November 3rd, 2014
老生常談 : 资中筠作品Lao sheng chang tan : Zi Zhongyun zuo pin / 资中筠 著 2014
資中筠很清楚自己言論的尖銳性和敏感性，所以在自序中寫明了本書的意義：“如果在正常的言論環境下，事實和邏輯都是常識，我的‘老生常談’也就沒有聽衆和讀者了。既然這一時候還沒有到來，就還有一定的保存價值，結集成冊，也算是立此存照。” 《老生常談》收錄了資中筠演講稿，媒體採訪記錄，及2011年後新寫作的一些文章共21篇。其内容涵蓋美國研究，中國公民教育，中國留學生，公益事業，對外關係，當代中國制度，文化等等方面。資先生的言論可謂單刀直入，毫無隱諱避忌。舉例來説，當被問到如何看待比比皆是“中國特色”的“國情論”，她在繼點出大講“初級階段”國情論的根本目的實在於“維護既存的缺點”之後，也提出：“還有一個國情論是說我們的老百姓不適合實行民主，不應該有自由，素質太低，連影星成龍都說過類似的話。在我看來，這種國情論屬於胡説八道，這完全是對中國人的一種侮辱。它的意思就是説，中國的老百姓根本不配享有別國人民享有的基本權利，變成這樣的一種國情了。”這不禁讓人想起1944年5月17日中共《新華日報》的社論：“現在卻有些已學會了坐汽車的先生們說: 中國人民倘過民主自由的生活，就會出亂子，所以民主只是適用於外國，不合國國情，豈不是同樣荒謬麽?”雖是異曲同工，可是時隔70年後還要作同樣的疾呼，不禁讓人感嘆。 Read the rest of this entry »
October 24th, 2014
The Sunset Branch Library Book Group celebrated its 20th anniversary this Fall. Librarian Janet Tom has facilitated the group for the past 11 years – prior to Janet, there were two other staff facilitators. Two of the current group have been members since the group was formed in 1994; another original member moved to London but keeps in touch by e-mail. Her recent comments about her book group experience:
I joined the Sunset book group in the fall of 1994. I moved to San Francisco earlier that summer from France. ….. I always loved reading, but I wanted to share that with others. The book group became an integral part of my life, it helped me to understand life in the US and adapt to life in the city. [It] was great meeting such a different group of people who shared love for books, with different preferences to what they wanted to read – I learned to appreciate the variety of books and opinions. I was part of the group till the fall of 2012, when I moved to London. Janet kindly still send me the info, and I try to keep in touch.
The first thing I did moving to London was join a book group. But I do miss the Sunset group. Over the years the Sunset group had various leaders, quite different, but all of them fantastic.
Book groups are more popular than ever. According to the results of an annual survey of 2650 U.S. women aged 25+ who read at least one book a month as reported by Bookbrowse.com, the number of responders who belonged to a book group increased from 33% in 2004 to 56% in 2012.
If you’ve been thinking about joining a book group, you have your choice of several groups at the SF Public Library – at branches and Main. See the events calendar on the Library’s home page for a list of book groups with meeting locations and times – all welcome new members.
P.S. The Sunset Branch Book Group meets on the first Wednesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. at the Sunset Branch Library.
October 21st, 2014
The Bees by Laline Paull –
Flora is a sanitation worker, a member of the lowest caste in her orchard hive, where work and sacrifice are the greatest virtues. Suspenseful and imaginative, The Bees and its young heroine will change the way you look at the world outside your window. (Available at the Library in hardcover book, audiobook, and e-book formats.)
Burial Rites by Hannah Kent –
The final days of a young woman accused of murder in Iceland in 1829 – inspired by a true story.
The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair by Joel Dicker, transl. from the French –
Thirty-three years after the fact, a successful young novelist tries to solve the mystery of what happened to Nola Kellergan, a fifteen-year-old who disappeared in 1975. A fast-paced, tightly plotted thriller. (Also available as an e-book and e-audiobook.)
The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
Suspenseful, sweeping, and intimate, The Lowland is an engrossing family saga that spans generations and geographies.
October 16th, 2014
See the National Book Award shortlists here released yesterday and listed in The Millions!
October 16th, 2014
Australian Richard Flanagan has been awarded the Man Booker Prize for his novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North. The book centers on a surgeon and his experiences in World War II. Flanagan is the third Australian to win the Booker – along with Peter Carey and Thomas Keneally. (Available as a hardcover book, an audiobook, and an e-book)
October 9th, 2014
The Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded to Patrick Modiano, a French author. Few of his works have been translated into English, but that should change very soon. Read more about Patrick Modiano in this Times Literary Supplement article.
Here are books (and some films based on books) by Modiano in the SF Public Library.
October 7th, 2014
靜坐的科學、醫學與心靈之旅：21世紀最實用的身心轉化指南 Jing zuo de ke xue, yi xue yu xin ling zhi lü: 21 shi ji zui shi yong de shen xin zhuan hua zhi nan / 楊定一，楊元寧著, 2014
October 6th, 2014
Here are the 10 books selected for the fiction long list of the National Book Awards (5 finalists in four categories – young people’s literature, poetry, nonfiction and fiction – will be selected on October 15, and winners will be announced on November 19):
An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine
The UnAmericans by Molly Antopol
Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Redeployment by Phil Klay
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel
Thunderstruck & Other Stories by Elizabeth McCracken
Orfeo by Richard Powers
Lila by Marilynne Robinson
Some Luck by Jane Smiley
I’ve read two of these – An Unnecessary Woman and All the Light We Cannot See - as well as earlier titles by Jane Smiley and Marilynne Robinson.