Books to Read in 2014

Paul French, author of one of my favorite books, Midnight in Peking, has a great blog called China Rhyming on which he posts about Chinese history, literature, and things he picks up in his research.

He recently wrote about 5 China books to watch for in 2014. They are:

1. China Dolls, by Lisa See (author of Snow Flower and the Secret Fan)

China Dolls: A Novel

2. I Am China, by Xiaolu Guo

3. The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream, by Dan Washburn

The Forbidden Game: Golf and the Chinese Dream

4. America’s First Adventure in China: Trade, Treaties, Opium, and Salvation, by John Rogers Haddad

America's First Adventure in China: Trade, Treaties, Opium, and Salvation

5. Impressions of a Lost World: A Century of Chinese Photography, 1860-1950, by Ferdinand Bertholet, Lambert Van Der Aalsvoort & Regine Thiriez.

Impressions of a Lost World: A Century of Chinese Photography, 1860–1950 (Mercatorfonds)

I don’t know about you, but I want to read ALL of them!

In addition, here are the top five China books I aim to read this year. Some are new and some have been out for awhile, but I just haven’t gotten to them yet. (publisher blurbs included)

1. Deng Xiao-ping and the Transformation of China, by Ezra Vogel

“No one in the twentieth century had a greater impact on world history than Deng Xiaoping. And no scholar is better qualified than Ezra Vogel to disentangle the contradictions embodied in the life and legacy of China’s boldest strategist—the pragmatic, disciplined force behind China’s radical economic, technological, and social transformation.”

Deng Xiaoping and the Transformation of China

2. On China, by Henry Kissinger

“In this sweeping and insightful history, Henry Kissinger turns for the first time at book length to a country he has known intimately for decades and whose modern relations with the West he helped shape. On China illuminates the inner workings of Chinese diplomacy during such pivotal events as the initial encounters between China and tight line modern European powers, the formation and breakdown of the Sino-Soviet alliance, the Korean War, and Richard Nixon’s historic trip to Beijing. With a new final chapter on the emerging superpower’s twenty-first-century role in global politics and economics, On China provides historical perspective on Chinese foreign affairs from one of the premier statesmen of our time.”

On China

3. Junkyard Planet: Travels in the Billion-dollar Trash Trade, by Adam Minter

“When you drop your Diet Coke can or yesterday’s newspaper in the recycling bin, where does it go? Probably halfway around the world, to people and places that clean up what you don’t want and turn it into something you can’t wait to buy. In Junkyard Planet, Adam Minter, veteran journalist and son of an American junkyard owner, travels deeply into a vast, often hidden, 500-billion-dollar industry that ix transforming our economy and environment.”

Junkyard Planet: Travels in the Billion-Dollar Trash Trade

4. Empress Dowager Cixi: The Concubine Who Launched Modern China, by Jung Chang

“Empress Dowager Cixi (1835–1908) is the most important woman in Chinese history. She ruled China for decades and brought a medieval empire into the modern age. At the age of sixteen, in a nationwide selection for royal consorts, Cixi was chosen as one of the emperor’s numerous concubines. When he died in 1861, their five-year-old son succeeded to the throne. Cixi at once launched a palace coup against the regents appointed by her husband and made herself the real ruler of China—behind the throne, literally, with a silk screen separating her from her officials who were all male.”

Empress Dowager Cixi: The Concubine Who Launched Modern China

5. Blocked on Weibo: What Gets Surpressed on China’s Version of Twitter, by Jason Q. Ng

“Though often described with foreboding buzzwords such as “The Great Firewall” and the “censorship regime,” Internet regulation in China is rarely either obvious or straightforward. This was the inspiration for China specialist Jason Q. Ng to write an innovative computer script that would make it possible to deduce just which terms are suppressed on China’s most important social media site, Sina Weibo. The remarkable and groundbreaking result is Blocked on Weibo, which began as a highly praised blog and has been expanded here to list over 150 forbidden keywords, as well as offer possible explanations why the Chinese government would find these terms sensitive.”

Blocked on Weibo: What Gets Suppressed on China’s Version of Twitter (And Why)

What China books do you plan to read this year?

Related Posts: 

Literary Journey — the early 1980’s

Literary Journey — the late 1980’s

Literary Journey — the 1990’s

Literary Journey — the 2000’s

Literary Journey — the Tens

Literary Journey — The List







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