Since the next Readers Roundtable book, Heaven Lake, is set in Taiwan and China, I thought you might be intrigued by this New York Times article, Settling Down in a City in Motion. It's about this woman who moved from NYC to Shanghai last year. As she finds out, there are two ecosystems coexisting in Shanghai: the Westernized life and the "old lane life."
THE first week I lived in Shanghai, I was walking down Nanjing Street, in front of Cartier, and a man tried to sell me tiger paws. I was near one of the main high-end shopping plazas, a glittering mass of high-rise office buildings and luxury stores, when the man — rustic looking, darkly tanned and wild-eyed — approached me. Nearby, on a cardboard box, I saw his wares: the dried-out skins of indeterminate animals. He walked up to me and thrust out the two giant paws, clearly those of a long-gone big cat. He peered at me expectantly and waited for his money. I looked down at the moth-eaten paws and up at the diamonds in Cartier’s window, and I felt as one often does here, like part of a Surrealist painting. (Link to article.)