Discussion in 'School Work Help' started by MissCheekS, May 12, 2008.
lol WOW! I was just thinking about reading this book. Thanks budddddddddy.
been ages since i've posted here but theres a couple books i wana post here lol
Battle Royale by Koushun Takami
the original book which was made into a live action movie, anime and manga
i actually bought the book lol
it does differ a little from the movie as expected but i did enjoy the book, more detail haha, i would recommend it for any BR fans or anyone thats got time and into these type of novels
^too bloody lar, and more detailed too haha~
god i havent read for a long time....besides textbooks, i think the very last book i read was:
lol i really liked perfume but i didnt finish watching the film....
the ending of the book was a bit weird..cant remember if it ended in some sort of orgy?
i really need to watch the film, hope they'll beautify his weirdo actions lol
no orgy!! haha i remember it is he meets a bunch of people, then he stands on top of sth and those savages are attracted to his unique smell and they run to him and, eat him.....weird indeed, i never thought he will end up like this XD
The movie isn't very good IMO. I'd stick with the book. I stopped watching the movie about half way in i think.
@may Is BR a good read even after you've seen the movie? I liked the movie, but I wasn't really that into it.
Yea imo i think it was a good read even after watching the movie...cos even tho the movie wasnt as accurate as the book, it still helped to make it easier to understand an to remember the students names etc...when u got the movie person to associate it with...? of that makes sense lol...
i'm not a diehard super BR fan lol, but i do like it alot xD
This seems very interesting.
you have three days to read the hunger games before it's out in the cinema cause it is so goddamn good ... jus sayin
Soulstealers: The Chinese Scorcery Scare Of 1768
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Harvard University Press (November 1, 2006)
Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6 x 0.9 inches
Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
Available new from Amazon for about USD$ 27 (or less)
Description as quoted from Amazon's web site:
IMHO, for anyone who wishes to better understand the functional social intercourse of daily life during the high Qing period, this provocative and insightful book is a must. My personal rating is 5/5 stars.
The Floating Brothel: The Extraordinary True Story of an Eighteenth-Century Ship & Its Cargo of Female Convicts
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Hyperion; 1 edition (March 6, 2002)
Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.6 x 0.9 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
Available new from Amazon for about USD$ 32 (or substantially less; some sellers are offering it from USD$ 5, and in used condition from USD$ 0.11)
Description as quoted from Amazon's web site:
True account of how the royal government used female convicts (some young as 12, who had been arrested, often for the most trivial of offenses and then convicted on the flimsiest of evidence) first as sexual comfort women, and then later as lifelong breeding stock for British colonial holdings in Australia during the late 1700's. My personal rating of 4.5/5 stars
Cruise of the Lanikai: Incitement to War
Paperback: 360 pages
Publisher: US Naval Institute Press (October 2002)
Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.8 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
Available new from Amazon for about USD$ 18 (or less, as some sellers are offering it for USD$ 8; used copies even less)
Description as quoted from Amazon's web site:
Originally penned in 1973 and reprinted in 2002, this is a true account by a retired US Admiral relating how he discovered that he (then as a young naval officer), had been set up as a sacrificial lamb in order to invoke a Casus Belli, allowing then president Roosevelt to politically justify joining an anti-Japanese war (in defense of the British and Dutch). The writer uses naval communication archives and personal letters from people with knowledge of important strategic and political facets to historically piece together an intriguing historical twist to the events just before the bombing at Pearl. Aside from what is an intriguing and exciting tale, what is not generally acknowledged about this book is the open and plain revelation within its pages, of not only how ill prepared the US was for war against a tremendously powerful and technologically advanced Japan, but of the frightening political and military ineptness of the US in the years preceding the war. My personal rating of 3.75/5 stars.
Autumn in the Heavenly Kingdom: China, the West, and the Epic Story of the Taiping Civil War
Hardcover: 512 pages
Publisher: Knopf (February 7, 2012)
Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1.8 inches
Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
Available new from Amazon from about USD$ 15.
Description as quoted from Amazon's web site:
Well written discourse on a very tough subject, bringing into sharp relief many of the different but compelling international and internal influences that shaped the outcome for this tragic period of the late Qing. Chinese history is rather bloody; this book doesn't relish it, nor does it shy away. A powerful read, especially for those that want to have a deeper understanding of how commerce driven foreign meddling kept a crumbling morally bankrupt empire intact, forcing the Chinese to endure another half century of incompetent Manchu rule. My personal rating of 4.8/5 stars.
