The great Swiss travel writer Nicolas Bouvier began his career in 1963 with L’Usage du Monde, an account of a journey from Geneva to the Khyber Pass. Published in English as The Way of the World, the book earned him cult status amongst travel-writing aficionados, its distinctive sensibility and supremely elegant prose elevating it well above the myriad other 20th-century travel books featuring well-heeled young Europeans traversing sections of the old Silk Road.

John Oliver has been blamed, among other things, for helping Donald Trump win the 2016 US Presidential race. Rather than dealing with the rise of right-wing populism, liberals like Oliver chose to deride, ridicule and dismiss. Worldwide, liberals are seen as elitists and out of sync with the problems of the common man. In her book Reading India Now: Contemporary Formations in Literature and Popular Culture, Ulka Anjaria approaches the issue through the examples of literature and popular culture produced in India since 2000.

The Original Meaning of the Yijing: Commentary on the Scripture of Change, Zhu Xi. Joseph A Adler (trans, ed) (Columbia University Press, November 2019)
The Original Meaning of the Yijing: Commentary on the Scripture of Change, Zhu Xi. Joseph A Adler (trans, ed) (Columbia University Press, November 2019)

The Yijing (I Ching), or Scripture of Change, is traditionally considered the first and most profound of the Chinese classics. Originally a divination manual based on trigrams and hexagrams, by the beginning of the first millennium it had acquired written explanations and a series of appendices attributed to Confucius, which transformed it into a work of wisdom literature as well as divination. Over the centuries, hundreds of commentaries were written, but for the past thousand years, one of the most influential has been that of Zhu Xi (1130–1200), who synthesized the major interpretive approaches to the text and integrated it into his system of moral self-cultivation.

Serendipity, we may say, is a wonderful thing sometimes. Here are both a newly expanded edition of Hinton’s translation of Tu Fu’s poems, and at the same time his book about Tu Fu’s life as exemplified in an examination of some of these poems as they relate to the poet’s precipitous journey through life.

Catalogue of Sanskrit Manuscripts: The Pandit Collection, Hartmut Buescher (NIAS Press, November 2019)
Catalogue of Sanskrit Manuscripts: The Pandit Collection, Hartmut Buescher (NIAS Press, November 2019)

This new catalogue describes the holdings of the so-called Pandit Collection held at the Royal Library, Copenhagen. A diverse collection of more than 1,200 Sanskrit texts, it comprises codices ranging in length from several hundred folios to a single folio, or a manuscript fragment, often produced by educated (or in other cases by less educated) scribes.

The Aristocracy of Armed Talent is a sociological study of Singapore’s military elite, which author Samuel Ling Wei Chan defines as uniformed Singapore Armed Forces officers who wear one or more stars in the Army, Navy or Air Force. The author models this work on the sociological studies of political elites by Vilfredo Pareto, Gaetano Mosca, and Robert Michels, as well as the path-breaking studies of civil-military relations written by Samuel Huntington, Morris Janowitz, and others. 

Voices from the Chinese Century: Public Intellectual Debate from Contemporary China, edited by Timothy Cheek, David Ownby, and Joshua A Fogel (Columbia University Press, November 2019)
Voices from the Chinese Century: Public Intellectual Debate from Contemporary China, edited by Timothy Cheek, David Ownby, and Joshua A Fogel (Columbia University Press, November 2019)

China’s increasing prominence on the global stage has caused consternation and controversy among Western thinkers, especially since the financial crisis of 2008. But what do Chinese intellectuals themselves have to say about their country’s newfound influence and power? Voices from the Chinese Century brings together a selection of essays from representative leading thinkers that open a window into public debate in China today on fundamental questions of China and the world—past, present, and future.