by Peter Hessler
River town is the story of a Peace Corps volunteer, Peter Hessler, who travels to Fuling China to teach English in a local college. Peter is the first Westerner to live in Fuling in over 50 years. He is met with much curiosity in his travels around town while getting to know the local customs and culture. In time though he is able to immerse himself in the town and becomes good friends with some locals and many of his students. Much of the book centers around his classes and interactions with his students as well as his interactions with locals in Fuling and other cites he travels to during his time off. This book is a pretty easy read, Peter has good writing style and injects quite a bit of humor into some of the uncomfortable situations he gets himself into. One of the more interesting aspects of the book is the difference in Chinese and Western teaching styles. As Peter tries to nurture his students and get them to think for themselves and question common Chinese beliefs his Chinese tutor shows him the Chinese way of teaching by giving him a stern 'Budui' (wrong) whenever he mispronounces a word. It is a great study on many of the differences of Western and Chinese culture. The author has written another book on China called "Oracle Bones" which is on our "To Read" list.