The Bloody White Baron: The Extraordinary Story of the Russian Nobleman Who Became the Last Khan of Mongolia
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Basic Books; First Trade Paper Edition edition (June 7, 2011)
Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.4 x 0.9 inches
Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
Available new from Amazon from about USD$ 12.
Spoiler: Description as quoted from Amazons web site
In the history of the modern world, there have been few characters more sinister, sadistic, and deeply demented than Baron Ungern-Sternberg. An anti-Semitic fanatic whose penchant for Eastern mysticism and hatred of communists foreshadowed the Nazi scourge that would soon overtake Europe, Ungern- Sternberg conquered Mongolia in 1919 with a ragtag force of White Russians, Siberians, Japanese, and native Mongolians. In The Bloody White Baron, historian and travel writer James Palmer vividly re-creates Ungern-Sternberg's spiral into ever-darker obsessions, while also providing a rare look at the religion and culture of the unfortunate Mongolians he briefly ruled.
Spoiler: New York Times Review in 2009
Mongolia and the Madman
By JASON GOODWIN
THE BLOODY WHITE BARON The Extraordinary Story of the Russian Nobleman Who Became the Last Khan of Mongolia
By James Palmer
274 pp. Basic Books. $26.95
James Palmer’s “Bloody White Baron,” his life of Baron Roman Nikolai Maximilian von Ungern-Sternberg, is the story of “a loser — albeit an upper-class one” — who turned himself into a visionary psychopath in the Russian far east. Uncomfortable but fascinating reading, it weaves together the weird alliances, murderous dreams and improbable careers that emerged in the aftermath of World War I and the fall of czarist Russia. Mongolia is the focus, at a time when it was nominally free of Chinese rule after the 1911 revolution that overthrew the Qing dynasty and ushered in a failing republic. The Japanese — flush with victory against the Russians in 1905 — were groping toward the expansionist, pan-Asian dream they articulated a few years later, while the Russians were caught up in the vortex of the Bolshevik revolution. Into this terrible shifting world of alliance and double-cross came Baron Ungern, a czarist Buddhist anti-Semite with messianic objectives.
Born in 1885 and raised at the other periphery of the Russian Empire, in Estonia, Ungern belonged to the minor German aristocracy that supplied the czarist armies with officers. His military career was hardly glorious, although his cavalry service on the Western front proved his idiotic valor. Russia’s collapse in 1917 found him in the Russian far east, where he joined in wild exploits of daring with another White commander, Captain Grigori Michaelovich Semenov, which brought him notoriety and some recruits. The atmosphere was apocalyptic, right down to the cheapness of human life. Millions had died on the Western front. Russian nobles were fleeing with their jewels to China. Local Buddhist rulers were vicious and corrupt. “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” was being read by everyone from the imprisoned czarina downward.
Engines plated with steel and equipped with weapons ripped from the gunboats on the Siberian lakes rammed back and forth along the trans-Siberian railway line, dragging behind them mobile towns of czarists, with opulent dining cars, theater cars, printing shops, brothels — and torture chambers. Prisoners were packed into waterless cars and left to die in sidings. The Whites simply ran amok. Pirates in command of these dreadnoughts of the steppe, but incapable of winning hearts and minds, they spent as much time hunting out Bolshevik spies — and torturing and killing the locals — as they did fighting the Reds. Ungern himself carried this sadistic paranoia to fever pitch. His specialty, though, was Mongolia. He spoke the language, was an idiosyncratic Buddhist and liked the Buriats — nomads he always trusted over ordinary Russian peasants. Hence the increasingly Mongolian nature of his escapades. He was able to seize the Chinese-held town of Urga (Ulan Bator) with an army of some 6,000 men and to reinstate its ruler, the Bogd Khan.
With its panoply of outlandish tyrants, fortune tellers, mounted tribesmen and wild dreams advanced against absurd odds, the whole story could have possessed the makings of a glorious offshoot of the Great Game, had Ungern been anything more than a murderous sadist. His chief contemporary biographer, the Polish author Ferdinand Ossendowski, ladled on the trappings — the messianic visionary who stood too firm for czar and the right of kings. Presumably Ossendowski saw beyond the torture, the firing squads, the casual executions; perhaps he was not unduly fazed by Ungern’s command to exterminate all the Jews, down to their children. Like many mad people, Ungern had the glittering eye and the gift for wandering prophecy that could, at a pinch, be taken for inspiration; and for a while his life seemed to be demonically protected. But it would be more true to say that the times brought forth the man, and these were appalling times. Whites degenerated into warlords, with no realistic chance of turning back the Bolshevik tide. Ungern was the weirdest of the White warlords, presenting himself as the heir to Genghis Khan and for a few months holding the reins of power in Mongolia. He governed by terror. His men were forever trying to desert, but he pursued them like a fury, subjecting them to insane disciplinary actions. Equally insane were his military decisions. He chose to march into Russia when the only course was to flee. At the end he was making for Tibet, although he made no real effort to escape.
