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Rumors From Shanghai • Amy Sommers

Is the English-language bookshelf already too full of novels set in pre-WW2 China? Has that rich seam of Shanghai ore not been thoroughly exhausted? And on a broader note, is it time to move on from the Second World War? No, no, and thrice no. Shanghai was by population count [...]

Wreckwatch Magazine, a quarterly e-magazine

American schoolchildren are taught that the night in 1775 when the famous patriot Paul Revere waited for the signal to inform him whether the invading British were coming by land or by sea, he was told to watch for a lantern that would be hung in the steeple of Boston’s [...]

The Shikoku Pilgrimage: Japan’s Sacred Trail • John Lander

This illustrated book of Japan’s most famous pilgrimage, which connects 88 temples associated with the Buddhist monk Kobo Daishi (774–835), is like a serene stroll around a beautiful Japanese garden, and one in the company of a genial host. John Lander's images are – as befits the subject manner – [...]

China’s Leaders: From Mao to Now • David Shambaugh

“Compared to…?” It’s a useful retort, a shorthand way of asking for context. “The world today is so unstable!” “Compared to when?“ “Is your mother-in-law nice?” “Compared to what?” And when it comes to an assessment of Chinese leader Xi Jinping and his era, a comparative approach is an efficient [...]

The Eunuch • Jonathan Kos-Read 

An ambitious debut novel from a handsome actor turned aspiring novelist? I must admit I started reading The Eunuch wondering if it would prove a triumph of fan sales expectations over the quality of writing. After an initial hook of interest from the set-up, it took a little time to get [...]

Our Home in Myanmar: Four Years in Yangon • Jessica Mudditt

Our Home in Myanmar: Four Years in Yangon is a delightful read, both an accessible introduction to Myanmar and a candid behind-the-scenes look at journalism in a developing country. The “our” in the title refers to the author, Jessica Mudditt, a young Australian, and Sherpa, her Bangladeshi husband, whom she met [...]

The Horses of China • Yin Hung Young

China is not usually associated with horses – well, other than being an agrarian civilisation long in opposition to the nomadic horse peoples of Central Asia – and yet it has a rich equestrian history and culture, as detailed in breadth and depth in Yin Hung Young’s The Horses of [...]

Pearl City: Stories from Japan and Elsewhere • Simon Rowe

There are good reasons why publishers’ submission guidelines often include a warning that short story collections are unwanted. The literary form is seldom bought, little read, and usually badly written. While I wouldn’t go as far to say that a writer’s preference for short stories is a sign of moral [...]