a few weeks in fact!). Things have been fairly busy work wise so I’ve had to cut back on discretionary activities and the blog was the first to go. Unfortunately I think work will continue to be quite demanding for the foreseeable [...]

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“Spring Snow”, Yukio Mishima

August 20th, 2009 · 1 Comment · Asian, Japanese, Literature

Synopsis: Dilettante son of a nouveau-riche family seeking societal acceptance meets the refined daughter of an aristocratic family struggling to adjust to the changes in Japanese society brought on by the Meiji Restoration. A deeply intense and culturally significant story of forbidden love. My Take: “Spring Snow” is generally regarded to be Yukio Mishima’s greatest [...]

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“What Does China Think”, Mark Leonard

August 14th, 2009 · No Comments · Asian, Chinese, Philosophy

Synopsis: An idiot’s guide to the various streams of contemporary Chinese policy debate. When you view the world through the eyes of China’s intellectuals My Take: Those who know me know that I’m a bit of a Sinophile. While the human rights record of the Chinese government is obviously indefensible and deserves public attention and [...]

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Tags:Mark Leonard

"Unpolished Gem", Alice Pung

July 12th, 2009 · 4 Comments · Asian, Australian

Synopsis: A Chinese family flees war and conflict in Vietnam and Cambodia for the Western suburbs of Melbourne. A young girl grows up Asian in Australia. My Take: I had a typically ‘old Australia’ childhood in country Queensland. Cricket, football, fishing, “Australia All Over” with Macca on a Sunday morning. It was great fun, but [...]

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"The Elephant Vanishes", Haruki Murakami

July 2nd, 2009 · No Comments · Asian, Japanese, Short Stories

Synopsis: A collection of 15 of Haruki Murakami’s most surreal short stories. My Take: The Elephant Vanishes is classic Murakami – strange, whimsical, reflective and more than a little confusing. You don’t find stories based on of the disappearance of a man’s favourite elephant or a woman being haunted by a gardening, green monster in [...]

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"The Boat", Nam Le

June 30th, 2009 · 1 Comment · Asian, Australian, Literature, Short Stories

Synopsis: Young former Melbourne corporate lawyer turns hundreds of other young, former Melbourne corporate lawyers green with envy by publishing a phenomenally successful collection of nuanced and beautiful short stories. My Take: Sigh. I guess it is an inevitable part of getting older to be confronted with the increasingly spectacular public successes of people who [...]

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Tags:Nam Le

"Norwegian Wood", Haruki Murakami

June 23rd, 2009 · 1 Comment · Asian, Japanese, Trash

Synopsis: Boy meets girl. Boy commits suicide. Boy’s best friend falls in love with girl. Girl loses grasp on reality. Boy meets another girl. Metaphysical angst ensues. My Take: The cover blurb of Norwegian Wood describes the novel thus: “When he hears her favourite Beatles song, Toru Watanabe recalls his first love Naoko, the girlfriend [...]

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"Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found", Suketu Mehta

June 17th, 2009 · 1 Comment · Asian, History, Travel

Synopsis: Expat Mumbaiker returns to the city of his childhood, enmeshes himself into the human fabric of the mega-city and over seven years produces a 600 page living biography of one of the world’s biggest, badest and most bustling cities. Prepare to have your eyes opened. My Take: It might be living life once removed, [...]

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Tags:Suketu Mehta

"The Sailor Who Fell from Grace With The Sea", Yukio Mishima

June 12th, 2009 · No Comments · Asian, Japanese, Literature

Synopsis: Teenage boy watches widowed mother sleep with handsome sailor through hole in bedroom wall. Boy becomes disillusioned with handsome sailor when he chooses his mother over life on the sea and begins plotting revenge. My Take: In a word, dark. Brett Easton Ellis dark. Reminded me a lot of the Catcher in the Rye [...]

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Tags:Yukio Mishima

"An Artist of the Floating World", Kazuo Ishiguro

June 11th, 2009 · No Comments · Asian, English, Japanese, Literature, Under-Rated

Synopsis: An aging painter contemplates his life as an artist of the ‘floating world’ (‘Ukiyo‘) of Tokyo’s pleasure seeking districts and struggles to come to terms with his place in post-war Japan.  Sometimes hindsight doesn’t come with 20/20 vision. My Take: As you may have guessed by now, I have a real peccadillo for Japanese [...]

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