Last weekend I read the entirety of Mao and China in the Twentieth-Century World by Rabecca E. Karl in preparation for my upcoming exam on modern east Asian history. I certainly recommend it for anyone who desires to know the modern history of the country that some call the oldest in the world. The book is well written and very accessible as it tells the story of one of China's most prolific leaders in a way that is exciting and concise in just under 200 pages (just finished it over the weekend). Despite the relatively short length, the text does not skimp on the details, illustrating civil war, political intrigue and China's modernization in a colorful and engaging way. Be warned though, its not fun and games. From my point of view, the book portrays Mao both as an idealist and a severely flawed individual. By the end of the book I felt I was given further reason to believe that communism and humanity just don't mix. Either way, its a good read!
In other news, I finally got around to watching Zebraman, the 2004 Takeshi Miike movie. I'm certainly a fan of Takeshi Miike's on-screen craziness, having watched much of his library already, but for some reason I had never gotten around to seeing Zebraman, despite several recommendations from friends. I finally watched it and it was quite good! Its pretty tame for a Miike film, but the story is quite charming and follows an elementary school teacher who becomes a real-life super hero! But this isn't Kickass, or Super sort of stuff, the main character turns into a REAL super hero, powers and all! It's pretty neat. There's a lot of throwback to the Super Sentai or Masked Rider super hero shows that have aired on Japanese television of decades. With likable characters and a fun story Zebraman provides some good fun.
Apparently there is a Zebraman II out now but I haven't seen it yet. I'll let you know if I do!