What books have you read recently?

What English language book have you read recently and would like to recommend to others? What makes it worth reading? Let me start by introducing a few books here.

The Three-Body Problem

The Remembrance of Earth’s Past  Trilogy
The Remembrance of Earth’s Past Trilogy

I recently finished reading the English translations of a trilogy of science fiction novels by Chinese write Liu Cixin: The Three-Body Problem, The Dark Forest and Death’s End (in Chinese the trilogy is entitled 地球往事, Remembrance of Earth’s Past. The stories, which deal the discovery of life on other planets,  are vast in scope, starting with the Cultural Revolution in China in the 1960s and finishing just before the end of the universe billions of years in the future. The first book focuses on Ye Wenjie, the astrophysicist who first makes contact with the alien race, and Wang Miao, a scientist who learns about their life via a computer game called Three Body problem. He learns that the aliens live on a planet, Trisolaris, that has three suns. Life there is harsh and unpredictable; it is scorching hot when more than one sun is in the sky at the same time, and when the suns are lined up, the immense gravitation pull can wreak havoc on the planet. How nice it would be to live somewhere more inhabitable…like Earth! The Trisolarians are soon on their way, but will they be invaders or immigrants?

The books feature complex characters that develop over time. Ye Wenjie is vengeful and impulsive at first, largely due to her experiences during the Cultural Revolution. The main character of the second book, Luo Ji, is transformed via love from a carefree playboy into a cunning man with steely resolve. The protagonist of the third novel, Cheng Xin, is more humane and reflective, but these good characteristics sometimes prove to be disastrous.

The themes can be quite dark. For example, deep in space, the captains of several spaceships realize that if they pool together their energy, food and other resources, it would only be possible for one ship and its crew to survive the long voyage to safety. Is it better to sacrifice many to save the few or is it better just to let everyone die? If the many have to die, who will choose? Who gets to live and who gets to survive?

The Dark Forest, the title of the second book, refers to the idea that the universe is like a dark jungle that is full of dangerous predators. Civilizations more through this jungle hoping to see and not be seen. In such a dangerous environment, what can one do to survive? What cruel sacrifices must be made?

The Three-Body Problem won the Hugo Award for best science fiction novel.

Thirteen Reasons Why

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

For non-translated books, an English book I read recently was Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. This book also explores dark themes. The book opens with the protagonist, Clay, receiving a package of audiotapes from a classmate of his, Hannah, who recently committed suicide. The package has been sent as a kind of chain message to 13 different people, each of whom is meant to pass it on to the next person on the list and each of whom Hannah feels contributed to her decision to kill herself. On the audiotapes, Hannah describes her life, her experiences with the recipients and her reasons for suicide. The book mixes, Hannah’s narration with Clay’s reflections and is about the pressures of growing up and the importance of communication. Sometimes, when Hannah wanted to open up, there was no one to really listen to her. However, she also sometimes ignored opportunities to connect to the people that did care about her.

More Recommendations

If you are looking for something lighter, you can check out my article entitled 15 Books for Teens Who Hate Reading (longzijun.wordpress.com/2014/03/19/books-for-teens-who-hate-reading/), in which I briefly introduce the following books:

  1. Things You Need To Know and Some You Don’t
  2. The Cube – Keep the Secret
  3. Griffin & Sabine: An Extraordinary Correspondence
  4. The Invention of Hugo Cabret
  5. Boy Meets Girl
  6. The Sound of Colors
  7. The Best Christmas Present in the World
  8. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
  9. The Spiderwick Chronicles Book One (The Field Guide)
  10. Style Deficit Disorder
  11. Street Wear
  12. 50 Artists You Should Know
  13. Fullmetal Alchemist: The Land of Sand
  14. Naruto—Mission: Protect the Waterfall Village
  15. Death Note 13: How to Read

All of the above books are available in the English Corner.

Your Recommendations

Leave a comment below to to introduce and English language book (or English translation) that you feel is worth reading.

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6 Comments

  1. The book that I have been reading recently is For One More Day, which is written by Mitch Albom. I appreciate Mitch Albom’s books especially The Five People You Meet In Heaven. For One May Day is about a former baseball player called Charley Benetto who has a lot of problems in his life, including financial, career, family and drug abuse problems. He gets lost in his life with facing too many problem. Therefore, he decides to commit suicide in his home town. He is involved in a traffic accident on his way to his home town. That is unfortunate at this stage but it indirectly save him from suicide. He meets his mother who have died eight years ago in his imagination. In his imagination, his is inspired by his mother and reach the solutions to his problems. After he restore consciousness, he have decided not to commit suicide since then. In the epilogue, Benetto solves his problems and has a daughter who becomes the narrator of the story. I think the most important messages conveyed is that life is really important and should be treasured. We do not need to be frustrated or anxious towards our problems and difficulties as there are always solutions towards them. We can consult our parents or teachers for solutions as they are more knowledgeable and experienced. In conclusion,this book is very inspiring. I will keep my habit of reading English fictions in the future.

