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Librarians’ Recommendation:"The Gay Genius:The Life and Times of Su Tungpo"


-Xu Guo  (Librarian of Hangzhou Public Library)


Hello, everyone!Today’s recommendation is “The Gay Genius:The Life and Times of Su Tungpo”.


“How rare the moon, so round and clear! With cup in hand, I ask of the blue sky...” Su Tungpo is a genius with broad interests, a remarkable talent of many ages. He is a famous poem essayist, painter, calligrapher and all-rounder in the Northern Song Dynasty.


After reading this book, I have deeply resonated with this legendary person. While reading “Flowing eastward is the big river. Rinsing along the way by waves including historical champions”, I admired his bold and unconstrained. While reading “ I’d fain, in a straw cloak, spend my life in mist and rain”, I knew his natural and unrestrained. While reading “there are plenty of other fish in the sea”, I appreciated his optimistism. While reading “Without thinking, unforgettable”, I saw the pain of losing his wife. While reading “Why can't I tell the true shape of Lushan? Because I myself am in the mountain”, I realized that he took things philosophically. While reading “How long will the full moon appear? Wine cup in hand, I ask the sky”, I can’t help reciting the masterpiece. 


Su Tungpo had arrived in Hangzhou twice as a civil servant, when he encountered setbacks in his official career. In Hangzhou, he traveled all around, tasted the local foods, and served the residents wholeheartedly. Two of Top Ten Views of the West Lake-Spring Dawn at Su Causeway and Three Pools Mirroring the Moon are directly related to him. Nowadays, when people in Hangzhou mentioned Su Tungpo, they still feel familiar and close, and nicknamed him the Old Mayor. Thanks to Su Tungpo, Hangzhou was renowned around the world by the saying that there is paradise above and Suzhou and Hangzhou below. 


This book offered us different perspectives of observing Su Tungpo and    his times by public life and personal affairs, ups and downs. His noble spirit and the natural greatness of a soul, like a diamond shining in the sky and will always be remembered after thousands of years.




In general, Su Tungpo's life tells us that the life of everyone can not be smooth sailing, and may encounter setbacks now and then. The key is to have the courage to overcome difficulties. In the face of difficulties, we should go forward bravely and never turn back. Keep optimistic and open-minded in the face of adversity.