Off the Shelf

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Living in a city isn't always the best way to write a guidebook about the place. A longtime resident often loses the perspective of an outsider. But in this instance, Neville-Hadley's knowledge and love of his adopted home make for a great guidebook. He knows the language and turf. Plus, he enjoys tromping off-the-track and zestfully describes his discoveries. The result is an infectious, informative read.

The usual sights are detailed with great wit and nifty tips (avoid the mobs at the Forbidden City; visit the adjacent Worker's Cultural Palace for a fraction of the fee). The National Treasure Museum "might be...