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.


April 19: "What you see first, after the starting gun's crack, is a column of bobbing runners, thousands of them, surging downhill..."

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

And women too.  Luminaries from Colin Firth to Nick Cave and Jonathan Franzen chose the poems that bring them to tears, and the result is a stunning collection of poignant verse from writers like Auden, Whitman, Bishop, Larkin, Neruda and many others.  Warning: choking-up hazard.

The King of Pain

Trapped beneath his entertainment system, reality TV mastermind Rick Salter reflects on his life and tries to piece together the events of the previous evening. Seth Kaufman’s romp is an outrageous meditation on pain and entertainment in a deranged world in which the two are often interchangeable.

The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.