Le toréador (1849) is a opéra-comique by Adolphe Adam, a French composer best known for the ballet Giselle. The story is of a ménage–a–trois between an erstwhile soprano, her oft–absent and unfaithful husband, and a previous lover. The work features famous variations on the folk–song Ah! vous dirai–je, maman (better known as Twinkle, twinkle, little star in the English–speaking world).

Derek Chung is not only a prolific poet, novelist, and essayist, he’s also an acclaimed translator that has brought work from Li-Young Lee, Carl Sandburg, Williams Carlos Williams and others into Chinese. Now a new English translation of his poetry collection, A Cha Chaan Teng That Does Not Exist, from May Huang, brings back to life Hong Kong from twenty years ago. As the title and colorful cover artwork imply, the poems describe a Hong Kong that has changed greatly.

In mid-January 1945, US Navy pilots launched a series of attacks on Japanese-held Hong Kong. In his new book Target Hong Kong, Steven K Bailey, whose previous book Bold Venture told the story of the bombing of Hong Kong by US Army Air Corps pilots based in China under the command of General Claire Chennault of “Flying Tigers” fame, shifts his focus to the American naval pilots of Admiral William “Bull” Halsey’s Task Force 38 whose mission was to seek out and destroy Japanese convoys, warships and ports in and around the South China Sea. The code name for the naval-based air attacks on Hong Kong was “Operation Gratitude”.

Harry Franck died in 1962. This latest edition of his work consists of a few excerpts from his original Roving Through Southern China published in 1925. The original much larger book described two years of roving that took Franck as far as Yunnan, but these excerpts focus on the few months he and his family spent living in Canton in the winter of 1924. The excerpts are supplemented with some very useful footnotes from Paul French explaining some of the things Franck mentions that are no longer familiar to the modern reader.

Scènes de la vie de bohème is an intimate dramatic adaptation of Giacomo Puccini’s classic opera. Reduced to the four principal roles in a new musical arrangement by Marco Iannelli, this new version is designed to focus on the emotional ties between the two couples. It debuted in April 2024 in a run of special performances on Hong Kong’s iconic Star Ferry in a new production for Dante Alighieri Society and The Peninsula Hong Kong to commemorate the Puccini centenary.

In 1975, journalist Ian Gill met up with his mother Billie in Hong Kong. He flew in from his home in New Zealand while she came from her home in Geneva. They hadn’t seen each other in a few years and Ian thought it would be just a chance to catch up with his mother. He had never visited Hong Kong and Billie hadn’t been back since World War II. Instead of a quiet holiday, Billie started introducing Ian to her old friends, friends she had known during the War. Ian knew very little about his mother’s years in China and Hong Kong, and what he began learning on that trip started to seem worthy of a book. And, as he would find, Billie and the people she knew in Shanghai and Hong Kong have already been the subject of a number of books. Now almost fifty years after that initial introduction to his mother’s past, Gill has published a family memoir, Searching for Billie: A Journalist’s Quest to Understand His Mother’s Past Leads Him to Discover a Vanished China. It’s a fascinating look at his mother’s early years in Shanghai and Hong Kong, but it’s also a who’s who in Chinese and Hong Kong history.