Just tried to update my profile a bit and in the booklist I wanted to add this blurb.
At the moment I"m reading "Ten Thousand Miles Without a Cloud" by Sun Shuyun. Explains a lot about how Buddhism nearly disappeared from India altogether if it weren't for various things that happened including a particular Chinese monk's (Xuanzang) records. She attempts to follow his path from his home in China to the birthplace of the Buddha and back. The biggest impression the book has made on me is from the information about how widespread Buddhism was in Afghanistan. Facinating read if you are into this sort of thing (as I obviously am!).
Incidentally, The story of Xuanzang's epic journey is actually the one that the 1970/80's TV show 'Monkey Magic' was based on. http://www.ewtoo.org/~matt/monkey/ Yes, the monk and journey were real. No, there was no monkey as the bloke was a pretty staunch kinda guy who survived the unsurvivable without the help of anyone else, simian or otherwise.
Now here in Japan a brand new series has just begun...the legend continues...