As I prepare for a few quiet days at the beach (weather reports bode well) before returning to Beijing for 10 days and then a slew of events in late September, I realize that I haven’t posted the story of the Jade Emperor’s stone fish and our outing to Tanzhe-Shi, a temple west of Beijing, in June. That little adventure ends up as part of the preface to a book, The Good Library Manual, we’re publishing next week, and I’d like to explain why.

Karen Christensen at Tanzhe-Shi, with the Jade Emperor's Stone FishI suggested the trip to Tanzhe-Shi because some of the events in a favorite novel, Peking Picnic, took place there. Tom, Rachel, and I took the subway to the end of the line at Pingguo Yuan, which means