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A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers: A novel

Sunday, January 6, 2008

I like this novel, even though I still not reading it, yet. It’s about cross-cultural understanding. Here is one review worth to read. The price of this novel at MPH bookstore is RM 75.90 (maybe be hardcover).

Reviewed by Gail Tsukiyama (Ms. Magazine)

In the last 20 years, the proliferation of Asian writers in Europe and the Americas has grown into a lovely chorus of voices, opening our eyes to the lives of people and cultures we've only known from a distance. Xiaolu Guo's debut English-language novel takes us a step further into the complicated landscape of the immigrant experience.

We immediately recognize the alienation of 23-year-old Zhuang Xiao Qiao, known as Z to Westerners who can't pronounce her name, as she arrives in London for a year to study English. Frightened and alone, her broken English no help when seeking housing from Arab landlords with equally limited language skills, Z finds London a "refuge" camp. Her parents, who own a shoe factory in rural China, believe their daughter will "make better life through Western education." What she will also receive is an education in love.

Z soon sees that "the loneliness in this country is something very solid, very heavy." In a city where everything is new and foreign, where the most precious reminders of her old life are gone, she gradually makes a place for herself, a process Guo cleverly describes through Z's steadily improving English. Word by word, month by month, her insight into this new culture grows until, at the cinema, she meets an older Englishman, a part-time sculptor, and embarks on a relationship that will change the way she sees the world.

What begins as a blossoming of love, sex and freedom gradually finds Z questioning the different ways in which each views their life together. Their relationship unravels when his growing need for solitude and his lack of commitment conflict with the closeness and community for which Z yearns.

The collective society she left back in China values family and tradition; this Western concept of individuality and living only in the moment is hard for Z to understand. She is left to reconcile their essential difference: "'Love,' this English word: like other English words it has tense. 'Loved' or 'will love' or 'have loved.'...Love is time-limited thing. Not infinite....In Chinese, Love...has no tense. No past and future. Love in Chinese means a being, a situation, a circumstance. Love is existence, holding past and future."

In her quest to find herself in the West, Z realizes just how Chinese she is -- and that learning to speak a language doesn't necessarily mean being able to communicate. Guo, also a filmmaker, has written an inventive, often humorous and poignant story of a woman's journey over cultural and emotional borders. While books with similarly suggestive titles may fall into the chick-lit genre, A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers is so much more.

Source: Powell’s Books (

Book from bloggers on how to blog

Did you know this peoples; Paul Bausch, Matthew Haughey, and Meg Hourihan? I bet not many recognized who they are. So do I, never come across the names as listed. But after I got and browsed through “We Blog: Publishing Online with Weblogs” book, then I know them, not personally, but by their experiences and expertise.

Paul Bausch is the co-creator of, the popular weblog software. A veteran Web developer, Paul is skilled in a variety of programming languages and is the creator of several useful blogging tools.

Matthew Haughey started the community weblog, which now has over 13,000 members, and helped develop the site and service.

Meg Hourihan is the cofounder of Pyra, the company behind Blogger. A frequent speaker on the subject of weblogs, she runs her own award-winning blog ( and was profiled by the New Yorker in an article on weblogs.

If you’re wondering what a weblog is, how to start one, and what the benefits are to blogging, this book is for you. This book steps you through building and maintaining a weblog of your own. It also provides insight into the culture of blogging.

You also can find topic on how to building blog for business and expanding your audience through syndication.

Title: We Blog: Publishing Online with Weblogs
Authors: Paul Bausch, Matthew Haughey, and Meg Hourihan
Publisher: Wiley Publishing
ISBN: 0-7645-4962-6
Paperback, August 2002, 313 pages
Category: Computer/Internet