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HF Book Lists > Chinese History through Novels

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message 1: by Alice (last edited Dec 18, 2016 04:24PM) (new)

Alice Poon (alice_poon) List titled "History through Novels: Pre-1900s China" and my votes:-

https://www.goodreads.com/list/user_v...


message 2: by Alice (new)

Alice Poon (alice_poon) Another list titled "Great Chinese Historical Fiction" and my votes:-

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/2...


message 3: by Geoff (new)

Geoff Woodland | 64 comments https://silverfox175.com/2016/02/

This is a link to my blog where I posted about China books that I enjoyed over the years. I posted last Feb.


message 4: by Jeffrey (new)

Jeffrey Walker (jkwalkerauthor) The Distant Land of My Father by Bo Caldwell is a great read. Pre- and post-WWII Shanghai, American expats, Japanese occupation. Really enjoyed it.


message 5: by Joy (new)

Joy | 37 comments Thanks for these posts, everyone. One of my three kids is adopted from China, and I will admit that although I read widely, I really don't read a lot of books, fiction or nonfiction, with China as a focus.


message 6: by Joy (new)

Joy | 37 comments Geoff wrote: "https://silverfox175.com/2016/02/

This is a link to my blog where I posted about China books that I enjoyed over the years. I posted last Feb."


Thank you, Geoff, for this list on your blog. I'll likely start with James Clavell unless you recommend starting somewhere else.


message 7: by Joy (new)

Joy | 37 comments Alice wrote: "Another list titled "Great Chinese Historical Fiction" and my votes:-

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/2..."


Thank you for the link to this list, Alice. I'm wanting my younger daughter, who is Chinese to read more and I'm wondering if Lisa See would be appropriate for her age: 13 and going into 8th grade. I've been meaning to read Lisa See myself, and should read one first to see, of course, but I"m curious if you'd read any or all of her work, and what you think about younger teenage readers. Thanks!


message 8: by Carol (new)

Carol (carolfromnc) | 8866 comments @Alice - don't keep us in suspense. I think I know what you'll say, but ....


message 9: by Alice (last edited Jun 08, 2017 10:29AM) (new)

Alice Poon (alice_poon) Hi Joy. If you look at my votes on that list "Great Chinese Historical Fiction", you may have noticed that I did not vote for any of Lisa See's books (I must hasten to say that I mean no offense here; everyone has his/her own reading taste and I know she has a lot of fans and I respect her fans' reading choices). As a child growing up in Hong Kong, I was smitten with Jin Yong's martial arts and chivalry novels, which are a mix of fantasy, heroism and light romance and are all set in China's historical past. Those books (in Chinese) initiated me into the world of Chinese History and even to this day are still an inspiration for my creative writing. But as far as I know, only two of his novels have been translated into English and they are: The Book and the Sword and The Deer and the Cauldron, Vol. 1, and these are expertly rendered into English. I would think they are suitable for young teenage readers like your daughter. If you or your kids have watched the movie "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" and liked it, then your daughter would love those books I mentioned.

These are my votes of the list:-

https://www.goodreads.com/list/user_v...


message 10: by Joy (new)

Joy | 37 comments Thanks so much, Alice. I appreciate your honestly on all these things and the recommendations for Jin Yong's books. My daughter actually won a martial arts camp award years ago, so this very well might align with a number of her interests, including my hope to get her reading more and to learn more of China's past--and present. I'm glad to know these are expert translations, too, which I wouldn't have been able to judge for myself. I love the movie "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," and am glad to be reminded of it to show Jasmine. Really appreciate your insights!


message 11: by Alice (new)

Alice Poon (alice_poon) You're most welcome Joy. I hope Jasmine will enjoy the Jin Yong books :)


message 12: by Jan (new)

Jan | 1804 comments My daughter is Chinese. A Perfect read would "Red Scarf Girl" by Ji-Li Jiang. It is her memoir of growing up during the Cultural Revolution. She came and spoke with my eighth graders several years ago. They adored her..

Laurence Yep is a young adult author of Chinese heritage. His books are written for your daughter's age group. Here are some great ones: "The Royal Diaries: Lady of Ch'iao Kuo, Warrior of the South", "Dragonwings", "Dragon's Gate", Spring Pearl: The Last Flower"" (Girls of Many Lands), "The Star Fisher".

