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Search tags: wu-ming-yi
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text 2018-05-31 03:18
Reading progress update: I've read 122 out of 560 pages.
54 - Wu Ming

I've come to the spy part, but ... the premise is really preposterous.

 

To be honest, this book really is not great so far.

 

I like that it is set in Trieste against the back-drop of Marshall Tito, the Cold War, and the rebuilding of an Italian society after WWII, but the actual characters and stories and in particular the espionage part involving an imagined Cary Grant are ... best described as what I would expect 5 teenage boys to come up with while pretending to be cool and sophisticated.

 

There is a lot of pretense in this book, made worse by a focus on descriptions of what people are wearing and whether their choice of wardrobe is elegant or even well chosen.

 

Ugh.

 

I'm not sure I will finish this one.

 

 

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review 2018-04-07 01:14
The treasure fleets and the man who led them
Zheng He: China and the Oceans in the Early Ming, 1405-1433 - Edward L. Dreyer

In the early 15th century, the coastal states of Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean were the subjects of a remarkable event, as they received repeated visitations by a large fleet of Chinese ships.  Dispatched by the order of the Ming emperor Yongle, they consisted of thousands of men on board the largest wooden ships ever built.  The expeditions were all commanded by Zheng He, a eunuch with a long history of service to the emperor.  Yet in spite of the dramatic novelty of the voyages, they and their commander received only the scantiest attention in the Chinese historical sources, with many of their exploits becoming as much myth as reality.  In this book, Edward Dreyer attempts to uncover the man behind the myths, assessing his goals and achievements by evaluating them in the context of his times.

 

To do this, Dreyer reconstructs Zheng’s life as completely as possible from the available contemporary and near-contemporary sources.  This provides at best only a sketchy outline, which the author then fills in with a broader analysis of the voyage, the ships and men involved, and the broader background of events.  He argues that, contrary to later writers, Zheng’s expeditions were not voyages of exploration or assertions of naval hegemony but an effort to extend the Chinese tributary system to that part of the world.  Though far less inspiring a motivation than the others, it is one that helps to explain the subsequent abandonment of the effort after a final voyage in 1431-33, as the returns were far outweighed by the considerable expense of the effort – a factor that became critical during a time of enormous expenditure on military expeditions to Mongolia and construction of a new imperial capital in Beijing.

 

Though thin in some areas and repetitive of its major points, Dreyer has succeeded in writing a clear and accessible study of a legendary figure.  Though it, readers can better understand both the scope of his achievement and why it was not followed up by Yongle’s successors.  For anyone seeking to understand the early Ming dynasty or why a tantalizing opportunity was never fully exploited, Dreyer’s clear, thoroughly researched, and well-argued study is an excellent place to begin.

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review 2017-08-14 16:34
22.11.63 - Stephen King,Wu Ming 1

The past does not want to be changed.

Se modifichi il passato devi aspettarti di ritrovare il presente diverso da come lo avevi lasciato (a parte moralismi e pregiudizi che sono immutabili: di là come di qua).
Ed è questo, in sostanza, che accade al giovane professor Jake Epping: varcata la soglia del tempo - “shat-HOOSH, shat-HOOSH” - si troverà a Lisbon Falls, esattamente il 9 settembre 1958 alle ore 11:58, poco più d’un paio d’anni prima della nomina a presidente degli Stati Uniti d’America di J.F. Kennedy. Attenderà il 22 novembre 1963 per cambiare il corso della Storia. Ma “il passato non vuole essere cambiato. Il passato è inflessibile”. Epping lo sa (e anche noi, Stephen!).
Ogni volta che Jake attraverserà il “buco del coniglio”, tutto sarà cancellato, azzerato. E il gioco dovrà iniziare daccapo. Viaggi nel tempo che potrebbero durare anni nel passato ma che mai superanno i due minuti nel presente.

Mi sono entusiasmata ed emozionata. A tratti. Alla fine, qualcosa è mancato.
Una scrittura che sa di tanto mestiere. Tuttavia, mi sono chiesta se King non abbia adottato il metodo “Dumas”. Chi sa, sa.
Nota di merito alla traduzione, davvero notevole.

P.S. Epperò, King! Non mi puoi ridurre Gavrilo Princip a “una mezzasega a cui manca qualche rotella”. Ma perché?!
Ecco, l’ho detto.

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review 2017-05-01 00:00
Empty Chairs: Selected Poems
Empty Chairs: Selected Poems - Liu Xia,M... Empty Chairs: Selected Poems - Liu Xia,Ming Di,Jennifer Stern Cigarettes, birds, household objects.
Everything is an inspiration for Liu Xia and her poetry is a tranquility for your senses.
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review 2017-04-08 01:22
Still in love with this series
DC Comics: Bombshells (2015-) #17 - Marguerite Bennett,Ming Doyle

The ghetto goes to war: Bombshells, Huntress, the Swing Kids, the Jews, the magic users, everyone.   And even while Zantanna realizes that she's been duped by The Joker's Daughter, and that the Nazi's know where they are and what they're planning, a new heroine arises: an unsurprising choice of a female Shazam.   Still, it's nice to see a Jewish girl wield this kind of power in the midst of the Holocaust.   (And look at me, reading about the Holocaust, which I couldn't do at all a decade ago!)

 

It's even nicer to see her own inner strength and belief that they would be okay and that they would win, even before she got her powers.   

 

Overall, a really hopeful series despite some really awful circumstances.   Looking forward to the last issue I got when they were on sale - the next issue.   After that, I'll be reading some comics from Black Mask I haven't gotten around to yet.

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