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Read Around the World July 2022 – China


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In July we vicariously visited China what did we read and what did we learn?

Fun facts about China from this website:

  • 200 years ago, the game that later turned into football (soccer) was invented in China. The world’s first soccer ball was a leather ball filled with feathers and hair, and the game was called ‘Tsu’ Chu,’ which literally means ‘kicking ball.’
  • With more than 1.4 billion people, China holds the world record for having the largest population on Earth.
  • If you have parents that are over 60 years old, it’s illegal to not visit them regularly.
  • The Chinese New Year celebration lasts for 15 days
  • China’s railway lines are so extensive and long that they could loop around Earth twice
  • A new skyscraper is built every five days
  • Spitting, yawning, grunting and burping are normal behaviors when you eat in China
  • Ice Cream wasn’t invented in Italy, it was invented in China 4000 years ago
  • Many Chinese emperors considered themselves to be descendants of dragons
  • Table Tennis is considered the national sport
  • Paper money was invented here
  • The national animal is the Giant Panda

I chose to visit China via A Single Swallow by Zhang Ling translated by Shelly Bryant. This book got a rare 5 star rating from me as I loved everything about it. The story is about a woman told from the point of view of three men who knew her and each other at the time of the Japanese surrender in WWII. The men make a vow to meet every year after death and that is just what they do although it takes some longer to join the reunion than others. When the final member dies the trio are complete and through their switching narratives we learn all about the woman nicknamed Swallow.

I highly recommend this story to everyone.

Other readers visited in the following ways:

Currey from Litsy chose Leaden Wings by Zhang Jie and rated this as a pick.

TorieStorieS from Litsy chose The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu and rated this a so-so.

Did you join us on this leg of our trip? What did you read?

Next up is Italy share your reading plans with us.

I will probably be reading a Ferrante…

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Remedial Stitcher #

    I read The Man Who Loved China by Simon Winchester (audiobook version). I gave it 3 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. It was interesting. The first half concerned Joseph Needham’s travels in China during and after WWII, as he searched for the answer to this question: “Why did a nation that had invented so much and had enjoyed 5,000 years of flourishing civilization, fail to undergo an industrial revolution, and instead spend so many modern years mired in poverty and racked by instability and revolution?” The second recounted the rest of his life as he worked on his 17-volume answer to this question (not really the answer but the results of al his extensive research). The first half was more interesting to me as he traveled all over and described China and its people, but he certainly was a remarkable scientist. If I hadn’t listened to it, I doubt I would have made it through, even though the writing was good. It just got tedious in the middle.

    Liked by 1 person

    July 31, 2022
  2. I enjoyed the fun facts enormously. On the whole, I’m not a fan of Chinese novels . I probably need to revise my ideas!


    July 31, 2022
  3. Gail #

    I finished reading The Single Swallow after Book’s recommendation and loved it also. I had some difficulty with the chapters with dialogue between Ghost and Millie but got over it….Thank you for the suggestion.


    August 16, 2022

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