What Never Leaves • Daniel Tam-Claiborne

By |June 9th, 2017|

“Why should I blame anyone but myself if I cannot understand what I know nothing about?”

We are all—even the best of us—quick to judge. The unfamiliar confuses, upsets, and undermines our conventions, forcing us to put aside what we’re accustomed to, including the distinct, learned ways in which we’ve come […]

American Agent • John C. Caldwell and Mark Gayn

By |May 23rd, 2017|

Published in 1947 in the wake of a war that consumed the Pacific, American Agent is the uninspiring title of a remarkable true story. American involvement in the local Chinese resistance to the Japanese was little known at the time, even more rarely reported on, and barely acknowledged by the powers in Washington […]

In the Land of Pagodas • Alfred Raquez

By |May 19th, 2017|

In the Land of Pagodas: A Classic Account of Travel in Hong Kong, Macao, Shanghai, Hubei, Hunan and Guizhou

by Alfred Raquez (Edited and translated by William L. Gibson and Paul Bruthiaux)

Long out of print in the original French, this travel account of China at the end of the nineteenth century […]

Pan-Asian Sports and the Emergence of Modern Asia, 1913-1974 • Stefan Huebner

By |May 9th, 2017|

For many sports fans, life is measured out in four-year milestones provided by the Football World Cup, the Olympics, or – in my case – the Rugby World Cup. We can reel off the years, locations, and winners, and we can often recall where we were at the time and […]

The Search for a Vanishing Beijing: A Guide to China’s Capital Through the Ages • Michael A. Aldrich

By |May 6th, 2017|

This is a tremendously enjoyable book; reading it feels like going for a stroll through Old Peking with a companion who is a cross between Peter Hopkirk and Mark Twain. On the very first page of the book, Aldrich lays out his stall with an explanation of the use of […]

Author Interview: Tim Symonds

By |March 30th, 2017|

Englishman Tim Symonds is the author of five Sherlock Holmes novels, most recently the highly enjoyable Sherlock Holmes and the Nine-Dragon Sigil, which takes Holmes and Watson to the Forbidden City in Peking during the last days of the Qing dynasty. 

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What does the “Nine-Dragon Sigil” in the book title refer […]

Author Interview: Joe Henley

By |March 23rd, 2017|

A Canadian freelance writer from Saskatchewan, Joe Henley has called Taipei home since graduating from journalism school in 2005. He is also a metal/punk musician and has written extensively about the music scene in Asia. His first novel, a thriller set in Taiwan called Sons of the Republic, was published in […]

India in the Chinese Imagination • John Kieschnick and Meier Shahar, eds.

By |March 5th, 2017|

In India in the Chinese Imagination, an excellent collection of essays published by the University of Pennsylvania Press, eleven scholars examine the way that Indian ideas have influenced the mythology, religion, and thought of China. The book is divided into three sections: Indian Mythology and the Chinese Imagination, India in […]

The Last Gods of Indochine • Samuel Ferrer

By |January 7th, 2017|

The ruins of Angkor are Southeast Asia’s most spectacular historical attraction. Still awe-inspiring despite the tourist hordes, they have inspired surprisingly few novels.

Angkor is the main setting for Samuel Ferrer’s The Last Gods of Indochine, a historical drama combining two storylines separated by six centuries; one story is set in […]

In Search of Japan’s Hidden Christians: A Story of Suppression, Secrecy and Survival • John Dougill

By |December 30th, 2016|

I read so many excellent books that it’s hard to name a favourite, but seeing as I so often ask people to recommend a book they’ve read recently and to also choose an all-time favourite, it’s only fair I answer these questions myself. My all-time pick is Nostromo, Joseph Conrad’s […]