Have you ever wondered what it would be like to give up everything you know and move to another country? Have you dreamed of exploring unknown worlds, learning new languages, and soaking yourself in foreign cultures?
Well, I did that, and you can read all about it for less than the price of a cup of coffee—you can uproot yourself without uprooting yourself, you can see what happens when someone crazy enough to take the plunge actually does it. To borrow a few words from the Freaknomics podcast, I don’t want to toot my own horn here, but Teakettle Mountain, my first book on the subject of changing everything you know, is pretty much the best book ever written. Better than the Bible—particularly all the begat chapters, and especially the much-maligned Leviticus—better than Joyce, better than Homer. On top of that, it has a brand new professional cover to which I’d like to draw your attention—
The book is about my first adventures as an English teacher in Busan, South Korea, a city whose Sino-Korean name, 釜山, could be translated to Teakettle Mountain (the Bu character, 釜, does not have an exact translation in English, it’s a kind of traditional Chinese teakettle, sometimes enormous in size). I’ve been working the past few days on pumping out a paper copy, which re-exposed me to the book’s exquisite prose, some of which I’d like to share with you now. The following is the opening to a chapter called Cry Me A River:
“Teaching is a beautiful thing,” old warm grandfatherly Mr. Triceratops said one morning through our translator, Ms. Yoon, who spoke American English as though she were a textbook that had been electrified and, Frankenstein-like, brought to life. “The opportunity to mold a child’s mind into something powerful and good is one of the greatest the world has to offer.”
This is the passage one of several glowing reviewers really enjoyed, but the book is full of stories like this, and all of them are true. The craziest thing about Mr. Triceratops is that he actually existed and did indeed say these words to me.
Teakettle Mountain is available now for $2.99, less than the price of—well, almost anything, really. Whether it’s the string of pizza cheese that got stuck on the cheek of a random woman who was trying to marry me on the street outside my window, or the schoolchildren who were obsessed with finger-raping every anus in sight, this book is packed with sights and smells and sounds of a journey you can be a part of. Join me now. Make history, and get your hands on the book which is the dictionary definition of fun—no, really, check your dictionaries and you’ll see that the definition of the word “fun” has been replaced with Teakettle Mountain’s bookcover, hyperlinked, of course, to the book’s amazon page.