Sunday, March 4, 2012

Asia Travelogues

Here are 5 titles from our wide collection of books on travelling and living in Asia

A Fork in Asia's Road: Adventures Of An Occidental Glutton by John Krich. The peripatetic author tells of his eating experiences througout Asia. He eats at thronged markets, street stalls and restaurants great and small and tell of what he finds, including the people who produce gourmet delights sometimes in surprising circumtanees and from unexpeected ingredients.

Operation Nasi Kerabu: Finding Patani in an Islamic Insurgency by Zan Azlee. The news from Patani is like a movie: smoke, bombs, a near civil war. Yet just over the northern border, the people are Muslim, Bahasaspeaking, baju-wearing Malays. With this in mind, documentary-maker Zan Azlee set off to find the real Patani, trying to separate the kedai kopi from the Humvees, the gunfights from the nasi kerabu. It's hard to make new friends and man a camera while looking over your shoulder for suicide bombers. But he was determined to ask the question: how do people live their lives in a warzone? With his resulting film banned for political reasons, this is Azlee's first chance to share what he found.

Hong Kong: State Of Mind 37 Views of a City that Doesn't Blink by Jason Ng. Hong Kong is a mixed bag of a city. It is where Mercedes outnumber taxi cabs, partygoers count down to Christmas every December 24, and larger-than-life billboards of fortune tellers and cram school tutors compete with breathtaking skylines. Hong Kong State of Mind is a collection of essays by a popular blogger who zeroes in on the city's idiosyncrasies with deadpan precision. At once an outsider looking in and an insider looking out, Ng has created something for everyone: a travel journal for the passing visitor, a user's manual for the wide-eyed expat, and an open diary for the native Hong Konger looking for moments of reflection.

Kosher Chinese: Living, Teaching, and Eating with China's Other Billion by Michael Levy. The author of this informal memoir tells of his 2005-2007 posting as a Peace Corps volunteer teacher of English (and baseball) at a university in Guiyang, Guizhou Province in Central China. He writes with humour of how he, a Jew from New Hampshire, taught, ate, socialized and multi-tasked amongst people and students who often found he - and they - confounded each other's ideologies and expectations. He notes that on a short return visit in 2010, Guiyang seemed unchanged.

Not Quite Paradise: An American Sojourn in Sri Lanka by Adele Barker. Insights are given in to the turmoil, delights and surprises of past and contemporary life in Sri Lanka 2001-2002 when the US author was teaching in the Central Highlands at Peradeniya University. Thoughtful descriptions are again given in the aftermath of the December 2004 tsunami when 40000 Sri Lankans were drowned, and the author visited with thoughtful perceptions of the damaged areas in Jaffna and the southern coastal areas of the war-torn country.

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