Book The Author

Reading Between The Wines “BOOK THE AUTHOR” Event

Reading Between The Wines organized the event Book The Author on Saturday 4 May 2019 in Blue Marlin Bar and Restaurant (Hilton Hotel Street). It called all aspiring writers, authors and book lovers to uncover and learn the secrets of successful authors that are in our own “backyard”. Twelve amazing authors from nine countries, representing literary works from genres including: self-help, non-fiction, international relations and humor came together under one roof to tell their stories and discuss topics such as:

–           How to tell a powerful story
–           Tips to get started writing a book
–           Getting past writer’s block
–           Steps to getting your book published

The event was designed to allow authors to showcase their work and inspire the next generation of writers. The featured authors discussed and shared their work as well as answered questions from and mingle with an audience of book lovers and aspiring writers.

About the Organizers

Reading Between the Wines was started on the beautiful Bahamian island of Nassau by five working women who shared a love for both reading and drinking wine. One of those women is Kayla Brown, who is currently a medical student at Peking University and has ambitiously brought her island-style book club to the great city of Beijing.

Since its inception, RBTW-Beijing has hosted eight book club events and has become popular in China’s capital. Having covered books ranging from “Orange is The New Black” to Michelle Obama’s “Becoming”, readers select a book beforehand and at each book club event discuss the book.
Web: https://andinetblc.com/listing/reading-between-the-wines/

About Gilbert and his books

Gilbert is from Ghent, Belgium, where he graduated as master in electronic engineering.
Since 1980 he has been working with China, where he spent over thirty-five years, mostly in Beijing but also in Hong Kong and in Shanghai. He is a businessman, blogger and author.
His second book “LAUGH AND GET WISER! Jokes and witty wisdom for adults”  is a collection of Anglo-Saxon humor and jokes, collected over a period of over twenty years. The best ones of the many circulating around the world. Published in 2018.
His first book “TOXIC CAPITALISM The orgy of consumerism and waste: Are we the last generation on earth?” takes a closer look at data and research on environmental issues worldwide but with a focus on China. It explains the influence of labor markets, governments, financial institutions, income inequality; it details pollution in China, and Chinese overseas investment and long-term contracts, in the energy and resources sectors. A section is dedicated to day-to-day examples of waste and quality issues, and how we can all contribute to make our planet a healthier place. Published in 2012.

The event

In “Book The Author” different authors gave their insights on:
“How to Become a Powerful Storyteller”
“The Writing Process” (Tips to getting started, overcoming writer’s block, etc.)
“Steps to getting Published” (Gilbert and others)

I was good to meet my friend and fellow author Enoch Li (http://bearapy.me/enoch-li/) again and t hear the very different stories of the diverse group of writers. See the first picture for the participating writers.
Also present was the Ambassador of The Bahamas.
Thanks go to the organizer and host Kayla and the assistance of Sabrina.
I also donated one of my books for the quiz.

Discussing The Shortest History of Europe

Internations Book Club

In the afternoon of Sunday 16 April 2017 the Club was discussing The Shortest History of Europe by John Hirst.

The venue: the Tree Gallery and Cafe is located not too far from the southwest exit of the Liangmaqiao subway station on the Liangma River.Now closed it had a very pleasant ambience and moderate pricing.

 

Intro by Kevin Paul Gouldmann, Activity Host

This is a short and concise overview of European history, viewed from the outside by historian John Hirst. It is quite enjoyable, and amazing how he can trace the streams of European history from the ancient Greeks to the present day in such a reduced and often humorous manor. I personally gained several new insights reading this book–a good experience!
Available in both English and Chinese.

My take

I read the e-book and it is indeed a very different view on the history of Europe, pretty creative angle. Interesting indeed even if you might somehow disagree.

