Bad news: For the past few days, I have been home with the flu. Good news: More time to read!

Since I've been holed up for most of the week, it seemed like a better time than ever to read about some place far away. I had a review copy of Alan Paul's Big in China in the stack of books I'd brought home, and it seemed like an interesting story--American guy moves to China for his wife's job (three kids in tow), writes an award-winning expat column and ends up fronting a group called Woodie Alan that's voted "Beijing's Best Band."

I ended up reading the funny and big-hearted memoir in just about one sitting, only pausing to watch Woodie Alan clips on YouTube. The blues band is made of three Chinese guys and two American guys and its name is a play on the founding members' names: Alan Paul and Woodie Wu. You can see the whole group in action here performing a cover of Bob Dylan's "You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go," which became their signature going-away song for friends leaving Beijing.

You can read more about Big in China in BookPage's March world travel roundup. In the meantime, check out Paul's website (you can watch a book trailer) or his old "The Expat Life" columns in the Wall Street Journal.

Did anyone follow Paul's columns while he was living in Beijing? Will you check out Big in China (it's out March 1)?

What genre of books do you like to read when you want to get away from it all?

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