Through the lives of three different women – grandmother, mother and daughter – this book tells the story of 20th-century China. At times scarcely credible in the details it reveals of the suffering of millions of ordinary Chinese people, it is an unforgettable record of tyranny, hope and ultimate survival under conditions of extreme harshness. In 1924, at the age of 15, the author’s grandmother became the concubine of a powerful warlord, whom she was seldom to see during the ten years of their “marriage”. Her daughter, born in 1931, experienced the horrors of Japanese occupation in Manchuria as a schoolgirl, and after their surrender joined the Communist-led underground fighting Chiang Kai-Shek’s Kuomintang. She rose to be a senior Communist official, but was imprisoned three times. Her husband, also a high official and one of the very first to join the Communists, was relentlessly persecuted, imprisoned and finally sent to a labour camp where, physically broken and disillusioned, he lost his sanity. The author herself grew up during the Cultural Revolution, at the time of the personality cult of Mao and the worst excesses of the Gang of Four.
She joined the Red Guard but after Mao’s death she was to become one of the first Chinese students to study abroad.
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Neil Gaiman - Neverwhere
Under the streets of London there's a place most people could never even dream of. A city of monsters and saints, murderers and angels, knights in armour and pale girls in black velvet. This is the city of the people who have fallen between the cracks. Richard Mayhew, a young businessman, is going to find out more than enough about this other London. A single act of kindness catapults him out of his workday existence and into a world that is at once eerily familiar and utterly bizarre. And a strange destiny awaits him down here, beneath his native city: neverwhere.
Patti Smith - Just Kids
In Just Kids, Patti Smith’s first book of prose, the legendary American artist offers a never-before-seen glimpse of her remarkable relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe in the epochal days of New York City and the Chelsea Hotel in the late sixties and seventies. An honest and moving story of youth and friendship, Smith brings the same unique, lyrical quality to Just Kids as she has to the rest of her formidable body of work—from her influential 1975 album Horses to her visual art and poetry.
Neil Gaiman - American Gods
Shadow is a man with a past and wants nothing more now than to live a quiet life with his wife. When his wife is killed in a terrible accident, Shadow flies home for the funeral. As a raging storm rocks the plane, the strange man in the seat next to Shadow introduces himself as Mr. Wednesday. He knows more about Shadow than is possible--and he warns Shadow an even bigger storm is coming.
Neil Gaiman - Coraline & Other Stories
When Coraline explores her new home, she steps through a door and into another house just like her own - except that things aren't quite as they seem. There's another mother and another father in this house and they want Coraline to stay with them and be their little girl. Coraline must use all of her wits and every ounce of courage in order to save herself and return home ... but will she escape and will life ever be the same again? Elsewhere in this collection, a sinister jack-in-the-box haunts the lives of the children who ever owned it, a stray cat does nightly battle to protect his adopted family, and a boy raised in a graveyard confronts the much more troubled world of the living. From the scary to the whimsical, the fantastical to the humorous, Coraline & Other Stories is a journey into the dark, magical world of Neil Gaiman.
Ted Hughes - Collected Poems
All the poems of a great 20th-century poet From the astonishing debut Hawk in the Rain (1957) to Birthday Letters (1998), Ted Hughes was one of postwar literature's truly prodigious poets. This remarkable volume gathers all of his work, from his earliest poems (published only in journals) through the ground-breaking volumes Crow (1970), Gaudete(1977), and Tales from Ovid (1997). It includes poems Hughes composed for fine-press printers, poems he wrote as England's Poet Laureate, and those children's poems that he meant for adults as well. This omnium-gatherum of Hughes's work is animated throughout by a voice that, as Seamus Heaney remarked, was simply "longer and deeper and rougher" than those of his contemporaries.
W. G. Sebald - The Rings of Saturn
"Ostensibly a record of a journey on foot through coastal East Anglia," as Robert McCrum in the London Observer noted, The Rings of Saturn "is also a brilliantly allusive study of England's imperial past and the nature of decline and fall, of loss and decay. . . . The Rings of Saturn is exhilaratingly, you might say hypnotically, readable. . . . It is hard to imagine a stranger or more compelling work." The Rings of Saturn--with its curious archive of photographs--chronicles a tour across epochs aswell as countryside. On his way, the narrator meets lonely eccentrics inhabiting tumble-down mansions and links them to Rembrandt's "AnatomyLesson," the natural history of the herring, a matchstick model of the Temple of Jerusalem, the travels of Sir Thomas Browne's skull, and the massive bombings of WWII. Cataloging change,oblivion, and memories, he connects sugarfortunes, Joseph Conrad, and the horrors of colonizing the Belgian Congo. The narrator finds threads which run from an abandoned bridge overthe River Blyth to the terrible dowager EmpressTzu Hsi and the silk industry in Norwich."Sebald," as The New Yorker stated, "weaves his tale together with a complexity and historical sweep that easily encompasses both truth andfiction." The Emigrants (hailed by Susan Sontag as an "astonishing masterpiece-perfect whilebeing unlike any book one has ever read") was "one of the great books of the last few years,"as Michael Ondaatje noted: "and now The Rings of Saturn is a similar and as strange a triumph."
