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reading highlights of 2010

Books + Ideas — December 2010

Here's a list of some of my reading highlights from the last year. The links are to my reviews, where I've written them.


  • Solibo Magnificent - Patrick Chamoiseau's novel of death and language in Martinique
  • The Stalin Organ - Gert Ledig's novel from the Russian Front in World War II
  • Midnight Convoy and Other Stories - newcomers to Yizhar might want to start with Khirbet Khizeh, but this is a fine collection
  • The Leopard - Giuseppe di Lampedusa's great Italian novel
  • Antigone - Jean Anouilh's strikingly different reworking of Sophocles' tragedy. Jenny took me to a performance of this as well. (I haven't written a review yet, so see Amazon or Amazon UK for details.)
  • Darkness at Noon - Arthur Koestler's classic novel about the interrogation of an Old Bolshevik


See also my all-time highlights selection .

1 Comment »

  1. Your diverse interest in literature is nothing short of amazing. Your lack of Chinese did not stop you from exploring the beauty of its literature. My face turned red after reading your review of Chinese Literature, Ancient and Classical. I should and could have done better.

    You cited Andre Levy in which he mentions Su Xiaoxiao Mu (grave). I read of the person (a tragic figure), and her grave in Qiantang (near Hangzhou), but not her poetry. In my recent trip to China, I brush-passed Hangzhou on my way to Huangshan from Shanghai. I missed a chance to see Qiantang Jiang (river), and Su Xiaoxiao's grave. She is made well known by many films, TV dramas and in printed articles.


    Qiantang Jiang and the annual what-is-called tidal bore is a sight I longed to see for years. To many Chinese it is an emotional pull, just like the Great Wall, the Shanhaiguan Pass through which the Manchus breached the Great Wall and established the Qing Dynasty,the Yangtze and Yellow rivers and many, many more.

    By not stopping at Hangzhou, I also missed seeing the Grand Canal, many scenic historical spots, drinking freshly brewed Dragon Well tea, and sample true Dongpo pork.
    Su Dongbo was a great poet, and this pork dish, his favourite, was named after him.

    Comment by DL — January 2011

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