China: A Land Without Left-Handers

Yesterday, August 13, was International Left-Handers’ Day, and no one here even noticed. After running out to my mailbox to check for cards and gifts (I’m sure they’ll arrive soon; China Post is slow) and waiting around the apartment all day for flower deliveries (none, but I’m allergic to most flowers anyway), I finally placedContinue reading “China: A Land Without Left-Handers”

LA Review of Books: “Life Goes On”

At the main LA Review of Books website you can now read my review of Sheng Keyi’s Northern Girls: Life Goes On, an often sensationalist novel about the lives of young women working in the factory towns of southern China: Sheng’s book, translated by Shelly Bryant, is a raunchy and provocative account of the livesContinue reading LA Review of Books: “Life Goes On””

LA Review of Books: “Material Girls”

My monthly column at the LA Review of Books China Blog just went live; this month, I review Tiny Times, the hit movie of the summer here. It is, to put it briefly, a terrible film: Tiny Times (Xiao shidai), a Chinese summer blockbuster based on a book of the same name, ranks as farContinue reading LA Review of Books: “Material Girls””

Bookshelf: Rock Paper Tiger and Hour of the Rat

As I’ve mentioned, it’s been really, really hot here in Shanghai lately. One of my favorite hot-weather activities is to turn on the air conditioning, lie on the couch, and devour mystery novels. I’ve been spending my summers doing this ever since first cracking open my mother’s hand-me-down Nancy Drew books somewhere around the ageContinue reading “Bookshelf: Rock Paper Tiger and Hour of the Rat

Shanghai’s Sweltering Summer

Shanghai has always had a reputation for hot and humid summers; after all, that’s why Western missionaries and businessmen used to take their families to mountain retreats like Moganshan during the season. But this summer has been unlike anything the missionaries ever experienced: Shanghai just ended its hottest July on record, with twenty-five days aboveContinue reading “Shanghai’s Sweltering Summer”