On the Home Front (Dreaming in Chinese Dept)

This coming Sunday's New York Times Book Review has a wonderful review, by Lesley Downer, of Dreaming in Chinese, by Deborah Fallows (the missus). Wonderful not so much in the sense of "very positive," although it's that, as in understanding and conveying the spirit of the author and the book. Eg:

>>>Unlike conventional journalists, she's not very interested in press conferences, in listening to what the politicians say. Little by little, she finds herself becoming more like the laobaixing [the "common folk," 百家姓]: learning to deal with the plethora of rules as the Chinese do -- by finding ways around them.<<<

The online version is up now, but of course it will look even better in print. (Subscribe!) A similar review by Joanne Latimer in Canada's Macleans magazine this week is very nice in the same two ways. Hey, why not subscribe to that too? Sample:

>>>Fallows is at her best when interacting with her adopted countrymen--sneaking a Toblerone into the Beijing Olympics, taking tai chi, getting a massage from a blind man, ordering takeout from Taco Bell. Her quest to understand the language of love is hilarious.<<<

Don't get me started on implications of that last sentence. (Update: also very nice review here, by KJ Dell'Antonia, in the "Book of the Week" section of Slate's XX Factor.) Tomorrow Deb leaves on a West Coast book tour, starting with Seattle, Portland, and SF. Details on the "Upcoming Events" tab of her site. Tell her hello for me.

James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

Fallows welcomes and frequently quotes from reader mail sent via the "Email" button below. Unless you specify otherwise, we consider any incoming mail available for possible quotation -- but not with the sender's real name unless you explicitly state that it may be used. If you are wondering why Fallows does not use a "Comments" field below his posts, please see previous explanations here and here.


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