Up to now, I’ve never managed reading something for pleasure in Chinese. I just couldn’t find anything that I liked. Okay, might be partly due to the fact that my German university is very PRC-oriented and I only studied Simplified characters. I read stuff in German or English by Su Tong, Lu Wenfu, Ha Jin etc., some nice stuff, but a lot of similarities in my opinion. I liked the German translation of Yu Hua’s books but am not sure that the Chinese would be as interesting. I hate Wang Shuo and the likes that consider it “cool” to use as many “fcks", "sx” and “sh*ts” as possible in one sentence.
At one point, I thought about getting Chinese translations of Western books I had read, but they were so boring (e.g. “Bridget Jones’s Diary”). I read “Balzac and the little Seamstress” (in English) last year, one of the funniest and most interesting novels by a Chinese author that I had ever read and started looking for it in Chinese only to figure out that the author lives in France. Needless to say, I skipped the Chinese TRANSLATION and got the FRENCH original.
My neighbour just read the latest book by Mo Yan in Chinese and was thrilled (Btw, Mo Yan is in Taipei for one year, and my neighbour ran into him in his favorite pub, Lane 86, the other day). I started Mo Yan’s “Red Sorghum” years ago and gave up after a couple of pages, way too bloddy. But my neighbour keeps telling me that the new book is excellent, excellent usage of Chinese. I guess this is what would put me off, the level might be too high for me. Besides, I’ll struggle awfully with reading Traditional Chinese. However, I believe reading Chinese would be great for my language abilities.
Have any of you guys read books (fiction) by Chinese authors lately? In Chinese? Which ones did you like? Which ones were not worth it? Anything you could recommend that isn’t too hard and too long?