I recommend "Spring Moon" and "Middle Heart" by Bette Bao Lord. Have you thought about reading together and discussing the book? Sadly, there was a lot of brutality against women and many books contain scenes and concepts a 13 year old might find difficult. So reading and discussing together would be wonderful.


message 13: by Zoe (new)

Zoe Radley | 734 comments Hi I might need some help in locating a book I once read that I have forgotten the authors name and title. I know that really doesn't help and it will be amazing if anyone else has read it but all I can remember is that it was set in and during maos time and revolution also had something to do with a paper factory. The cover was light green going into light yellow with a chinease girl peeking around something and I think there were some butterflies but other than that I can't remember much . I am sorry to be vague but this keeps bugging me and I would like to read it again. Am hoping someone may know who or what I mean. Thank you


message 14: by Joy (new)

Joy | 37 comments Fantastic suggestions, Jan. Thank you! I really should read these with her at the same time. I have a couple of older kids, too, and the oldest read at lightning speed and was often reading something that was really too old for her...I would realize by the time I caught up with what she'd started into from my own stacks of books. Appreciate your ideas here and taken notes. BTW, I also voted for Hillary!


message 15: by Joy (new)

Joy | 37 comments Jan "don't blame me, I also voted for Hillary" wrote: "My daughter is Chinese. A Perfect read would "Red Scarf Girl" by Ji-Li Jiang. It is her memoir of growing up during the Cultural Revolution. She came and spoke with my eighth graders several years ..."

And one more note, bc of your excellent reading suggestions and having a daughter who is Chinese, as I do, I glanced at your interests, and we share quite a number, including social justice. I don't want to be one of those sleazy self-promoting authors on GR, but my publisher is offering a giveaway right now for an upcoming novel of mine that has everything to do with social justice. It releases in fall but these are free Advance Reading Copies of A Tangled Mercy. No pressure at all, truly, but it just struck me that we have similar taste in reading and politics...and life. Thanks again for the suggestions!


message 16: by Jan (new)

Jan | 1804 comments I entered the giveaway for "A Tangled Mercy". Thanks for letting me know.


message 17: by Joy (new)

Joy | 37 comments Thanks for not thinking I'm a creepy author-stalker, Jan. Love the picture of you with your daughter! She is lovely.


message 18: by Jan (new)

Jan | 1804 comments Thank you; yes, she is!


message 19: by Bkwmlee (last edited Jun 10, 2017 01:39PM) (new)

Bkwmlee | 13 comments Alice wrote: "Hi Joy. If you look at my votes on that list "Great Chinese Historical Fiction", you may have noticed that I did not vote for any of Lisa See's books (I must hasten to say that I mean no offense he..."

Jin Yong is awesome! It's a shame that so few of his works have been translated into English. Being from Hong Kong, I also grew up on a "diet" of Jin Yong novels and other martial arts classics. During college, as an Asian Studies major, I finally branched out to all the other Chinese classics and literature and discovered a whole world of great Chinese works that were (and still are) excellent sources from which to learn Chinese history.

I'm actually doing a "Revisiting my Roots" challenge for one of my other book clubs and hope to be able to read / re-read many of the great modern and classical Chinese works (fiction and nonfiction) that have been written over the centuries. Many of those works are historical in nature so will definitely post some recommendations here as I come across them.


message 20: by Alice (new)

Alice Poon (alice_poon) Bkwmlee wrote: "Many of those works are historical in nature so will definitely post some recommendations here as I come across them."

That's wonderful. I look forward to your recommendations!

I've just updated my votes on the List "Great Chinese Historical Fiction" by adding some more classics. Here's the link to my votes:

https://www.goodreads.com/list/user_v...


message 21: by Bkwmlee (new)

Bkwmlee | 13 comments Alice wrote: "Bkwmlee wrote: "Many of those works are historical in nature so will definitely post some recommendations here as I come across them."

That's wonderful. I look forward to your recommendations!

I'..."


Thanks for the link! I agree with most of your choices! Quite a few of those are also on my to read or re-read list already. :-)

I didnt realize Jin Yong's novels were listed on Goodreads! Guess I haven't spent enough time exploring the site. I'm sure there are many books out there that I've read but forgot to put on my "READ" list...I should probably fix that...


message 22: by Eileen (new)

Eileen Iciek | 458 comments I really enjoyed Spring Moon A Novel of China by Bette Bao Lord by Betty Bao Lord. It covered the late 19th to early 20th century, as I recall. It's been a few years since I read it, though.

Covering a more recent era, Old Town by Lin Zhe by Lin Zhe was pretty interesting. It covered the years from about the 1930's to today.


message 23: by Harry (new)

Harry Miller | 33 comments I'm very glad I found this thread.

One very good book I read recently was The Ten Thousand Things by John Spurling

It is about the 14th century painter Wang Meng, who is my favorite artist. Its chief focus is art, but it delves also into politics, romance, and other areas. Its author, John Spurling, does not confine his writing to China, and I'm keen to read all of his work.

Currently, I'm reading The Green Phoenix A Novel of the Woman Who Re-Made Asia, Empress Xiaozhuang by Alice Poon , which is very engrossing -- a fresh and intimate angle on seventeenth century China (and inner Asia).


message 24: by Eileen (last edited Jun 20, 2018 06:01AM) (new)

Eileen Iciek | 458 comments I have recently been reading Lisa See's novels Shanghai Girls (Shanghai Girls #1) by Lisa See and Dreams of Joy (Shanghai Girls #2) by Lisa See , as well as China Dolls by Lisa See . I didn't enjoy her earlier novels about the Chinese in China that much, but these three that are more about how the immigrant Chinese and America came together are outstanding. Beautifully written and thoroughly researched, I can't recommend them enough!


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