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Beijing for Beginners: An Irishman in the People's Republic Paperback – 1 Jun 2008

4.9 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 260 pages
  • Publisher: The Liffey Press (Jun. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1905785445
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905785445
  • Product Dimensions: 15.5 x 2.3 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 925,809 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

"'Beijing for Beginners is a wonderful surprise. At a time when there is so much focus on China as a growing superpower, Finnegan brings the place alive with all its strange flavours and colours - and, most importantly, tells us exactly what it's like to be a foreigner living there. Well worth reading.' - Eamon Delaney, editor of Magill magazine and author of An Accidental Diplomat 'Gary Finnegan's Irish eye catches the bizarre and the beautiful in Beijing. From eating caterpillars on a stick, to the Little Emperors of the one child policy, he explains what's old and what's new in a city changing faster than you can spit on the street.' - Carole Coleman, former Washington correspondent for RTE and author of Alleluia America: An Irish Journalist in Bush Country"

About the Author

Gary Finnegan is an award-winning journalist and former magazine editor currently living and working in Beijing. He has been a contributor and columnist to Irish newspapers and magazines, as well as making regular appearances on national and local radio and television including Newstalk, The Last Word on Today FM, TV3's Ireland AM and The Late Late Show. This is his first book.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed this book. It was insightfully written and provided an insiders view (often hilarious!) to a changing China. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
I bought this book in preparation for spending four days in Beijing later this year, and read it cover to cover within a couple of days as the style is very readable and at several times it had me laughing out loud! The title is appropriate, as an in depth exploration of Beijing it is not, rather it is a very entertaining introduction to China for those that haven't been (like myself).

My only slight bone to pick is that the author refers to his girlfriend in the book as simply 'girlfriend', and although I'm sure it was with the best intentions (to keep the focus on the main storyteller as the book is really about his experiences) it did slightly irritate me - why not give her the decency of a name? ;)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am moving out to China in five months and I was PETRIFIED, before having read this book.

Read this and join Gary Finnegan, your companionable and well-researched author as he takes you through the highlights and lowlights of his time living and working in Beijing for a year. He details his own personal experience as well as some other important information on the country's political history and fluctuating economic state.

In the latter stages of the book, Finnegan takes you into other parts of China, including Shanghai, which if you are currently arranging your trip, will open your mind up to the possibility of expanding your travel plans.

After having read The Beginners Guide to Beijing, I feel more clued up and mentally prepared for my journey. I anticipate that the inevitable culture shock will be a lot easier to endure since I now know a little bit more about what it's like to actually live in China as a foreigner. Thanks, Gary Finnegan.
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Format: Paperback
The thing that I loved about this book is that it gives you a very down-to-earth description of what it is like for a Westerner to adjust to life in China. Indeed, if you are planning to go to China (as I am), this is a book that will give you great reality check before you decide to pack your bags and leave for the Far East. There is so much useful information about the challenges that Westerners face when trying to settle down in China, such as dodging flying swirls of saliva to repeatedly turning down prostitutes at your hotel room door.

At the same time, however, Gary also helps us to appreciate China for what it is. Through his comical observations of locals queueing up to have their photos taken with a Westerner to the uniformed boys guarding over schools and supermarkets, he shows us the ways in which the Middle Kingdom can also be a very charming place to live in.

Last but not least, this book is absolutely hilarious. All the weird and quirky encounters that Gary has with the locals in his quest to become a true global citizen had me cracking with laughter. If you read this book, expect to have many laugh-out-loud moments.

So if you are planning to go to China, this book is a must- read. And if you prefer to read an amusing book within the confines of your own home.....yep, this book is still a must-read.

Enjoy!
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Format: Paperback
I see Amazon only have one of these left in stock, so you ought to order soon, whoever you are, for this is a wonderful, warm, witty and informative book - a cracking read.

As someone who's about to move his family to Beijing, I found myself swinging rapidly between states of stomach-tingling excitement and bum-tingling discomfort (or fear) as I read. It seems that's the sort of place Beijing is, and Mr Finnegan gets it all across very well. I laughed out loud a number of times too, though this didn't matter as I rarely go out.

So, yes, get this book if you've any smidge of interest in the roaring, trundling, large thing that is China. Or if you're China-neutral and just want a good time, get it too. Then read it.

(My apologies for the ****. You see I only ever give ***** to Grimble by Clement Freud. But this did only take me three days to read, while most books take me seven weeks, so that's got to be worth a virtual fifth *.)

****(*)
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