Before becoming a writer for New Yorker, Peter Hessler taught English in China in 1996 for two years as a Peace Corps volunteer. He was 26 years old then.
Most foreign teachers, or Waijiao in Chinese, chose to stay in one of the major cities, and often taught in a top university. But Hessler went to a local teacher college at Fuling, Sichuan, a backward small town along the Yangtze River in the southwestern China.
In 2001, he published his first book titled River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze, a fascinating memoir about his stint in Fuling Teacher College, recounting his unique experience of living in a small town as one of the only two foreigners (along with another Peace Corps volunteer), and of teaching English to a group of students, who mostly came from peasant families.
This year, he wrote another book titled Oracle Bones: A Journey Between China's Past and Present. In a great story telling, he weaves several common Chinese’s colorful lives, in different times and places, into one tale, including one of his students in Fuling after he graduated.
Listen to his own words about the books in this Google Video. (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid ... 9909285788)