on 4 November 2009
As I'm studying Mandarin Chinese, I'm becoming more and more fascinated with the language and its history and also the culture of China. This little book is a superb overview and introduction to the development of the language, also touching on daily life (though it might be a little dated) and with historical information about calligraphy and painting. There are many weighty tomes on all these subjects but the Changs have a light chatty writing style which is ideal for the casual reader or one who wants a break from the academic approach.
A lot of the material covered here is familiar to me but there are many extra fascinating details, certainly the section on characters has some useful tips I can use elsewhere and I could very well see how early printing might have developed from the stone carvings of master calligraphers works. If you've an interest in China or Chinese or know someone who has, this is an ideal book, a delight to read and I'm sorry it was so short. A happy-making informative treat, I recommend it highly!