Palmer, a travel writer who lives in Beijing, gives us a brilliant portrait of a very nasty war, fought by horrible people in a hostile environment. As he points out, the final capture and execution of Ungern in 1921 was a sideshow, and the chaos of Russia’s far east was not overcome by the defeat of the Whites. The Communists had only just got going, and were to massacre their own people by the millions in the coming years. The Japanese atrocities in China were a mere decade away. Ungern’s contempt for human life, his icy hatred of Jews, his appeal to a monstrous, ill-formed mysticism fore*shadowed the foundations of the Third Reich. What makes “The Bloody White Baron” so exceptional is Palmer’s lucid scholarship, his ability to make perfect sense of the maelstrom of a forgotten war. This is a brilliant book, and I’m already looking forward to his next.
A truly insightful look at a small, but nonetheless bloody and forgotten chapter of human history during tumultuous times around the beginning of the 20th century. At the crossroads of Euro-Asian history, Baron Ungern, for a brief fiery moment, was the center of military and political attention that spanned across two continents. My personal rating of 4.0/5 stars.
Damn, I've bought too many self-improvement books in the last few weeks for my own good (not that having too many books is bad lol).
One of the books I'm reading is called "What every _body_ is saying" by Joe Navarro.
Navarro is a former FBI agent who specializes in nonverbal communication and reading people. We are able to read the body language of people, but this is typically done at a subconscious level. Navarro helps us understand the syntax of the nonverbal language, which can be applied in decoding what other people are actually thinking. This can become pretty useful in the professional and personal life
^ sounds interesting! I might order it online!
Im going to start reading Amy Chua's "battle hymn of a tiger mother" soon! High expectations of that book!!
1587 A Year Of No Significance: The Ming Dynasty In Decline
Paperback: 280 pages
Publisher: Yale University Press (September 10, 1982)
Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 0.8 inches
Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
Available used from Amazon starting from about USD$ 3.
Spoiler: Commentary found on Amazon
Para1: A scholarly work that is easily accessible to non-specialists, historian Ray Huang's ironically subtitled 1587: A Year of No Significance focuses on the Ming Emperor Wan-li--who rose to the throne and the age of eight and who reigned for 48 years--and five other figures in the court of the decadent, doomed Ming Dynasty. This is an off-beat masterpiece of both history and biography, learned yet chatty, steeped in the dense, ancient imperial chronicles yet surprisingly contemporary in its oblique illuminations of contemporary Chinese political culture through the prism of history.
Para2: Huang's approach is is reminiscent of Kurosawa's in Roshomon, employing multiple points of view from the imperial court in seeking to expose and foreshadow the demise of the Ming. We meet archetypes from the drama of Chinese history: the Machiavellian chief minister, the perceptive but disregarded general, the anguished philosopher, and, at the story's center, the eccentric Wan-li emperor himself. In choosing to write about Wan-li, Huang is able to create a measure of narrative tension unusual in Chinese historical writing, because by the Year of the Pig, 1587, the emperor has ceased to fulfill his prescribed role in rite and ritual as the embodiment of moral order. Wan-li's behavior causes great agitation among his courtiers, bureaucrats, retainers, imperial wives and concubines, eunuchs, and slaves, each of whom occupies a carefully defined place in the regimented life inside the walls of the Imperial Compound and who, without punctilious observances by the emperor, is without a fixed point of reference.
Para3: A special feature of this book is the wonderful chapter on the incorruptible censor Hai Rui, who dared impeach the Emperor. Hai Rui is familar to students of modern China as the subject of a 1960s play, "Hai Rui Dismissed from Office," that provided Mao Zedong with the pretext to launch the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. Mao believed, rightly, that the play was an allegory of his dismissal in 1959 of his defense minister, who dared to speak the truth about Mao's failed Great Leap Forward. To meet Hai Rui in Huang's portrait is to understand anew Mao's resentment at being cast as villain in a historical drama.
