Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Expat Books

I’ve been reading a lot about expats recently. It’s funny, when I first became one, I wasn’t really interested in joining expat groups and meeting up with other expats. I just wanted to jump into my new surroundings and not worry so much about how different it was from home. After a while, I started talking to other expats and now I’m reading books about them and by them.

When my own book came out in e-book edition, I downloaded an app so I could read it. Since then, I’ve been downloading lots of other books. If you want to know which ones I recommend, here they are:

Letters To Friends

I really enjoyed reading this book. Maybe because I’m an expat myself. Or maybe it’s because it’s so well written that something as ordinary as personal correspondence can become a compelling story. I feel like I know her and her family like they’re old friends. It’s intelligently written without trying to remind you how intelligent it is all the time. I found that refreshing. We need more authors who are clever without always telling us how clever they are.

The author invites us into her personal life and shares her hopes and fears. She tells us funny and touching stories about her family that everyone can relate to and gives us her take on that age old story about looking for love. I felt like a voyeur while reading it, but I just couldn’t stop. She talks about how hard it is to balance tradition and modern life and gives a lot of insight into her religion that I found fascinating. I’m surprised at how little I knew about a culture that’s so well known.

There’s a little bit about politics that I didn’t care about, but I thought it was interesting how I assumed she must be a Republican because of one issue, then she had to be a Democrat because of another. I don’t think her views fit in the American system. That’s not an insult at all. We Americans have some messed up politics. The author’s obviously not American.

That’s another thing I really liked – the proper English. I’ve been reading Jane Austen and I love the way she doesn’t sound American.

This isn’t really an expat book. She casually mentions what so many others wrote their entire books about and then she moves on to more important parts of life. I really hope this author writes a book someday that tells us more about her travels – especially China. Her insights into Chinese culture are really interesting. It looks like she’s led an interesting life and I’d like to hear more about it.

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