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January 13, 2012

Author!

With some help from a little networking – and a viable manuscript – in July 2011 I received a book contract from Routledge Press, one of the better respected commercial academic publishers. My most recent journal article, about a year previously, was in the Journal of American-East Asian Relations. The journal editor, Chuck Hayford, introduced me to senior Asian Studies scholar Mark Selden, who thought enough of my manuscript to refer me to Routledge’s in-house editor, to evaluate my work for inclusion in a book series edited by Selden. After satisfying a couple of peer reviewers and, thus, the Routledge editorial team, I got the contract.

The title will be The Role of American NGOs in China’s Modernization: Invited Influence. The book is a substantial revision of my doctoral dissertation. By the end of January 2012, I will send a (near-) final manuscript to my editor. After working out whatever copyediting and final content editing issues arise, I hope the book will be published by the end of the year. Alas, Routledge's business model entails short initial runs sold at high prices. They will market 250 hardcover copies at about $150. For the most part, only university research libraries will pay this price. I will help promote the book in that market by contacting friends and colleagues at universities. If and when Routledge sells all 250 copies, they will make paperbacks available for about $40 each. Looks as though the book will not make the New York Times best seller list, but I hope a few scholars will notice it – maybe some will even assign it for graduate classes.

- Norty

“The Rastamahn is a good mahn.”

So said the snorkeling guide who took a photo of Terry and me with his friend (and our snorkeling guide), Vincent. Snorkeling in a shallow bay near Negril was one of our two outings during a four-day Thanksgiving break celebration, in Jamaica, of our 25th wedding anniversary. Vincent was a full-service guide. He picked us up at our resort (Sunset at the Palms), drove us to the bay, took us out in a small motor boat, equipped us with snorkels and masks, guided us through the bay’s beautiful underwater sights (fish, coral, etc.), and dove for a beautiful shell, which he later spent 10 minutes throwing against the sand to evict its hermit crab resident.

Our other outing was a trip to a tourist-only shopping mall, where we bought gifts for grandkids (and learned that the few native vendors resented the majority of South Asian vendors) and watch a beautiful sunset from Rick’s Café, a famous tourist destination. We wanted to take a “rum tour” at the Appleton Estate rum factory, but that would have involved a 2-1/2 hour drive each way.

We spent most of our time lounging either around the pool or on the beach. We bought an “all-inclusive” vacation, which meant that we could order drinks whenever we wanted (including at the beach) and eat as much as we wanted (at meal times). Probably not a great deal financially, since we don’t eat or drink all that much, but it was certainly convenient. There was a fair amount of good reggae music, and we danced to it when we could apply rumba, cha-cha, and jive routines from the classes we have been taking for the past couple of years.

A noteworthy feature of our time in Jamaica was the sunny weather – ranging from high 70s at night to mid-80s during the day, while temperatures were in the 40s and 50s back home in Joplin. We had so much fun that, upon our return, we investigated living and teaching opportunities in Jamaica, even contacted a thriving synagogue in Kingston. Alas, though Jamaica is a poor country, apparently living cost (with comparable quality housing) is higher than in most of the United States! All in all, it was a fun, restful vacation. It was Terry’s kind of vacation – getting away and doing little. She finally found a destination where I don’t have any friends or relatives! --Norty