American Shaolin is the story of how Matthew Polly, self-described 98-pound weakling, travels to China to study kung fu at the Shaolin Temple. It is also a description of what it was like to be a laowai—foreigner—in China during the early nineties.
Polly writes with economy and American Shaolin has a great, funny tone.
You also learn things about kung fu. I, for instance, did not know that such a thing as Iron Crotch kung fu existed, and now that I know, I feel queasy and disturbed. I also did not know that it is humanly possible to perform a two-fingered handstand. But apparently the Shaolin monks have figured out how to accomplish that feat.
American Shaolin is in parts funny, in parts informative, and always an enjoyable read. Highly recommended.
Or, as the Chinese might say, “It is good. It is good. It is good.”
Posted Wednesday, 04 February, 2009 by Nic Lindh
Another book roundup, including some stellar athletes and soldiers, what might be the most jaded, soul-weary protagonist ever, and some grimdark fantasy.
The Internet is getting creepy, and Nic is breaking out his tinfoil hat after newspaper paywalls push him over the edge.
Nic is tired of tech sites obsessing over Apple’s financials and business strategy. So very tired.
Nic reads a book about the processed food industry and is incensed.
Computers are complicated. This brings out the irrational in people.
Nic proposes the loan word Rechthaberei be incorporated into American English.
The Core Dump is back! Books were read during the hiatus. Includes The Coldest Winter, Oh, Myyy!, Tough Sh*t, The Revolution Was Televised, The Rook, Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore, Gun Machine, Fortress Frontier, Standing in Another Man’s Grave, and The Memory of Light.
This site will return in February.
From a true patriot to a world-weary detective, a dead god, and a civilization about to sublime from the galaxy, this book roundup spans the gamut. Includes Where Men Win Glory, Wild, Inside the Box, The Black Box, Three Parts Dead, Red Country, and The Hydrogen Sonata.
Springsteen gives a concert in Phoenix. It’s fantastic.