Paging through China (DK), a treasury of photos illuminating the people, culture, and history of this vast and storied country, you may feel a little like Marco Polo, bedazzled by his explorations. Modern skyscrapers and ancient pagodas; rice paddies and bamboo forests; medieval villages and Tibetan temples; the daily lives of herbalists, musicians, calligraphers, schoolchildren, opera stars, and sellers of pet crickets; an astonishing variety of ethnic minorities, religious practices, cuisines, festivals, classical landscapes, and literary masterpieces—it's all here, and more. You can't help marveling at the ambition of the project and the daring of tackling it—squeezing so much beauty, time, and drama between the covers of a book—even as the book makes you appreciate a country that's so much richer and broader and more complex than you could have imagined.
— Francine Prose
Next: A memoir that puts the lust in wanderlust