Para4: Although published by a major university press, 1587: A Year of No Significance is not simply for specialists. (It is, however, highly regarded among professional China scholars and contains all the trappings--excellent and extensive endnotes, bibliography, and index--of the scholarly monograph.) Above all, it is an engaging, often gripping, at times tragic, and, ultimately, unforgettable portrait of a man and a moment in time. It is, moveover, beautifully written in an odd, often haunting first-person voice that renders palpable the weight and majesty of four thousand years of Chinese civilization.
Para5: A variety of excellent, biographically-based popular works on imperial China remain in print--Jean Levi's historical novel, Emperor of China, and Jonathan Spence's work on the Qing emperor Kang-hsi are among the best known--but, in my opinion, Huang's book surpasses them all. 1587 is, indeed, a work of great significance, by an author of encyclopedic knowledge and scope and a stylist of vast charm and elegance
Spoiler: New York Times review in 1981
June 21, 1981
By DAVID LATTIMORE; David Lattimore teaches Chinese at Brown University.
1587 A Year of No Significance: The Ming Dynasty in Decline. By Ray Huang. Illustrated. 278 pp. New Haven: Yale University Press. $19.95.
IN Europe, 1588 was the year of the defeat of the Spanish Armada. This was an event of consequence, since it made England the champion of the Protestant countries and spoiled the Hapsburg scheme of restoring papal authority. In contrast, 1587 seems less noteworthy, although interesting things happened then too, such as the beheading of Mary, Queen of Scots, and Sir Francis Drake's spectacular raid on Cadiz.
But how do we judge what is consequential in history? To Ray Huang, in 1587 things were rather quiet at the eastern as well as the western end of the Old World. His unusual and thoughtful book is a portrait of China in that Year of the Pig, which he calls a ''year of no significance.'' But he means precisely to show us the significance of the insignificant. He takes the poet's or the novelist's joy in turning a commonplace detail to the angle at which it reveals its glint of meaning.
The year 1587 was the 220th of the Ming dynasty (1368-1644). The regime was declining but had not yet fallen. Earnest and learned men - generals and court eunuchs as well as Mandarin civil servants - were striving to hold things together, balancing the yang of public duty against the yin of ambiguously legitimate self-interest.
Three Prime Ministers had been executed at the beginning of the Ming, and after that the office remained vacant. The real heads of Government were the Grand Secretaries, although by law they were merely court scholars and drafters of documents. For a decade beginning in 1572, the First Grand Secretary, Zhang Juzheng (or Chang Chu-cheng, in the spelling used by Mr. Huang) had been virtually a dictator. He had repaired the Grand Canal, which carried rice from the south to the capital at Peking, and had tried to correct the tax registers, some of which were two centuries out of date. The boy Emperor Wan-li was brought up in awe of this apparently strict and frugal moralist, who was also his tutor; when Zhang died in 1582, posthumous revelations of his greed and vindictiveness seem to have traumatically disillusioned his former pupil.
The year 1587 was Wan-li's 15th. The first Grand Secretary was now the bland and conciliatory Shen Shixing (or Shen Shih-hsing). Although remembered in history as the do-nothing lieutenant of a donothing ruler, Shen was in fact dealing promptly and sensibly with some of the problems of the day. One of these was the silt-choked Yellow River, which then, as so often, was bursting its levees. There were two schools of thought about flood control. The conservatives in the court favored broadening the channel, while the radicals wanted to make it deeper and swifter so it could cleanse itself. In 1587 Shen was able to maneuver the politically difficult appointment of an expert in the latter, more difficult technique. In the same year, however, he managed less well another perennial problem, the northern nomads. A minor Tungusic klan, the Manchus, were forming alliances under the leadership of a hitherto unknown chief, Nurhaci. The Governor of the Northeast Territory wanted to stop this potentially dangerous accretion of ''barbarian'' power, but his efforts were frustrated by an underling. Each of these officials denounced the other to higher authorities, but the first Grand Secretary had the matter hushed up in the interests of amity, and Nurhaci was forgotten. (Less than 60 years later, his grandson succeeded the Ming as first Manchu Emperor of China.)
