The Next Best Book Club discussion

336 views
Looking For Recommendations > I'm looking for...

Comments (showing 1-38 of 38) (38 new)    post a comment »
dateDown_arrow    newest »

message 1: by Grace (last edited Apr 16, 2009 07:38PM) (new)

Grace (LovecraftLass) | 855 comments Some good Asian-themed fiction/historical fiction books. The bookstores in my area are very limited so it's hard to find anything in that area. Anyone have any suggestions? Non-fiction would be good, too.

I've read:
The Kitchen God's Wife-Amy Tan
The Joy Luck Club-Amy Tan
The Hundred Secret Senses-Amy Tan
The Bonesetter's Daughter-Amy Tan
Memoirs of a Geisha-Arthur Golden
Geisha-Liza Dalby
Geisha: A life-Mineko Iwasaki



message 2: by Megha (new)

Megha (hearthewindsing) Haruki Murakami is a great Japanese author. But his stories won't really tell you anything about Japan.
His books are awesome nevertheless.


message 3: by Atishay (new)

Atishay | 1451 comments Hi Grace, this is one Indian author that everyone MUST read - RK Narayan.
His whole collection of Malgudi Days is awesome and so are his novels.
Another author I'd recommend is Ruskin Bond. Some of his novels are pretty good, like Flight of Pigeons and Night Train at Deoli And Other Stories.


message 4: by Donna (new)

Donna (electrogirl68) A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth

A Suitable Boy A Novel


message 5: by Grace (new)

Grace (LovecraftLass) | 855 comments Thanks for the good leads guys! My TBR will soon grow!


message 6: by Lauren (new)

Lauren (lmorris) | 91 comments I quite enjoyed Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See. She has another one out as well but I don't remember the title-a friend just read that one and said it was excellent. Both talk a lot about Chinese culture.


message 7: by Fiona (new)

Fiona (bookcoop) Hope I'm not too late!

Shogun - James Clavell (Japanese)

Across the Nightingale Floor - Lian Hearn (Japanese-based YA sort of fantasy)

The Glass Palace A Novel - Amitav Ghosh (India, Burma)

The Hungry Tide - Amitav Ghosh (India)

And another thumbs up for Haruki Murakami -

Kafka on the Shore and The Wind-up Bird Chronicle are the ones I have read and enjoyed both - Kafka the most.


message 8: by cindy (new)

cindy | 5 comments From Japan, the classic Musashi , is a must read. It's an epic novel of the Samurai era

From India, Sister of My Heart and The Vine of Desire, both by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. (If you love Amy Tan, most probably you will love her)
And I second RK Ranayan.

From my own country (Indonesia), The Buru Quartet by Pramoedya Ananta Toer: This Earth of Mankind, Child of All Nations, Footsteps and House of Glass


message 9: by Joseph (new)

Joseph (jazzman) How about Love Songs in Minor Keys by one of our own? It has raves on the cover from a former Pulitzer nominee, and this year's short lister for the Edgar Allan Poe Award for best book of Literary criticism. You don't do much better than that: It's all about Love: though love from a slighty different angle as suggested by the title. Some are naughty;some are nice.None are done tastelessly.

Sure, I'm the author, but I hope this doesn't disqualify me from making a recommendation.I hope it isn't considered Spam.(I think I have more comments on Goodreads than most.)
The book debuts as part of the week-long Charlotte Arts Fest which is a big deal in almost one million population center, Charlotte N.C.

Simply because we are Goodreads Authors, doesn't mean we aren't on our way up and have something to offer.

If you are near Charlotte ,drop by.I'd be honored to meet you.


message 10: by April (new)

April (booksandwine) | 954 comments Also another great book about the Indian subcontinent is The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. I also recommend Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, one part is set in Italy, another in India, and another in Indonesia.


message 11: by Joseph (new)

Joseph (jazzman) Sorry,
I didn't notice the "Indian subcontinent" heading.

