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Best Chinese Books

Explore China’s literary landscape with these exceptional books. From contemporary hits to classic tales, discover the titles that have defined Chinese literature, as highlighted by respected book critics.

Recommendations from 17 articles, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Mark Zuckerberg, Tim O’Reilly and 41 others.
26 books on the list
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The Three-Body Problem book cover
The Three-Body Problem
Cixin Liu - 2014-11-11 (first published in 2006)
Goodreads Rating
Experience an award-winning Chinese science fiction masterpiece from the beloved author, Cixin Liu, in English for the first time. Against the backdrop of China's Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into space to establish contact with aliens. When an alien civilization on the brink of destruction captures the signal and plans to invade Earth, different camps form on Earth, leading to a battle against corruption or a welcome for superior beings. Delve into this epic story of invasion, alliances, and survival.
Love in a Fallen City book cover
Love in a Fallen City
Eileen Chang - 2006-10-10 (first published in 1943)
Goodreads Rating
Experience the stunning work of Eileen Chang, one of China's greatest writers of the twentieth century. Love, longing, and the complexities of family are at the heart of Chang's short fiction, which are a must-read for fans of Chinese literature. Written in her twenties, these stories combine contemporary themes with an intense lyricism that echoes classics of the genre. Love in a Fallen City is the perfect introduction to the work of this modern master, showcasing her dazzling literary talent.
Red Sorghum book cover
Red Sorghum
A Novel of China
Mo Yan - 1994-04-01 (first published in 1987)
Goodreads Rating
An epic family saga set in 1930s China, Red Sorghum tells the story of three generations battling the Japanese invaders and each other. Through flashbacks, readers witness a landscape of beauty and horror as fable and history collide to create an entirely unique and unforgettable work of fiction. This novel has won numerous literary awards in China and inspired an Oscar-nominated film. Don't miss out on this legendary read.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar book cover
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Eric Carle - 1994-01-01 (first published in 1969)
Goodreads Rating
Follow the transformation of a hungry caterpillar as he munches his way through apples, plums, and more in this beloved classic children's book. From his tiny egg to his stunning transformation into a butterfly, experience the wonder of nature with stunning illustrations and a delightful story that has been passed down from generation to generation. Perfect for sharing with the little ones in your life, this audiobook will both delight and educate even the youngest listener.
A Hero Born book cover
A Hero Born
The Definitive Edition (Legends of the Condor Heroes)
Jin Yong - 2018-02-22 (first published in 1957)
Goodreads Rating
Embark on an epic adventure following the generational saga of Guo Jing, a humble but loyal warrior trained by Ghengis Khan himself. A Hero Born is a thrilling kung fu epic stretching from the Song Empire to the rise of Genghis Khan, filled with fantasy, love, treachery and war. Alongside an extraordinary cast of characters, Guo Jing must face his destiny and battle an opponent that will challenge him in every way imaginable. With the help of his shifus, The Seven Heroes of the South, he returns to China to face his foe and put his courage and knowledge to the test.
Guess How Much I Love You BOARD book cover
Guess How Much I Love You BOARD
Sam McBratney - 1996-03-06 (first published in 1988)
Goodreads Rating
A heartwarming story about the unconditional love shared between a little hare and his father figures. Shortlisted for prestigious awards, it beautifully shows that love cannot easily be measured. Perfect for children and adults alike.
Dear Zoo book cover
Dear Zoo
Rod Campbell - 2007-05-08 (first published in 1982)
Goodreads Rating
A beloved classic, Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell is a delightful lift-the-flap book where young readers discover the animals the zoo sends - from monkeys to lions to elephants. With bold artwork and a catchy refrain, this book is a charming addition to any child's collection.
The Wandering Earth book cover
The Wandering Earth
Cixin Liu - 2013-05-22
Goodreads Rating
Explore the mysteries of the universe and humanity's fight for survival in the sci-fi short story collection by renowned author Cixin Liu. Featuring ten original tales, including the title story that inspired the blockbuster film streaming on Netflix, Liu takes readers on a journey through Earth's past and future, offering a unique perspective on our planet and our place in it. With an expert understanding of human nature, each story is a glimpse into our struggle to survive in a vast cosmos.
Chronicle of a Blood Merchant book cover
Chronicle of a Blood Merchant
Yu Hua - 2004-11-09 (first published in 1995)
Goodreads Rating
"Chronicle of a Blood Merchant" is an internationally acclaimed novel that provides an unflinching portrait of life under Chairman Mao. Set during the Cultural Revolution, readers are taken on a journey through the struggles of Xu Sanguan, a cart-pusher in a silk mill who regularly visits the local blood chief to augment his meager salary. When he discovers his favorite son was born of a liaison between his wife and a neighbor, his world is shattered. However, he ultimately finds strength in the blood ties of his family. With gripping descriptions and clear-eyed compassion, Yu Hua provides a stunning tapestry of human life in the midst of poverty and betrayals.
Outlaws of the Marsh book cover
Outlaws of the Marsh
Shi Nai'An and Luo Guanzhong - 2001-01-01 (first published in 1370)
Goodreads Rating
A legendary tale of 108 "Stars from Heaven" who escape a corrupt bureaucracy and take refuge in Liangshan Marsh, where they fight against the evil regime while still serving the emperor. Outlaws of the Marsh is a timeless classic, mixing politics, action, martial arts, magic, and even a little bit of bawdy humor. It's an unparalleled masterpiece that everyone should read.
Reading and Writing Chinese by William McNaughton
Invisible Planets by Ken Liu
"Standard Course HSK 1 HSK标准教程(附光盘1)" by Jiang Liping
中文听说读写 Integrated Chinese, Textbook 1 by Yuehua Liu, Tao-chung Yao, Nyan-Ping Bi, Liangyan Ge, Yaohua Shi
My First Mandarin Words with Gordon Li Li by Michele Wong McSween
2000 Most Common Chinese Words in Context by Lingo Mastery
Niubi! by Eveline Chao
Beyond the Basics, 2nd Edition by Jianhua Bai
Fundamentals of Chinese Characters by John Jing-hua Yin
Colloquial Chinese by Qian Kan
Chinese Made Easier (Book 1) by Martin Symonds, Tian Haohao
Cat Country by Lao She
Descendant of the Crane by Joan He
The Day the Sun Died by Yan Lianke
The Art of War by Sun Tzu
Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu