What We Are Reading Today: China’s Urban Champions by Kyle A. Jaros

Updated 04 July 2019
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What We Are Reading Today: China’s Urban Champions by Kyle A. Jaros

  • China’s national leaders have tried to forestall top-heavy urbanization

The rise of major metropolises across China since the 1990s has been a double-edged sword: Although big cities function as economic powerhouses, concentrated urban growth can worsen regional inequalities, governance challenges, and social tensions. 

Wary of these dangers, China’s national leaders have tried to forestall top-heavy urbanization. However, urban and regional development policies at the subnational level have not always followed suit. China’s Urban Champions explores the development paths of different provinces and asks why policymakers in many cases favor big cities in a way that reinforces spatial inequalities rather than reducing them, says a review on the Princeton University Press website.

Kyle Jaros combines in-depth case studies of Hunan, Jiangxi, Shaanxi, and Jiangsu provinces with quantitative analysis to shed light on the political drivers of uneven development.

The book highlights the key role of provincial units in determining the nation’s metropolitan and regional development trajectory.


What We Are Reading Today: Bettyville

Updated 24 July 2019
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What We Are Reading Today: Bettyville

Author: George Hodgman

Bettyville is a touching memoir about the relationship between a mother and son.
It is a memoir written with love by a man who returns home to care for his aging mother.
Author George Hodgman captures life as it was in small-town Missouri, where he grew up.
Hodgman “is a good writer, knows how to use repetition to good effect, knows how to tease the reader and then pull away, later returning to tease again,” said a review in goodreads.com.
“The memoir would especially appeal to those with family members with dementia as well as those who want to understand how it feels to want not to hurt or disappoint the ones you love,” it added.
“There are chapters on the colorful residents; there are sections on George’s publishing career; there are some awkward and frustrating stories from his childhood; and there are memories of his parents and grandmother,” said the review.
Hodgman died on Saturday at his home in Manhattan. He was 60.
“The book is instantly engaging, as Hodgman has a wry sense of humor, one he uses to keep others at a distance,” Eloise Kinney wrote in a review in Booklist.
“Yet the book is also devastatingly touching.”