Beijing for Beginners: An Irishman in the People's Republic Paperback – 1 Jun 2008
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"'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.
Top Customer Reviews
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? ;)
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.
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.
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 *.)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book is fantastic. Very light-hearted, yet really interesting and informative at the same time. Read morePublished on 1 May 2010 by Dennis
Before picking up this book my knowledge of China was quite limited. Like everyone I knew the big stuff but had no sense of what the place would be like to visit or live. Read morePublished on 30 Dec. 2008 by PortoLad
I found this book to be funny interesting culmination of the authors experiences in China. The author makes many 'laugh out loud' scenarios. Read morePublished on 18 Dec. 2008 by Victoria Jones
...but Mr. Finnegan can never quite get his head around this strange habit of the locals.
This is an excellent book and an enjoyable read, pitched at just the right... Read more