Just finished reading Foreign Babes in Beijing, a nice little memoir of Rachel DeWoskin’s time as an unlikely actress in the Chinese entertainment industry in the 1990s.

I’ve been batting around the idea of writing some creative nonfiction about my time in India (tentatively entitled Outsourcing Myself), but I’ve been having a hard time structuring my thoughts, which I think has a lot to do with the fact that I haven’t really processed the whole experience. Writing used to be my way of getting through these things, but instead of chapters surging forth from my keyboard, I find only snippets of conversations, pungent tastes on the tip of my tongue, half-formed Hinglish crowded out by the everyday concerns of paying the rent, feeding myself, and trying not to get lost in New York’s seething mass of humanity.

If I do ever get past this writer’s block, I’ll be in good company. Here are some of my favorite books by foreigners trying to parse the subcontinent:

And, a bonus link to Kamat’s Potpourri, which has a compendium of links to historical accounts of foreigners in India (such as Chinese traveler Fa-Hien’s account of Buddhism from the fourth and fifth centuries AD).

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