In 1942, Jewish refugee Max Faerber opened Paragon Book Gallery in Shanghai. Faerber had worked for a newspaper in Vienna before he fled the Nazis for the brighter shores of Shanghai. During his first few years in China, Faerber put his newspaper skills to use and managed a German Jewish newspaper, one of many publications produced in the refugee communities in Shanghai. But when the Japanese occupied the whole of Shanghai in December 1941, Max looked for another profession. He turned to bookselling.
Hong Kong’s year in books: fiction, film, politics, children’s books, photography, history, botany.
How did Asia fare in the “Best Books” sweepstakes of 2019? This is partly keeping score, but there are also undoubtedly many excellent recommendations and hidden gems in these many lists.
This year’s subjective list of books we thought worthy of particular mention over the past 12 months. Fiction (in translation and not), poetry, short stories, essays, history, biography, literature, culture, politics, society, journalism, children’s books covering Asia from the Pacific to the Mediterranean, from Siberia to India.
Chinese soprano He Hui made her Metropolitan Opera “Live in HD” debut on 9 November in the lead role in Giacomo Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. This might not be quite the first time a Chinese singer has the lead in one of these international broadcasts—but then again, it might be—but it is still an extremely rare occurrence and worthy of note.
It seems somewhat surprising that not a single one of Leonardo da Vinci’s several thousand drawings had ever been exhibited in Hong Kong, but that was apparently the case until the opening of the “Art and Science, Then and Now” exhibition, running at the City University of Hong Kong Exhibition Gallery through 15 December.
Asian Review of Books editor Peter Gordon was named “Cavaliere dell’Ordine della Stella d’Italia” (“Knight of the Order of the Star of Italy”) at a ceremony in Hong Kong on 3 June.