Former leaders' libraries

Updated: 2013-03-06 09:46

By Tang Yue (China Daily)

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Mao Zedong, an enthusiastic reader throughout his life, devoured a wide range of topics from history to Buddhism, fiction and military science.

His favorite books were A Comprehensive Mirror to Aid in Government, and The Twenty-Four Histories, a series of dynastic histories from remote antiquity until the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). His reading of overseas authors was mainly confined to books about Marxism.

Mao, who worked as a librarian at Peking University for four months in 1918, was a famous poet and many of his works are included in Chinese-language textbooks.

Deng Xiaoping also loved history, especially The Records of the Three Kingdoms, a text often described as one of the most authoritative portrayals of life between the late Eastern Han Dynasty (AD 25-220) and the period of the Three Kingdoms (AD 220-280).

Deng was a big fan of kung fu novels, too. "The leading characters in the books are always successful after much tribulation," Deng once commented. He also enjoyed reading ghost stories.

Geography was another of Deng's passions. According to reports, he always took an atlas on his travels around China to pinpoint his position.

Jiang Zemin has a taste for Western literature. In a 1997 interview with Time magazine, he said, "I am the president of the People's Republic of China, but I'm also a normal citizen with my own interests and hobbies."

Jiang said he had read the works of Dante, Shakespeare, Balzac, Tolstoy and Twain.