Asia

7.8

Ma Jian

Is this just a Chinese stream of consciousness or is it more?

In 1983, aspiring artist Ma Jian works as a photographer for the propaganda department in Beijing. His life is becoming difficult, and he decides to leave it all behind and go on a trip through the country…

6.5

Richard Halliburton

This author has been called the “grandfather of travel writing” – but is he really that good?

In the early 1920s, young American graduate Richard Halliburton feels bored. He decides to go traveling on a shoestring budget, so he hops on a ship to Europe and takes it from there…

4.8

Nadine Hudson

Why does too much often mean too little?

In the early 1990s, Nadine Hudson from Switzerland is struggling with mental health issues, most notably an eating disorder. She decides to embark on a backpacking trip through Asia…

Alec Ash "Wish Lanterns"
5

Alec Ash

What went wrong when a book can’t exist by itself?

In the late 2000s, young British journalist Alec Ash arrives in Beijing. He makes friends with several young people (all of whom were born around the end of the 1980s) and decides to write about their life stories…

Fabian Sixtus Körner - "Journeyman"
4

Fabian Sixtus Körner

Do photos, a lot of countries and a slick design make for a good book?

In the early 2010s, German designer Fabian Sixtus Körner decides he wants to see the world. He draws inspiration from the German tradition of the “journeyman years”…

Eric Newby - "A Short Walk In The Hindu Kush"
6.5

Eric Newby

Why is this book so legendary when it comes to travel literature?

it’s the year 1956, and Eric Newby is an Englishman in his thirties who works in the fashion business. One day he decides that he’s sick of it all, and so he sets his mind on a mountain climbing expedition to Afghanistan. His friend Hugh Carless, who speaks a bit of Persian, comes along…

Jürgen Todenhöfer - "Inside IS"
6.5

Jürgen Todenhöfer

Why should you read this book now, and why is there no English edition?

Jürgen Todenhöfer is a German journalist with a background in politics and law who takes a strong interest in the Muslim world, especially in Iraq and Afghanistan. In the winter of 2014/2015, he decides to contact members of the so-called “Islamic State” (IS) in Syria in order to do some on-the-ground reporting…

Ding Haixiao - "Ten Years Of Hitchhiking"
4.5

Ding Haixiao

What happens to a travel story when you get caught up in old books and theories?

in 2003, twenty-something Chinese travel writer Ding Haixiao embarks on a trip to the Chinese Northwest. He hitches rides most of the way, sometimes alone and sometimes together with different travel companions whom he either already knows or gets to know on the road…

Huang Nubo - "Herr Huang in Deutschland"
3.3

Huang Nubo

Can this be a new way to write travel literature, or will it always turn out terrible?

in the early 2010s, Huang Nubo, a Chinese billionaire who climbs mountains and writes poetry, gives to charity, and supposedly tries to protect cultural relics in China, decides to embark on a mission that is supposed to last him ten years: a visit to each and every World Heritage Site on the face of the earth…

Stephen Spender's "China Diary"
4.3

Stephen Spender

Is this a coffeetable book or a regular travelogue, and is it worth a read?

at the beginning of the 1980s, ageing English writer Stephen Spender decides to visit China. He takes two friends along, one of whom is a painter (co-author David Hockney). They start their tour from Hongkong, and they get to see Beijing, Xi’an, Nanjing, Hangzhou, Wuxi, Shanghai, Guilin and Guangzhou, then they return via Hongkong…

Evan Osnos' "Age Of Ambition"
6

Evan Osnos

Is there a better book to get to know modern China?

it’s 2005, and American journalist Evan Osnos arrives in Beijing. He is well educated, knows a bit of Chinese, and he takes his job seriously…

Rob Lilwall's "Walking Home From Mongolia"
5

Rob Lilwall

What’s wrong with adventure travel writing if we get bored by it?

in 2011, British adventurer Rob Lilwall has just finished a bike ride from Siberia to the UK. This time, he decides to take a buddy along (Irish adventurer Leon McCarron) and walk from Mongolia to Hongkong, which is his new home…

Mitch Moxley's "Apologies To My Censor"
4.3

Mitch Moxley

Does the expat experience really keep people from ever growing old?

in the mid-2000s, young Canadian Mitch Moxley decides to go to China. This seems be a rather spontaneous decision. He arrives in Beijing, takes a job at an English-language newspaper…

Nicole Roetheli's - "Nicole's Diary: Running the World... Losing Our Marbles"
4.3

Nicole Roetheli

Is this in any way comparable to the works of Ella Maillart?

remember Serge Roetheli, the guy who fabulously ran around the world and wrote a book about it? Well, Nicole Roetheli is his wife, and she kept him company on her motorcycle during the trip. This is the book she wrote, which is supposed to tell the story from her perspective. Obviously, we are reminded of Ella Maillart and Peter Fleming, both of whom were very good writers…

Erwin Wickert's "China Seen From Within"
4.3

Erwin Wickert

What’s wrong with the diplomatic approach to writing about a foreign culture?

in the mid-70s, German diplomat Erwin Wickert gets transferred from Romania to China. He has been there before (as a tourist in the 1930s), and he seems excited about it…