About the Beijing Internations Book Club

I was one of the earliest members of the Club and enjoyed quite a number of meetings.
I however left in protest a few months ago. As a writer I did not like the attitude of some members who think pirated copies of books are “OK” as either the authors made tons of money or the authors are too insignificant. Unfortunately a common attitude in China.
More about Internations: https://www.internations.org/

 

The book about Sun Bingwen

A family of authors

My wife, Sun Bin, co-authored the book about Sun Bingwen (1885-1927), her grandfather. It was published in October 2015. The title “先锋战士 孙炳文” “Xiānfēng Zhànshì Sūn Bǐngwén” can be translated as “Vanguard Fighter Sun Bingwen”. (vanguard/pioneer – fighter/soldier/warrior). It was written by Luo Jin and Sun Bin, with Sun Bin providing most of the content. She is not totally happy with the content and might at one stage rewrite it to tell her side of the story.

The Sichuan connection

Her “laojia” (ancestral home) is considered to be Nanxi (in Yibin, Sichuan) though she was born in Beijing and actually never lived there. See the pictures taken in Nanxi where a statue was erected of Sun Bingwen (native from Nanxi) with Zhu De; both were “brothers by oath”, together with Zhou Enlai.
See the news article from Yibin Government:
141209 yibinnews

The relations between the two families, and with Zhou Enlai were very close. It was instrumental for Zhu De to change from being a warlord to a key leader in the Communist Party. The two also worked together in Luzhou, where there is a museum dedicated to Zhu De.
In the book there are some pictures, we have most of those plus more at home. See as an example pic SBbook6, another picture of Sun Bingwen, not in the book.

About Zhu De, see
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/cpc2011/2010-09/30/content_12475227.htm
and
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhu_De

Less is published about Sun Bingwen who was the father of Sun Yang (Sun Bin’s father) and Sun Weishi (her aunt).
See this part of the book Turbulent Decade: A History of the Cultural Revolution, by Jiaqi Yan, Gao Gao
https://www.amazon.com/Yan-Turbulent-Decade-Library-Translations/dp/0824816951

Also, in 中國婦女傳記詞典: The Twentieth Century, 1912-2000 (Biographical Dictionary of Chinese Women), see: https://books.google.co.jp/books?isbn=0765607980

About Sun Bingwen, Sun Weishi and Sun Yang

Sun Bingwen, the father of Sun Weishi, was recruited by Zhou Enlai to join the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) in Germany, and subsequently became a close friend of both Zhu De and Zhou Enlai. After studying abroad in the Soviet Union, Sun Bingwen returned to China in 1924 and joined the faculty of Whampoa Academy. Sun Bingwen was executed when the relationship between the KMT and CCP deteriorated in 1927, during the “White Terror”.
Following her father’s death, Sun Weishi’s mother, Ren Rui, took the family into exile, raising Sun Weishi and her three siblings alone while participating in CCP underground work.
Sun Weishi had one sister and two brothers. One of Sun Weishi’s brothers, Sun Yang, was imprisoned with his father in 1927, when he was only twelve. Sun Yang was eventually released, became Zhu De’s personal assistant, and became the president of Renmin University after the founding of the People’s Republic of China. He was also one of the pioneers of the State Planning Commission (now called NDRC).

The calligraphy by Zhu De dedicated to Sun Yang and his wife (Shi Qi) (our Beijing home)

In 1967 Jiang Qing accused Sun Yang of being a spy for the Soviet Union, the Japanese, and the Kuomintang, and Sun Yang was tortured and killed by Maoist Red Guards in the basement of his own university. Sun Weishi was also wrongly imprisoned by Jiang Qing who considered her as her mortal enemy; she was said to be killed by a nail driven into her head. There is a shrine in Babaoshan Cemetry dedicated to them. I still need to find back the picture I took of it…
We obviously rejoiced when Jiang Qing hanged herself in prison, after the Gang of Four was brought to justice.
One good source:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Weishi

The Economics of Air Pollution in China

Ma Jun: his new book

See here the intro by Amazon
The Economics of Air Pollution in China: Achieving Better and Cleaner Growth Kindle Edition
by Ma Jun
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M4MU0CF/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_x_YOPiybXAQ16HJ

