China Book Recommendations – and a lucky draw winner

chinabooksMy China books in China, doesn’t include all learning material or books in Finland

Thank you everyone for taking part at the very first lucky draw of this blog! First I will announce the winner and then share everyone’s China book recommendations, so we all can have something new on our reading lists.

Links to the books are Amazon affiliate links that helps this blog to pay for web hosting.

The winner for free ebook copy of P.R.C – Pretty Real China is: Jonathan

Congratulations! I will give your email address to the author who will then arrange the book to you directly.

Here is Jonathan’s winning comment (chosen by

Midnight in Peking: The Murder That Haunted the Last Days of Old China by Paul French.

A first-rate murder story, a thrilling narrative. Hurtles along from one cliffhanger to the next. An account of the unsolved brutal murder of young Pamela Werner, in the last days before Peking fell to Japanese invaders.

China Book Recommendations

In total 15 readers took part in the lucky draw, below you can find the recommendations of the rest 14 readers. Many of these books are available in Kindle format which allows you to read them right after purchasing with your Kindle or other device such as iPad.


Oracle Bones by Peter Hessler


Cole and Degan:
Ms. Frizzle’s Adventures: Imperial China
Fun and informational, the drawings are great!


Wild Swans by Jung Chang. It’s just amazing to me what 3 generations of women in China went through. From the foot bound grandma to the red guard mom and finally the daughter studying overseas. If it was fiction it wouldn’t be believable! haha


I’ll go with The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck because it’s one of the first books I read about China.


Peter Hessler’s River Town, I really like his thoughtful style of writing


Iron and Silk” by Mark Salzman. A memoir of his time teaching English and learning martial arts in Changsha in the early 80s. It’s a fascinating glimpse at what China was back then, partly because I recognised so much of the city he described (I lived in Changsha in 1999 and 2000), and partly because of how incredibly different his experience of Changsha was from mine.

R Zhao:

I LOVE Peter Hessler. For China newbies, especially those coming to teach English, I think “River Town” is a great pick. For those already familiar with China, I think Hessler’s “Country Driving” might be better. Before coming to China I also read “Wild Swans” by Jung Chang and really enjoyed it.

I like Ha Jin for fiction; “Waiting” is a book that I won’t soon forget. For a look into the lives and hardships of late 20th century Chinese women, “The Good Women of China” by Xin Ran is heartbreaking. I recently read Gilman’s “Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven” (I hate the title and nearly didn’t read the book because of it) and it was a funny, yet terrifying account of two American women backpacking through China when it first reopened in the mid-80’s.


Chinese Etiquette & Ethics In Business by Boye Lafayette De Mente!

This book captured my attention in the first place and I haven’t regretted buying it. Although the name suggests it is about business, it still concentrates on the underlying reasons (!) of why Chinese and China are the way they are. This book gives you a deep understanding of Asian cultures (in this case, Chinese then). Boye has published various books about the Korean, Chinese and Japanese culture. I believe, she is the professional in Asian studies.


I’d say the 1st book I read about China was the famous The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck. Before this one I had read lots of books about Japan, but none about China! I enjoyed that book because while reading it you really can see the importance of working hard and which are the valuable things in life.


Waiting by Ha Jin

Seija Sultan:

A spectacular photographic documentary
“There is nothing in this world that does not change; nothing remains forever as it once was”. (Zhuangzi. 365-290 B.C.)


Beijing Doll by Chun Sue. My all-time favourite teenage angst book. :D

Robert Budzul:

Foreign Babes in Beijing by Rachel DeWoskin

It’s been a while since I read it but I do remember being captivated by it. Many memoirs of life in China are good reading but the author in this case wasn’t just a backpacker or an English teacher. Well written. I suggest looking it up and reading the blurb; it won’t lie.


Mr China by Tim Clissold

Thank you everyone for your recommendations! Some of these I’ve read already, some of them I have in Finland or here in China. But I got many new ones for my reading list too.

What about you? Which are new books to you and which you have read already?