In this tear-jerker essay, famous Taiwanese authoress Sanmao ponders on the value of her own life. It was written as she grieved the drowning of her beloved Spanish husband in 1979, and is all the more tragic in light of her suicide 12 years later.
A tragic, dreamlike little essay from writer Zhang Ailing (张爱玲, English name Eileen Chang) about love and destiny. This is one of her more well-known works of micro-prose, written in 1944. HSK 5-6.
An essay from Chinese lit diva Zhang Ailing about a scene of police brutality she witnessed in Shanghai in the 1940s. HSK 6 and up.
You can skip your Instagram yoga gratitude break today, here’s another one from Taiwanese Buddhist essayist Lin Qingxuan (林清玄). HSK 4-5.
Taiwanese Buddhist essayist Lin Qingxuan marvels at the wonders of nature, time, space, and reincarnation. This piece is all about awe of the natural world, and you’ll learn some Discovery Channel vocab, like “pupa”, “mate”, “breed”, “spawn”, and lots of animal names.
In Part II of this two-part series, we’ll read acclaimed author Ba Jin’s reply to the 10 elementary school students who wrote him a letter asking him for moral guidance in 1987. I’m not a super weepy person, but I legit cried reading this. This is a noble, elevating piece of writing, and reading it, I’m reminded that in all societies, there are those who struggle with the materialism that engulfs us.
In this one-paragraph read (HSK 2-3), Little Brother wants to help dad get ready to leave the house, but his contribution falls flat.
Jia Pingwa (贾平凹) is one of China’s modern literary greats, and in this short story, it shows. I don’t know how this guy crammed so many insights on the human condition into a few paragraphs about a rock, but he undeniably did.
In the first of a two-part post, we’ll look at a letter sent in 1987 from a group of elementary school students to the anarchist writer Ba Jin (most famous for his 1931 novel The Family) as they struggle to cope with China’s changing social values. In Part II, I’ll translate Ba Jin’s reply.
This kid was asked to imagine the perfect desk-chair of the future – what it would look like, and what it would do – and boy, does he ever. The chair turns into all kinds of utopian machinery. It flies, it helps you sleep, and it carries your books to school. Sentence structure is pretty […]
Though this post is beginner-level, it’s also very condensed. I’d say you’ll have to stop and remind yourself what something means every few words or so.
Though the conclusion of this essay might fall a bit flat for all of us who are very used to having a telephone, this is an interesting glimpse into what a monumental rite of passage it is for children in rural areas to have one or use one for the first time.
In this essay, a child desperately (and very angrily) pleads their father not to smoke. Though this is classified as “Intermediate”, beginners should definitely try this read, leaning heavily on the hover word-list. The difficult parts are the mid-level turns of phrase, which are all explained below.
Well well well, lookie here. A guest post! Today we’ll be reading Rebecca Chua’s (Chinese name: 蔡幸彤) translation of an essay from her textbook. The post is about the rewards of honesty. I remember my own textbook being full of these types of essays, so thank you, Rebecca, for the traditional read.
I set out to do a beginner post since I haven’t done one in a while, but no joy, I think I have to classify this as intermediate. Beginners are welcome to try this out, as most of the words are simple and the subject matter is a bit immature (so of course it totally […]
In the spirit of the holiday season, which is winding to a blissfully overweight close, I give you an article about something you may or may not have just struggled through if you flew home for the holidays (which I did).
A single-paragraph essay about the results of a family jump rope competition.
For those of you new to Chinese culture, one thing a Chinese child most looks forward to all year is the time during Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) when they get to go ask their neighbors and other adults for red envelopes containing some money – it’s a bit like trick-or-treating for cash. This essay […]
This essay is about a kid who takes his father’s advice a little too literally (with amusing results).
And now a break from all the intermediate and advanced exercises I’ve been posting lately. This one is a straightforward beginner Chinese diary-style essay about a student whose mother is displeased with his (or her, it’s never clarified) homework.