The contradictions of China’s hospitality industry.
Insights into China (Part 2/3): A visit to a restaurant
There is no more revealing window into Chinese culture than its restaurants.
Insights into China (Part 1/3): A walk down the street
Chinese culture from the perspective of a pedestrian.
Quick trouble for a free-thinking family in rural Qing-Dynasty China.
Music and totalitarianism
What happens to music when the state gets its hands on it.
Datura and the psychedelic Tao
Taoist sexual technology supercharged by the world’s most powerful entheogen.
Isham Cook’s China book picks by Book Shepherd
15 China books recommended by Isham Cook plus a few of his own.
Sexual surveillance in the Covid-19 era
Sex in the time of coronavirus in China and the U.S.
Confucius and Opium: China Book Reviews
Book review essays tell China’s history over the past two centuries.
Writing China in English: Recent novels
Difficult novels — and that’s a good thing — by Chinese and foreign expat authors.
The adorable expatriate eccentric
The term “expatriate” is a misnomer and misrepresents the life lived abroad.
Midnight in Peking and true crime fiction
A few maps put Paul French’s “true crime” story in perspective.
Chungking: China’s heart of darkness
A brief history of travel in China and the challenges of inhospitality.
Out of the squalor and into the light: When the Shanghai wall came down
Glimmers of Shanghai’s modernity in a 19th-century courtesan novel.
Confucius and opium
An investigation of intoxicants in the time of Confucius.