A Roundup Of Our Favorite Recent China Reads
As the weather gets cooler and the days shorter, turn to these titles for a good read by the fire. From hard-hitting studies of China’s automobile industry and sustainable future to fresh romantic novels, here are Jing Daily’s favorite China books for fall 2012.
Designated Drivers: How China Plans to Dominate the Global Auto Industry
by G. E. Anderson, Ph. D. (Wiley, 2012. 320 pages. US$29.95 hardcover, $14.99 Kindle)
China’s unprecedented growth over the last three decades, along with the recent financial crisis in the West, has raised questions about the superiority of state-led capitalism. In Designated Drivers: How China Plans to Dominate the Global Auto Industry, G.E. Anderson, a specialist in finance and Chinese political economics, uses the auto industry as a case study to examine how China’s industrial planning works, and explores whether state involvement in the economy really is a winning formula for sustainable growth. Designated Drivers is a must-read for anyone interested in China’s automobile industry, and what its growing global footprint means for established automakers (and markets) around the world.
The Red Chamber
by Pauline A. Chen (Knopf, 2012. 400 pages. US$26.95 hardcover, $13.99 Kindle
In this lyrical re-imagining of the Chinese classic Dream of the Red Chamber, set against the backdrop of eighteenth-century Beijing, the lives of three unforgettable women collide in the inner chambers of the Jia mansion. When orphaned Daiyu leaves her home in the provinces to take shelter with her cousins in the capital, she is drawn into a world of opulent splendor, presided over by the ruthless, scheming Xifeng and the prim, repressed Baochai. As she learns the secrets behind their glittering façades, she finds herself entangled in a web of intrigue and hidden passions, reaching from the petty gossip of the servants’ quarters all the way to the Imperial Palace. When a political coup overthrows the emperor and plunges the once-mighty family into grinding poverty, each woman must choose between love and duty, friendship and survival.
Disappearing Shanghai: Photographs and Poems of an Intimate Way of Life
by Howard W. French and Qiu Xiaolong (Homa & Sekey, 2012. 126 pages. US$29.95)
A photographic exploration of life in the old and rapidly disappearing quarters of Shanghai, with accompanying poems and essays by fiction writer and poet, Qiu Xiaolong, Disappearing Shanghai documents an intimate and invaluable visual natural history. The book offers a window into a way of life in the workers quarters and other central districts of the city that held sway throughout the 20th century and into the early years of the 21st century, before yielding to the ambitious ongoing efforts at urban reconstruction.
Mr. Qiu, whose best-known books are largely set in this old city, where his protagonist Inspector Chen looks for clues, is suited like few others to provide a lyrical accompanying text whose purpose is to celebrate the life, beauty and texture of this world before it has vanished altogether. Few photographers have pursued this subject with more dedication and persistence than Mr. French, whose photos of Shanghai have been exhibited on four continents. Taken together, the work of these two contributors offers compelling visuals and lasting historical value for lovers of Shanghai, past, present and future.
China Fast Forward: The Technologies, Green Industries and Innovations Driving the Mainland’s Future
by Bill Dodson (Wiley, 2012. 288 pages. US$29.95 hardcover, $14.99 Kindle)
In China Fast Forward: The Technologies, Green Industries and Innovations Driving the Mainland’s Future, China business expert Bill Dodson takes an in-depth look at the sustainability challenges facing the country as it works to become a global economic leader. Exploring the Chinese approach to innovation — which still relies heavily on reverse-engineering foreign technologies rather than encouraging domestic creativity — and the ways in which heavy industry and new brands are being leveraged to build international standing, the book incorporates personal anecdotes and interviews to bring modern China vividly to life. For anyone doing business in China or concerned for the country’s sustainable future, China Fast Forward is a vital component to your collection.
by Mingmei Yip (Kensington, 2012. 352 pages. US$15.00, $9.39 Kindle)
Mingmei Yip, author of Peach Blossom Pavilion and Song of the Silk Road, has created yet another captivating story filled with intrigue and opulence, peppered with extraordinary characters impossible to forget. Set in Shanghai, Skeleton Women leads the reader through the intricate and sultry lives of Camilla, a young orphan, Shadow, a magician, Rainbow Chang, and scheming Master Lung, each protecting their own safety and status while fighting for freedom and love.