Three Tips for Nonfiction Authors

In the space of only a few days, Michigan’s fall has gone from “crisp, sparkling, riot of color” to “gray, raw, endless rain,” meaning that we’ve now entered the season of meeting people for long afternoon talks in cozy coffee shops. That’s exactly what China media scholar Aynne Kokas and I did Wednesday afternoon, chattingContinue reading “Three Tips for Nonfiction Authors”

Weekly Wanderings: Still Wrapping Up 2018 Edition

■ I have a minor flurry (a squall?) of new pieces to share this week, as several things I wrote in late 2018 got published all at once: At Dissent Magazine (subscribe!), I have a long review essay about new books by Carl Minzner (End of an Era) and Elizabeth Economy (The Third Revolution) thatContinue reading “Weekly Wanderings: Still Wrapping Up 2018 Edition”

Looking Back, Moving Forward

Happy New Year! January 1, of course, is a day traditionally spent thinking about the year that has just ended and making plans for the one that lies ahead, and I have been doing exactly that. I feel like 2018 was several years crammed into one: both in my own life and in the worldContinue reading “Looking Back, Moving Forward”

Weekly Wanderings: Give Me My Hour Back Edition

• Like nearly every other American commenting on the internet today, I hate the switch to Daylight Savings Time. There’s nothing more discouraging than waking up after getting a normal amount of sleep yet finding that it’s an hour later than it should be and I’m therefore already running behind. I need that hour. NotContinue reading “Weekly Wanderings: Give Me My Hour Back Edition”

Weekly Wanderings: Xi’s in it for the Long Haul Edition

• Since the third edition of China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know touches on current events, Jeff Wasserstrom and I knew that there was a chance something we discussed might require updating even before the book’s official publication date. My money was on Jiang Zemin going to meet Marx, but insteadContinue reading “Weekly Wanderings: Xi’s in it for the Long Haul Edition”

Weekly Wanderings: Censored Bear Edition

▪ It’s not often that my longtime love of Winnie the Pooh has much to do with my career as a China watcher, but the two finally converged a couple of weeks ago, thanks to the PRC government’s decision to censor online images of one Silly Old Bear because he allegedly resembles President Xi JinpingContinue reading “Weekly Wanderings: Censored Bear Edition”

Weekly Wanderings: Roadblocks, Detours, and Roundabouts Edition

▪ How many times this spring did I tell myself, “Tomorrow. Tomorrow I’ll get up and start writing again. Tomorrow for sure”? Pretty much every day. But as the near-silence around these parts indicates, I never followed through. The #1 reason for this is that for the past several months I’ve found it nearly impossibleContinue reading “Weekly Wanderings: Roadblocks, Detours, and Roundabouts Edition”

Weekly Wanderings: Too Many Words Edition

▪ Usually, when I start skipping weeks here it’s because I’m too busy and/or traveling. Although I am, as always, looking at an overly ambitious to-do list and an overly crowded travel schedule, those aren’t what has kept me from writing as much lately. A lot of writers I know have spoken about running intoContinue reading “Weekly Wanderings: Too Many Words Edition”

Weekly Wanderings: AHA FOMO Edition

▪ Four thousand historians descended on Denver this weekend for the annual American Historical Association (AHA) conference, but I wasn’t among them. Driven by a fear of missing out (FOMO), I went back and forth and back and forth about going to the conference, eventually deciding that I just don’t need to be there thisContinue reading “Weekly Wanderings: AHA FOMO Edition”