Sunday, August 16, 2009

China Challenge!


We hear about China all the time in the news. It has one of the richest and longest literary histories in the world. It's a huge and changing country, and there are a million books out there to enjoy. In order to help us understand China, join the China Challenge!

The challenge will last a year and a day, from September 1, 2009-September 1, 2010. Feel free to snag a button and sign up in the comments!

Audio books are fine, as are books for all age levels. If you want ideas of things to read, just click on the "China" tag at the end of this post to see a bunch of my previous reviews of all sorts of books about China.

There are several levels to choose from:

Armchair Traveler:

Read 1 book about China. I'm defining this pretty loosely, but the majority of the action should take place in China. For the sake of ease, places such as Hong Kong, Macau, Tibet, and Taiwan count.

Fast Train to Shanghai:

Read 5 books about China

1 should be a translated work of fiction by a Chinese author (or not translated if you have the language skills.) I will make exceptions for Chinese authors that also write in English-- their English works are fine.

1 should be nonfiction

Hiking the Great Wall:

Read 10 books about China

1 should be a work of translated fiction

1 should be nonfiction.

Here you can read 1 book (but only 1) about Chinese immigration. So, stories of Chinese people abroad, or nonfiction about overseas Chinese communities.

Silk Road Trek:

Same as "Hiking the Great Wall," but you also have to do (and blog about!) at least 3 of these other China-Related activities:

1. Listen to a lesson or two on Chinese Pod (the Newbie lessons are free for all) and learn some Mandarin

2. Check out a Chinese cookbook and make a dish that's new to you

3. Go out for Chinese food. If you can, dim sum brunch!

4. Read a blog about China (my daily China reads are: Shanghaiist, Danwei, China Beat, and Laura & Tony. Don't worry, they're all in English!)

5. Listen to some Chinese music! Peking Opera might not be your cup of tea, but try Shanghai Lounge Divas or listen to some current Indie music from China here or the phenomenal Afterquake.

6. Watch a Chinese film

7. Check out a travel guide and plan a vacation to China-- it's a huge country--what cities do you want to go to and what do you want to see while there?

8. Actually take that vacation! Or a different trip to China.


9. Attend a Chinese cultural event or art exhibit in your area.

UPDATE! Mr. Linky is my friend again. If you signed up in the comments, you're good to go!

51 comments:

Sean said...

This is great! I am totally up for the Silk Road Trek level, but I already know that #8 is financially impossible for me between now and September 2010. I was invited by the International Reading Association to serve on a delegation to China this November, but given the $7000 price tag coupled with my total lack of experience in grant writing, I had to regretfully decline. Someday, I'll step off this continent ... (well, fly off of it, presumably)

regularrumination said...

I'm totally up for this! And I just might be going to China next summer!!! This is great :)

M said...

I think that the Fast Train to Shanghai will be a great introduction to books about China. I'm in!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I *love* the names of your different levels! I have too many books now in my TBR pile to add another challenge but I just wanted to say how clever yours is!!!

Tea said...

I feel so lazy, but I'm going for the Armchair Traveler. I would love to know more about China. Thank you for giving this challenge. Should we put a button on our blog?

teakettle58@yahoo.com

Tea said...

Thank you for the button. Since I'm reading one book, does it matter whether it's nonfiction or fiction? Do you have a preference?

teakettle58@yahoo.com

Mark said...

I'll be reading the Mrs. Pollifax book set in China soon, so definitely sign me up at the Armchair level.

mee said...

Believe it or not, I was just thinking about hosting such challenge, but you got there first! (o well with my laziness it would never have come up anyway..) I'm joining and will post about it soon.

Books about Chinese immigrants don't count, do they? (apart from the Hiking the Great Wall level and above) That limits quite a bit.

Jennie said...

Sean--$7000 is way too expensive!!! I think my entire semester, including room, board, tuition and airfare was only $9000!

Tea-- if you're doing the Armchair Traveler level, it can be fiction or nonfiction, whatever you're the mood for! The majority of the book just has to take place in China.

