Taiwan – Information for Avid Readers

For anyone interested in reading books by foreigners living in Taiwan, there are some interesting publication around.

Camphor Press, an independent publishing house founded by three expats in 2014, it has grown quickly to become the largest publisher of English-language books on Taiwan. Camphor publishes both fiction and non-fiction titles on Taiwan and the wider East Asia region. Best-selling titles include John Ross’ Formasan Odyssey: Taiwan, Past and Present, and Joyce Bergvelt’s Lord of Formosa, a novel recounting the epic battle for Taiwan in the 1660s between the Dutch and the Chinese warlord Koxinga. T.C. Locke’s Barbarian at the Gate : From the American Suburbs to the Taiwanese Army is the unique account of a white American doing military service in the ROC army. As well as bringing out new titles, Camphor has also reissued numerous out-of-print classics, such as Vern Sneider’s 1953 thriller A Pail of Oysters and also his better known satire The Teahouse of the August Moon. http://camphorpress.com.

The Culture Shack Blog

If you want to read some entertaining and thought-provoking material about the cultural interactions between expats and locals, The Culture Shack is for you. John Groot’s cross-cultural blog is based on his experiences traveling the world, but more specifically in his new home of Taiwan. Magazine-style stories with an incisive but light-hearted style cover a wide range of topics. These include a comparison of running with the bulls in Pamplona to a rural temple festival in Taiwan; why most expats can never truly become Taiwanese; or the twists and turns in the development of multicultural sports teams like the Baboons Rugby Club or the Taipei International Hockey League. The Culture Shack is all about what it means to be a fish swimming in strange waters, and loving it!

Walking Around Taiwan

Groot is also well known for his walk around Taiwan, in which he tramped along the entire coastline of Taiwan in 83 separate walks, documenting the whole trip. He has written a soon-to-be released book on the journey, which is filled with colorful descriptions and funny stories. But more importantly, the book tries to answer the question “Where does this place come from?” about the natural and human history of each area he passed through. Stay tuned for updates on publication. In the end, Groot decided that although he could never become Taiwanese, he could claim to have Taiwanese feet because of his journey!

If you have an interesting story to tell, or would like to know more about John Groot’s writing, feel free to add him on Facebook.

James Weitz is originally from Washington DC, but has spent fifteen years living in Latin America and Asia. During that time he has taught history, law, ESL and composition at schools and universities in South America, China and Taiwan. Previously, he worked on anticorruption issues at the Organization of American States and privatization at the World Bank. He also writes sociopolitical satire. His writing has appeared in the journals Red Savina Review, Pennyshorts and OPEN: Journal of Arts and Letters, where he is a Contributing Editor. His novel, The NAFTA Report, is a satire of globalization in which Mexican tap water is exported to the United States and sold as a laxative. It can be downloaded at www.bookfunnel.com , for anyone looking for a good laugh and an introduction into some of the problems and controversies surrounding many of today’s international trade agreements. He is fluent in Spanish, and spent time in Mexico City researching the book, which takes place there and in Washington DC. He has a Juris Doctor in law, and and M.A. in applied linguistics with a focus on intercultural communication. He occasionally returns to Washington DC, where he likes to visit bars and socially construct politically incorrect arguments with unsuspecting locals. Visit his new website - and soon blog - at www.jamesweitz.com.
He is Groot: A Canadian Writer in Taiwan with an Original Point of View.

“When Gonzo, a young and inexperienced Mexican businessman, comes up with a half-baked business plan to export Mexican tap water to the USA and sell it as a laxative, hilarity ensues. Will democratically enacted regulations help prevent a race to the bottom? Or can Gonzo and his lawyers sidestep and stumble their way through the U.S. regulatory system? After they implement their business model, the U.S. Senate calls them all to testify at a congressional hearing to uncover the truth, resulting in a humorous romp through a serious subject.

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has weakened U.S. environmental, safety and health regulations in the trucking, meat and other industries for decades. As NAFTA is written, adjudicatory tribunals can hold their proceedings behind closed doors, with no requirement that they explain the reasons underlying their decisions. Such affronts to national integrity constitute some of the risks posed by today‘s sophisticated free trade agreements.

“The NAFTA Report” takes a new look at how high-flown international systems of law can result in oh-so-foul, flatulent frauds.