Monday, February 20, 2012

...where we are going...

To learn more about where we are going, Ben and I have attended lectures at University of Kentucky, extensively questioned anyone we meet who is from or has been to China (who have generously shared their experiences, insights and advice) and we have frequented branches of the Lexington Public Library and one of our favorite bookstores, Joseph Beth Booksellers.
Last summer @ Joseph Beth.  The Bronte Bistro Cafe inside
has creative lunches and good coffee.

Lonely Planet's latest edition of Discover China and the Visual Mandarin Chinese English Bilingual Dictionary (published by Dorling Kindersley Limited) are certainly going in our backpacks! 

Qi, a friend of ours who is also a doctoral student here at UK suggested Deborah Fallows' Dreaming in Chinese, which proved to be an excellent recommendation.  As people who are interested in languages, Ben and I found Fallows' approach to the Chinese language and society to be fascinating and revealing.  A New York Times review reflects our impression of this book.

One of the guest lecturers included Leslie Chang's Factory Girls in his references and I certainly feel it was worthwhile to read.  Admittedly, it is a bit laborious at the beginning, but I was glad I plowed through the intial chapters and continued to follow the lives of 2 young migrant workers the author met during her time in the factory district.  The author's intention is to provide a dynamic understanding of the life of migrant workers in China and she includes a great deal of history in the process.  

When a book's title includes the phrase, "everything you need to know", it is wise to recognize the hyperbole.  Nevertheless, if anyone is going to China or wants to know about its culture and customs, I would definitely say it is worth your while to check out a copy of China A to Z: Everything you Need to Know to Understand Chinese Customs and Culture by May-Lee Chai and Winberg Chai.  This is one of the first books we found at the library and after we read it, we noticed that many of the items mentioned in the book were verified during our conversations with our Chinese friends and acquaintances.