eXpAt–tAcULar China! Memoirs from forty fabulous foreigners in the PRC

A Listmania! list by Xiamen Expat (Xiamen)
The list author says: "There are nearly 600,000 foreigners presently living and working in the Chinese mainland. They teach English, they study Putonghua, they facilitate global trade and investment, they report on current events, and some are even celebrities.

Expats have been keeping diaries and writing memoirs of their exciting experiences in China for time immemorial, though not until the 1980s, beginning with one Mark Salzman, followed by the omnipresent Peter Hessler, have their careers as published authors launched a few fortunate foreigners in China into superstar status.

Here is a list of memoirs written within the past 2 decades by 40 fabulous foreigners in China. Some are sorely dated, some are eternal, some are clichéd, some are groundbreaking; but, when read a as collective work, all offer a very revealing, and entertaining, observation of life in the oldest (and arguably mysterious) civilization in the world."
Big in China: My Unlikely Adventures Raising a Family, Playing the Blues, and Becoming a Star in Beijing
1.  Big in China: My Unlikely Adventures Raising a Family, Playing the Blues, and Becoming a Star in Beijing by Alan Paul
The list author says:
  "Alan Paul, China's latest "it-pat," stormed the Beijing scene as an expat blogger for the Wall Street Journal, the frontman for an infectiously-enjoyable bar band, and father of three. His entertaining memoir explains how he became so Big in China."
$20.26   Used & New from: $0.01
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)

The Foremost Good Fortune
2.  The Foremost Good Fortune by Susan Conley
The list author says:
  "Susan Conley, a saint amongst female expats in China, writes beautifully about her life as an expat wife, raising 2 children in China…and her battle with breast cancer in Beijing."
$19.53   Used & New from: $0.01
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews) | 1 customer discussion

River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze (P.S.)
3.  River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze (P.S.) by Peter Hessler
The list author says:
  ""Perpetually Publicized Peter," as expat expert Peter Hessler is known in literary circles due to his high name recognition, has authored 3 acclaimed books on his experiences in China. River Town, about teaching English, is his most popular."
$12.65   Used & New from: $0.01
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (291 customer reviews) | 3 customer discussions

Foreign Babes in Beijing: Behind the Scenes of a New China
4.  Foreign Babes in Beijing: Behind the Scenes of a New China by Rachel DeWoskin
The list author says:
  "Rachel DeWoskin was the star of the popular 90's-era Chinese soap opera "Foreign Babes in Beijing". DeWoskin has fueled the bedtime fantasties of millions of Chinese men. This is her story."
$19.76   Used & New from: $0.01
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)

China: Portrait of a People
5.  China: Portrait of a People by Tom Carter
The list author says:
  "Photojournalist Tom Carter has lived in China for nearly a decade - and spent a quarter of that time traveling over 56,000 kilometers across all 33 provinces in China. His book CHINA: Portrait of a People is a photographic record of his record-breaking odyssey."
$18.19   Used & New from: $13.09
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)

Dreaming in Chinese: Mandarin Lessons In Life, Love, And Language
6.  Dreaming in Chinese: Mandarin Lessons In Life, Love, And Language by Deborah Fallows
The list author says:
  "Deborah Fallows’ diary/dictionary Dreaming in Chinese is the latest "must-read" book for expat students learning Chinese. Combining language translation with her own personal cultural observations, Fallows teaches as much as she entertains."
$14.94   Used & New from: $0.01
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)

Mr. China: A Memoir
7.  Mr. China: A Memoir by Tim Clissold
The list author says:
  "Many a western author have written about their successes in, and "expertise" on, doing business with the Chinese. Tim Clissold just might be the first to exploit his failures."
$11.30   Used & New from: $0.01
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)

Iron and Silk
8.  Iron and Silk by Mark Salzman
The list author says:
  "Mark Salzman was teaching English in China while the rest of us were still in Key Stage 2. His Bible-status memoir (and the movie based on it) is renowned for "opening the door" for future expats the world-over."
$12.95   Used & New from: $0.01
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)

