Works of fact and fiction, facing East.



Country Driving: A Journey Through China from Farm to Factory

By Peter Hessler


The final book of New Yorker correspondent Hessler's phenomenal trilogy about China's leap into modernism follows seven years of driving the country's roads.  Through these journeys Hessler chronicles an economic revolution  -- and notes how a boom in road building and car ownership is overturning the worlds of thousands of ordinary Chinese men and women.




When China Rules the World: The End of the Western World and the Birth of a New Global Order

By Martin Jacques


Jacques chronicles how modernity for hundreds of years has been a product of the West. But the financial rise of China, India, and other Eastern countries will impact, he argues, the face of modernity itself. The immense power of this economic realignment will long be felt as this new world matures.




The Good Women of China: Hidden Voices

By Xinran


Xinran became a celbrity in China with a radio program about women's issues that began in 1989. Over the years she has received thousands of letters that share moving and often tragic stories of the world these women live in -- a world of changing sexual mores, and frequently poisoned by rape and abuse. Here she shares those stories and a few that didn't get run past the censors.




Brothers: A Novel

By Yu Hua


The irreverence of Yu Hua's novel about four decades of a family's life in a small Chinese town in the midst of the Cultural Revolution and globalization didn't stop it from selling more than a million copies in China. Both exuberant and earthy, it's a fascinating window into a world most Westerners haven't seen.




Lost on Planet China: One Man's Attempt to Understand the World's Most Mystifying Nation

By J. Maarten Troost


Hilarious travel writer Troost (Sex Lives of Cannibals and Getting Stoned with Savages) shares his outlandish take on his wanderings in China -- where he witnesses extremely exotic foods (Cattle Penis with Garlic, anyone? Spicy Cow Veins?), a still-dead Mao, and a country in the midst of a massive cultural and economic transformation.


July 23: Jessica Mitford died on this day in 1996.

Crime fiction legends Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly discuss the new book that unites their beloved sleuths Patrick Kenzie and Harry Bosch.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Paradise and Elsewhere

Canadian short story marvel Kathy Page emerges as the Alice Munro of the supernatural from these heartfelt tales of shapeshifting swimmers, mild-mannered cannibals, and personality-shifting viruses transmitted through kisses.


When a persuasive pastor arrives in a sleepy farm town, his sage influence has otherworldly results (talking sheep, a mayor who walks on water). But can he pull off the miracle of finding kindly local Liz Denny the love of her life?  Small wonder looms large in this charmer from Andre Alexis.

The Hundred-Year House

When a poetry scholar goes digging through the decrepit estate of his wife's family to uncover a bygone arts colony's strange mysteries, he awakens a tenacious monster: his mother-in-law. A wickedly funny take on aging aristocracies from author Rebecca Makkai (The Borrower).