As someone who has spent a month in India recently and loves that country a great deal, (and has written about it previously (Charlotte Observer), let me add another suggestion.Rohinton Mistry has written a very fine work entitled "A Fine Balance." I like it as much as Arundati Roy's The God of Small Things , which is beautifully written and was responsible for me planning another trip to India;this time to Kerala ,Cochin etc. Ms. Roy made the area sound so exotic.
The trouble in Mumbai has temporarily put that on hold ,as has our uncertain economy. Still,
if you haven't been, please consider a trip to India. There is no place on Earth like it.It is a wonderful assault to the senses, and the people are spectacular.
Unlike other places which surprise you occasionally, India will shock you(pleasantly) every few minutes ,and in the process win your hearts.


message 12: by Sharon (new)


message 13: by jzhunagev (last edited Apr 17, 2009 09:18PM) (new)

jzhunagev I recommend the novels of F. Sionil Jose, especially the Rosales Saga Novels... His books are set in the Philippines.


message 14: by Potjy (new)

Potjy | 127 comments I second (or third? :P) Haruki Murakami. But no, his books don't tell you much about Japan and the Japanese. (There's another Murakami. The first name is Ryu. His works are quite bizarre.)

I'd rather suggest books by Miyuki Miyabe. It's rich, detailed, many-faceted mystery with social aspect.

Natsuo Kirino also portrayed social aspect, but her works are much more gory.

A friend of mine really love the Inspector Chen Series by Qiu Xiaolong. It's mystery (again?) that takes place in modern-day Shanghai.

For me, I love The Uninvited (or The Banquet Bug) by Geling Yan. Her prose is quite a beauty.

I also heard high praise for Ma Jian, but must admit I almost didn't know him.

If you love Lisa See, try non-fiction by Xinran. Her books focus on women issue, but the tone is rather depressive.

My other friend like Ha Jin, but I don't.

Kenzaburo Oë also worthes checking out. He's the latest nobel laureate from Japan.

There are two Chinese-born writers that wrote in French, Dai Sijie and Shan Sa. Some books are already translated.


message 15: by Mosca (new)

Mosca | 827 comments A good historical novel set in Burma is The Piano Tuner A Novel by Daniel Mason.


message 16: by Grace (last edited Apr 18, 2009 04:17PM) (new)

Grace (LovecraftLass) | 855 comments Thanks a lot. These are all great suggestions. I'll definitely be checking them out! And the more the merrier!


message 17: by Grace (new)

Grace (LovecraftLass) | 855 comments Joseph wrote: "Sorry,
I didn't notice the "Indian subcontinent" heading.

As someone who has spent a month in India recently and loves that country a great deal, (and has written about it previously (Char..."


I would love to take a trip there. or anywhere! That's what I love about books. At least you can visit in your imagination.



message 18: by Fiona (new)

Fiona (bookcoop) Mosca wrote: "A good historical novel set in Burma is The Piano Tuner A Novel by [a:Daniel Mason|31..."

Gosh I forgot about that - yes The Piano Tuner is very good, and quite different I think. Wonderfully written.


message 19: by Brenda (new)

Brenda | 256 comments I'd recommend Wild Swans:Three Daughters of China (Jung Chang), The White Tiger (Aravind Adiga) and Red China Blues (Jan Wong).


message 20: by Jeane (new)

Jeane | 4889 comments Megha wrote: "Here are a few books set in the Indian subcontinent:

Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
The Glass Palace and The Hungry Tide by Amitav Ghosh
A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

These are all ..."


The glas palace is great.




message 21: by Jeane (new)

Jeane | 4889 comments Potjy wrote: "I second (or third? :P) Haruki Murakami. But no, his books don't tell you much about Japan and the Japanese. (There's another Murakami. The first name is Ryu. His works are quite bizarre.)

I'd rat..."


I recently read The uninvited and it was good. different style to read and a bit weird, unusual but I liked it anyway.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (SusannaG) | 1733 comments The "other novel" by Lisa See may be Peony in Love. I read it last fall, and really enjoyed it. It's set in 17th-Century China.


message 23: by Becky (new)

Becky (Beckyofthe19and9) OK... Here are some that might be stretching your request a little, but might be great reads nonetheless:

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (Set in Afghanistan)
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver (Set in Africa, which is stretching it a lot, but a great read!)
-- I've read both of those, and would recommend them highly!

A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (Set in Afghanistan)
-- This one is on my wishlist. I haven't read it yet, but it is getting really great reviews.

