Monday, November 17, 2008

Monday Book Recomendations

We experienced a taste of Autumn in Houston over the weekend. The temperatures dipped far enough to allow sweaters to make an appearance. I love the cooler weather. It always reminds me of Fall in Pennsylvania. Every year my Mom and her sisters would load all the cousins into a caravan of station wagons and hall us off somewhere 'new' for a hike so we could fully appreciate the spectacular leaf colors. Some of those little hikes took all day long and I loved every one of them.

Today's book recommendations both come from the travel section of the bookstore. Both are written by teachers who traveled a bit further than the nearest hiking trail.

Mark Salzman, who began studying everything Chinese at the ripe old age of thirteen, traveled to China to teach English at the Hunan medical college from 1982 to 1984. During his time in China, he repeatedly banged his head up against a bureaucratic system that thrived on controlling every aspect of people’s lives. In Iron and Silk, Mark Salzman shares a series of glimpses into his Chinese experiences in a light-hearted, fun read.

Bruce Feiler's Learning to Bow also takes us to Asia - this time to Japan. Mr. Feiler's teaching adventure took him to a small rural town where he encountered many cultural learning experiences. He shares those with us in his very entertaining book Learning to Bow. From page one where we find our representative to Japan standing naked on a mountain to the final chapter where he treks to the peek of Mount Fuji (presumably clothed), Mr. Feiler takes us on a warm and inviting tour of Japanese culture.

I highly recommend both of these books to anyone who enjoys learning about cultures that are different from their own, to arm-chair travelers, and to teachers considering an international assignment.

Writers - check out my post to day at The Blood Red Pencil. And if you missed my post there on November 14, it is not too late to join the conversation taking place in the comments.

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