Riding the Iron Rooster
9.  Riding the Iron Rooster by Paul Theroux
The list author says:
  "Along with Salzman and Hessler, Theroux is another 80's-era "Old China Hand" whose books have become a staple in the literary diet of foreigners and backpackers across Asia. Severely dated, but considered essential expat reading."
Used & New from: $0.01
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)

See buying options
The River at the Center of the World: A Journey Up the Yangtze, and Back in Chinese Time
10.  The River at the Center of the World: A Journey Up the Yangtze, and Back in Chinese Time by Simon Winchester
The list author says:
  "Simon Winchester is one of the UK's most prolific authors. His novels about China are best-sellers, but it is in his memoir about his own journeys meandering along the Yangtze River where we REALLY get to know Mr. Winchester - and China."
$18.99   Used & New from: $0.01
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)

The Last Days of Old Beijing: Life in the Vanishing Backstreets of a City Transformed
11.  The Last Days of Old Beijing: Life in the Vanishing Backstreets of a City Transformed by Michael Meyer
The list author says:
  "Journalist Michael Meyer intertwines his diary about living in China with a historical retrospective of Beijing's fast-disappearing "hutong" - ancient neighborhoods that are being destroyed so the Communist government can build skyscrapers."
$13.27   Used & New from: $2.47
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews) | 2 customer discussions

Eating Smoke: One Man's Descent into Drug Psychosis in Hong Kong's Triad Heartland
12.  Eating Smoke: One Man's Descent into Drug Psychosis in Hong Kong's Triad Heartland by Chris Thrall
The list author says:
  "Chris Thrall has been a bad bloke. Leaving our Royal Marines to "find his fortune" in Hong Kong, Thrall instead gets mixed up the red-light dealings of Wan Chai and soon finds himself working as a triad soldier for the Chinese mafia."
$12.14   Used & New from: $7.82
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)

A Season in Red: My Great Leap Forward into the New China
13.  A Season in Red: My Great Leap Forward into the New China by Kirsty Needham
The list author says:
  "This memoir by journalist Kristy Needham is a colorful mix of female-hued observations of expat life in Beijing and her fledgling career at the Communist-controlled China Daily newspaper."
$17.96   Used & New from: $0.01

Harvest Season: A Novel
14.  Harvest Season: A Novel by Chris Taylor
The list author says:
  "Chris Taylor, who is responsible for (or should we say guilty of) writing all those Lonely Planet China guidebooks, returns to his own private Shangrila in Yunnan province to find it over-run with drug-dealing, hard-partying expats. Think: George Ernest Morrison meets "The Beach"."
Used & New from: $14.95
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

See buying options
Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China
15.  Shark's Fin and Sichuan Pepper: A Sweet-Sour Memoir of Eating in China by Fuchsia Dunlop
The list author says:
  "Food writer Fuchsia Dunlop has written a savory, stir-fried memoir about her career as a professional chef in China. Food meets travel - a delicious recipe for reading."
$13.37   Used & New from: $3.79
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)

Chasing China: How I Went to China in Search of a Fortune and Found a Life
16.  Chasing China: How I Went to China in Search of a Fortune and Found a Life by Mark Kitto
The list author says:
  "In Chasing China (China Cuckoo in the U.K.) Mark Kitto describes his experiences as a former publishing magnate in China who had his entire business appropriated by the Communist government. Rather than "fight the power," Kitto retired to the Moganshan mountains, where he now runs an inn."
$20.66   Used & New from: $0.25
2.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews) | 1 customer discussion

Blonde Lotus
17.  Blonde Lotus by Cecilie Gamst Berg
The list author says:
  "Hong Kong-based radio personality Cecilie Gamst Berg recalls her more adventurous days as a sexually-liberated European bird out to devirginize as many young Chinese men as possible during 1980's-era China."
Used & New from: $3.77
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