Rich men or effective and demanding men have always caused resentment and envy, and in China they have often been slandered to their superiors and exiled or worse. Two exceptional men who fell victim to this fate died in 1587. One of them was Qi Jikuang (or Ch'i Chi-k'uang), the most resourceful of the Ming generals. At a time when conventional forces had become nearly useless (because the military caste had gone to seed), Qi trained his own peasant army and drove off the so-called ''Japanese pirates'' (really a vast international force of smugglers and raiders of the coasts and rivers). The other victim was Hai Rui (or Hai Jui), the ''eccentric model official.'' Before his death, Hai had recently returned to office after 15 years in exile. Almost alone among Ming officials, Hai lived only on his salary, refusing graft. He died owning less than 20 ounces of silver. Before his exile Hai had been Governor of China's richest city, Soochow, where the gentry opposed his policy of restoring land to peasants who had lost it through mortgage foreclosure. Mr. Huang believes that Hai was interfering futilely with a ''natural'' process that allowed individuals to rise or fall in social class, while the classes themselves remained stable. (A different view is held by modern historians in China, including Wu Han, whose articles and a Peking opera recounting Hai's criticism of the Emperor are claimed to have implied criticism of Mao Zedong. The Maoist retaliation against Wu Han in 1965 and 1966 was in fact the opening salvo of the Cultural Revolution.)
There is one event of this time that Mr. Huang has inadequately acknowledged. From 1586 to 1588, China suffered one of the two worst epidemics of its history, with a fall in population perhaps exceeding 20 percent. Loss of life on this scale is scarcely of ''no significance.'' The identity of the disease has never been established. Epidemics are little reported in the historical texts, perhaps because one could only pray for them to end, whereas floods, being partly controllable, gave rise to disputes, with political repercussions, over methods of control - methods requiring tens of thousands of conscript laborers.
Perhaps the most interesting events of 1587 were taking place inside two tortured minds. One was that of Li Zhi (or Li Chih), the most brilliant and impassioned of Ming philosophers. After the rationalism and objectivism of the Sung dynasty (960-1279), Chinese philosophy, like Chinese society, had turned inward in Ming times. For the members of the dominant Wang Yang-ming school, ''innate knowledge'' always confirmed Confucian (and sometimes Buddhist or Taoist) moral tenets. But Mr. Huang believes that in 1587 Li Zhi, who had followed the idealism of Yang-ming, was beginning to see that the inner light might just as well lead one to a complete spontaneity and libertinism. After all, if the external world were unreal, were not virtue and vice equally unreal? By 1587 Li had quit the Mandarinate, broken with his closest friend, dismissed his wife and only surviving child. The next year he would shave his head and enter a Buddhist monastery - without, however, taking monastic vows or relinquishing his Mandarin beard. Yet to come were his greatest works, the ''Book To Be Hidden'' and the ''Book To Be Burned.'' Fifteen years later (not 25, as Mr. Huang twice states) Li was to die a suicide in prison, having neither sought nor found a following.
The other tortured mind was that of the Emperor himself. In his teens, the lonely, weak-willed Wan-li had fallen in love with a 14-year-old concubine surnamed Zheng (or Cheng), who bore his second surviving son, shared his religious and literary interests, and dominated the remainder of his 48-year reign. Wan-li wanted to make the younger son his heir, but could not bring himself to displace the first-born, a child of his mother's maid-in-waiting. The Emperor's indecision led to one of the longest, most damaging episodes of passive-aggressive behavior in history. A dozen years passed before he would commence the older boy's education, 20 years before he would acknowledge him as heir and permit his marriage, another dozen years before the younger son was sent, as was proper, to a provincial fiefdom. Beginning noticeably in 1587, Wan-li neglected the supposedly compulsory pre-dawn audiences and the lectures of his tutors. Slowly he ceased to govern, to answer memorials or letters of resignation, to refill posts or make decisions. The regime was gradually grinding to a halt.
In Mr. Huang's view, Wan-li was not simply a weak ruler in a job requiring a strong one. The throne itself had become overly controlled by officials who subjected the ruler's every moment to the pressure of moralistic scrutiny and the paralyzing boredom of ritual. Wan-li's psychosis was a kind of rebellion that, in its negative way, showed great tenacity of will. Hai Rui, the ''eccentric model official,'' had substituted morality for law. So had Wan-li's tutors. Wan-li's withdrawal was an irrational but effective defense against the moral and ritual constraints that governed in place of the law, in Ming as in modern China.
An older title, but nonetheless excellent primer into the various players surrounding the Emperor; their relationships, aspirations, fears, and pressures, all of which provided the ultimate character of Ming as a dynastic period of Chinese civilization. This notable work details with surprising and stunning clarity, how even the emperor himself was often as powerless as the most lowly minister when confronted by the demands of imperial bureaucracy. Eventually, the weight of Ming political morass doomed the empire to collapse and easy conquest. A must read for its simplicity in describing a very tough to assimilate topic, that of Ming political power and how the fortunes of ministers often meant the misfortunes of a nation, and a people. My personal rating of 4.5/5 stars.
glad to see this threads still kicking
damn ralph.... not the first book i would pick up...lol