Anil's Ghost: A Novel by Michael Ondaatje (Set in Sri Lanka)
Bombay Ice by Leslie Forbes (At least partially set in Mumbai (formerly Bombay) India)
Broken Verses by Kamila Shamsie (Set in Pakistan)
--These three were recommended to me by my friend Joanna who says that these are among her favorite books. I haven't had the chance to read them yet, but she speaks very highly of all three. :)


message 24: by Brenda (new)

Brenda | 256 comments Seeing Calvin Coolidge in a Dream by John Derbyshire, is a novel about a former red guard named Chai who escapes from China by swimming to Hong Kong and from there eventually makes it to the United States. Very interesting observations about Chinese and American history are made throughout the story. I would recommend this one.


message 25: by Debbie (new)

Debbie | 25 comments Wild Swans by Jung Chang(non-fiction)...written in 1978...was banned (might still be) in China...covers her, her mother, her grandmother...from 1911 - 1978

Painter from Shanghai - Jennifer Epstein...historical fiction about Pan Yuliang....1915-1937...not as 'deep' as Wild Swans

Wolf Totem - Jian Rong...haven't read yet...recommended by a young woman who spent last semester in Beijing studying Chinese literature.

Red Scarf Girl - Jili Jiang...cultural revolution

Journey of a Thousand Miles - Lang Lang - famous young Chinese pianist...new.

have fun!


message 26: by Jensownzoo (new)

Jensownzoo | 338 comments The Fox Woman by Kij Johnson was wonderful take on the Japanese kitsune.

For memoirs, I have read (and thought were worthwhile):

Falling Leaves The Memoir of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter by Adeline Yen Mah
Leaving Mother Lake A Girlhood at the Edge of the World by Yang Erche Namu and Christine Mathieu
Warrior Lessons An Asian American Woman's Journey into Power by Phoebe Eng


message 27: by Manday (new)

Manday | 212 comments Well, the classic is The Good Earth, so I definitely would pick that up if you hadn't had a chance to yet.




message 28: by Malou (last edited Apr 20, 2009 08:08AM) (new)

Malou | 1 comments I also recommend books by Salman Rushdie, Haruki Murakami, Amitav Gosh, R.K. Narayan, Mulk Raj Anan (I hope I spelled his name correctly). Kamala Markandaya's (this is Indian again)novel "Coffer Dams" is also a great read. If you are interested in anything related to post-colonial literature etc. you might also want to check out E.M Forster's "Passage to India."

For more reads in the field of Asian literature: The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong. Great book!


message 29: by Kathryn (last edited Apr 20, 2009 10:10AM) (new)

Kathryn I'm not sure what era or type of novel you are interested in, but these novels are historic but not, in my mind, "historical fiction" because they were actually written in the time periods they depict. I thought both were fabulous:

Dream of the Red Chamber (China)
(abridged version, which usually I abhor abridgments but this is SO long we couldn't have got through it for class otherwise)

and

The Tale of Genji (Japan)
(I only read the first volume so far)

For non-novels, if you are looking for anything on India, I highly recommend some of the religious texts such as The Upanishads


message 30: by Brenda (new)

Brenda | 256 comments I forgot to mention another excellent book called Moment in Peking by Lin Yutang. It follows a Chinese family from before the cultural revolution to the 1930's. Excellent writing - I heard the author was nominated for the nobel prize in literature in the 1940's (but I don't know if it was for this novel).


message 32: by Grace (new)

Grace (LovecraftLass) | 855 comments Brenda wrote: "I forgot to mention another excellent book called Moment in Peking by Lin Yutang. It follows a Chinese family from before the cultural revolution to the 1930's. Excellent writing - I heard the au..."

I'm ashamed to admit that I do have this book, I haven't read it yet, though, I'm so ashamed!





message 33: by Liz (new)

Liz Durham | 58 comments This also might be stretching what you're looking for a little, but have you ever read anything by Koji Suzuki? Dark Water is a phenomenal collection of short stories. A bit on the dark side, but still very good.


message 34: by Grace (new)

Grace (LovecraftLass) | 855 comments Is that about the movie of the same name? I really love Asian horror movies.


message 35: by Mary Beth (new)

Mary Beth (MaryBethBaker) | 98 comments Japan - modern fiction
American Fuji by Sara Backer

India - historical fiction
The Twentieth Wife by Indu Sundaresan and its sequel The Feast of Roses by Indu Sundaresan



message 36: by Jensownzoo (new)

Jensownzoo | 338 comments I also enjoyed The Tale of Murasaki A Novel by Liza Dalby, a fictionalized life story of the author of The Tale of Genji.


message 37: by Liz (last edited May 02, 2009 07:18PM) (new)

Liz Durham | 58 comments Grace wrote: " Is that about the movie of the same name? I really love Asian horror movies."

Yup! He is also the writer of The Ring. The short story isn't really scary though.


message 38: by LaTrica (new)

LaTrica | 48 comments I second Dream of the Red Chamber. I finished the abridged and am thinking of trying the unabridged.


back to top