One of the 25 point categories in the summer challenge is to read a book about the experiences of a Peace Corps volunteer. When I first read this challenge, I thought, "Great." I am trying to do the whole challenge with books I already own and thought this category would be a bust.
Turns out I own two books about Peace Corps experiences: River Town and Nine Hills to Nambonkaha. I guess since I own about a million books, something was bound to fit.
I love reading about China and Africa, but for whatever reason I picked up the one about China: River Town. Hessler was a Peace Corps volunteer from 96-98 in Sichuan province, where he taught English classes at a teachers college. The area where he taught is near the Three Gorges Dam. He visited many sites that are now underwater.
China is an intriguing place. Since Hessler lived in Fuling (a remote area with the only foreigners being him and another Peace Corps volunteer) for two years, the book gets into the nitty gritty of Chinese life--the poverty those at the bottom face, the upheaval the Cultural Revolution brought, the Communist Party, the family relationships, and so on.
Other great books about China:
The Girl from Purple Mountain
Lost on Planet China