Ellan Read

sometimes witty book reviews

Category Archives: China

The Analects

As a person raised in a predominantly White, rural area in the Southern Hemisphere, notions of trustworthiness were taught via the parable of Moses and the Ten Commandments: thou shalt not steal, adult(er), kill, covet asses, etc.. But not as succinct as the Analects puts it – be trustworthy.

March 7, 2018 · Leave a comment

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

Intrepid and thorough as Eimer’s travels and writing is, the book sells white-male adventurer as an ideal and idyllic pass time.

September 17, 2015 · Leave a comment

Jan Wong’s China

If you missed the start of the Asian Century, here is a good place to begin catching up.

June 25, 2015 · Leave a comment

The True Story of Ah Q

Yes, I am trying to get more people to read this so I’m not mistaken for a hipster.

April 3, 2015 · Leave a comment

I Am China

Likening Guo’s precision of prose to the movements of a surgeon at work would not be unkind nor unrealistic.

January 28, 2015 · Leave a comment