Deep Dive into Classic Literature and Philosophy with Alex Perlloni
Asia Society at Home
Discover your newest binge and get to know our staff a little better with the Asia Society Texas Center team's favorite ways to stay entertained indoors! With our Deep Dives we take you on a journey into the obsessions of individual staff members for an in-depth look at a specific art form or cultural production.
Alexis Perlloni is working as Security & Facility Assistant at Asia Society Texas Center. His background includes academic studies in Asian religions and literature, and he has a particular interest in Confucius and cross-cultural ethics. Alex is always looking for opportunities to help others and he loves to pay attention to the details in everything he does.
Alex's note on this Deep Dive's links:
When buying books, I try to support local bookshops. My favorite bookshop in Houston is Brazos Bookstore; they have some books that are difficult to find on online stores. I made this commitment to myself; if the book is the same price or just a little less expensive online, I give the priority to local bookshops. I also love Kaboom Books if I'm looking for something old and rare to read.
What I am currently enjoying
I'm currently reading Ways of Heaven: An Introduction to Chinese Thought by Roel Sterckx. This is not the common introduction of philosophy and culture you normally find in academic texts, but gives you a deeper understanding of key terms, such as dao, qi, and yin and yang, that many people tend to misinterpret. I have been learning more about how different ideas of the ancient dynasties in China contributed to the modern understandings of history, philosophy, religion, politics, economy, and even cuisine in China. If you're looking to expand your understanding of different cultures and promote a healthy interchange of ideas on different subjects related to China, this book will guide you on the right track.
Find it on: Bookshop
What I find myself returning to again and again
I love tea in all its varieties (black, green, yellow, oolong, and pu-erh), so I recently added to my library The True History of Tea by Erling Hoh and Victor H. Mair. This book gives you a detailed history of tea covering how it developed from the earliest Chinese dynasties through Japan, Central Asia, India, and Europe. It is very engaging and well-researched.
Projects that I am looking forward to
I love epic poems and I'm eagerly waiting for a modern film based on the Mahabharata and Ramayana with modern technical effects. How is it possible that we have excellent adaptations of Homer like Troy but not of Vyasa, Tulsidas, and other great Asian writers?
For now, my recommendation for a book is Mahabharata: A Modern Retelling as translated by Carole Satyamurti. This is a beautiful translation of a voluminous epic poem as translated by one of the best scholars of Indian poetry. Easy to understand, it keeps the poetical style as similar as possible to the original Sanskrit.
An author that excites me is
I have an addiction to poetry, especially (but not uniquely) Chinese and Japanese poetry. Because I can't read Chinese or Japanese, I recently have been enjoying translations by David Hinton and Red Pine, but if I find other good translations, I add them to my library.
I have a special shelf with poetry books by Tu Fu, Li He, Wang An-shih, Han Shan, and Bashō, among others. There are other subjects that I really enjoy, but I always end up reading, as a cyclic way, the same poems in that special little shelf.
My wildcard recommendation is
I just started to read my first anthology of short stories of Chinese modern fiction, That We May Live: Speculative Chinese Fiction. Futurist and surreal, it has shown me a previously unknown view of how Chinese writers deal with sexuality, urbanization, and propaganda in China. It is interesting but strange, and I hope to write a small review of it in the future.
Business and Policy programs are endowed by Huffington Foundation. We give special thanks to Bank of America, Muffet Blake, Anne and Albert Chao, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Nancy Pollok Guinee, United Airlines, and Wells Fargo, Presenting Sponsors of Business and Policy programs; Nancy C. Allen, Chinhui Juhn and Eddie Allen, and Leslie and Brad Bucher, Presenting Sponsors of Exhibitions; Dr. Ellen R. Gritz and Milton D. Rosenau and Wells Fargo, Presenting Sponsors of Performing Arts and Culture; and Mitsubishi Corporation (Americas), Presenting Sponsor of the Japan Series. General support of programs and exhibitions is provided by The Brown Foundation, Inc., The Hearts Foundation, Inc., Houston Endowment, Inc., the City of Houston through Houston Arts Alliance, McKinsey & Company, Inc., National Endowment for the Arts, Texas Commission on the Arts, Vinson & Elkins LLP, and Mary Lawrence Porter, as well as Friends of Asia Society.
About Asia Society at Home
Though Asia Society is temporarily closed, we are dedicated to continuing our mission of building cross-cultural understanding and uplifting human connectivity. Using digital tools, we bring you content for all ages and conversations that matter, in order to spark curiosity about Asia and to foster empathy.
About Asia Society Texas Center
With 13 locations throughout the world, Asia Society is the leading educational organization promoting mutual understanding and strengthening partnerships among the peoples, leaders, and institutions of Asia and West. Asia Society Texas Center executes the global mission with a local focus, enriching and engaging the vast diversity of Houston through innovative, relevant programs in arts and culture, business and policy, education, and community outreach.