See buying options
Monkey House Blues: A Shanghai Prison Memoir
18.  Monkey House Blues: A Shanghai Prison Memoir by Dominic Stevenson
The list author says:
  "Drug-dealing Dominic Stevenson spent over two years in China's largest jail, Shanghai Municipal Prison. His memoir recounts his experiences as a naughty expat in various Asian countries leading up to his arrest on the Silk Road."
$17.06   Used & New from: $2.08
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

Silent Tears: A Journey Of Hope In A Chinese Orphanage
19.  Silent Tears: A Journey Of Hope In A Chinese Orphanage by Kay Bratt
The list author says:
  "Kay Bratt's brook Silent Tears has become something of a Bible for families embarking on China’s grueling adoption process. Bratt relocates to China with her family and takes a position at a local orphanage. Career becomes crusade as this brave woman seeks to improve living conditions for Chinese orphans."
Used & New from: $0.01
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (541 customer reviews) | 1 customer discussion

See buying options
Behind the Wall : A Journey Though China
20.  Behind the Wall : A Journey Though China by Colin Thubron
The list author says:
  "Colin Thubron has authored 30 books about his adventures as a world traveler. In Behind the Wall, Thubron shares the China-based portion of his journey, offering insight into 1980s-era Chinese society."
Used & New from: $0.01
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

See buying options
The Hotel on the Roof of the World: From Miss Tibet to Shangri La
21.  The Hotel on the Roof of the World: From Miss Tibet to Shangri La by Alec Le Sueur
The list author says:
  "Alec Le Sueur's memoir about working at a Holiday Inn in Lhasa, the capital city of Tibet, has been hailed as one of the funniest books about Tibet, which is refreshing considering the suppressive subject matter."
$16.16   Used & New from: $1.75
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)

American Shaolin: Flying Kicks, Buddhist Monks, and the Legend of Iron Crotch: An Odyssey in the New China
22.  American Shaolin: Flying Kicks, Buddhist Monks, and the Legend of Iron Crotch: An Odyssey in the New China by Matthew Polly
The list author says:
  "Matthew Polly makes the journey to Shaolin Temple in Henan province to learn Kung Fu. But more than just jumping and kicking, his memoir is a study on the silly spectacle that all foreigners in China seem to make of themselves."
Used & New from: $0.01
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews) | 2 customer discussions

See buying options
Business Republic of China: Tales from the Front Line of China's New Revolution
23.  Business Republic of China: Tales from the Front Line of China's New Revolution by Jack Leblanc
The list author says:
  "20 years on the frontlines of doing business in China more than qualifies Jack Leblanc as a captain of Sino-industry. He uses his memoir Business Republic of China as a venue to outline in useful detail Chinese business practices, customs and etiquettes while reliving his own journey across commercial China."
$13.25   Used & New from: $7.88
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

China Road: A Journey into the Future of a Rising Power
24.  China Road: A Journey into the Future of a Rising Power by Rob Gifford
The list author says:
  "After years working in China as a correspondent for National Public Radio, Rob Gifford spends 6 weeks traveling westward across China, interviewing dozens of people along the way. Less a memoir than a travelogue, but Gifford’s journalistic expertise makes for good reading."
$10.87   Used & New from: $0.01
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (156 customer reviews) | 1 customer discussion

China Watcher: Confessions of a Peking Tom (Samuel and Althea Stroum Book)
25.  China Watcher: Confessions of a Peking Tom (Samuel and Althea Stroum Book) by Richard Baum
The list author says:
  "Senior China scholar Richard Baum's book is part memoir about his days living in 1960's-era China, and part State Department-esque policy advisory on China-US relations."
$23.94   Used & New from: $8.58
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

Kosher Chinese: Living, Teaching, and Eating with China's Other Billion
26.  Kosher Chinese: Living, Teaching, and Eating with China's Other Billion by Michael Levy
The list author says:
  "Like his hero Peter Hessler, Michael Levy also came to China as a Peace Corps volunteer, then wrote a book about it too. Slightly different than River Town, however, as Levy's narrative of China as seen through the eyes of a Jewish-American will appeal to Kosher readers."
$12.50   Used & New from: $0.01
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)