Terry Pratchett - Wintersmith
'Crivens!' Tiffany Aching put one foot wrong, made just one little mistake... And now the spirit of winter is in love with her. He gives her roses and icebergs and showers her with snowflakes, which is tough when you're thirteen, but also just a little bit... cool. If Tiffany doesn't work out how to deal with him, there will never be another springtime... Crackling with energy and humour, Wintersmith is the third tale in a sequence about Tiffany Aching and the Wee Free Men - the Nac Mac Feegles who are determined to help Tiffany, whether she wants it or not.
Neil Gaiman - P. Craig Russell - Coraline
Coraline discovered the door a little after they moved into the house. When Coraline steps through a door in her family's new house, she finds another house strangely similar to her own (only better). But there's another mother there and another father, and they want her to stay and be their little girl. They want to change her and never let her go. Acclaimed artist P. Craig Russell brings Neil Gaiman's enchanting, nationally bestselling children's book Coraline to new life in this gorgeously illustrated graphic novel adaptation.
Michael Ende - The Neverending Story
Unicorns, dragons, sprites, will-o'-the-wisps: the inhabitants of an enchanted world. And into this world - through the pages of an old book - ventures Bastian, a lonely boy of ten or twelve. But Fantastica is slowly decaying, its Childlike Empress dying. Only a real human being can set things right by giving the Empress a new name. Bastian takes up the challenge, and finds himself crossing the Swamps of Sadness and the Silver Mountains, meeting sorcerers and giants, bats and night-hobs, gnomes and racing snails, as he journeys bravely toward the Ivory Tower. Bastian's quest is filled with all the wonders of myth and fairy tale. It is a fantasy adventure that will capture your heart - and recapture the magical dreams of childhood.
Ambrose Bierce - The Devil's Dictionary
Bierce's classic work of satirical wit and Steadman's pointed pen redefine the way we see even the seemingly simplest of terms. Acquaintance, n.: A person whom we know well enough to borrow from but not well enough to lend to. Bride, n.: A woman with a great future behind her. Consult, v: To seek another's approval of a course already decided on. Ambrose Bierce's "dictionary" of epigrams, essays, verses, and vignettes targets the religious, the romantic, the political, and the economic, in equal measure. The book you need to define both friends and enemies, The Devil's Dictionary is also the perfect gift, showcasing Bierce's razor-sharp wit and Ralph Steadman's incisive pen to their best advantage.
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
The death and burial of Addie Bundren is told by members of her family, as they cart the coffin to Jefferson, Mississippi to bury her among her people. And as the intense desires, fears and rivalries of the family are revealed in the vernacular of the Deep South, Faulkner presents a portrait of extraordinary power - as epic as the Old Testament, as American as Huckleberry Finn.
Margaret Atwood - Cat's Eye
Herself the daughter of a Canadian forest entomologist, Atwood writes in an autobiographical vein about Elaine Risley, a middle-aged Canadian painter (and daughter of a forest entomologist) who is thrust into an extended reconsideration of her past while attending a retrospective show of her work in Toronto, a city she had fled years earlier in order to leave behind painful memories. Most pointedly, Risley reflects on the strangeness of her long relations with Cordelia, a childhood friend whose cruelties, dealt lavishly to Risley, helped hone her awareness of our inveterate appetite for destruction even while we love, and are understood as characteristically femininea betrayal of other women that masks a ferocious betrayal of oneself. Atwood's portrayal of the friendship gives the novel its fraught and mysterious center, but her critical assessment of Cordelia and the "whole world of girls and their doings" also takes the measure of a coercive, conformist society (not quite as extreme as in the futuristic The Handmaid's Tale ). Emerging "the stronger" for her latecoming understanding of herself, Risley in the final pages rises above the ties that bound her, transcendently alive to the possibilities of "light, shining out in the midst of nothing." (From Publisher's Weekly)
Amy Tan - The Bonesetter's Daughter
LuLing Young is now in her eighties, and finally beginning to feel the effects of old age. Trying to hold on to the evaporating past, she begins to write down all that she can remember of her life as a girl in China. Meanwhile, her daughter Ruth, a ghostwriter for authors of self-help books, is losing the ability to speak up for herself in front of the man she lives with. LuLing can only look on, helpless: her prickly relationship with her daughter does not make it easy to discuss such matters. In turn, Ruth has begun to suspect that something is wrong with her mother: she says so many confusing and contradictory things. Ruth decides to move in with her ailing mother, and while tending to her discovers the story LuLing wrote in Chinese, of her tumultuous life growing up in a remote mountain village known as Immortal Heart. LuLing tells of the secrets passed along by her mute nursemaid, Precious Auntie; of a cave where dragon bones are mined and where Peking Man was discovered; of the crumbling ravine known as the End of the World, where Precious Auntie's bones lie, and of the curse that LuLing believes she released through betrayal. Like layers of sediment being removed, each page unfolds into an even greater mystery: Who was Precious Auntie, whose suicide changed the path of LuLing's life? Set in contemporary San Francisco and pre-war China, The Bonesetter's Daughter is an excavation of the human spirit. With great warmth and humour, Amy Tan gives us a mesmerising story of a mother and daughter discovering together that what they share in their bones through history and heredity is priceless beyond measure.
