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Entertainment January 2014

 

Reading

In Tianjin, foreign-language books aren’t that easy to come by. There’s the Foreign Languages Bookstore on Machang Road and minor English sections in the bigger bookshops, but the collection is fairly limited, especially when it comes to new releases. For literature lovers, Bookworm in Beijing is the place to go. They lend and sell books, and organise many cultural events in their Sanlitun-based establishment. On their website, they present their regularly updated Hot New Books and list the Bestselling & New Arrivals.

Here are a few recent additions for those bookworms among you that need some new and contemporary fiction and non-fiction.

 

The Devouring Dragon – Craig Simons

China’s fast economic growth has globally affected the environment. Craig Simons analyses and discusses China’s role as the world’s worst polluter, even surpassing the U.S, and what the potential long-term damage will be. With interviews and scientific research, The Devouring Dragon looks at China’s responsibility relating to the Earth’s forests, wildlife, oceans, and climate.

 

     

 

Railsea – China Mi茅ville

This dystopian young-adult novel takes place in a world where the oceans are deserts overtaken by mole rats. Protagonist Sham travels the endless railroad tracks of the railsea, joining captain Abacat Naphi in her hunt for one savage mole. They find a wrecked train, which leads to the characters travelling to the end of the world, under the constant threat of pirates, monsters, and other creatures. The narrative evokes classics such as Moby Dick and Treasure Island.

 

If that isn’t satisfactory and you’ve gone through all your literary essentials and pulp novellas, have a look at Vulture’s list of 11 lost classics that you can download for free on one or more of the web’s open library platforms. Works from Honor茅 de Balzac, Leo Tolstoy, and others are at your disposal. If you’re a Western foreigner living in China, it’s especially worth looking into Mrs. Spring Fragrance by Sui Sin Far, “half-Chinese, half-British, and raised in America”, who wrote some of the first works Asian-American literature.

http://www.vulture.com/2013/11/11-literary-lost-classics-you-can-download.html

 

 

Foreign films in Tianjin cinemas 

 

On IMAX screens you can still catch Thor: The Dark World, the second in the Thor film series, starring most notably Chris Hemsworth in the title role and Tom Hiddleston as his villainous brother Loki. The two characters also played major roles in The Avengers, which was released in 2012. The newest film based on the Marvel superhero has been well received both by audiences and critics. Thor and his hammer are still defending the Earth and the Nine Realms, but then Malekith and his Dark Elves return with the plan to destroy Earth and Asgard (and more). Much action and incredibly special effects ensue, with some funny one-liners throughout.

Also starring Natalie Portman, Anthony Hopkins, Christopher Eccleston, Idris Elba, and Stellan Skarsg氓rd.

 

Also in IMAX: The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, the second instalment in the film adaptation of The Hunger Games trilogy written by Suzanne Collins and with Jennifer Lawrence in the lead role. Heroine Katniss Everdeen returns home with her friend Peeta Mellark after winning the last Hunger Games. A year later they go on a Victor’s Tour, but Katniss’s rebellion during the Games has caused uprisings in the districts, and President Snow commands her to calm things down or else he will hurt her loved ones. When she fails to ease the unrest, Snow announces the Quarter Quell, meaning he can make a change to the Hunger Games rules. He organises a new edition in which all previous winners will compete against each other.

Also starring Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworth, Woody Harrelson, Donals Sutherland, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Lenny Kravitz, and others.

 

 

Lifestyle

The Hipster has dominated European and American urban scenes for a good number of years now, but does the hipster-image have any resonance in China? According to P1, a Beijing-based social media site, it has, especially in the large urban centres. They went out and photographed China’s street fashion during the past six years, taking millions of street style snapshots, resulting in a collection of images documenting the country’s colour and trend changes. Vogue China editor Angelica Cheung comments on the fast evolution saying that, “With increased travel, many are more open to new ideas and have a desire for individuality.”

Look at these photos illustrating the evolution from 2008 till now.

          

          

 

China abroad: Belgium and the ‘frietchinees’

Belgium, the country that introduced french fries to the world – called ‘frietjes’ in Dutch, and ‘pommes frites’ in French – has recently been experiencing an interesting phenomenon. In the Dutch-speaking part of the country, Flanders, increasingly more frituren (comparable to a chippy in the U.K.) are being bought and run by Chinese immigrants, often ones who owned a Chinese restaurant prior to their fries adventure.


 

Frituren are big business: they’re hard work, but because of the immense popularity, they are money machines if run well. Whereas locals are used to these food outlets being run by familiar faces, it is gradually becoming normal to be served their iconic Belgian snack by a Chinese friturist. Because of the new owners’ previous experience in the food industry, they’re used to the long hours and dirty work, and it is often more profitable than a Chinese restaurant or takeaway.

 

The odd phenomenon has caused the Dutch-speaking population of Flanders to call these new owners ‘frietchinezen’, from the Dutch words for fries (frieten) and Chinese (Chinees). ‘Frietchinees’ was chosen as Flemish Word of the Year in 2012. 

 

By Sanne Jehoul

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