Great Books for China Travelers - Memoirs & Fiction

A Listmania! list by Lao Ming "Jeremy" (Shanghai)
The list author says: "My favorite books for those planning a trip to China."
Waiting: A Novel
1.  Waiting: A Novel by Ha Jin
The list author says:
  "One of my favorite books ever - a must read."
$12.70   Used & New from: $0.01
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (363 customer reviews)

Under the Red Flag
2.  Under the Red Flag by Ha Jin
The list author says:
  "Looks at China at the end of the cultural revolution and as the country opened up. A collection of short stories. The KFC story comes to mind every time I pass a KFC in China (and that happens every day)."
$12.03   Used & New from: $0.01
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

The Crazed
3.  The Crazed by Ha Jin
The list author says:
  "My second favorite Ha Jin novel. Also a must read. I could go on with Ha Jin but will stop here. But my suggestion is read everything you can find by him!"
$12.46   Used & New from: $0.01
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)

The Good Women of China: Hidden Voices
4.  The Good Women of China: Hidden Voices by Xinran
The list author says:
  "Several stories about women surviving in China. it comes from a radio host who had a call-in talk show in the 80s. The translation isn't great and the writing does not flow but some of the stories stick to your soul. Not a pleasant read but maybe the most important of the list."
$11.33   Used & New from: $0.01
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (94 customer reviews)

River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze (P.S.)
5.  River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze (P.S.) by Peter Hessler
The list author says:
  "Great for while traveling down the Yangtze. Also lets you know a bit about my first couple years in China. I shared many similar experiences."
$12.60   Used & New from: $0.01
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (350 customer reviews) | 3 customer discussions

China Road: A Journey into the Future of a Rising Power
6.  China Road: A Journey into the Future of a Rising Power by Rob Gifford
The list author says:
  "The book reads much like NPR. Simple, light yet full of interesting information. It is a pleasant read and will help urge you to hit the road in China. I enjoyed the book quite a bit while reading but to be honest now remember little. Right before a trip to China a book like that might be nice."
$9.82   Used & New from: $0.01
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (182 customer reviews) | 1 customer discussion

Colors of the Mountain
7.  Colors of the Mountain by Da Chen
The list author says:
  "Great book about going through the cultural revolution from a child's perspective. The writer lives close to White Plains.  If you like the book, there is a sequel about life in college in Beijing that is also very good - Sounds of the River."
$11.30   Used & New from: $0.01
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)

The Corpse Walker: Real Life Stories: China From the Bottom Up
8.  The Corpse Walker: Real Life Stories: China From the Bottom Up by Liao Yiwu
The list author says:
  "I have not had a chance to read this myself but have heard fantastic things."
$11.34   Used & New from: $2.60
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)

Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China
9.  Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China by Leslie T. Chang
The list author says:
  "My sister-in-law has lived the life described here.  Not always a fun read but very real and very useful for understanding China today."
$12.65   Used & New from: $0.09
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (168 customer reviews) | 3 customer discussions

Chronicle of a Blood Merchant
10.  Chronicle of a Blood Merchant by Hua Yu
The list author says:
  "Hua Yu is most famous for Brothers and To Live below. They have been made into films and are fantastic. But for me Blood Merchant is my favorite. Maybe b/c I know people who have sold blood to pay for children's school books. Anyway I loved all three books and although the translations can't match Ha Jin's English prose they still flow very nicely."
$10.78   Used & New from: $2.32
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

Brothers: A Novel
11.  Brothers: A Novel by Hua Yu
$11.34   Used & New from: $2.45
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)

To Live: A Novel
12.  To Live: A Novel by Michael Berry
$10.78   Used & New from: $3.11
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)

