Chinese New Year

Today marks the first day of the Chinese New Year. It’s the year of the sheep or goat (or ram), translations vary. According to the Independent the Chinese character “yang” can translate in colloquial Chinese as either sheep or goat.


I own a few books by Chinese authors, among them,


Soul Mountain and One Man’s Bible by Nobel Prize Winner, Goa Xingjian:


Shanghai Baby by Wei Hui


China in Ten Words by Yu Hua


It is said that the mood for this year of the goat or sheep is one of tranquility, peace and harmonious coexistence.


Time to flock together, settle into our favorite reading spots and read great works of literature from other countries.





69 thoughts on “Chinese New Year

  1. I have friends living in Singapore who are receiving oranges from their neighbors, a symbol of prosperity. She says Chinese New Year is taken seriously. Your book selections intrigue me. I will have to check them out since much of what I read is multi cultural. Peony by Lisa See and Wild Swans by Jung Chang are good reads.

    • I watched some of the firework celebrations on television, quite something. I like the idea of offering oranges to your neighbors. Thanks for the books recommendations, a lovely offering as well!

  2. Happy New Year! This is my year. I’m a sheep. Or a goat. Or a ram. Whatever. I’m wearing red and have a few Asian books next to my bed. I go through spurts of reading a lot of Asian works and then none. I have two that you show, but haven’t read them yet.

    • It’s your year – wonderful! How interesting to read a group of books from one geographic location at a time. I don’t think I’ve done that before (although when I travel I do read a book by an author from whatever country I’m visiting).

    • Haha, it is a little racy but an interesting read. A young woman in a big city. Hope you get a wonderful fortune in your fortune cookie. If it’s good, share it with us on twitter!

  3. That figures that the goat club was ahead of its time! It’s funny that this is the beginning of the goat year since they’ve been popping up all over the place for a while. I’ll look forward to more goat happiness!

  4. While living in Thailand we had Western New year, Chinese New year, Thai New year, Hill-tribe New year and all at different times. It was great. I’ve read several translations of Chinese authors and am impressed at the way they look at life.

  5. I love the photo of the reading goat!!!! You don’t see that often! I hope it is a year of tranquility. And I am going to reread “China in Ten Words”.

  6. I love the picture of the goat with the book in its mouth! I confess I am intrigued by the fact that no-one seems to know whether it is the year of the goat, the ram or the sheep (a dispute arising from the horns featured on its icon, I understand) and that furthermore no-one seems to care! How very Chinese!

  7. Goats?! Tranquility?! They do not go together!!! Trust me, I know!! Sheep fit the bill a little better. I’ll go with sheep. I need some tranquility this year. But I would like to know more about your goat group that needs to make a record?

    • You make a good point, goats aren’t so tranquil! Did you have goats once? The goat club is a silly but fun thing a few of us started to discuss on Twitter (I can’t for the life of me remember how it started). Britt wrote about it on her blog a while back- I’ll see I I can find the post!

  8. My bookshelf is devoid of Chinese lit. I will, however, partake in a Chinese dinner to compensate as I patiently await the year of the pig. (I’m a pig – on the calendar, not at dinner.)

  9. I don’t like to bleat on about it but I haven’t managed to get to any of those Chinese writers you have kindly recommended to me in the past, I don’t follow the herd in terms of reading but ewe have a knack of picking the books that aren’t wooly in the least. it does goods to come somewhere that sheers away the rubbish books and inspires me to dip into the good stuff.

  10. Letizia Im a Dragon and my children wish they were too. Because they love all stories about Dragon’s. This year of the goat should be a good one then for my daughter, she hates being a goat but then she laughs about her brother being a monkey. You amaze me with the amount of books you have read. Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

  11. 10 words to China and one is bamboozle! I love that! And goats and tranquility?! I’m with Reading with Rhythm on that one. The only book I own by a Chinese author is The Woman Warrior, by Maxine Hong Kingston, but she’s Chinese American, so maybe it doesn’t count 🙂 me:horse

    • I’ll have to check out The Woman Warrior, I don’t know that one. You’ll like 10 Words to China. There was one chapter about reading which I loved and know you’ll love too!

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