Mee-- nope, immigration stories don't count until you hit the higher levels. I did this on purpose, because I want us to learn about China. I couldn't discoutp the diaspora entirely though, but the focus is really on China. Now, if it's a book where characters start in China and then immigrate, as long as the majority takes place in China, then it's ok. Check out my "China" tags for lots of ideas about Chinese literature that's been translated into English!

Sarah said...

This is the kind of challenge I cannot keep myself from signing up to.. great levels, great activities, and of course a great country to read about! I will do the Silk Road Trek!

Here is the link to my post, it is possible that my choice of novels changes though.
By the way, is it okay to read novels that are set in China and deal with the country but are not written by Chinese? Because I would like to include one novel by Pearl S. Buck, who has written quite alot about China..

Jenn said...

I would definitely love to participate - what a great challenge! I'm going to aim for the "Fast Train to Shanghai" level, though I hope it's okay that the majority of my choices may be non-fiction (or J's). Here's my progress page. Thanks a bunch!

Kerry said...

Is it ok if I've completed a number of these a couple years ago? I could definitely make the Silk Road track with a few more books!

Kiy said...

I would love to sign up for this. Do we need to tell you in advance which level we are working on? I read, a lot, and have already read quite a few books on China but my list of yet to read is quite long. Since we just went to China Oct/Nov 2007, I know it's not in the budget again for quite a few years so that level is out of reach for me. But I'd so so so love to go back. I dream about going back and taking it at a bit slower pace.

Hat tip to Tonggu Momma for linking to you. I am thrilled to take on this challenge!

Cheers, Kiy

Jennie said...

Sarah-- it's ok to read books that are set in China but not written by Chinese people (although Buck spent a large portion of her life in China). At least 1 has to be by a Chinese author, but not all of them. This is also because so much current nonfiction is written in English by non-Chinese people.

Jenn-- mostly nonfiction and Js is totally ok!

Kerry-- all books have to be read between 9/1/09 and 9/1/10, so you'll have to read new books.

Kiy-- you don't have to go to China for the Silk Road Trek. You just have to do 3 of the 9 activities.

I'm so happy people are signing up. I'm looking forward to it!

tokemise said...

I'm signing up for the Fast Train to Shanghai level. Here is the link to my post about it.
http://byhookbook.blogspot.com/2009/08/on-fast-train-to-shanghai.html

Hawkeyegirl said...

Ok, so I just starting diving into the world of Book Challenges, but I have to say with all my lack of experience, this one sounds the best so far!
I'm going to hit the ground running I think and go with the Silk Road Trek level. I'll post a button on my blog soon.

mel u said...

Great Challenge-I live an hour away from Hong Kong so I have decided to sign up for the Arm Chair Traveler level-I will read two novels by Dai Sijie (just posted about the wonderful "Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress" on my blog), "Shanghai Girls" by Lisa See, and two works of translation to be picked at a latter date-

Sandra said...

I really want to do this challenge. Fast Train to Shanghai seems about my speed. I will get a post up about the challenge as soon as I can. Thanks.

Teddy Rose said...

I couldn't resist! I love books that take place in China. Due to the number of challenges I am in and the number of ARC I have to get through, I am doing the Armchair Traveler.

Teddy Rose said...

Btw: I ment to say that I love your buttons!

Suko said...

This sounds wonderful, although I will probably only read one or two books.

Thanks for hosting this. I will post a button and link in my sidebar. : )

Violette Severin said...

Sign me up for The Fast Train to Shanghai. I love the Chinese culture and have read many books about China over the years. I have already seen a few interesting books at my local bookstore that will fit in nicely with this challenge.

Rose City Reader said...

I'm in as an Armchair Traveler. I'll have to put my post up later though. Must run.

Grilsgood said...

I can read at least one bok or do a lot more, I was offerend the chance to go with friends to China earlier this month, it was about $10,00, I decided to stay home.

Aimee said...

Count me in for "Hiking the Great Wall"! Can't wait!

Tracey said...

