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Subtitled: The Unofficial History of the World of the Literati, this classic novel, written in the Chinese vernacular and published around 1750, is Wu Ching-Tzu's account of many friends (and enemies), academics all, who struggle to cope with the burdens of a Confucian society and the difficulties of the Civil Service Exam. It's book that appeals in every era. Under Mao, the work was taught to mainland students, not for the comedy, but to educate on the failings of "the Old Way." Follow this author as he charts through faculty, of good morals and bad, with noble objectives and venal ones, on a Ming Dynasty romp you'll find impossible to put down.