Thursday, January 31, 2008

Two new books in the former native speaker's library

We visited Chung-Yo Dept. Store last night and, as usual, spent most of the time in the Eslite Bookstore there. I picked up two interesting, picture-filled books about Taiwan:
  • 台灣西方文明初體驗 (Taiwan's First Experiences of Western Civilization), by 陳柔縉 (Chen Rouxin). This has some interesting chapters in it about how aspects of "Western Civilization" like toothpaste, running water, and English first entered Taiwan. (A lot seems to have come via the Japanese.)
  • 一九五0年代的臺灣 (1950s Taiwan), by 吳昆財 (Wu Kuncai). This is an illustrated history of Taiwan in the 1950s. (For some reason, LibraryThing has this book mixed up with a book of Japanese manga...?)
Anyway, I can look through these while the in-laws are playing mah-jong...


mch said...

台灣西方文明初體驗 -- I love that one. I noticed a running narrative with a lot of the subjects in that collection: something 文明 arrives by way of the Japanese, the Taiwanese get used to it, mainland Chinese arrive and are like "OH MY GOD WHAT IS THIS THING? FAUCETS WITH RUNNING WATER?? HOW DO WE USE THEM??" and then eventually everyone becomes accustomed to it. It's kind of funny. Sadly, that was one of the books that got lost in transit when I had to ship all my books over here. I plan to pick up another copy when I return this summer. The cover, as I recall, is very pretty.

Jonathan Benda said...

An image of the cover is available if you click on the title of the book.

The cover itself is pretty cool, since it's in that "復古" style.