The star of On Java Road, the latest novel from Lawrence Osborne, is Adrian Gyle, a down-on-his-luck correspondent in Hong Kong, in the midst of its 2019 protests. Adrian spends his time drinking with Jimmy Tang, a royal screw-up from one of Hong Kong’s tycoon families. But a new character—and an unexpected death—threatens to drive a wedge in their relationship, as Hong Kong is mired in an uncertain future.

Many of us—who maybe aren’t historians—have an image of the Silk Road: merchants who carried silk from China to as far as ancient Rome, in one of the first global trading networks. Historians have since challenged the idea that there really was such an organized network, instead seeing it as a 19th-century metaphor that obscures as much as it explains.

Food journalist Angela Hui grew up in rural Wales, as daughter to the owners of the Lucky Star Chinese takeaway. Angela grew up behind the counter, helping take orders and serve customers, while also trying to find her place in this small Welsh town. In her new memoir, Takeaway: Stories from a Childhood behind the Counter, she writes about the surprisingly central role the takeaway plays in rural Britain.

It can be easy to think of colonies as having two populations: colonial subjects, and colonial overlords from Europe. It’s an easy narrative: one has power, status and privilege, the other does not. But in practice, European colonies created many populations in-between: groups who benefited from imperial power, yet not one of the elite.