Good books for Asian travelers

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Jun 24th, 2005, 01:00 PM
  #1
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Good books for Asian travelers

I just finished reading "Iron and Silk" by Mark Salzman, and while it's been around for awhile, I enjoyed it immensely and would highly recommend it to anyone planning a trip to China. It's a true story about the author's experiences while teaching English in China during the mid-'80s. Provides a fascinating (and highly readable) inside look at the culture.
Anyone else have book (fiction or non-fiction) recommendations for travelers (or traveler-to-be) to Asia?
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Jun 25th, 2005, 02:10 AM
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Iron and Silk is a pretty easy read. I read that and River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze by Peter Hessler before coming to China for a teaching position. Sort of an enthographic novel about his experiences teaching English for the Peace Corps. Maybe a bit more rich is description than Iron and Silk. I would recommend both books.
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Jun 25th, 2005, 03:14 AM
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Try "Hungry Ghosts" by Jasper Becker, or how Mao's Great Leap Forward measures caused a massive, ideologically-made famine all over China.
"Falling leaves" by Adeline Yen Mah is interesting also. It's the "true story of an unwanted daughter".
And if you have a deeper interest into Mao's psyche, take a look at "The private life of Chairman Mao", written by his personal physician Zhisui Li.
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Jun 25th, 2005, 04:39 AM
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How about for southeast Asia? And any novels?
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Jun 25th, 2005, 05:22 AM
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Check out Bangkok 8 (novel) by John Burdett
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Jun 25th, 2005, 03:42 PM
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J. Burdett has a sequel to Bangkok 8 entitled Bangkok Tattoo.
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Jun 25th, 2005, 04:55 PM
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I thought The Piano Tuner (about Burma) was excellent. An non-ficton book about Laos that I loved was Stalking the Elephant Kings.

I have lots more - I'll have to go look at my stacks of books.
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Jun 25th, 2005, 05:48 PM
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Four Reigns is also an enjoyable novel about Thailand spanning several generations. Wild Swans is a powerful true story about 3 generations of women in China that provides an extraordinary (and harrowing) inside view of the Cultural Revolution.
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Jun 25th, 2005, 10:18 PM
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i am planning a trip to vietnam & laos and have just finished some great reads.

Catfish & mandala by andrew pham
a travelogue by bike thru vietnam

one foot in lao...by dervla murphy

down highway one...by sue downie

shopping for buddhas (about nepal)

all excellent journeys
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Jun 26th, 2005, 05:06 PM
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If Laos you would also like Ant Egg Soup (The adventures of a Food Tourist in Laos) by Natacha du Pont de Bie and Stalking the Elephant Kings by Christopher Kremmer. Both are by people who traveled extensively through Laos with a purpose (the food or the king) but who have some amazing experiences along the way. I had to really look to track these down, but I would recommend a Thai company (I believe the web address is www.dcothai.com). A google search will turn them up somewhere. Enjoy reading!
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