5 Down to Earth Nonfiction about China #NonfictionNovember Recommendation

5 Down to Earth Nonfiction about China #NonfictionNovember Recommendation


hi there is Meonicornon On the vibe of nonfiction November today I want to recommend you five nonfiction books about China actually I may mention eight or nine books but they’re from five authors four of the books are written by Western authors in English and one of
the book is written by a Chinese author in Chinese and unfortunately the Chinese
book doesn’t have a translated version into any other languages yet but I loved
it so much so I still want to include it and I will leave it to the last to my
viewers who can read in Chinese but if you don’t read in Chinese I still invite
you to like listen to the synopsis of that book because it’s just really a
great book the four English books covered variety of topics they are not
about the scope of China’s fast development there are more focused on
the people and their day-to-day life that influenced by those developments
they set from the smallest villages to the biggest series discussing buildings
culture and even food from a foreigners point of view I think they’re valuable if you want to see some down to earth nonfiction about China and some real
Chinese people’s personalities not to see some China like from your morning
news but please do keep in mind some of the books are published many years ago so
things may have already changed but I think even with that these books are
worth reading the first book I want to recommend is almost a nonfiction
classic now it’s called River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze by Peter Hessler Peter Hessler is an American author who went to Fuling, Sichuan in 1996 and taught English for two years during those two years he got a chance to teach his students about literature and Shakespeare but more importantly he also got a chance to
learn from his students about the local culture
he also traveled by boat and train in the province of Sutra Sichuan and he witnessed the rapid changes of the place and how the local people adapted to those changes he recorded their reaction to the policies like one-child policy like the
economics reform and the build of Three Gorges Dam I read this book about 10 years ago and enjoyed and learned from almost every
page of it this is the portrait of the local history of Fuling and also a
record of the experiences Hessler had as a foreigner here about the things that
he encountered vividly and also showed the perspective from the people that he
met which i think is very important this is actually the first book of Peter
Hessler’s China trilogy so if you enjoy it I also recommend you to check out the
other two books in the series Oracle Bones and Country Driving after the trilogy he wrote another book called Strange Stones which is also worth
checking out I’ll link all the informations down below and Peter Hessler is teaching non-fiction writing in the University of Sichuan in China this
semester I think the students are super lucky and I wish I can be in his
classroom the next book I want to recommend is called Factory Girls from village to city in a changing China by Leslie Chang Leslie Chang works as a
correspondent for Wall Street Journal in China for many years and she also writes
for the national Geographics Chang explored how socioeconomics changes transformed individuals and institutions hence this book the Factory Girls in China a lot of people from smaller villages or towns choose to leave their hometown and move to a bigger city in order to get work and they’re called the
migrant workers in this book town Chang followed two young women about their migrated life and show you a picture about being a migrant worker it’s not
about the working environment or something like that you always see about
Chinese factories in the news it’s rather stories about how the migrant
workers see about their life their opportunities and their losses but this book also gets some critiques from the Chinese reading community that I noticed
for example people may think it’s too emotional and not as objective as a
nonfiction should be because the author has a lot of her personal emotions
blend in that is all because the author’s family immigrated from China to
the United States so she grew up in the United States but moved back to China to
work so she always compared self to the migrant workers whether the
comparison is necessary I think I’ll leave you to decide the next book I want to recommend is the last days of old Beijing life in the vanishing back
street of the city transformed by Michael Meyer I have to say library
books are really heavy to hold Meter’s story is similar to Hessler’s he’s a travel writer from America and he wrote several books about China I need to
admit that I choose this book to recommend just because it’s talking
about Beijing which is a city that I grew up and also I go back to visit at least, not at least like almost every year and Beijing is changing so fast that
every time I go back I got a culture shock Meyer lived in one of the oldest
neighborhood in Beijing called Dashilaner which in this book they chose to go with
the pronunciation of Dazhalan which is a common mistakes about the pronunciation of that neighborhood that I think they need to change however back to the book
because Meyer lived in Dashilaner so he was able to communicate with the most local
residents in Beijing and had some fantastic experiences he recorded when
he had fun with people in Dashilaner and also recorded the time when people need to be
evicted because the plan was to for Dashilaner to become this modern fancy place with
large buildings and shopping malls and big roads which it is today the book took
over twelve years so it’s not a very detailed record of other histories in
those oldest neighborhood in Beijing but I think it has enough information to
paint a big picture about the development of the city Following I want to recommend a
book about Chinese food it’s called Shark’s Fin and Sichuan pepper a sweet sour memoir of eating in China by Fuschia Dunlop Dunlop is an English cook and a food writer who specialized in Chinese cuisine she lived in China for 15 years and when she first went to China she decided to
eat everything people put in front of her so as you can imagine this is the
book that full of the fan experiences that she had while eating
everything people put in front of her and also about the food culture the
beauty of Chinese cooking and the history about the dishes and the
different cooking style and of course this book also included the conflict that she met when she wanted to try some different ingredients I’m currently reading this one and I really enjoyed the relaxing languages and the humous writing style although it’s a book written in English I encourage you to read it in Chinese if you can because a lot of the name of the dishes that you
don’t want to mess with no matter which language you decided to read this book in I just have one suggestion that is don’t read this book when you’re a
hungry the last book I want to recommend is by a Chinese author actually she’s a
Chinese poet called Wang Xiaoni (王小妮) she taught drama film and television
literature in the University of Hainan for a couple of years and this book she
put together is called Shang Ke Ji (上课记) translates to Teaching Notes if I can do
the translation and this is a record of her thoughts during teaching although
it’s called teaching notes it’s not about the course that she taught it’s
more about the thoughts she had after the many classes and the thing that touches
me the most in the book is the story of Wang Xiaoni’s students her students had different backgrounds and some of them are from underprivileged families who even cannot distinguish between movie and television but they all share the
qualities of being a young people the pressures of being a young people and
also the confusions I liked how this book includes some of the work from Wang’s students so you got the first account of their mind my review of this book from seven years ago was Ru Zuo Zhen Zhan (如坐针毡) Ru Mang Ci Bei (如芒刺背) and it translates to reading this book make me feel like I’m sitting on a needle felt or I have
thrown on my back and that’s all the books that I want to recommend in this video I hope you started to get interested in some of them and if you
enjoyed this video give it a thumbs up and please tell me your book of choice
of nonfiction November or say hi in the comments section down below don’t forget to happy reading I’ll see you in my next bookish video, bye~ [Check out my book website!]

5 thoughts on “5 Down to Earth Nonfiction about China #NonfictionNovember Recommendation”

  • Thank you so much for the recommendations! Most of the books on my wishlist are about China’s economy so it’s great to find more books on the culture and everyday lives of the citizens. 🙂

  • I love how unapologetically you recommend Chinese literature or literature about China. Booktubers that are not
    British or northern American tend to not talk about their culture or books from their country… unless there is a specific readathon happening, and I find it sad. I want to read from authors from all over the world, but don’t often know where to start, so these kinds of videos really help out.

    Lastly, thank you for your recommendations!

  • 上课记 sounds so interesting – but it will be a while before I'll ever pick up a Chinese-language non-fiction book 😉 I was actually wondering if you have ever come across a book about the cultural history of tea in China? I would love to read more about tea.

  • This was great, thank you for the recommendations. I really like reading about peoples day to day life. I will be checking some of these out.

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