I’m excited. Whenever a new book about China comes out, I try to restrain myself from logging onto Amazon and buying it before checking the queue at my local library. Or packing my three kids into the Subaru and driving six miles to our closest independent bookstore, hoping the two youngest won’t throw a tantrum before we leave the store.
Peter Hessler’s latest book was published last month. Titled Country Driving: A Journey through China from Farm to Factory (HarperCollins, 2010), it has been touted as his best.
I’m curious to learn about this new car culture in China. When I was last in China twelve years ago, few people owned cars. My ex-brother-in-law had access to one through his work unit, but most of the vehicles on the road belonged to trucking companies (on the new highways) or farmers (and those were tractors on small city streets). But now with millions of new car owners, street scenes like the ones I remember from Hidden River, in Hubei province, where my ex-in-laws live, are a thing of the past.