Mr. Emperor Should Be Serialized

January 23, 2016 at 3:00 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , )

what-was-it-like-mr-emperor-9780989377669_hr.jpgTitle: What Was It Like, Mr. Emperor?

Author: Chiu Kwong-chiu & Eileen Ng

Illustrations: Design and Cultural Studies Workshop

Translation: Ben Wang

We received this awhile back in exchange for an honest review and it took us awhile to get through it – not because it isn’t brilliant, but because it is long, especially for a kids’ picture book.

The information is fantastic, the pictures fun.  But What Was It Like, Mr. Emperor? should have been serialized.

It wouldn’t be hard to do as there are already mini chapter-like breaks.  Kids like my own five year old would respond better to it being shorter titles that they could collect like a series as opposed to reading bits of the same book each night.  Ultimately, it’s the same amount of reading for the same amount of time, but kids see it differently for some reason, and they tend to like to collect things anyway.

We loved all the tidbits about Life in China’s Forbidden City, but as a customer, reader, mother, author, bookseller, reviewer, and someone who possesses a BBA in Marketing, I think there could be a lot more money into turning this title into a series of smaller books.

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Chinese History at Lunch

January 25, 2015 at 3:46 am (Reviews) (, , , , , , )

death of woman wangTitle:The Death of Woman Wang

Author: Jonathan D. Spence

Genre: History

When picking up books at bookstores, there’s always the lovely predicament of what to do during lunch hour.  As if any bookworm wouldn’t know what to do during lunch.  I like to pluck books that I would otherwise not read, things that probably wouldn’t make the cut when selecting reading material at home, but are intriguing nonetheless.

Chinese history and social commentary via anecdotes and tales from a specific region are fit the bill exactly.

Though Jonathan D. Spence’s The Death of Woman Wang is fairly short, and probably something I’d be able to get through over two cups of coffee at home, at work – with the distractions of barbecue sauce, walking (because I must always do a bit of walking), and a number of other lunch break occurrences – it took me a number of weeks to get through it.  (I only work on Saturdays, mind you.)

I have decided that even though I’m not keeping The Death of Woman Wang (I’m in purge mode and not keeping as many books as I have been inclined to in the past), I will read more of Spence’s work in the future.  Treason By the Book looks especially fascinating.

[Unrelated note to the book review: I just googled his name to see what else there might be and stumbled across his face. He’s endearingly handsome for an old fellow.]

Spence is a British-born Chinese historian (what an interesting description for a person).  He retired from Yale in 2008 – my childhood bestie attended Yale from 2002-2006, I wonder if she ever met him…

He has a warm way of relaying history.  He tells stories in a fashion that you’d think perhaps you were sitting around a fire listening to a beloved professor while on some sort of educational retreat.  He manages to do this without feeling novelized or ill researched.

I’ve been enjoying my Chinese History lunches, and I’m a little sad that they’re over.

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