  2. The Threebody Trilogy is definitely my favourite. I have encountered many other sci-fi stories, both Chinese ( which is definitely rising and turns to be very appealing these days ) and Western ones, also including Mr Liu’s other masterpieces. However, I cannot find any other stories which inspired me that much.
    The Threebody Trilogy not only talks about science and fantasies, but humanity and all the horrible things that are hidden behind the great dark screen over our heads. What humanity is facing is the unexplained and unexplored in the vast universe, which is likely to include anything, everything out of our imgination, or even our recognitive acceptance. We are horrified, not because of the things that we have seen, but those we have not seen. And that’s literally the point of the existence of the Threebody Trilogy: ” You are bugs! ” and I am afraid that humanity is not even a molecule in front of the black sky.
    However, Mr Liu was not just a negative-thinker: he made his character Luo Ji spoke in the book, ” Maybe humanity is the only civilisation that has love, “. Luo Ji considered love of the mankind is one of the major “disadvantage” of us; and the great loss of the earth civilisation in the end proved this. However, does it mean that we should live like the other civilisations: absolute dictatorship; guilty one dies, innocent one lives; to live, to survive, to attack and to destroy? The answer is definitely no. Suffered in the ” Great Depress” times, everybody knows the spirit of “Make time for life, or life won’t make time”. We live like human beings , we live to love. Instead of fading away, we would like to burn out.

  3. I’ve just read a book about the adorable cartoon bear,Winnie-the-Pooh.The book is called “Positively Pooh Timeless Wisdom From Pooh”.I’m a lazy person,I hate reading books.However,I was attracted by this book’s cover.The cute yellow bear is lying on the cover and it’s just like inviting me to visit its wonderful world.This book is about the quotations that are selected from the Winnie-the-Pooh works by A.A.Milne.There are also many fantastic original illustrations by E.H.Shephard in every page.Reading the naivete stories of Pooh will find back your lost innocence.Maybe some people will think Pooh is just a silly and clumsy bear. Nevertheless,I think Pooh can be a role model of everyone.Although it just has a tiny little brain,it thinks positively and smile all the time.It’s really optimistic and brave when facing setbacks.It will also encourage others if others are upset.Pooh is a lovely sweetheart that will cheer up others.My favourite quotation in this book is ”Flowers brighten up even the most bothersome of days”.That means something surprised will happen or someone must help you to solve the problems when you’re facing frustration.You should remember that you are not alone in the most bothersome days.If you love the heartwarming Pooh or are interested in quotations,you must be addicted to this book.

    1. l read a English book which called” Charlotte’s Web. The author of this book is E. B. White.The story is about a baby pig is almost killed because he is the smallest pig that was born and he is considered to be useless and no value. The pig is saved by a little girl called Fern Arable. She adopts the pig and takes care of it. She gives him the name Wilbur.One day, Wilbur hears a voice that someone wants to be his friend and will never leave him alone.lt is the little spider–Charlotte.Charlotte hears that the people wants to kill Wilbur,she promises that he can think of the way to save Wilbur.On the next day,the farmers are surprised the next day when they see the words “some pig” written in the web* Charlotte has made. Charlotte asked for the other animals’ help over the day to write messages everywhere.At last, although Charlotte disappears, her baby spiders turn out to be great company for the pig. They continue to protect each other and the story ends well. This story is really touching and inspiring.l really hope that everyone can read this book if they have a chance.

  4. I read a English book which called “the Secret Garden “.It wrote by F.Hodgson Burnett .This fiction is interesting.It is talking about a girl called Mary sent to live with her uncle and his family.She found a garden and had fun inside the garden .She told the secret garden to her uncle son ,Colin.It let Colin to become a positive person.That let her uncle shock about his son not to be sad and alone .I am interested in the ending since Mary let her uncle thought changed.This book have so many pages but it is still interesting and have some surprising things happened.I love this book.

  5. Actually I don’t like reading especially English books.However I just fall in love with a English fiction recently.This book call”The Mind Of Billy Milligan” which wrote by Daniel Keyes. Daniel is good at writing split personality story .I think that book is suitable for someone who want to know more about split personality people because it’s not a thin fiction.It’s have more than 500 pages if you are not interested in these kind of fiction.You must feel bored.I have never think I will read a book which have 500 pages or more.But when I first met this book I just be attracted by its introduction.In this book,you will know more about split personality.Actually they are very hard. They don’y want this cure too but they can’t choose.Anyone read this book too?Let’s talk about our feeling^3^

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