Non-Chinese-speaker seeks great Chinese book
November 22, 2010 12:08 PM   Subscribe

I need a Chinese book. I have $25 to spend. What's the best one to get?

I'm a (non-Chinese-speaking) librarian at a public library in Oregon. One of our patrons has given us a gift of $25 with which we need to purchase a Chinese language book (adult level). Not speaking the language and not being familiar with any Chinese bestseller lists, I ask you... what book should I buy?

Is there a book that has been big in China this year? Or one that would have wide appeal for our adult Chinese-speaking patrons?

Bonus points if it's something I could buy via Amazon, or otherwise easily acquire online.
posted by rabbitrabbit to Media & Arts (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
More info: preferably something published in the current year, though in the past 2-3 would be acceptable. I can go about $10 over my $25 budget before I get into trouble. Simplified or traditional, either would be fine.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 12:19 PM on November 22, 2010

Gao Xingjian won the Nobel Prize in 2000. I have only read his English translated works, but I hear his Chinese language writing is pretty astounding. Try to find 灵山 (Soul Mountain).
posted by rabbitsnake at 12:21 PM on November 22, 2010

I see a re-issue of Lu Yao (路遥)'s epic rural trilogy 平凡的世界 (title variously translated as 'The Common World', 'Everyday World' etc) is on major China online bookseller's this week's best seller list although first published in the 1990s (page to buy three volume set in Chinese here, CNY47.6 plus I understand about 40% for shipping sea mail. You'll need a Chinese reader to place the order; not sure if that counts as easy to acquire). It won the Mao Dun prize and it's a bit more substantive than most of the rest of the list (sub-Dan Brown efforts like The Tibet Code - mind, I'm a lit snob and obviously people like that stuff). I am a bit out of touch with contemporary lit though, so I'm sure you'll get better suggestions from others.
posted by Abiezer at 9:48 PM on November 22, 2010

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