Sitzbook: "China Survival Guide" and "The Lovely Bones"

My book haul from the Goodwill. About $4.50 total. Don’t underestimate the Goodwill.
I don’t have a ton to say about either of these books, so I decided to combine their reviews. You can check out my current reading list, as well as other reviews, on my Sitzbook page.
China Survival Guide by Larry and Qin Herzberg

I bought this on the Kindle because we’re planning a trip to China later this year. I also picked up a few guides, but this one seemed to focus more on the practicalities of culture and logistics, which are also important. And the book had some good reviews on Amazon. 
The good: The book is an interesting, quick read, and it does have a lot of detailed information which can be quite useful for a traveler to China. It has a lot of useful tips about itineraries, must-see places, hotels, and even toilet paper (hint: BYOTP). It’s also written in a casual style, and it almost seems like the kind of thing I might have written.
The not-so-good: The book goes into a lot of details about what things you should check for at hotels to make sure they’re not broken (like A/C, television, drains, and faucets), as well as detailing a lot about how Chinese toilets work (or don’t work). That’s good, but it also made Angela a bit nervous about going, since that was the first part of the book. They do include information about the highlights of China to make the trip less daunting, but that’s near the end of the book. Still, with a title like China Survival Guide, you should probably know that they’re not going to just be farting rainbows for a few hundred pages.
Should you read it? If you’re going to China, probably. If not, probably not.

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold



I picked up this book and a half-dozen of its friends at the Goodwill in Fort Collins on a recent trip. The Goodwill is indeed good, and I hadn’t realized it had such a selection of books. Many of them were near-new, or if not, you could find a near-new copy of popular books (like this one, or the Ken Follet book Pillars of the Earth, which I also picked up in the same haul). Plus, at about 50 cents for a paperback and a dollar for a hardcover, you can’t really argue with the price.
The Good: It’s a well-written book for the most part, and I was glad I finally got a chance to read it since I’d heard about it for a while. The story has sad, depressing elements mixed with a bit of suspense. Plus, it’s set in the 70s, so that’s cool although a bit inexplicable. Does Sebold think she’s the Tarantino of bestselling books?
The not-so-good: The way Sebold wraps up the story wasn’t terribly satisfying, in my opinion. Also, it’s kind of creepy to think that dead people can follow us, watch our every move, and read our thoughts. That seems to have been a more interesting direction for this book, but it never quite went there.
Should you read it? I don’t know –what am I, some kind of book guru? If you want to read a story about a murdered girl who hangs out for a while to spy on her family and killer, then have at it. Otherwise, I think you can probably find something a bit better.
That’s it for now. Thanks for reading, and have a great Wednesday! 
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Sitzman

Errand-Running Monkey at Sitzblog
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