Ellan Read

sometimes witty book reviews

Has The West Lost It? A Provocation

At no point, unlike so many other contemporary commentaries, did I feel a sense of soul-crushing existential dread. Mahbubani has done the extraordinary – he has conveyed a sense of hope for humanity through sound economic reasoning.

September 10, 2018 · Leave a comment

Mary Barton

Gaskell perhaps didn’t realise it at the time, but what she has crafted is a nuanced history of the home and hearth from the perspectives of the people history forgets: the female, the disabled, the elderly, and the poor.

August 25, 2018 · Leave a comment

Brothers

By the description of the fake-hymen merchant I was happy to be rid of the brothers grim of Li and Song.

July 31, 2018 · Leave a comment

Song of Everlasting Sorrow

Like much literature written still in the mid-1990s, the female character is subjected to the whims of various male protagonists and comes to a violent and unnecessary end. I was stunned to discover the author of Song of Everlasting Sorrow was a woman.

July 21, 2018 · Leave a comment

Classical Chinese Poetry: An Anthology

For some reason, reading this piece threw up so many different, powerful feelings. Though not highly complex or even elegant, this poem in particular rang many bells across the scope of my musical and literary memory.

July 9, 2018 · Leave a comment

Rickshaw

Xiangzi is a remarkable lead character destined for tragic poverty, and the host of side-characters are also similarly tragic and garish. My favourite character, however, is the city of Beijing itself.

June 30, 2018 · Leave a comment

Records of the Grand Historian: Part 2

I am not either a person of the Confucian age (or even of a contemporary Confucian society) in possession of a set of testicles, or currently in a position of knowing if my work will be given a grand enough title to last longer than my own living memory.

June 18, 2018 · Leave a comment

Records of the Grand Historian: Part 1

At this point am I just desperately trying to make sure y’all know I’ve read The Iliad?

June 8, 2018 · Leave a comment

Wild Grass

Finding Katherine Mansfield when you weren’t looking.

May 28, 2018 · Leave a comment

Outlaws of the Marsh

I found this text both swashbucklingly compelling and conversely utterly uninteresting.

May 14, 2018 · Leave a comment

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