Better Read Than Never: HOW TO BE GOOD

Twice during our China sojourn we have vacationed in Thailand. We went not primarily for the sun (though warmth in the midst of a northeastern winter was good), nor for the sights and the great food (both gorgeous and easily found), and certainly not for the sexploitation of Bangkok (not goin’ there). My wife and I, and even our almost-equally word-nerdy son, look forward more than anything to the books. In Chiangmai, a northern city we first visited in 2010 for sun and historical ruins and support for elephant preservation, we found several shockingly good English bookstores. This past February, we lugged about 40 pounds of books out of there, eventually shipping them home to Dalian.

I was a Nick Hornby fan, based on the reading of only one novel, High Fidelity. Poring through numberless shelves of the kind of books (in the kind of shop) we can only dream of in our middling Chinese city, I was arrested under the H by a new Hornby title: How To Be Good.

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