Posts Tagged: China

This Week in Indie Bookstores

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If you ever wanted to own one of the nation’s oldest bookstores, now’s your chance. Otto Bookstore in Williamsport, Pennsylvania has been operating since 1841, but the 81-year-old proprietor is in the market to sell.

The Oregonian names Portland’s 10 best bookstores, and world-famous Powell’s didn’t make the cut.

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Writers Versus Censorship and Repression

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For the Guardian, Sian Cain reports on recent efforts from high-profile writers to push China to release Nobel Laureate and poet Liu Xiaobo from prison. According to Cain, Xiaobo was detained for “inciting subversion of state power,” and his supporters, including Margaret Atwood and Ian Rankin, hope he will be released by the seventh anniversary of his arrest.

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This Week in Indie Bookstores

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Bookstores in Mumbai, India are losing customers from institutional sales as large buyers turn directly to suppliers, and though 700 existing retailers exist in the city, the last few years have no seen new stores open.

A Syrian couple has opened an Arabic-language bookstore in Istanbul hoping to change cultural perceptions.

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This Week in Indie Bookstores

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To celebrate Small Business Saturday, President Obama shopped at Upshur Street Books in the Petworth neighborhood of Washington DC.

Magers & Quinn, an independent Minneapolis bookseller, has been open on Thanksgiving for the last thirteen years—mostly to provide employees without family in the area a place to be during the holiday.

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Neil Gaiman Versus China

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The Guardian reports that Neil Gaiman has added his name to a letter urging China’s president Xi Jinping to release dissident writers “languishing in jail for the crime of expressing their opinions.” In addition to Gaiman, several other famed authors, including Jonathan Franzen and Jennifer Eagan, have contributed to the effort, calling for “immediate steps to defend and protect the rights of all Chinese citizens to communicate and access information freely.”

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The Rumpus Interview with Susan Barker

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Susan Barker discusses her third novel, The Incarnations, writing dialogue in a second language, the Opium Wars and Chinese history, and the years of research that went into her book. ...more

Meet the Oldest Multicolor Printed Book

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At Hyperallergic, Allison Meier offers a history of the oldest multicolor printed book, recently digitized and published online by the Cambridge University Library system.

The manual [the 17th-century Manual of Calligraphy and Painting (Shi zhu zhai shu hua pu)] is the earliest known book with polychrome xylography, where each image involved several printing blocks with different colors of inks, giving the completed print the appearance of having been painted by hand.

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This Week in Short Fiction

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On Monday, the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction was awarded to Jack Livings for The Dog, a collection set in China in the last decades of the 20th century. What makes Livings’s stories remarkable isn’t just the tight prose and impressive research (he told the Wall Street Journal that he spent a year and a half reading oral histories from glassblowers and researching Mao Zedong’s embalming process for just one story), it’s that he managed to write about a foreign culture with nuance and depth and not mess it up.

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Do Governments Make Bad Editors?

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When the Chinese government created a China-themed pavilion at this year’s BookExpo America, several writers protested the event. Writer Andrew Solomon argued that the Chinese government used that expo as a platform to present their “approved literature to the world.” Now, for the New Yorker, Christopher Beam shares his experience visiting the controversial China pavilion, and explores why Chinese publishers struggle to attract American audiences:

The problem, from what I could tell, was that publishers didn’t seem to know what American readers wanted….

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Censorship Taints Publishing Bonanza

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China represents a huge marketplace for any product, and book publishers have finally caught on. More than 10,000 Chinese books were available at the Book Expo America. But as publishers race to embrace the Chinese market and bring Chinese authors to the West, censorship by the world’s largest authoritarian state represents a real challenge.

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Sci-Fi Tide Sweeps through China

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Science fiction is a growing force on the Chinese literary landscape now that government scrutiny of the genre has loosened up, according to a recent article in the Times. The English publication of Liu Cixin’s The Three Body Problem, following the inclusion of several of the author’s stories in the prestigious People’s Literature journal in 2012, serve as evidence of a growing readership.

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Do Writers Also Have to Be Protesters?

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Pankaj Mishra has always been a politically outspoken writer, so when Mo Yan, who has defended the Chinese government’s censorship, won the Nobel Prize, Mishra was the last person anyone expected to defend him.

But he did, asking, “Do we ever expose the political preferences of Mo Yan’s counterparts in the West to such harsh scrutiny?”

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“That Pesky Racism Again”

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For Human Parts, the dazzling collection of essays curated by Stephanie Georgopulos on Medium, Djenab Conde writes about the complexities of eating at a Chinese restaurant with her Chinese mother and Guinean father.

Conde writes about how frustrating it is to never be recognized as Chinese even when she speaks the language, but the really heartbreaking part is the subtle ways she tries to protect her father’s feelings.

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Lit-Link Round-Up

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This is my second-to-last round-up before I go on hiatus for my book tour, which is a sprawling, insane thing that’s lasting until the end of April, on and off. That’s nothing, of course, compared to the duration of some tours (the fabulous Adderall Diaries tour, for example, that gave birth to the Daily Rumpus), but I have three kids so I’m a little strung-out about it all.

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Mark Twain Still Popular…In China!

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Did you know that Mark Twain is one of the best known foreign writers in China? Neither did we. There is a well earned, and unabashed image of Mark Twain as the quintessential American author and for good reason. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn remains in the American cannon and is taught all over the country however it was a lesser known story of his that has him being taught along side of Mao Zedong.

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A Ghost Story’s Ghost Story

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Everyone loves a good ghost story, and one of the most popular ghost stories in the Chinese literary canon is that of Li Huiniang, a cruelly executed concubine who fights for justice from beyond the grave.

At the Appendix, Maggie Greene tells the tale’s history in reverse, from a hugely popular 1981 movie version all the way back to the first formally published version, which appeared during the Ming dynasty:

Li Huiniang had faced the ire of cultural radicals since 1963, even inspiring a ban on portraying ghosts in theater—the harbinger of the PRC’s swiftly increasing radicalization of culture and politics.

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The Remarkable Life of China’s “AIDS Granny”

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In the 1980s, when it became apparent that HIV was blood-borne, China banned blood donations from outside the country—but instituted no other HIV-related tests or regulations, not even against reusing needles. HIV quickly began to spread among those giving and receiving blood, possibly infecting as many as two million people.

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Into the Tiger’s Lair

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They’d been hiding in the jungle for two days, having fled their homes in Burma’s northern Kachin state to evade approaching firefights between the Burmese military and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA). ...more