Saturday, July 09, 2011

Weekly Geeks

I haven't participated in a Weekly Geeks Meme in a long time (too long!)

This week's question asks:

What book/novel would you suggest for someone like me, someone interested in learning about your state, city and/or country? What book do you think is perfect for presenting the history and culture of your place of residence in the most perfect and interesting way?

My problem is that most novels that take place in DC are political thrillers. Exciting, yes, but not the most accurate portrayal of life in the area. I mean, I've lived here for 6 years and I've never stopped a spy plot, blown anything up, or brought down a corrupt politician. My day-to-day life experiences that tend not to happen elsewhere involve being late to work because I'm caught behind someone's motorcade. Or seeing random politicians and talking heads while walking down the street. Even more common are being pissed off by clueless tourists or having my plans messed up because protests are closing down streets I want to drive on.

But I have lived other places.

For a great look into life in urban China, check out Peter Hessler's Oracle Bones: A Journey Through Time in China or Michael Meyer's The Last Days of Old Beijing: Life in the Vanishing Backstreets of a City Transformed.

When I lived in Manchester, I lived in a largely Pakistani neighborhood. Coupled with current events at the time made me think a lot about the changing notions of British identity in the UK today. I think White Teeth by Zadie Smith captures these issues really well. Although it's historical fiction, Small Island by Andrea Levy explores these same issues even better.

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1 comment:

M.O. Fumento said...

As a big city creature who meandered into very rural Wyoming for a year, I learned about author Craig Johnson, writes a terrific series about a detective named Walt Longmire. All books are based in a fictional Wyoming town about a sheriff who attracts trouble. The series are a perfect description of small town food, politics, crime and unmanageable weather. Drive through Wyoming, and you could be a character in any of these books. Check out his web site: