The Banished Immortal: A Life of Li Bai (Li Po) (Paperback)

The Banished Immortal: A Life of Li Bai (Li Po) By Ha Jin Cover Image
By Ha Jin
$17.00
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Description


In his own time (701–762), Li Bai’s brilliant poems—shaped by Daoist thought, filled with an irrepressible lust for life—were never given their proper due. Nonetheless, his lines rang out on the lips of tavern singers, soldiers, and writers throughout the Tang dynasty, and his deep desire for a higher, more perfect world gave rise to his nickname: the Banished Immortal. With the instincts of a master novelist, Ha Jin draws on a wide range of historical and literary sources to weave the great poet’s life story, following Bai from his origins on the western frontier to his rambling travels as a young man. Jin also takes us through the poet’s later years—in which he became swept up in a military rebellion that altered the course of China’s history—and the mysterious circumstances of his death.
 
Today, Bai’s verses remain an inextricable part of the Chinese language—taught to schoolchildren, recited at parties and toasts—and are famed throughout the world. The Banished Immortal is an extraordinary portrait of a poet who both transcended his time and was shaped by it, and whose ability to live, love, drink, dance, and mourn without reservation produced some of the world’s most enduring verses.

About the Author


Ha Jin left his native China in 1985 to attend Brandeis University. He is the author of eight novels, four story collections, four volumes of poetry, and a book of essays. He has received the National Book Award, two PEN/Faulkner Awards, the PEN/Hemingway Foundation Award, the Asian American Literary Award, and the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction. In 2014 he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He lives in the Boston area and is a professor at the creative writing program at Boston University.

Praise For…


"A deeply empathetic portrait of a literary genius whose vicissitudes in life . . . would pale a Shakespearean drama.” —The Wall Street Journal

“Ha Jin narrates the poet’s unusual life with erudition. . . . Writing about Li Bai—his life, his work, and his country—Jin finally returns home.” The New Yorker 

“A fluently told story, mysterious yet familiar, tragic yet sometimes comical. Ha Jin is a master storyteller.” Robert Pinsky

“Ha Jin tells Li’s story with insight and empathy.” —The New Yorker (briefly noted)

“An affectionate and thoughtful portrait of a complicated man and a master poet. . . . American readers’ Western bias has left the Chinese poet Li Bai less well-known here than in his native land, where he is considered a foundational writer. [The Banished Immortal] is a worthy corrective and an engaging introduction to the poet’s life and work.” —BookPage

“Ha Jin’s masterful style and deep affection for his subject make the book a pleasure to read. . . A number of readers will pick up this book knowing its author but not Li Bai, and Ha Jin makes sure they see Bai’s prodigious talent.” —Shelf Awareness (starred review)

“A taut introduction to the life and poetry of the influential eighth-century Daoist poet . . . Ha Jin’s polished biography will give a wider audience access to the politics and beauty of a major Chinese poet.” —Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)

“Award-winning novelist and poet Jin offers a glimpse into the life of one of China’s most celebrated poets . . . Scholarly and emotionally engaging . . . Essential.” —Library Journal (starred review)

“[Bai’s] life as distinguished poet and fiction writer Ha Jin so limpidly relays it was peripatetic. . . . Yet he was an unstaunchable fount of poems of friendship, drinking, dancing, nostalgia, and regret. . . . Bai still stands, with his friend Du Fu, at the pinnacle of Chinese poetry, and his influence is extensive the world over.” —Booklist
Product Details
ISBN: 9780525562436
ISBN-10: 0525562435
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: December 3rd, 2019
Pages: 320
Language: English

How to read more

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How To Read More

If you love reading, but for some reason you read less and less, know that everything is fine. It happens.
Our lives today have so many things that distract us - how can we not put books away when all these movies, TV shows, YouTube videos, social networks and endless surfing in online stores are around ...
Yes, it's really hard to resist, but you certainly can!

In this article, we want to share with you some tips to read more often and more successfully.
These are some notes and some practices that we have collected for our SUNDOG BOOKS readers club.
And maybe it will bring more books into your life!

Why do we want/need to read more?

To start reading more, you have to understand why you need it.
And you will be surprised, but your goals can be quite varied:

- for work
If you read a lot on duty, then you definitely need to speed up the process. The logic here is simple: read faster → work faster → more time for books for yourself.

- for education
you need this for your educational career or sometimes you just want to read to learn. And, with all the new alternative ways to gain knowledge (podcasts, online courses and videos), the book still does an excellent job of this task too.

- for self-development
all exercises for increasing speed, one way or another, improve cognition and memory.

- for fun
because good books always = fun!

Book lovers have an additional special goal for reading more often. If you love literature, you will understand what we mean: you want to catch everything - to follow modern literature, and not forget about the classics, look into non-fiction and children's publications. And there’s so much you want to reread! The goals are ambitious, but attainable if you read a lot.

 

And so - How to read more:
We will tell you about the methods that we use ourselves. Perhaps some will suit you as well.

 

15 minutes a day

You've probably already heard this rule: if you want to start a healthy habit, devote 15 minutes a day to it. Once upon a time, we all read irregularly, in jumps and starts. Sometimes we cannot open a book we have begun weeks ago. Therefore, you should decide to create a rule: devote at least 15 minutes a day to reading. Try reading before bed, or maybe during lunchtime, or even when you are having your morning coffee.

You will see progress immediately. You will notice that almost always your 15 minutes will grow into half an hour or more. But the most remarkable thing is that in three weeks your hands themselves will be looking for a book.

 

50 First Pages
This method advises - If the book hasn't hooked you from the first 50 pages, put it aside! Life is too short to read uninteresting books.

It is necessary to change the approach to books. At first it will be hard for you to stop and put the book down. Even if we put the book away, it will seem to reproach us from the shelf, mocking us as quitters. But in the end we should come to one simple thought: if it doesn’t hook your attention, you should not force yourself to read it.

***Fifty pages is not a bad test. Not the most objective, but definitely effective. It helps to determine whether it interests you or not, and whether to spend time on things that do not excite.

 

Reader's Diary

This should be used to improve the quality of reading - to make it more conscious. For starters, it can be a simple notebook with headings:

  • Author
  • Year of publication
  • Main characters
  • Scene
  • Plot
  • Theme
  • Quotes

And, yes, a reader's diary is not a thing about quantity, but about quality. But, it can also motivate. When you open your diary and start looking at quotes (especially quotes), you immediately really want to read.

 

Maybe a Book Bet?
Several people can participate. Members of the betting group can come from friends, family, and also your colleagues. And of course you can set your own rules for participation, but we'll give you a simple example:

Everyone in the group should read and review a book over the course of a month with weekly updates. Anyone who does not finish a review buys the book for all other participants for the next month.

 

Speed Reading

Another effective way to increase the amount you read is speed reading. The logic here is simple - the faster you read, the more books you can enjoy.

*There are many online courses on speed reading, and you can also study on your own using instructional books. But, it is worth noting that this is a serious learning process that will require some effort on your part.

 

Outcome

Reading every day is quite attainable, the main thing is to try to make it a habit.
Sometimes, instead of heading for Facebook, try opening a book and soon you won’t even remember why you needed to wander around social media.
And also - don't forget about audiobooks. They are a cool way to take the load off your eyes sometimes and just immerse yourself in the story. Some books are really strong in voice acting.

 
 
 

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