I realize I’m a bit of a hack, pounding away on my own blog with no care for spelling or proper grammar. (Yes people, I know my mistakes. No, I don’t care.)
Luckily I have a bunch of friends that are not at all hacks like me and recently, they have all been publishing great books I want to tell you about.
I met Will a few weeks after I moved here. We ran into each other in the lobby of our building and within minutes we realized we were from the same state, both writers and had apartments next to each other. Clearly we were destined to be friends.
Will is the captain of the Ultimate Frisbee team and he’s the one that originally got me into it which was my first social outlet here in Xiamen. Since we live next to each other, we often borrow the proverbial “cup of sugar” from each other, though in our case it is usually a can opener. (He borrows mine, then never gives it back.) Will and his girlfriend Shulei are awesome cooks and often invite me over when they make too much food for two people.
So you can see why I was eager to read his book. I just started (I’m about a third of the way through) and the most striking thing I’ve noticed is how quickly I completely forgot it is about my friend. And I say that in a good way. In the beginning I couldn’t help but kinda laugh at how scared/naive he was in the beginning, knowing how relaxed and confident he is now.
But after that in the beginning, I’ve just gotten into the story and forgot it is about my friend Will, and found myself getting sucked into the story of this boy Will, fresh off the boat, friendless, trying to make his way in a small city which isn’t foreigner friendly and learning about China.
And right now he is offering it for free on Kindle. But it’s only for a limited time. And if you do read it, how about leaving a review on amazon as well?
50 Things You Did Not Know About China by Brendan P. O’Reilly
Brendan was my first co-worker here in Xiamen. Last year we both taught in the business school. We were the only two foreign teachers and we had class at the same time, and subsequently spent several hours together each week during our breaks between classes.
Brendan’s hilarious, in a very NSFW kinda way, which is exactly what I like. He has a cute 2-year-old son, and when he is around, you always know it. (Which is the nice way of saying he is loud as fuck.) What I didn’t know about Brendan for awhile was how smart he is. He studied international politics and has written for The Diplomat, Asia Times and more. He knows a ton more about Chinese politics and history then I ever will.
And he wrote a book! In this interview, he said the book came about after giving a small presentation to a group of politically minded people in America. He realized how many misconceptions of China even the most educated of American’s have and decided to right this book.
I haven’t seen the book yet. Oddly, it appears to be for sale in India only (On India’s Amazon). But knowing Brendan the book is well written and interesting.
Then, for those of you who don’t care about China, how about some fantasy?
My friend Amy in Shanghai released this book just a few days ago. It’s the follow up to her first book Cora: The Unwilling Queen. It’s a young adult fantasy about a totally normal girl who finds herself going on dark adventures to the underworld.
Amy is a friend who I have known for a few years due to my regular trips to Shanghai. She’s part of the “Shanghai KTV Crew” I have so much fun with, and is hilarious and has an awesome imagination so I’m sure her books are worth twice as much as she’s charging.
So you can see, I am friends with some very talented people. Expats in China are kind of known for being lazy, or unmotivated. But I’m not that kind of person, and neither are my friends. They get shit done and continue their creative pursuits wherever they are.