I read Hessler's "River Town" a while back and enjoyed it.
After a stint as a Peace Corps teacher in China (the subject of "River Town"), Hessler got a job as a news clipper for The Wall Street Journal in Beijing, and also wrote freelance for numerous publications. This book looks at life in China from his perspective and that of the people he meets, including his former students and newer friends. Their stories are interspersed with snippets about Chinese history that place events in context.
It's quite an engaging read, and lends itself well to reading in short bursts, as I have been doing lately.