05 January 2010

Review: Lost on Planet China

Lost on Planet China: One Man's Attempt to Understand the World's Most Mystifying Nation
by J. Maarten Troost

The first book I read for this trip, before I even knew I had been selected for the exchange, almost... well, it gave me pause.

Troost's book is an informal and exceedingly honest account of his recent exploration of China. As I read, I thought of the ways I would have edited the same experiences, would have tried to be polite or worried about offending my hosts. Yet, I appreciated the honesty, and Troost does a good job of not allowing his open treatment to become negative or overbearing.

And, he's hilarious.

That said, I am concerned about some of the difficulties he experienced, namely pollution (general air quality, pervasive cigarette smoking), crowding (personal space, spitting etc), and the eating of live squid ("live" as in "alive and squirming").

No one ever said adventure was easy.

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