Ellan Read

sometimes witty book reviews

Category Archives: China

China: Portrait of a People

Sip jasmine green tea in a quiet space while you explore this small but powerful little book.

November 13, 2017 · Leave a comment

The Last Empress

Hannah Pakula presents a confident appraisal of Soong Mei-ling: China’s ‘last empress’ – a competent political tactician, devout Christian and fairly incredible person.

September 6, 2017 · Leave a comment

Pianos and Politics in China

‘ Materialism may sometimes be a vulgar way of looking at art, but it is never inappropriate when seeking to understand art’s political and social context.’

August 13, 2017 · Leave a comment


For any enthusiast of modern Chinese history, this is an essential text detailing one of the key narratives of early Communist Party History. For everyone else, this book contains an approachable history of the powerful life-stories of some truly remarkable women.

June 6, 2017 · 1 Comment

The Communist Manifesto

Don’t be intimidated by this text. Just because the authors Frederich Engels and Karl Marx unleashed 150 years of political turmoil with it’s publication doesn’t mean that you should be intimidated. Ok, maybe just a little.

December 26, 2016 · Leave a comment

The Emperor Far Away

  Title: The Emperor Far Away: Travels at the Edge of China Author/Year: David Eimer, 2014 Found: On the Rowden White Library ‘new items’ table Read time: A month between SWOTVAC, exams and essays … Continue reading

September 17, 2015 · Leave a comment

Jan Wong’s China

Jan Wong was once a fervent Maoist. During the 1970s she travelled from her homeland of Canada to live and learn the Mao way of life. A decade later she had … Continue reading

June 25, 2015 · Leave a comment

The True Story of Ah Q

It’s unlikely you’ve ever read this if your’e 1) not Chinese 2) have not studied Chinese. There aren’t many English translations; I struggled through this Chinese Language class version. No, … Continue reading

April 3, 2015 · Leave a comment

I Am China

Iona is a Scottish translator of Chinese who does mostly dry, corporate work and has a very dry, corporate approach to her love life. She is presented one day with a pile … Continue reading

January 28, 2015 · Leave a comment

Dream of Ding Village

This book is supremely chilling. Before AIDS was known to exist, the Chinese local governments set about starting a blood-bank trade in the provinces. Anyone  with a needle, some tubing and … Continue reading

December 15, 2014 · Leave a comment