As a place that doesn’t fit any of the world’s standard pigeon-holes, it seems fitting that Taiwan would have an unconventional book such as Formosa Moon written about it. Not a travelogue nor a memoir but both, Formosa Moon is about what happens after Joshua Samuel Brown, a longtime Taiwan expat moving back from the US, brings his girlfriend Stephanie Huffman to Taiwan for the first time.

Author Louis Cha, whose wuxia martial arts novels became Chinese cultural touchstones and who heralded an explosion of Hong Kong literary and media production, died 30 October. Though Cha leaves a legacy of massive sales in Asia, his books have not yet taken hold in the west. Efforts this year to expand his English readership, however, can only gain new resonance with Cha’s passing.

The Spatiality of Emotion in Early Modern China: From Dreamscapes to Theatricality, Ling Hon Lam (Columbia University Press, May 2018)
The Spatiality of Emotion in Early Modern China: From Dreamscapes to Theatricality, Ling Hon Lam (Columbia University Press, May 2018)

Ling Hon Lam encourages us to think of emotions in terms of space; when we sympathize with a character in a play or feel something for another person, that emotion takes place, for it moves us outside ourselves. In Chinese this relation between space and emotion is described by the term qingjing; a scenery of feeling or in Ling’s translation an “emotion-realm”.

History by way of “things” has itself become a “thing”. Archaeologists, of course, always did history this way. But they would focus on, usually, assemblages of objects, rather individual pieces. While perhaps not the first—nothing is ever the first—the BBC and the British Museum’s A History of the World in 100 Objects by Neil MacGregor popularized the concept.

Separating Sheep from Goats: Sherman E Lee and Chinese Art Collecting in Postwar America, Noelle Giuffrida (University of California Press, August 2018)
Separating Sheep from Goats: Sherman E Lee and Chinese Art Collecting in Postwar America, Noelle Giuffrida (University of California Press, August 2018)

Separating Sheep from Goats investigates the history of collecting and exhibiting Chinese art through the lens of the career of renowned American curator and museum director Sherman E Lee (1918-2008). Drawing upon artworks and archival materials, Noelle Giuffrida excavates an international society of collectors, dealers, curators, and scholars who constituted the art world in which Lee operated.