We had another great book club meeting on Friday, 22 November, discussing the book Lost on Planet China: One Man’s Attempt to Understand the World’s Most Mystifying Nation, by J. Maarten Troost, who traveled around China for a month. He managed to visit many different cities and get a glimpse of the enormous diversity of China. Mr. Troost was very funny at times, and we identified with many of the situations he described. In the end, however, we agreed that Mr. Troost cannot get a true sense of China without really living here, and that he exaggerated negative aspects of China, like the pollution, for comedic effect rather than in an attempt to truly understand.
If you enjoyed Lost on Planet China (or even if you didn’t,) here are some other travel books or memoirs on China that you might like from our collection.
Home is a Roof over a Pig, by Aminta Arrington. This is the memoir of an American mother and teacher, who moves her family to Ta’ian, a city near Qufu where Confucius was born, to teach English at a Chinese university. One of her children was adopted from China, and Ms. Arrington wanted to give her a sense of her heritage. Ms. Arrington has always been enamoured of the Chinese language and the book is organized in chapters focused on Chinese characters and the history behind each. Find it in the library with the call number, 951 ARR.
River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze, by Peter Hessler. The author is now a journalist in Beijing, but he first came to China with the US Peace Corps to teach in the river town of Fuling. River Town is a memoir of his two years as an English professor in the university. He also loves the Chinese language and he worked hard at learning to speak, read and write it. An enjoyable read, this book can be found with the call number 951.1 HES.
Riding the Iron Rooster, by Paul Theroux. The author took a year to travel around China on the Chinese railroad system, and in doing so he discovered many different aspects of China. Our paperback copy can be found with the call number 915.1. Although this book is 25 years old, it has a soft spot in my heart because it was one of the first travel books I read and it hooked me onto travelogues.
Our next meeting will not be until 17 January 2014. The book we will be discussing then will be Inferno, by Dan Brown. I personally enjoyed The Da Vinci Code very much, and am looking forward to losing myself to the hunt in this new book.
The IST Library Parent Book Club is open to all expats in Tianjin who love reading. Please register via the sidebar widget.