Reading Notes | 2022.11: Freedom, Rights, Feminism, etc.


It's not the end of the year yet, but it's coming soon. Let's summarize briefly, and I'll organize it more thoroughly when I have time later.

Earlier this year, I started reading books related to modern China (the past hundred years) and also delved into the complete works of Lu Xun. Mid-year, I began to explore the history and historiography of the Qing Dynasty, and I expect to move on to the Ming Dynasty early next year. There are already many books marked on my reading list.

Unfortunately, several books I bought this year are still sitting on the shelf, mostly literary works that I gradually lost interest in continuing to read, after all, I don't read novels unless I have free time. Among them, Fyodor Dostoevsky's works have been the most rewarding. His books are not just ordinary literature; if you are interested in psychology, you will encounter him sooner or later.

  • Correspondence of Yin Haiguang and Lin Yusheng: Completed. This collection of letters between Yin Haiguang and his student Lin Yusheng covers the period from Lin Yusheng's study abroad in the United States to Yin Haiguang's passing nearly a decade later. The two exchanged academic and intellectual ideas through letters. Yin Haiguang referred to Lin Yusheng as his "skylight," through which he could catch a glimpse of the outside world.
  • Hungry Prosperity: Completed. It mainly discusses the gains and losses during the Qianlong period, but the overall content is somewhat scattered and lacks a systematic explanation of why, despite being in a prosperous era, most people were hungry.──The prosperous era belonged to a small group of officials and nobles, not the general populace.
  • Struggling for Rights: Completed. The title here is incorrect; the original text meant to struggle for "Recht," which has two meanings: objectively, it refers to objective law (i.e., law); subjectively, it refers to subjective rights (i.e., rights). Struggle is the means of legal rights, and order is the purpose of legal rights.
  • Grassroots Women: Completed. It can be seen as down-to-earth, but at the same time, the content is scattered and insufficient to make a book. The author repeatedly mentions the concept of the "marriage market" in the book, although it seems to lack that meaning throughout, it still leaves one feeling regretful.
  • Misogyny: Completed. The author's concept of "misogyny" refers to the contempt for women, which exists among men and women. Among them, the three elements summarized why it is prevalent among men: male homosocial desire (the bond between men), misogyny (othering), and homophobia (rejection of others).
  • Biography of Li Hongzhang: Completed. When looking at a person, one should not only consider the evaluations of later generations but also those of contemporaries. Liang Qichao's biography not only achieves objectivity and fairness but also reads smoothly: I admire Li Hongzhang's talent, I lament Li Hongzhang's wisdom, I mourn Li Hongzhang's fate.
  • All Quiet on the Western Front: Completed. There are few works on World War I, and this one can be considered a classic. Millions of young men fell on the Western Front, but the newspaper simply reported: All Quiet on the Western Front.
  • The Institutional Logic of China's National Governance: An Organizational Study: In progress. A collection of essays, several of which I have read so far are profound: governance through movements, collaborative phenomena, reverse soft budget constraints, etc. My sociologist friend says Zhou Xueguang is a formidable figure in bureaucratic studies.
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