The most-read posts of the year were, in order:
- The best books I read in 2017
- How long was China Communist?
- Why most older Chinese women do not work
- My guide to the debate raging over China’s northeast rust belt
- Chinese economic history as seen through eyeglasses
The most-popular list does include some of my own favorites, but there are always some posts I like that don’t find a big audience.
These tend to be the more specialized China pieces or translations, though my jazz record reviews also have a notable track record of failing to dominate the internet (which hasn’t deterred me yet).
Here are some posts that did not make it into the top five, but in retrospect were in fact pretty good:
- The socialist urbanization series. One of the big themes on the blog this year: a series of posts, mostly translations or long excerpts from sources, showing how Chinese urbanization is distinctively socialist.
- How stoves and lamps led to a turning point in China’s reforms. A translation of an interesting piece of oral history about the 1980s reform process.
- Will centralizing power solve China’s economic problems, or worsen them? With local authorities getting ever more top-down direction under Xi, this question has only gotten more relevant since I wrote about it in August.
- The best music I heard in 2017. A pretty interesting and diverse list, if I do say so myself.
- Anton Chekhov, the investigative data journalist. One of my better non-China posts, of thoughts after reading Chekhov’s Sakhalin Island.