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59 Books: Tina Kanagaratnam of Historic Shanghai on The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck
Episode 13723rd August 2019 • Geopats Podcasting • Stephanie Fuccio
00:00:00 01:18:24

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In this podcast episode, I am honored to talk with Tina Kanagaratnam about the book The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck. Tina is a Bookish Expat with both strong literary and historical knowledge of China. I have been to a number of bookish events in Shanghai where Tina has joined in to provide some historic context to the texts that we were discussing. Every time I have blown away by how knowledgeable, insightful and personable she is. Tina is one of those people that balances intelligence, perspective and humor perfectly. 


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 A few quick things: 

  •  A special thanks to Damon Castillo for letting us use this instrumental version of the song “I got to be right” from his “Mess of Me” album. All of his music, concert info and such can be found at You can hear the entire song, with lyrics, at the end of this episode. If you are lucky enough to live in or near central coast CA, you can check Damon and his band out. 
  • The Geopats Podcast newsletter #4 is out now. Check it out and sign up to receive a copy in your email inbox each Tuesday here:
  • If listening to podcasts makes you think about making your own, I can help! You can get a free month of Podbean hosting service by using this promo code: . And if you are an expat, I am starting a Beginning Expat Podcasters Online Workshop in September (25th and 27th) . Get more info and sign up at If you don’t want to record your voice but NEED a voice, I am  selling mine! Really, If you or anyone you know needs a voiceover talent, please contact me at  What I am NOT charging for promo spots in the Geopats Podcast, I am offering them for FREE to Content Creators that I like AND that fit into that particular episode’s content. 

Tina's geographic background is equally as fascinating. The short version is that she grew up in Singapore and the U.S. and moved to China with her husband in 1995. China was a large part of her bookish upbringing and the book The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck, was a part of this book backdrop of her childhood. The Good Earth is a story of farm life in rural China in the early 20th century. But, as Tina aptly points out, it is about so much more. Tina read this book as a child, as an adult after she moved to China and recently again. How does it connect to her own China journey? What did she learn about Chinese culture during these different readings? 

SOUND NOTES: We recorded this episode in a new recording environment. As experiments go, some things worked well and some did not. My mic had some issues and there was a brief drilling sound about 30 minutes into the conversation. If you are sensitive to such minor sound issues, you may want to wait until next week’s episode. Also, for the WeChat messages in this episode, it was a choice to have them sound phone call like.  

If you have any comments or questions about this episode, please feel free to connect with Steph on any social media platform, “stephfuccio”. 

Tina’s Info: 

Historic Shanghai:

Announcements: (in order)

-(285:58) International Podcast Day,

-(43:45) Eva Yoo,, Seekroad YouTube channel,

Eva’s Geopats Podcast, Virtual Expats show episode:

Links: (in order)

-The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck,

-Noddy Meets Father Christmas,

-Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Danger Of A Single Story TEDTalk,

-Pearl Buck’s Birthplace (museum):

-Peal Buck’s Museum (Zhenjiang, China)

-The Good Earth movie:

-The Secret Garden,

-Dylan Marron’s TEDTalk, Empathy Is Not Endorsement,

TINA’s China book recs:

  • Shanghai Free Taxi by Frank Langfittt:

  • Street of Eternal Happiness by Rob Schmitz:

  • Last Boat Out of Shanghai by Helen Zia:

  • Remembering Shanghai by Claire Chao and Isabel Sun Chao:

  • News is my Job by Edna Lee Booker:

  • China to Me by Emily Hahn:

Would love to hear from you! Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn  & you can even leave a voice message on Speakpipe

Where to find the Geopats Podcast website, Apple Podcasts page, subscribe on : iOS , Android devices, RSS

Music courtesy of Damon Castillo, from the "Mess of Me" album

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This episode was created with:

  •  Auphonic, leveling software
  • Editors: Jeff (Gmail: jepoy428 or WeChat: geepoy) & Stephanie (Gmail: stephfuccio or WeChat: stephfuccio)