Come and Join Us for a Summer Online Book Discussion!

We have chosen Lost on Planet China by J. Maarten Troost as our first summer read. Copies of the title can be picked up at the Carnegie Reference Desk or we can send it to your nearby branch for pick up, just call 788-4087 and ask for Reference to request the copy to be sent. Kindle or ePub copies are available on Overdrive here.

“Maarten Troost has charmed legions of readers with his laugh-out-loud tales of wandering the remote islands of the South Pacific. When the travel bug hit again, he decided to go big-time, taking on the world’s most populous and intriguing nation. In Lost on Planet China, Troost escorts readers on a rollicking journey through the new beating heart of the modern world, from the megalopolises of Beijing and Shanghai to the Gobi Desert and the hinterlands of Tibet.

Maarten Troostbrings China to life as you’ve never seen it before, and his insightful, rip-roaringly funny narrative proves that once again he is one of the most entertaining and insightful armchair travel companions around.”

To take part in the discussion you will need to create an account on the website. Scroll to the bottom of the homepage on the left under, "For comments only" then either log into your account if you already have one or create an account.


Tessa's picture

I'm only in chapter two and

I'm only in chapter two and I'm laughing already!  His first book, The sex lives of cannibals, was hilarious, and it looks like this one will be, too!



Speaking with horns!

I have only seen this kind of driving, in person, once and it was not in China but wow it can get your heart a-racing! Lol. But somehow we make it there.

"They blast it when they're about to pass someone. They blast it while they're passing. And they blast it when they are done passing. Then they blast it some more, just because."

Tessa's picture

passing in the Yucatan

I remember being scared every time my husband passed anyone on the highway in the Yucatan--I couldn't remember when we were supposed to honk...



How long do we have to read

How long do we have to read the book? 

Honking in Granada

I remember when we lived in Granada it was of the utmost importance to always honk when going around curves, because the roads were so narrow. In Chicago, you honk at blind cornors in alleys. Lol.

Tessa's picture

finish by the 4th

Hi, Hailey!

Since we're doing two books, we have about three weeks per book.  So we'd like to have finished reading this one by Thursday, July 4th, so we can wrap up any discussion during the long weekend.  Then we'll start the second book, Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion, on Monday, July 8th.



Hi Tessa!

Sounds good to me. Warm bodies is that based on the new movie that just came out?


Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

The movie Warm Bodies is based on the novel Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion.


Tessa's picture

Did you get to the part about sparrows?

Wow--I was really taken aback by Mao's campaign against the lowly sparrow! As an enthusiastic birder, this was apalling.  As someone who can only speculate on the impact we humans are having on the world, it was even worse.  Horrifying. Dreadful.  Shortsighted leaders allowing one man to destroy the earth's delicate balance!  And most of us oblivious to what was happening, quibbling about snail darters and owls while Mao did this!



Tessa's picture

page 86, paragraph 2

"The air was so rank and dense with pollutants that even a Republican would be hollering for clean air. Really, it's that bad."



"Childlike powerlessness"

Page 70, first lines of Chapter 5:

"It is remarkable how quickly a country like China can reduce a foreigner---this foreigner, in any case-- to a state of childlike powerlessness."

I am not so sure that the country that I visited that made me feel like "a quivering cupcake," was anything like China. I am not sure there are other countries like China, so I had a hard time with this comment. I understand completely his discomfort, not knowing how to read the signs or speak the language but I was shocked, an avid traveler would make such a broad statement. And he had only seen some of the country so far.

Comment posted in a different location


jill_vowels's picture

First Impressions


Troost's first impression of the Chinese seems about accurate. They rush to get a cab at the airport, pushing and elbowing their way agressively, a reflexion of how competitive they are. Then the lady at the hotel shouts at him "WHAT?" THey are rude and hate Americans. His first impression is also mine and I can not imagine Troost falling in love with China. The food on the menu at his first restaurant is hideous and the history of Mao is as evil as Hitler and Assad, the dictator of Syria. I am betting he will like it more when he is actually a citizen and not a visitor of China.

My Impression

My impression about a quarter of the way through the book is, I am not sure I want to go to China. But as I have continued to read I have found myself googling the locations Troost has visited so that I can see images. I do have an interest. All cultures are different and we all see them in different ways.

Tessa's picture

I hear you!

Same here--I really don't like crowds or pollution, and I love the wilderness.  That said, there are some places Troost has gone and some things he's done I would like to see and do.  That, however, does NOT include eating live squid or jellyfish heads! While on Putuoshan Island, he tries these.  The description is not to be missed.  It will inspire you to watch YouTube clips and cringe!




No YouTube videos for me but can't wait to get to that description.

Tessa's picture

Yes, we've moved on, but posting is still fine

Hi, all! 

Anyone who wants to post on this book is free to do so--we are reading the next one, but we can still talk about this one.