Sorry Jennie - I seem to have got a bit carried away and posted Guardian reviews all over the place!! Please just delete these 0:)

By the way - this challenge looks wonderful and I'm very tempted to join!

mee said...

I'm signing up for Fast Train to Shanghai. Just posted my challenge post yesterday!

Charlie said...

I'm signing up for the Armchair Traveler—not because I'm lazy, but because my TBR pile keeps growing higher (I think books replicate during the night).

Mark David said...

Hello Jennie! Thanks for putting up this challenge :)

mel u said...

I just completed my first work for the challenge "The Uninvited" by Geling Yan, in English by a Chinese author.
my review is at rereadinglives.blogspot.com

Book Bird Dog said...

Glad to join the China Challenge. What a great idea! Mel U, I absolutely loved your review of The Uninvited, and it'll be first on my list for this challenge!

Rose City Reader said...

This one can't count for my challenge because I started reading it before September 1. But here is my review of The Last Chinese Chef by Nicole Mones -- a novel about the history of Chinese cooking and the current revival of "imperial" cooking in Chine. Plus romance and a great plot.

http://rosecityreader.blogspot.com/2009/09/review-of-day-last-chinese-chef.html

I am going to get my act together and see what other "China" books are on my TBR shelf so I can sign up for the challenge for real.

Suko said...

Rose City Reader, reading your comments made me very hungry for Chinese food, such as Imperial soup! Have fun with this challenge--I am also participating.

Matt said...

Fast Train to Shanghai for me. Thanks for this challenge, I hope it moves me to read some recent and maybe not so recent fiction.

Madeleine said...

Interesting challenge,

Enter me

Suko said...

Terrific challenge--thank you for hosting this!

I was a bit reluctant to have this book "count" towards the China Challenge. . . .

I expect to read at least one other book for this challenge.

Mark David said...

I've just posted a review of my first book for the challenge: The Beijing of Possibilities. Hope you all enjoy it :)

Book Bird Dog said...

My review of a 2002 edition translation of the Tao Te Ching has been posted.

mel u said...

I just posted a review on The Noodle Maker by Ma Jain

Sunny Sweet Pea said...

Love the sound of this challenge. I love anything and everything about China!

Book Bird Dog said...

Have posted a review of Waiting: A Novel by Han Jin. Review

mel u said...

My Review of February Flowers

February Flowers is a coming of age story of two young women in the setting of a modern Chinese University

Suko said...

Jennie, I've just posted a new review for your intriguing challenge. With a giveaway!

Book Dilettante said...

Posted a review of A Map of Paradise: A Novel of Nineteenth Century Hawaii, which tells the story of Chinese immigration in Hawaii. A Map of paradise.

JoV said...

Oopss. discovered the challenge a little too late. I will on the fast train to Shanghai for now. Although my last year's results definitely qualified me on a hike to the great walls! see:

http://bibliojunkie.wordpress.com/2010/01/01/a-conscious-effort-to-diversify/

How can I post subsequent book reviews to the challenge? Thanks for hosting this!

Book Dilettante aka Book Bird Dog said...

JovV: I believe the challenge goes to September of this year!

I found Classical Chinese music played in Vienna by a Chinese group: Classic Chinese Music video online

Sandra said...

I'm starting late but I'd like to try for the Fast Train to Shanghai please. I will link when I have a post up and decided on my books. Thank you. This should be fun.

cessie said...

I'm very late but since I moved to China in September09 I thought this would totally be my challenge and I'm signing up for the Silk Road Trek level. Love this challenge and was soo looking for something like this!
I have three blogs (one general, one book, one film blog) so I still need to figure out how to review it all but we will see!
So looking forward to do this. Thanks for hosting :)

Harvee said...

My experience using the Chinese method of divination, the I Ching

Teddy Rose said...

I finished the challenge and attached my wrap-up post in Mr. Linky. Thanks for the challenge!

Book Bird Dog said...

Hello: I just added another novel to the list, Petals from the Sky by Mingmei Yip (2010). Here's the link: Petals from the Sky