A Geek in China

Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

For every fan of kung fu, steamed dumplings, Confucius, and giant skyscrapers, A Geek in China is a hip, smart and concise guide to the Middle Kingdom. 

Packed with photographs and short articles on all aspects of Chinese culture, past and present, A Geek in China introduces readers to everything from Taoism and Confucianism to pop music and China's new middle class. A mix of traditional culture, such as highlights of Chinese history, great historical and mythological figures, traditional medicine, how the Chinese language works, real Chinese food, martial arts, and how the Chinese Communist Party works, is complemented with information on what makes China unique today. 

Author Dr. Matthew B. Christensen holds degrees in Chinese, international relations, and Chinese linguistics. He is Professor of Chinese in the Department of Asian & Near Eastern Languages at Brigham Young University, where he has been teaching for the past twenty years. His research interests include Chinese language and culture, Chinese poetry, Chinese culinary culture, and teaching Chinese as a foreign language. He blogs about his adventures exploring China at intothemiddlekingdom.com.

A Geek in China

Here are a few of the many reasons why I love this book:


Let's face it - with the advent of the internet, we have become increasingly more visual learners. This book is packed with graphics, box outs, and a stunning layout on each page that makes reading - and learning - interesting and easy.


Ever wanted a crash course in Chinese history? I was trying to remember all I'd learned when I picked up this book, and the very first chapter, on China Past and Present, taught me so much more than I'd previously known. I especially appreciated the glimpse into Chinese culture with the section on historical and mythological figures who still matter today.

A book review of A Geek in China

Culture and Food

YES. This, perhaps, is one of my favorite chapters. Besides the food (which is incredible, and has 3 different sections here!), you'll discover martial arts, traditional arts like landscape painting, silk, traditional chinese medicine, and literature and legends (YAY!). Did you know that to the Chinese, food is the most important thing? There's a saying, Min yi shi wei tian, which means food is heaven. See why I love this book? I'd never know this. How cool is that?!

To the Chinese, food is heaven. My kind of place! From a book review on A Geek in China

In-depth looks at society, culture, and play

It is difficult, when looking at websites, news, and tv, to fully grasp the complexity of a culture so vast and diverse. A Geek in China does just that, though - offers a detailed introduction to the diversity of Chinese culture. From gender to religion, age to socioeconomic status, music to tv, this book shares much about this colossal country and culture.

A Geek in China - a book review

How to

Lastly, A Geek in China shares travel tips to explore China. With highlights on Shanghai and Beijing, main sites, off the beaten path, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and how to get around, this is an excellent travel guide.

In fact, I'd suggest this book for anyone looking to learn about China - and then, when they are as intrigued as I am, to plan a journey there. It would be an incredible resource in a classroom, home library, or as a gift to curious, intercultural friends. Highly, highly recommended.

Click here to purchase it from Barnes & Noble:

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