We are proud to announce a new monthly feature: The Shanghaiist Book Club.
Here’s how the book club will work: Shanghaiist staff and readers select a China-related book each month (we’ve chosen the first one ourselves). You read the book. We create a special book club post to talk about the books and you join the discussion in the comments.
For our first instalment, we’ll be reading Badlands: Decadent Playground of Old Peking by Paul French.
Paul French is the author of the excellent Midnight in Peking: The Murder That Haunted the Last Days of Old China (previously), which is currently being adapted for television. Paul has lived in Shanghai for a number of years and has written extensively about the history of the city and its people.
Badlands is Paul French’s follow up to Midnight in Peking:
The Badlands, a warren of narrow hutongs in the eastern district of pre-communist Peking, had its heyday in the 1930s. Home to the city’s drifters, misfits and the odd bohemian, it was a place of opium dens, divebars, brothels, flophouses and cabarets, and was infamous for its ability to satisfy every human desire from the exotically entertaining to the criminally depraved.
These vignettes of eight non-Chinese residents of the precinct – White Russians, Americans and Europeans – bring the Badlands vividly back to life, providing a short but potent account of a place and a way of life until now largely forgotten, but here rendered unforgettable.
Here’s how to get your hands on a copy of Badlands:
– As a Kindle Single through Amazon UK
– As an eBook from Penguin Australia (available internationally)
– As a Barnes and Noble Nook Single
– As a limited edition hardback from select stores in Shanghai (Garden Books, Book Cup shops, Foreign Languages Book Stores) and Hong Kong and Amazon.cn
– In Chinese from Chinese language book stores in mainland China
We’ll reconvene in one month to discuss Badlands (and choose next month’s book). Paul French has kindly agreed to answer any questions you might have about this book and his other works, please email [email protected] with ‘Book Club’ in the subject line.