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on 28 March 2014
This is a fantastic book. I was learning Arabic and had a similar book to this in that language. With parallel English and Chinese writing this is perfect to assist any learning program. Only thing missing is a MP3 CD with the stories read in chinese which my arabic book had.

Must for any student of Chinese. I love it!
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on 19 April 2017
Parallel texts may work when both writings use an alphabet but in the case of Chinese 汉字, if you don't know a particular character, you can become easily lost.

I was surprised and disappointed to find that they didn't include pinyin, which seems like an obvious necessity.

The blurb of this book states it "offers students at all levels the opportunity to enjoy a wide range of contemporary literature without having constantly to refer to a dictionary."

I'm currently at HSK3 level and could certainly not use this book. It's absurd to claim you can use it without referring to a dictionary.
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on 25 March 2015
An interesting selection of stories. However, my three greatest criticisms would be that:

1. There are many, many character-related mistakes in the Chinese texts. From what I can infer, this is the fault of the editor John Balcom, and not the original authors. It can be simple things like confusing 天 with 田, 球 with 秋. This can only be the result of sloppy editing at the input stage. Since this book is marketed on some level as a language-learning tool, a beginner-intermediate learner must approach the Chinese texts with a degree of skepticism. Reading the Chinese texts with a critical eye may be, in and of itself, a useful language-learning exercise, but it is admittedly not the aim of the book.

2. On a similar note, the English translations are often questionable.

3. Better stories could have been chosen for this selection. The ones that I enjoyed most were Receiving the Precepts and Lanterns for the dead, but I found the others often dull. China has much better literature that John Balcom could have chosen from.
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on 25 November 2016
I would recommend this book as it has English and Chinese in it. The chinese characters were a good size and has good spacing in between the chararcters but I have not read it yet. I like the look of this book.
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