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The Great Walk of China: Travels on Foot from Shanghai to Tibet • Graham Earnshaw

When it comes to travel writing, China’s immense size can be overwhelming. Solutions include focusing on a small town and its hinterland, or – at the other extreme – covering every province. A good compromise is taking a transect across the country, whether that thread be a river, a highway, […]

By |November 12th, 2019|Reviews, Uncategorised|0 Comments

The Front Lines of the War, and other poems • Scott Ezell

I don’t review poetry. Well, until now. I’m breaking that commandment in posting this review of Scott Ezell’s outstanding poetry chapbook, The Front Lines of the War. The problem with reviewing poetry is I lack the knowledge and ability to appreciate and describe it, and I’m not a big fan of […]

By |October 30th, 2019|Reviews, Southeast Asia, Uncategorised|0 Comments

The Nagasaki Peace Discourse: City Hall and the Quest for a Nuclear Free World • Geoffrey C. Gunn

You feel a certain amount of pressure to be emotionally moved when visiting Nagasaki’s most important atomic bomb sites such as the Peace Park, the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, and the Atomic Bomb Hypocentre Park (the spot above which the “Fat Man” bomb detonated at 11:02 on August 9, 1945). If […]

By |June 26th, 2019|Uncategorised|0 Comments

Remembering Shanghai: A Memoir of Socialites, Scholars and Scoundrels • Claire Chao and Isabel Sun Chao

The Pearl of the Orient, the Paris of the East – Shanghai of the 1920s to 1949 has long captivated readers as one of history’s great cities; it’s been a first-choice setting for China fiction and non-fiction. Is there room on the shelf for yet another title? Yes, if the […]

By |June 24th, 2019|Uncategorised|0 Comments

Hong Kong Noir • edited by Jason Y. Ng and Susan Blumberg-Kason

Hong Kong is under siege. From property developers razing neighborhoods to build yet more skyscrapers. From the push-and-pull emanating from Beijing to demand greater subservience from this former British colony. 

Even without all that pressure, Hong Kong could very well collapse under the weight of its own population, permanent and transient, […]

By |June 20th, 2019|Reviews, Uncategorised|0 Comments

Finding the Way: A Novel of Lao Tzu • Wayne Ng

Finding the Way is an audacious novel. It takes some courage to pen a fictional life of such a revered figure as Laozi. He is, after all, a much loved philosopher considered to be the founder of Taoism, and sometimes even worshipped as a deity (my wife’s family actually has a temple […]

By |May 30th, 2019|Uncategorised|0 Comments

Shots from the Hip: Sex, Drugs and the Tao • Daniel Reid

Daniel Reid is a prolific writer on Chinese philosophy, medicine, and food. He lived in Taipei from 1973 to 1989, and by number of book titles – more than thirty – and copies sold, he is surely the most successful Taiwan expat writer of all time. His latest book, a […]

By |April 1st, 2019|Reviews, Uncategorised|0 Comments

Jade Life: An Englishman’s Love Affair with China’s National Treasure • Andrew Shaw

Jade Life: An Englishman’s Love Affair with China’s National Treasure is my favourite kind of China book: a passionate, informed, well-written account of an interesting niche subject. With Jade Life we not only get a depth of knowledge about the subject – and an insider’s look at an unfamiliar world, in […]

By |February 20th, 2019|Reviews, Uncategorised|0 Comments

A Death in Peking: Who Really Killed Pamela Werner? • Graeme Sheppard

I first came across Graeme Sheppard’s book last year, only it was an earlier version: Life & Death in Old Peking: The Murder of Pamela Werner. As one of the chaps behind independent publisher Camphor Press, I’m always on the outlook for new titles. Every so often I trawl through the […]

By |November 1st, 2018|Uncategorised|0 Comments

The Stolen Bicycle • Wu Ming-Yi

Where I live, a bicycle is a necessity of life. It’s the only sensible way to get around a city like Amsterdam with its winding canals and ditto streets. Everyone here rides: men in three-piece suits, women in stiletto heels and kids on their way to school.

Bikes are the main characters […]

By |September 16th, 2018|Uncategorised|0 Comments