Reading Around the World: China

Reading Around the World- China.png

My father is visiting me this week and that has made relook at China as a traveller.  It is very easy to get sidetracked by life, to do lists, and my job and forget that I live someplace special.  In that spirit I have made a reading list for China. 


Nanjing Requiem by Ha Jin cover

Nanjing Requiem
by Ha Jin

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: no
Published: October 18th 2011

"I didn’t respond, knowing that some foreigners had their doubts about the Chinese, especially the elite and the educated among us. Most of those people were gone."

Why: I am interested in what happened in Nanjing during WWII but really don't know much about it. This one promises to be an emotional read.


China Underground by Zachary Mexico cover

China Underground
by Zachary Mexico

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: no
Published: January 27th 2009

"There’s a click, and the would-be handyman hangs up. The driver looks back at me quizzically. The garlic quotient of his breath has increased exponentially, and it’s somewhat alarming that he’s not looking at the road. A queasy, acidic feeling, born of halitosis and fear, begins to take hold in my gut."

Why: Because I have to jump through 100,00 hoops to get anything done on the internet and sometimes it just doesn't work.  


China: Land of Dragons and Emperors by Adeline Yen Mah cover

China: Land of Dragons and Emperors
by Adeline Yen Mah

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: no
Published: June 9th 2009 

"Let’s start before recorded history in the mythical times when dragons were supposed to exist. They were said to have the eyes of a demon and the claws of an eagle."

Why: This is a children's history of China. Which means that I might just be able to handle it.  Because OMG complicated.


February Flowers by Fan Wu cover

February Flowers
by Fan Wu 

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: no
Published: August 7th 2007

“You can never forget the past unless you face up to it.” 

Why: It is YA set in modern China with Chinese characters.  What?! I am surprised it has taken me thins long to find it.


Snow Falling in Spring: Coming of Age in China During the Cultural Revolution by Moying Li

Snow Falling in Spring: Coming of Age in China During the Cultural Revolution
by Moying Li

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: no
Published: March 18th 2008 

"Soon my freedom, together with that of our rabbits and rooster, was restricted."

Why: The Cultural Revolution.  'Nuf said.


Buy Me the Sky: The remarkable truth of China’s one-child generations by Xinran cover

Buy Me the Sky: The remarkable truth of China’s one-child generations
by Xinran

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: no
Published: May 7th 2015 

Why: I spend an awful lot of time dealing with this.  So much time. 


Silent Tears: A Journey of Hope in a Chinese Orphanage by Kay Bratt cover

Silent Tears: A Journey of Hope in a Chinese Orphanage
by Kay Bratt

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: no
Published: July 3rd 2008 

"Or the Chinese method, the outside of a high-rise building. They wrapped their legs around a rope while sitting on the paint bucket attached...”

Why: I am a sucker for an adoption/orphanage story.


When A Billion Chinese Jump: How China Will Save Mankind Or Destroy It by Jonathan Watts cover

When A Billion Chinese Jump: How China Will Save Mankind Or Destroy It
by Jonathan Watts

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: no
Published: July 1st 2010 

“There are few sharper contrasts in China between the desire to find harmony and the instinct to impose order.”

Why: One of the boys in my book club read this book last year and talked it up enough to where  I have had it on my list ever since.  Middle Schooler recs FTW.  Also, the title is not a lie.


The Last Days of Old Beijing: Life in the Vanishing Backstreets of a City Transformed by Michael Meyer cover

The Last Days of Old Beijing: Life in the Vanishing Backstreets of a City Transformed
by Michael Meyer

 

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: no
Published: June 24th 2008

"It is a typical morning in a typical Beijing hutong. The only thing exceptional is the weather, which is neither sweltering nor frigid, and the air unpolluted."

Why: I have been here for three years and even I have been able to witness the dramatic destruction of the old traditional neighborhoods.  It is heartbreaking.  On the one hand, indoor plumbing and heat are awesome.  On the other a way of life is being lost.


The Good Women of China: Hidden Voices by Xinran cover

The Good Women of China: Hidden Voices
by Xinran

Goodreads | Amazon
Series: no
Published: November 11th 2003 

“Everybody says women are like water. I think it's because water is the source of life, and it adapts itself to its environment. Like women, water also gives of itself wherever it goes to nurture life....”

Why: I have already read this one. The Cultural Revolution has had a profound and lasting impact on China. Through anecdotes about women trying to live their lives through it, we start to see it's human face as well as the misogynistic attitudes that presented it. It is both fascinating and disturbing.

Has anyone read Red Scarf Girl? We use it in a Unit with the grade 7 students but they HATE IT. If you have any reccommendations for a book about personal responsibility and activism with a China connection please shoot them my way.