Book Lust’s recommended reading list

Nancy Pearl is famous in the library world for her lists of books about just about everything and her Book Lust blog. We decided to see what she suggests for readers interested in China. We’ve extracted the authors and titles from her list in Book Lust to Go for a quick post:

“Here then, in alphabetical order by author (and including both fiction and nonfiction, old and new), is where I’d begin my reading.

  • Joe Bennett’s Where Underpants Come From: From Checkout to Cotton Field: Travels Through the New China and Into the New Global Economy
  • Isabella Bird’s The Yangtze Valley and Beyond: An Account of Journeys in China, Chiefly in the Province of Sze Chuan and Among the Man-tze of the Sorno Territory
  • Iris Chang’s The Rape of Nanking: The Forgotten Holocaust of World War II
  • Leslie T. Chang’s Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China
  • Da Chen’s two memoirs: Colors of the Mountain and Sounds of the River
  • Shen Congwen’s Border Town (originally published in 1934)
  • Fuchsia Dunlop’s Shark’s Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China
  • Gretel Ehrlich’s Questions of Heaven: The Chinese Journeys of an American Buddhist
  • Emily Hahn’s China to Me
  • Peter Hessler’s three marvelous books: River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze; Oracle Bones: A Journey Between China’s Past and Present; and Country Driving: A Journey from Farm to Factory
  • Ha Jin’s stories, collected in Ocean of Words and A Good Fall
  • Lincoln Kaye’s Cousin Felix Meets the Buddha: And Other Encounters in China and Tibet
  • Yiyun Li’s The Vagrants
  • Jen Lin-Liu’s Serve the People: A Stir-Fried Journey Through China
  • Rosemary Mahoney’s The Early Arrival of Dreams: A Year in China
  • Somerset Maugham’s The Painted Veil
  • Zachary Mexico’s China Underground
  • Kirsty Needham’s A Season in Red: My Great Leap Forward into the New China
  • Jiang Rong’s Wolf Totem
  • Jonathan Spence’s The Search for Modern China
  • Jonathan Tel’s The Beijing of Possibilities
  • Colin Thubron’s Shadow of the Silk Road and Behind the Wall: A Journey Through China
  • Maarten Troost’s Lost on Planet China: The Strange and True Story of One Man’s Attempt to Understand the World’s Most Mystifying Nation, Or How He Became Comfortable Eating Live Squid
  • Robert Van Gulik’s Judge Dee mysteries (set in the T’ang Dynasty), especially The Chinese Bell Murders and The Chinese Maze Murders
  • Simon Winchester’s The River at the Center of the World: A Journey up the Yangtze and Back in Chinese Time [and also The Man Who Loved China]
  • Jan Wong’s Beijing Confidential: A Tale of Comrades Lost and Found
  • Lijia Zhang’s “Socialism Is Great!”: A Worker’s Memoir of the New China
  • Dean King’s Unbound: A True Story of War, Love, and Survival
  • Guy Gavriel Kay’s Under Heaven (set in the T’ang Dynasty)

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