Rice: A Novel
13.  Rice: A Novel by Howard Goldblatt
The list author says:
  "Su Tong is another great author that has had his films become hits in the west. Most think of Raise the Red Lantern (Wives & Concubines) as his best work. But I would suggest Rice (watch the film Raise the Red Lantern). Not an easy read. It is a bleak world view. One I have not directly witnessed in China. Yet I sometimes feel it deep under the surface."
Used & New from: $1.61
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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The Noodle Maker: A Novel
14.  The Noodle Maker: A Novel by Jian Ma
The list author says:
  "Ma Jian is most famous for "Red Dust" a travel memoir but I want to suggest the Noodle Maker instead. If going to Xinjiang or Tibet, Red dust is a must, but noodle maker represents a dark, slightly bitter humor that is common in China. Concise and to the point, it is a quick and interesting read."
$12.10   Used & New from: $0.01
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China
15.  Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China by Jung Chang
The list author says:
  "The book that started my reading of memoir & fiction on China. It has lost some of its glow over the years as some of the author's research has come into question but it is still a must read or reread for those coming to China."
$9.66   Used & New from: $0.01
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,045 customer reviews) | 1 customer discussion

Candy
16.  Candy by Mian Mian
The list author says:
  "Candy, Shanghai Baby, and Beijing Doll are not good literature. The books often sound like the shallow scratchings of a Chinese Paris Hilton want-to-be. Yet they describe a time, place and personality that I witnessed. They also do in a very limited way speak for a generation that grew up in the fastest transition and change (possibly) ever experienced."
$19.44   Used & New from: $0.01
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

Shanghai Baby: A Novel
17.  Shanghai Baby: A Novel by Wei Hui
The list author says:
  "I think what is learned from these books is worth the gag reflex that comes while reading them. But read at your own risk."
$16.19   Used & New from: $0.01
2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)

Beijing Doll
18.  Beijing Doll by Howard Goldblatt
$17.00   Used & New from: $0.01
2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)

The Family
19.  The Family by Pa Chin
The list author says:
  "Below are several very famous authors from the 20's and 30's. An earlier time of great change that lead to the People's Republic of China.  Seen as dusty relics by most of my chinese friends today, I still love them. I think you will too. Ba Jin's book family is my favorite. It takes time to get going but then grips you."
$22.95   Used & New from: $0.01
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews) | 1 customer discussion

Teahouse: A Play in Three Acts
20.  Teahouse: A Play in Three Acts by She Lao
The list author says:
  "This book is great for traveling to Beijing b/c his home is right off wangfujing. Spending some time in the quite of his courtyard house (siheyuan) so close to the tourist bustle of Wangfujing is a welcome change. Thinking about this novel and the authors tragic life while sitting in the courtyard was a moving experience."
$22.95   Used & New from: $0.99
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

The Real Story of Ah-Q and Other Tales of China: The Complete Fiction of Lu Xun (Penguin Classics)
21.  The Real Story of Ah-Q and Other Tales of China: The Complete Fiction of Lu Xun (Penguin Classics) by Lu Xun
The list author says:
  "Lu xun is the most famous of this generation of writers and with good reason. The humor and art of his work is at a different level from all the above. There is a tiny Lu Xun museum in Shanghai. His last home is also preserved and is an interesting visit.  Having read the above books will make several tourist spots usually overlooked take on special meaning."
$12.16   Used & New from: $9.00
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

The Dream of the Red Chamber (Tuttle Classics)
22.  The Dream of the Red Chamber (Tuttle Classics) by Xueqin Cao
The list author says:
  "If you plan to visit Prince Gong's Residence while in Beijing this is a must read. Otherwise it is a bit long and drawn out for me. To be honest, I never read it all the way through. Anyway for those with a love of reading & more class than me - Dream is a classic."
$18.13   Used & New from: $2.78
1.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

Monkey: Folk Novel of China
23.  Monkey: Folk Novel of China by Wu Ch'êng-ên
The list author says:
  "Journey to the West / Monkey King is the kind of classic I can enjoy. It is a story that captured generations of kids.
Yet, I enjoyed the children's TV show from CCTV more than the book. A classic that should be read to understand China. But for a casual traveler, many other works listed here come first."
$13.48   Used & New from: $2.49
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)

Stories from a Ming Collection: The Art of the Chinese Storyteller
24.  Stories from a Ming Collection: The Art of the Chinese Storyteller by Feng Menglong
The list author says:
  "Now we are really going back. The Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) was a great time for short prose. Those with the stamina can tackle "Dream of the Red Chamber" and other long novels of the Qing. But these stories are short, often funny and a nice read while going from stop to stop along the trip. It is also compact and fits in a purse or pocket. The pearl sewn shirt is my favorite."
$9.41   Used & New from: $0.01
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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