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The Library's Bookmark Me@UST launch provided an ideal opportunity for us to learn a bit more about our new Librarian, Dr Samson Soong … and what better way to achieve that than by asking him about some of his favorite books?

Nobel Laureate Joseph Brodsky once suggested that a person's literary preferences provide an intimate portrait of the individual. And with this principle in mind, Genesis thought it would be interesting for our new Librarian to list the five books he would bookmark, if he could choose from any books in the world.

We learn from the great literature Dr Soong enjoys that he is a gentleman who possesses a strong sense of justice, considerable pride in China and her people, and a fun outlook on life. Take a peek at the list, and if you have time, why not dip into some of his favorite books yourself? They’re all available in the UST Library!

Dr Soong's "Bookmark Top 5"

1. The Good Earth by Pearl Buck
Pearl Buck's second novel was published in 1931, and was so well received that by 1938 she had gone on to become the first woman to win both the Nobel Prize for Literature and a Pulitzer Prize. Buck was born in the US but spent most of the first 40 years of her life in China. She was a first hand witness of the upheaval that occurred before World War II, including events like the Nanking Incident. Good Earth is her compassionate novel about farmer Wang Lung and his struggle to support his family through the trials of life in 19th century China.
   
2. Hu Shih and the Chinese Renaissance by Jerome Grieder
  This is perhaps the definitive biography of Hu Shih, a prominent Chinese scholar and liberal educator. Jerome Grieder explores the evolution of Hu Shih's anti-dogmatic ideals, contextualising them in the light of the events of his lifetime, specifically the literary and educational reforms that swept through China from the 1920s until Hu Shih's death in 1962.
   
3. All Men Are Brothers (Shui hu zhuan) by Shi Nai'an
  Shi Nai'an's novel is considered one of the classics of Chinese literature and the story's legacy survives today in countless movie and television adaptations. Set in the reign of Northern Song Dynasty Emperor Hui Zong (1101-1125), All Men Are Brothers tells the intertwined tales of 108 idealistic men and women who, from their lair in the marshes around Mount Liang, struggle to help the Emperor exorcise the region's corrupt rulers.
   
4. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  The Adventures of Tom Sawyer has captivated children and adults since 1881. The novel describes the swashbuckling escapades of a boy on the cusp of adulthood in small town Louisiana. Tom and his friends, Huck and Joe, convey the innocence and ideals of American youth before the great changes brought on society by industrialization. Sprinkled with the ideals of community, love, friendship and prosperity, Twain's novel is one of the purest literary expressions of the great American dream.
   
5. 1421: the Year China Discovered America by Gavin Menzies
  Menzies spent 15 years researching this remarkable text whose central thesis is that China discovered America at least 70 years before the arrival of Columbus. The men who achieved this great navigational feat were the admirals of Emperor Zhu Di. They left China on a two-year expedition, and Menzies reveals archaeological evidence of their voyages, including the apparent remains of an ancient Chinese junk found in the Mississippi river. Unfortunately, by the time the fleets returned to China, the Emperor had fallen and the country was in political turmoil. Then began a long period of self-imposed isolation for China, and just as the great ships were forgotten and left to rot in port, this amazing Chinese maritime achievement was forgotten too.

 

Related links: - The UST Library Catalogue
    - The Nobel e-Museum