Thursday, February 25, 2010

For Book Lovers Only

This post will not be entertaining, but I thought I'd share my winter travel reading list for anyone interested in picking up a good book about Asia.  I learned a lot.

Oracle Bones by Peter Hessler:
"A century ago, outsiders saw China as a place where nothing ever changes. Today the country has become one of the most dynamic regions on earth. In Oracle Bones, Peter Hessler explores the human side of China's transformation, viewing modern-day China and its growing links to the Western world through the lives of a handful of ordinary people." (
Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang:
"In Wild Swans Jung Chang recounts the evocative, unsettling, and insistently gripping story of how three generations of women in her family fared in the political maelstrom of China during the 20th century." (
 Survival in the Killing Fields by Haing Ngor with Robert Warner:
"'Nothing has shaped my life as much as surviving the Pol Pot regime. I am a survivor of the Cambodian holocaust. That's who I am,' says Haing Ngor. And in his memoir, Survival in the Killing Fields, he tells the gripping and frequently terrifying story of his term in the hell created by the communist Khmer Rouge." (
 Lonely Planet Vietnam by Ray, Balasingamchow, and Stewart:
"Experience the best of Vietnam with Lonely Planet...  so full of practical information that you'll be watching the sunset from a junk on Halong Bay, sucking back bia hoi street-side in Hanoi, or bargaining like a local in Ho Chi Minh City in no time. "
Lonely Planet Unpacked  by Jennifer Brewer
"This collection of 26 first-person essays by Lonely Planet writers includes tales that describe, in mostly self-effacing detail, the horrors and embarrassments that can befall even the most seasoned travelers."
 NASB Thinline Bible from Zondervan
No review here -- who reviews the Bible??
 And finally, one I picked up in Vietnam but haven't read yet:  Catfish and Mandala: A Two-Wheeled Voyage through the Landscape and Memory of Vietnam by Andrew X. Pham:
"The son of Vietnamese parents who suffered terribly during the Vietnam War and brought their family to America when he was 10, Pham, on the cusp of his 30s, defied his parents' conservative hopes for him and his engineering career by becoming a poorly paid freelance writer. After the suicide of his sister, he set off on an even riskier path to travel some of the world on his bicycle. In the grueling, enlightening year that followed, he pedaled through Mexico, the American West Coast, Japan, and finally his far-off first land, Vietnam." ( (*note* Amazon's customer reviews question the complete authenticity of this book.)
I'd love to hear any additional recommendations of good non-fiction on China and Southeast Asia, especially books written by nationals and translated into English.  Thoughts?

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