Golden Boy: Memories of a Hong Kong Childhood
27.  Golden Boy: Memories of a Hong Kong Childhood by Martin Booth
The list author says:
  "Though published in 2006, British author Booth's memoir focuses on his upbringing in 1950's Hong Kong. Despite the fact that Hong Kong was once controlled by the English, the lack of memoirs by Englishmen living in HK is disconcerting."
$15.63   Used & New from: $0.01
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews) | 1 customer discussion

My China Daily
28.  My China Daily by Edwin Maher
The list author says:
  "Edwin Maher is "that New Zealand guy" who we always see giving the news on CCTV, China's government-run television network. He also does reporting for China Daily, the Communist-controlled newspaper. Some see him as a sellout, but nobody can deny his celebrity."
Used & New from: $2.34

See buying options
FAULT LINES on the FACE of CHINA: 50 REASONS WHY CHINA MAY NEVER BE GREAT
29.  FAULT LINES on the FACE of CHINA: 50 REASONS WHY CHINA MAY NEVER BE GREAT by Karl Lacroix
The list author says:
  "David Marriott aka "China Bounder" made headlines when he was arrested and deported from China for blogging about his sexual relations with a multitude of his female students. Now he's back with a more scholarly outlook on the present political situation in China."
$25.19   Used & New from: $22.73

Smoke and Mirrors: An Experience of China
30.  Smoke and Mirrors: An Experience of China by Pallavi Aiyar
The list author says:
  "A refreshing look at laowai life from the eyes of an Indian (and female no less) expat. Pallavi Aiyar's work is important considering that both China and India are contending for world superpower status."
$18.72   Used & New from: $5.13
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

The Great Walk of China: Travels on Foot from Shanghai to Tibet
31.  The Great Walk of China: Travels on Foot from Shanghai to Tibet by Graham Earnshaw
The list author says:
  "Graham Earnshaw has lived in Shanghai for over two decades, during which he has worked as a reporter, publisher and muscician. On his days off, he likes to WALK across China, picking up where he has left off the previous time. His memoir describes his journeys by foot from Shanghai to Tibet."
$14.54   Used & New from: $2.49
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

Expat Wife in China: Living in the unknown
32.  Expat Wife in China: Living in the unknown by Sanet Mouton
The list author says:
  "An ideal reading companion for any wife who has been forced to uproot and relocate to China because of her husband's career. Not as well-publicized as Susan Conley's book, but Sanet Mouton still provides a good read for women and wives in China."
$21.56   Used & New from: $16.00

Above the Sea: Expat in China
33.  Above the Sea: Expat in China by Jim Bainbridge
The list author says:
  "Though a bit dated (2002), Jim Bainbridge's touching memoir about working in China and marrying a Chinese woman compliments the ever-growing collection of expat tales."
$17.92   Used & New from: $17.91
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

Ni Howdy!: An American Woman's (Mal)Adaptation to Life in the People's Republic of China
34.  Ni Howdy!: An American Woman's (Mal)Adaptation to Life in the People's Republic of China by Desi Downey
The list author says:
  "English teacher Desi Downey narrates her 6 zany years living in China, describing in cringing detail all the insecurities that newbies in China inevitably go through as they adjust to life in the world's oldest culture."
$13.46   Used & New from: $6.03
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

Dragons, donkeys, and dust: Memoirs from a decade in China
35.  Dragons, donkeys, and dust: Memoirs from a decade in China by Rudy Kong
The list author says:
  "Rudy Kong, a Canadian, goes to China in search of those two universal male quests - a life and a wife. His funny novel focuses primarily on amusing anecdotes and laowai silliness rather than any profound political diatribe like other China expat books tend to do."
$17.96   Used & New from: $15.19
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