About the Author
Ma Jun is chief economist at the research bureau of the People’s Bank of China. He spent thirteen years at Deutsche Bank and has worked as an economist and senior economist at the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
Suffocating smog regularly envelops Chinese metropolises from Beijing to Shanghai, clouding the future prospect of China’s growth sustainability. Air pollutants do not discriminate between the rich and the poor, the politician and the “average Joe.” They put everyone’s health and economic prosperity at risk, creating future costs that are difficult to calculate. Yet many people, including some in China, are concerned that addressing environmental challenges will jeopardize economic growth.
In The Economics of Air Pollution in China, leading Chinese economist Ma Jun makes the case that the trade-off between growth and environment is not inevitable. In his ambitious proposal to tackle severe air pollution and drastically reduce the level of so-called PM 2.5 particles—microscopic pollutants that lodge deeply in lungs—Ma Jun argues that in targeting pollution, China has a real opportunity to undertake significant structural economic reforms that would support long-term growth. Rooted in rigorous analyses and evidence-based projections, Ma Jun’s “big bang” proposal aims to mitigate pollution and facilitate a transition to a greener and more sustainable growth model.

My comment on The Economics of Air Pollution in China

I met Ma Jun a couple of times and he is a real authority on pollution issues.
I only think the book is expensive:
Kindle $61.75
Hardcover $65.00
In particular the price of Kindle version is unrealistic. Compare that with my book. Still many people feel my printed book is “a bit expensive”…

Edwin Maher in Internations Book Club

Edwin Maher, a CCTV celebrity

On Sunday 25 September we had to honor to welcome Edwin Maher in our Internations Beijing Book Reading group, to discuss his latest book “Caught on CCTV”.
I remember one of my Old China Hands lunches (Edwin is a regular), when some of our Chinese clients were having a lunch at Morel’s at the same time. We told them some ambassadors were in our lunch and if they wanted to greet them – and take a picture. Good idea till they spotted Edwin sitting there, they did not want to know about whatever ambassador: they only wanted to see Edwin and take a picture.
It says a lot about Edwin who has an impressive career in CCTV as the host for the English news.
So, happy he took some time on his Sunday before another CCTV appearance.

Edwin Maher, the author

I am fortunate to have his two books, all a present from Edwin and signed by him. His first “My China Daily” was very well received, my wife said “You see this is what and how you should write”. Yes boss.
The book we discussed was his recent Caught on CCTV.

A history of CCTV: Caught on CCTV

When I started reading the book, I was immediately shocked. He dedicated the book to Yan Yinan, a CRI reporter with whom I worked for over a year, nearly every week, for interviews on the 2008 Olympics. She was a superb girl and when she left us, many like me were shocked.

As a writer myself I was amazed on how Edwin managed to keep track of all the little details on what happened in CCTV. Did he run the HR department? Bribe the HR director? Well, he did it the Chinese way (as I learned soon after landing here myself): he always carried a notebook writing down everything. But he beats me by far by his incredible detail.
So, the book might be at times a bit heavy, like a sort of Encyclopedia, reminding me of my own book. It is however an important historical document, it will be a legacy for all later to have the insights on how CCTV became what is is today.

I found back a number of CCTV hosts who interviewed me over the years…
Edwin writes with a healthy sense of humor but carefully navigates all “sensitive” topics one might look for.
As I understood he wrote the book on his MacBook Air, much like I often do. And he was clever to use a text software instead of the usual MS Word (it is more appropriate for publishing).

All love Edwin Maher

Our discussion was very lively and most wanted an autograph in his book, and the picture of course. Edwin was as usual so patient and friendly to satisfy everybody.
The pictures talk for themselves…

(Note: this post first appeared on http://www.beijing1980.com/2016/09/26/edwin-maher-in-internations-book-club/)