Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Read Peter Hessler's piece about The Peace Corps' Greatest Hope in this week's New Yorker

Meet Rajeev Goyal in "Village Voice," Peter's Reporter at Large piece in the double holiday issue.  The young activist and former Peace Corps Volunteer Goyal has applied what he learned from village politics in Nepal to his work on behalf of the Peace Corps in the halls of Congress, which has set the program's budget at less than the price of two F-22 fighters.  Learn about a school that destroyed Rotary careers all the way from Dharan to Plainboro, an ice cream social spoken of in such a way that it begins to sound like "Bay of Pigs" to Peter's ears, and one of the more satisfying loanwords in the Nepali language in this altogether wonderful piece.

In this video Peter talks about the Peace Corps:

Monday, December 13, 2010

Boston Globe and Washington Post name COUNTRY DRIVING by Peter Hessler a Top Book of the Year

In today's paper Kathryn Schulz, author of BEING WRONG: Adventures in the Margin of Error, writes:

I like to think that Montaigne, an inveterate traveler, would have shared my enthusiasm for Peter Hessler’s “Country Driving: A Journey Through China from Farm to Factory.’’ Title notwithstanding, it is the nation, not the writer, that is most in motion in this funny, understated, well-reported book. With millions of people abandoning villages for cities each year, China is experiencing the largest internal migration in history. Hessler, by contrast, mostly stays put. He sticks around long enough to speak the language, make friends, max out on Beijing, and acquire a country home. Eventually, the neighbor kid he drops off on the first day of school grows into an overfed, awkward-years preteen; and so, more or less, does the nation. As a journey, “Country Driving’’ is both business and pleasure — a stop-motion portrait of one of the most influential and chameleon places on earth.

The Washington Post's Jonathan Yardley also includes COUNTRY DRIVING in its roundup of the year's best books, saying:

As readers of "River Town" and "Oracle Bones" are well aware, Hessler is remarkably observant and, when the occasion calls for it, exceedingly funny. He's at the top of his form in the opening section, in which he drives great distances on some of China's endless miles of new highways. His description of the Chinese driver's test is worth the price of admission, but there's more, including a visit to the little settlement outside Beijing where he spent much time for several years, and another to a booming new industrial city. Everywhere he goes, Hessler finds much to amuse and inform the reader.

Yardley reviewed COUNTRY DRIVING when it first came out, and you can read the review here.