G. P. Chapman - Y. Z. Wang - The Plant Life of China
An authoritative account of the fascinating plant life of China, written by two botanical experts. Chinese plant life is estimated to include up to 30000 species and extends from the Himalayan snow line across a diversity of habitats to the lush tropical south. Although for many years access to Chinese plants was limited, the present situation provides an opportunity for a new and authoritative assessment of botanical treasure-houses such as Yunnan and Sichuan. It will be of interest to those working in agriculture, alternative medicine, plant conservation, ecology, genetics, horticulture, molecular biology and taxonomy.
Malala Yousafzai - Christina Lamb - I Am Malala
When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education. On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive. Instead, Malala's miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she has become a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest nominee ever for the Nobel Peace Prize. I AM MALALA is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls' education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons. I AM MALALA will make you believe in the power of one person's voice to inspire change in the world.
Margit Kaffka - Colours and Years
Margit Kaffka (1880-1918) was born in the provincial town of Nagykároly (now Carei in Romania). A schoolteacher by training, she was twice married with a son, and as a friend wrote about her, 'She wielded her pen as our mothers did their mixing spoons.' faking up her maiden name as a writer, she soon turned to writing both poetry and prose, and became part of the small circle of distinguished writers who ran the literary journal Nyugat. She sat with the men in smoky coffee-houses and wrote1 short stories about women who achieved financial independence but suffered many unfulfilled dreams and were faced with impossibly difficult choices. Her novel, Colours and Years, which came out in 1912, explored the complexities facing different generations of these new women and catapulted her to success. Based on the technique of the talking head, it reveals not only the character of the writer herself, her background and history, with special emphasis on her relationship to her mother, but life as it was lived just before the First World War in the small Hungarian town of Nagykároly. The poet Endre Ady's words stand as a fitting tribute to her even today: 'Let us rejoice in Margit Kaffka because she proves the triumph of Hungarian feminism... She is a strong person, an artist with an assured future: no criticism can hinder her true destiny the path marked as her own'.
Anne Birrell - The Classic of Mountains and Seas
The first complete, annotated edition of this major source of Chinese mythology. Traditionally ascribed to the mythical figure Yu the Great, The Classic of Mountains and Seas (third century B.C. to second century A.D.) brings together a treasure trove of rare data and colorful fiction about the mythical figures, rituals, medicine, natural history, and ethnic peoples of the ancient world. The Classic narrates episodes of 204 mythical figures, notably the gods Foremost, Fond Care, and Yellow, and goddesses like the fearsome Queen Mother of the West and the doomed Girl Lovely, the nurturing solar and lunar goddesses, and many others unknown outside this text. This eclectic work also contains crucial information on early medicine (with cures for impotence and infertility), omens to avert catastrophe, rites of sacrifice, and familiar and unidentified plants and animals. In sum, the Classic is a spectacular guided tour of the known world in antiquity, moving outward from the famous mountains of central China to the lands "beyond the seas." Translated with an Introduction and Notes by Anne Birrell
Ursula K. Le Guin - Voices
Memer is a child of rape; when the Alds took the beautiful city of Ansul, they descecrated or destroyed everything of beauty. The Waylord they imprisoned and tortured for years until finally he is freed to return to his home. Though crippled, he is not destroyed. His life still has purpose. Memer is the daughter of his House, the daughter of his heart. The Alds, a people who love war, cannot and will not read: they believe that in words lie demons that will destroy the world. All the city's libraries, the great treasure trove of knowledge of ages past, are burned, except for those few volumes secreted inthe Waylord's hidden room. But times are changing. Gry Barre of Roddmant and Orrec Caspro of Caspromant have arrived in the city. Orrec is a story-teller, the most famous of all: he has the gift of making. His wife Gry's gift is that of calling; she walks with a halflion who both frightens and fascinates the Alds. This is Memer's story, and Gry's and Orrec's, and it is the story of a conquered people craving freedom.
Joanne Harris - A Cat, a Hat and a Piece of String
A second short story collection from Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat and Peaches for Monsieur le Cure. 'Stories are like Russian dolls; open them up, and in each one you'll find another story.' Conjured from a wickedly imaginative pen, here is a new collection of short stories that showcases Joanne Harris's exceptional storytelling art. Sensuous, wicked, mischievous, uproarious and wry, here are tales that combine the everyday with the unexpected; wild fantasy with bittersweet reality. From the house where it is Christmas all year round, to a ghost who lives on a Twitter timeline; from the Congo where a young girl braves the raging rapids to earn a crust of bread, to Norse gods battling for survival in Manhattan; and a newborn baby created with sugar, spice and lashings of cake, these stories will ensnare and delight you with their variety and inventiveness.