One of the best/worst things about our having this blog is that just about every book that comes out on China finds its way to us by those wanting us to review it. Most sit on my credenza for a few weeks and then get moved to my bookcase, where I look at them from afar. I’m planning to read all of them eventually, but, you know . . . . life just seems to get in the way.
It has taken me forever to read the book, Flowing Waters Never Stale, by Mark Anthony Jones. On the one hand, I really wanted to read the book because Mark is a long time China Law Blog reader and a thoughtful commenter here. On the other hand, I worried his book would be too intellectual and since it is subtitled, “Journeys Through China,” I thought it would be too much the travel book. So it sat.
But I spent most of this weekend in the office working on a big project and I started reading it as a diversion and I ended up hardly putting it down until I finished it. I wish I had read it sooner because I actually really liked it.
It is not so much a travel book as it is Mark’s observations on what he saw in China while living there from 2002 to 2007. Mark looks closely at various aspects of China and (just as he does in his comments on this blog), he looks at them from various perspectives. It has no particular agenda on how one should view China, beyond seeking to get us to look at it fairly and in context. The book often looks at things from both a Western and a Chinese perspective, with Mark’s Chinese girlfriend helping immensely on the Chinese side.
It really does make you feel like you are in China and I heartily recommend it.