Big in China by Alan Paul
My Unlikely Adventures Raising a Family, Playing the Blues, and Becoming a Star in Beijing

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"What a romp….Alan Paul walked the walk, preaching the blues in China. Anyone who doubts that music is bigger than words needs to read this great tale." Gregg Allman
"An absolute love story. In his embrace of family, friends, music and the new culture he's discovering, Alan Paul leaves us contemplating the love in our own lives, and rethinking the concept of home." Jeffrey Zaslow, coauthor, with Randy Pausch, of The Last Lecture
Alan Paul, award–winning author of the Wall Street Journal’s online column “The Expat Life,” gives his engaging, inspiring, and unforgettable memoir of blues and new beginnings in Beijing. Paul’s three-and-a-half-year journey reinventing himself as an American expat—while raising a family and starting the revolutionary blues band Woodie Alan, voted Beijing Band of the Year in the 2008—is a must-read adventure for anyone who has lived abroad, and for everyone who dreams of rewriting the story of their own future.


About Alan Paul

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Alan Paul wrote "The Expat Life" column for from 2005 through 2009, and he was named 2008 Online Columnist of the Year by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Paul is a senior writer for Slam and Guitar World magazines, and his writing has appeared in The New Yorker, Entertainment Weekly, People, Sports Illustrated, and many other media outlets. He has contributed to The Rolling Stone Jazz and Blues Guide, The Insider's Guide to Beijing, and several other books. He lives with his family in Maplewood, New Jersey.
Published March 1, 2011 by HarperCollins e-books. 277 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Arts & Photography, Travel. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Big in China

Kirkus Reviews

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A man's serendipitous rise from writer to rock star in China.

Feb 15 2011 | Read Full Review of Big in China: My Unlikely Adv...

Star Tribune

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The author's experiences in China -- fronting a band, bicycling through village markets -- are told with verve and enthusiasm. His entertaining website is at

Aug 05 2011 | Read Full Review of Big in China: My Unlikely Adv...

Oregon Live

When the Wall Street Journal offered Alan Paul's wife a posting to Beijing as its China bureau chief in 2005, he had no idea that within three years, he would be a rock star, the front man for Beijing's "band of the year," the eponymous "Woodie Alan."

May 14 2011 | Read Full Review of Big in China: My Unlikely Adv...

Denver Post

Not long after its inception, Woodie Alan was voted 2008 band of the year by a Beijing weekly, garnering up to $2,500 per gig and jetting across the country on tour.

Apr 13 2011 | Read Full Review of Big in China: My Unlikely Adv...

Business Insider

Too Big To Fail, Andrew Ross Sorkin's account of the darkest days of the financial crisis in 2008, is now an HBO movie.

May 17 2011 | Read Full Review of Big in China: My Unlikely Adv...


In 2005, Guitar World senior writer Alan Paul and his family opted for a dramatic lifestyle change, when Paul’s wife, Rebecca Blumenstein, accepted a position as the Wall Street Journal’s China bureau chief.

Apr 26 2011 | Read Full Review of Big in China: My Unlikely Adv...

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