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China

READING AND TRAVEL GUIDE

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Books for

Enrich your travels with reading! Here's a hand-picked list prepared for your journey in conjunction with the book experts at Longitude.

Essential Reading

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Lonely Planet Discover China

Lonely Planet Discover China

by Lonely Planet

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2013
  • PAPER
  • 448 PAGES

Focusing on must-see and memorable places and experiences, this all-color guide by the discerning editors at Lonely Planet features hundreds of color photographs and maps, suggested tours and itineraries along with not-to-be-missed places to stay, eat, shop and see. (CHN674, $27.99)

China Road

China Road

by Rob Gifford

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2008
  • PAPER
  • 368 PAGES

NPR's Gifford writes with warmth and affection of his encounters with truckers, small farmers and regular folk along fabled Route 312 from Shanghai to the border of Kazakhstan. (CHN433, $17.00)

The Great Wall, From Beginning to End

The Great Wall, From Beginning to End

by Michael Yamashita | William Lindesay

  • ART & ARCHITECTURE
  • 2007
  • HARD COVER
  • 192 PAGES
  • CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE

Lindesay's informative text accompanies 160 photographs by Yamashita, who spent a year photographing along the 4,000-mile length of the iconic barrier. (CHN451, $29.95)

Wild Swans, Three Daughters of China

Wild Swans, Three Daughters of China

by Jung Chang

  • BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR
  • 2003
  • PAPER
  • 524 PAGES
  • FAVORITE

In this riveting tale of three generations spanning the end of Old China, Mao's regime and the Japanese occupation, Chang chronicles the enormous changes in China since 1929. (CHN04, $18.00)

 
Beijing Map

Beijing Map


by Borch Maps

  • 2012
  • MAP

This laminated, folded map of Beijing, with a blowup of the city center at a scale of 1:24,000, notes 2008 Olympic venues. With detailed inset maps of the Beijing Metro, top sights, key attractions, an index and Chinese characters for key place names. (CHN199, $9.95)

Culture Smart! China

Culture Smart! China


by Kathy Flower

  • GUIDEBOOK
  • 2010
  • PAPER
  • 168 PAGES

This is a handy guide to local customs, etiquette and culture. (CHN434, $9.95)

The Chinese Kitchen

The Chinese Kitchen


by Eileen Yin-Fei Lo

  • FOOD
  • 1999
  • HARD COVER
  • 452 PAGES
  • CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE

An authoritative compendium of Chinese recipes and food-oriented cultural practices. Eileen Yin-Fei Lo's cookbook doubles as an introduction to China itself. (CHN134, $39.95)

China Shakes the World

China Shakes the World


by James Kynge

  • HISTORY
  • 2007
  • PAPER
  • 270 PAGES

China Bureau Chief for the Financial Times, Beijing-based Kynge brings experience and perspective to this very readable, enlightening report on the transformation of China today. (CHN353, $14.95)

Postcards from Tomorrow Square

Postcards from Tomorrow Square


by James Fallows

  • CULTURAL PORTRAIT
  • 2008
  • PAPER
  • 288 PAGES

Ranging from politics to society and business, these richly observed, candid essays capture the complexity, tumult and promise of modern China. A correspondent for The Atlantic Monthly, where these essays first appeared, Fallows and his wife moved to China in 2006. (CHN559, $15.00)

The Great Wall, China Against the World, 1000 BC - 2000 AD

The Great Wall, China Against the World, 1000 BC - 2000 AD


by Julia Lovell

  • HISTORY
  • 2007
  • PAPER
  • 412 PAGES

The Who, Why and Wherefore of the Great Wall, this marvelous history demolishes myths (no, the wall is not a continuous structure of great antiquity, as much of it was built in the 1600s) with fresh insight and wit. (CHN308, $15.00)

The Terracotta Army of the First Emperor of China

The Terracotta Army of the First Emperor of China


by William Lindesay

  • HISTORY
  • 2008
  • PAPER
  • 32 PAGES

A beautiful introduction to the extraordinary tomb of Qin Shi Huangdi, First Emperor of China, this concise visual overview features richly colored illustrations and photographs accompanied by detailed captions. (CHN126, $12.95)

Understanding China

Understanding China


by John Bryan Starr

  • HISTORY
  • 2010
  • PAPER
  • 400 PAGES

A Yale professor's essential primer on the history, politics and economy of China. A succinct and refreshingly forthright best-selling guide, this third edition brings us right up to date with events in the rapidly evolving nation. (CHN196, $17.95)

Search for Ancient China

Search for Ancient China


by Corinne Debaine-Francfort

  • ARCHAEOLOGY
  • 1999
  • PAPER
  • 160 PAGES

With information on everything from jewelry to emperors' tombs and terracotta warriors, the Great Wall and the dazzling 400-year history of the Han Empire, this shirt-pocket survey of discovery features 150 illustrations. (CHN69, $15.95)

The Arts of China

The Arts of China


by Michael Sullivan

  • ART & ARCHITECTURE
  • 2008
  • PAPER
  • 352 PAGES

A lively survey of Chinese visual arts and culture through the ages, thoroughly illustrated and accessible. With a new chapter on the 20th century and beyond, this fifth edition covers bronzes, ceramics, painting and architecture from the Neolithic to now. (CHN16, $41.95)

