First things first: this is an outstanding book.
In the course of The Paper Road: Archive and Experience in the Botanical Exploration of West China and Tibet (University of California Press, 2011), Erik Mueggler weaves together the stories of two botanists traveling through western China and Tibet in a lyrically-written story that treats the nature of writing, bodies, beauty, images, violence, and history in creating experiences of the earth. The characters are compelling, the story is important, and the work speaks to readers well beyond the field of East Asian Studies. Listen to Mueggler's comments, and then read the book. You will learn much, as I certainly did.