Peter Hessler's first book River Town (reviewed here) was a wonderfully written, widely ranging account of his two years teaching English in Fuling, a small town in China. During that time he learned Chinese and since then has written about China for The New Yorker and other publications.
Oracle Bones repeats some of the stories from The New Yorker, recounts his continued connection with students from Fuling, tells the stories of some old scholars of archaeology, and unfolds the story of Polat, a Uighur he became friends with in Beijing. In these varied stories, he tries to grasp the great upheavals that occurred in China from the 1920s to the present.
I must return this library book now, as we are about to leave town, but in a few weeks I will write more about this wonderful book.