The River at the Center of the World

The River at the Center of the World


by Simon Winchester

  • EXPLORATION
  • 2004
  • PAPER
  • 410 PAGES
  • FAVORITE

With ease and grace, Winchester writes about the character of the Yangtze and the people and places along its banks. An absorbing portrait of the great river which flows through the heart of China. (CHN31, $17.00)

A Comrade Lost and Found, A Beijing Story

A Comrade Lost and Found, A Beijing Story


by Jan Wong

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2010
  • PAPER
  • 336 PAGES
  • NEW

Jan Wong (Red China Blues) returns to Beijing, with her husband and reluctant teenage sons in tow, on a mission to find a classmate she wronged decades ago at Beijing University. (CHN547, $14.95)

Country Driving

Country Driving


by Peter Hessler

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2011
  • PAPER
  • 480 PAGES

Opening with an eventful 7,000-mile road trip across northern China, Peter Hessler (River Town, Oracle Bones) shows the absurdity, humor and hope of China in this latest portrait of a nation catapulted into the modern world. (CHN600, $15.99)

Mao Zedong

Mao Zedong


by Jonathan Spence

  • BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR
  • 2006
  • PAPER
  • 192 PAGES

Yale sinologist, writer and historian Spence tracks the life of the architect of the People's Republic from his provincial upbringing to his savage three-decade rule. (CHN66, $15.00)

Mr. China's Son, A Villager's Life

Mr. China's Son, A Villager's Life


by He Liyi

  • BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR
  • 2002
  • PAPER
  • 336 PAGES

Written with warmth, humor and an admirable lack of bitterness, this autobiography by a villager from Yunnan is a poignant glimpse into the rural experience in China over 50 years, including the Japanese invasion, Communist revolution, and time in reeducation camps. (CHN399, $43.00)

Mr. China, A Memoir

Mr. China, A Memoir


by Tim Clissold

  • BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR
  • 2006
  • PAPER
  • 262 PAGES

An excellent portrait of contemporary China. Clissold writes with humor and insight in this entertaining account of his encounters with the Chinese and the Chinese way of doing business. (CHN306, $14.99)

Oracle Bones

Oracle Bones


by Peter Hessler

  • TRAVEL NARRATIVE
  • 2007
  • PAPER
  • 512 PAGES

In this fine portrait of tumult and tradition, Hessler (River Town) finds clues to modern China's realities in the personal stories of peasants, scholars, day laborers and activists. (CHN316, $15.99)

The Last Days of Old Beijing, Tales from the New City

The Last Days of Old Beijing, Tales from the New City


by Michael Meyer

  • BIOGRAPHY/MEMOIR
  • 2009
  • PAPER
  • 368 PAGES

Meyer's lovely memoir of the hutong (ancient lane) where he taught school captures the rhythms, traditions and spirit of Beijing's traditional neighborhoods south of Tiananmen. (CHN493, $18.00)

China, A Traveler's Literary Companion

China, A Traveler's Literary Companion


by Kirk Denton

  • ANTHOLOGY
  • 2008
  • PAPER
  • 231 PAGES

An introduction both to China's finest modern writers and its diverse cultures, concerns and landscapes, organized geographically. (CHN520, $14.95)

Death of a Red Heroine

Death of a Red Heroine


by Qiu Xiaolong

  • MYSTERY
  • 2003
  • PAPER
  • 464 PAGES

Marvelously evocative of Shanghai and tremendously informative about China's transition towards a market economy in the 1990s, Inspector Chen of the Shanghai Police must find the murderer of a National Model Worker in this award-winning debut. The series continues with A Loyal Character Dancer (CHN412). (CHN374, $15.95)

Empress Orchid

Empress Orchid


by Anchee Min

  • LITERATURE
  • 2005
  • PAPER
  • 346 PAGES

In this novel of the glorious, decadent last days of 19th-century Imperial China, Min (Red Azalea, Becoming Madame Mao) combines her tale of a young girl from the provinces who marries an emperor -- and then improbably becomes the Last Empress -- with a lovingly re-created portrait of life in the Forbidden City. (CHN267, $14.00)

Farewell Shanghai

Farewell Shanghai


by Angel Wagenstein

  • LITERATURE
  • 2008
  • PAPER
  • 400 PAGES

Wagenstein's novel chronicles the flight of four refugees from Nazi Germany to Shanghai, where they are immersed into both the glamour and devastating poverty of the city. (CHN516, $13.95)

The Last Chinese Chef

The Last Chinese Chef


by Nicole Mones

  • LITERATURE
  • 2008
  • PAPER

Mones' delectable third novel pairs a fast-paced romantic plot with insight into the meaning and preparation of classical Chinese dishes. (CHN498, $13.95)

Chinese Wildlife

Chinese Wildlife


by Martin Walters

  • FIELD GUIDE
  • 2008
  • PAPER
  • 208 PAGES

This compact introduction to birds, mammals, reptiles, insects and plants found from the Tibetan plateau to the deserts, tropical forests and mountains includes 200 color photographs. (CHN440, $26.99)

More Recommendations

Here are some other groups of books that might be of interest

Longitude provides recommended reading for travelers in partnership with the leading tour operators and travel programs for hundreds of destinations worldwide. We've got the classic, new and hard-to-find books and maps to help you get the most out of your adventures.