Msg: Memoirs From China
36.  Msg: Memoirs From China by K. Nicole Kindred
The list author says:
  "Nicole Kindred' self-published memoir tells about her experiences working as an English teacher for six months in China."
$15.20
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

Sex Rice and Rock'n'roll: Quintessential Chinese Street Language and Sub-Culture Companion Volume One
37.  Sex Rice and Rock'n'roll: Quintessential Chinese Street Language and Sub-Culture Companion Volume One by Mr T K Chuster
The list author says:
  "Anonymously self-published memoir/guide to China based on the experiences of a self-proclaimed rock-star who claims to have lived in China for 15 years."
$9.49
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

Rebeka Goes To China
38.  Rebeka Goes To China DVD ~ Lucy Kostelanetz
The list author says:
  "Not a book but a DVD videologue narrated by an adorable 9 year-old girl living and going to school in Beijing at the peak of the 1989 Tiananmen protests."
$24.95
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

Moon Living Abroad in China: Including Hong Kong and Macau
39.  Moon Living Abroad in China: Including Hong Kong and Macau by Stuart C. Strother
The list author says:
  "An up-to-date insider's guide for expats living and working (as opposed to traveling) in China, author Strother cleverly capitalizes on providing something that China is not very efficient in giving out - information."
Used & New from: $0.68
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)

See buying options
Beijing Blues
40.  Beijing Blues by Woodie Alan
The list author says:
  "While reading Big in China, listen to "Beijing Blues", the foot-tapping, finger-snapping debut album by Alan Paul's band Woodie Alan."
$6.99
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

See buying options

More Actions

Discover more about this author
 See all of their Listmania! lists
Make your own list
 Create a Listmania! list
View your page on Amazon.com
 Go to Your Profile page

Customer Discussions about products in this list
Discussion Replies Latest Post
Hutong transformed 0 May 14, 2013
Hutong transformed 0 May 14, 2013
What is (P.S.)? 4 Feb 15, 2012
A little more about the book 0 Dec 4, 2011
AMAZING! 1 Feb 8, 2011
River Town for the Kindle? 0 Mar 15, 2010
China Cuckoo 0 Jul 16, 2009
Chinese SWI's 0 Feb 19, 2009
 
   

About this Listmania!

 

Author

Xiamen Expat (Xiamen)
Qualifications: English expat in Xiamen, China
Last updated: 6/4/11
Report abuse
    

More Listmania!

 

Ten Great Adventure Travel Books Ten Great Adventure Travel Books

Ten Great Adventure Travel Books: A list of 10 items by Bill Murray

All-Time Best Chinese Travel Photography Books All-Time Best Chinese Travel Photography Books

All-Time Best Chinese Travel Photography Books: A list of 30 items by Hitotsuyanagi Hiromi

Choice China Reads Choice China Reads

Choice China Reads: A list of 13 items by J. Schlosser

2011 Books 2011 Books

2011 Books: A list of 33 items by *Simone Gardiner*

Sites and Sights of China Sites and Sights of China

Sites and Sights of China: A list of 24 items by P. King

   

More So You'd Like to...

 

Adopt from China: Books & Videos You Will Need {Part 3} Adopt from China: Books & Videos You Will Need {Part 3}

Adopt from China: Books & Videos You Will Need {Part 3}: A guide of 44 items by Shouyang Guer "China Adoption Forecast"

Do Business in China Do Business in China

Do Business in China: A guide of 39 items by Jesse Alcott "..."

Run Away from Home! A Grown-Up's Guide to A New Life Abroad Run Away from Home! A Grown-Up's Guide to A New Life Abroad

Run Away from Home! A Grown-Up's Guide to A New Life Abroad: A guide of 43 items by Laowai in the Central Kingdom

be inspired to travel abroad and have the trip of a lifetime be inspired to travel abroad and have the trip of a lifetime

be inspired to travel abroad and have the trip of a lifetime: A guide of 25 items by Penelope

travel across Asia through pictures travel across Asia through pictures

travel across Asia through pictures: A guide of 44 items by Zhôngguó Jane