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Novels: Start reading 《冷刺》Coldspike

Get your dose of cheesy militaristic language in this excerpt is from the modern militant action novel “Coldspike”, or 冷刺, written by 天地飘鸥. You’ll be reading the first part of Chapter 1: King of the Commandos (特种兵之王).

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Beginner

Cat Goes Fishing

A short story about an older cat teaching a younger cat a lesson as they fish together.

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Beginner

Mr. Wang Works at the University

A very short, very easy, Chinese passage about a fictional teacher at Beijing University, suitable for newer readers. You’ll learn a couple of interesting Chinese abbreviations for some of the biggest and most famous universities in Beijing, and a few school-centric words. Not a whole lot of compelling narrative here, and not much of a [...]
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Intermediate

The Magic Pencil

This short story is about a magic pencil – whatever it draws comes to life. This story features beginner sentence structure and a heavy smattering of intermediate vocabulary.

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News: 7653 Dead in Japan Earthquake and 11746 Missing

My heart goes out to the many who lost their family, friends or homes in Japan this week. This straightforward Chinese article reviews the Japanese death tolls in the recent earthquake.

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The Thief of Time

I love mystery novels, especially the trashy ones. This synopsis’ll get you up to speed on all that evil grave robbing vocabulary you missed in class.

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Beginner

Three Good Friends

A very simple story about three friendly butterflies who stick up for each other.

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Intermediate

Joke: The Two Parrots

This not-too-dirty-but-not-really-clean joke comes from a great blog on the Sina blog network, the Chinese equivalent of Blogger. The joke is about a woman whose new parrot can’t seem to stop saying one particular come-hither phrase. The phrase so embarrasses the woman that she tries to take action, but her plan doesn’t quite work out the way she wanted.

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Story Behind the Idiom: 掩耳盗铃 – To bury one’s head in the sand

This fable describes backstory / origination of the idiom 掩耳盗铃 yǎn ěr dào líng, which literally translates as “to plug one’s ears while stealing a bell”, and meaning “to bury one’s head in the sand”, or “to deceive oneself”.

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Old People are Stealing More Stuff in Japan

Theft by the elderly is on the rise in Japan, reports China Youth Daily. While I usually classify news items as advanced reading, the words in this article are actually fairly easy – slightly complex sentence structure but not a whole lot of complex vocabulary, worth a shot for intermediate students.

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Intermediate

Fable: The Turkey and the Bull

If you’re in need of a fable that demonstrates the dangers of kissing ass, you’re in luck.

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Intermediate

The History of Postage Stamps

Huh, learn something new every day. My entire understanding of the postal service comes from Terry Pratchett’s “Going Postal”, so it’s interesting to take a quick look into the [vaguely] factual history of the postage stamp.

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Beijing Railway to Sell Tickets 24 Hours During Busy Spring Festival Season

If you’ve ever been to China during Spring Festival (Chinese New Year), you know how impossible it is to make travel plans or book tickets during that time, as the whole country prepares to make the journey back home to see family and friends.

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100 Killed in India Temple Stampede

A short news item from Beijing Youth Daily talks of the tragic January 14th stampede in a temple in India.

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Intermediate

Famous Chinese Authoress BingXin 冰心

This one-page lower-intermediate essay covers the biography of BingXin, a famous authoress from the early 1900’s. The essay writer also chronicles an interview he did with BingXin, and records some parts of their discussion.

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Twitter Chairman Says Users Now Exceed 200 Million

This very short blurb from Sina.com features an announcement by Twitter chairman Jack Dorsey that Twitter has now exceeded 200 Million users.

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Beginner

Feeling Sick

A passage from a BLCU textbook in which a university student laments about catching a cold.

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Advanced

The Story Behind the Idiom: 南辕北辙 – To act against one’s own best interest

As you’re probably aware, most Chinese idioms are 4-character constructs that make little sense unless you know the story behind them. this one, 南辕北辙, means “to do something that acts against your own best interests”.

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Intermediate

Fable: Wolf Goes Fishing

As vaguely sordid fables go, this one’s fairly tame, resulting only in some humiliatory retribution and a lost tail or two.

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Beginner

Jiang Ping Going to Study Abroad

This short essay, taken from the Beijing Language and Culture University beginner comprehension textbook, is written from the perspective of a friend visiting Jiang Ping (江苹) before she leaves the country.