My recent China reads


Whilst having a baby certainly restricts your me-time, one benefit of breastfeeding is that once you get the hang of it, it gives you a free hand in which to hold your Kindle. And since feeding a newborn baby takes a LOT of time, I have been lucky enough to get some reading in!

China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan

I absolutely loved Crazy Rich Asians and equally loved this sequel. Kevin writes about a world I have absolutely no connection to, so far-fetched that the whole book feels like a trashy guilty-pleasure. I was seriously wondering where he got his knowledge of all the high-end designers and brands, even if he grew up in this setting, it must have taken a lot of research as the detail given to every outfit/shopping-spree/description of a house is meticulous. The story lines are also pretty out there, but I’ll take his word for it that people actually live like this. Another things I loved, as a language learner myself, was all the references to Hokkien/Cantonese/Mandarin/Singaporean phrases. Despite the fact that I’m sure the characters wouldn’t be speaking in English most of the time, keeping these phrases in helps you picture these crazy rich Asians in all their glory. Can’t wait for the next one!

Empress Orchid by Anchee Min

Actually this wasn’t on my Kindle, rather I picked it up in a charity shop and was thrilled to find a book there in my favourite genre. Despite having visited Beijing numerous times, I’ve never made it into the Forbidden City and this book did an amazing job of describing it in all it’s pre-revolution glory, as well as a few other landmarks in and around Beijing. It’s another book of outrageous excess, this time in a historical context, but it was clearly very thoroughly researched and fascinating to get a glimpse into this world. As a woman I found some of the customs of the time devastating, but it also helps provide context for the existing patriarchal traditions.

Next on my to read pile: Foreign Babes in Beijing. I’ve heard this quoted as a classic amongst the AMWF community, so am really looking forward to this one.

P.s. any mothers-to-be planning to breastfeed, I recommend you get a Kindle now and, if you already have one, stock it with books!

5 thoughts on “My recent China reads

  1. Oh, it’s all coming back to me now! I remember reading and watching a lot of tv the first several months (while pumping). I still read a lot, but after William goes to sleep.

    I’m also working on a book list about China. “Foreign Babes” is actually on my list. It’s a very fun and interesting read! Another one I liked (and didn’t expect to) was “Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven.”

    PS I hate the Forbidden City. It’s probably better in a book in which you can actually learn something about it and aren’t getting pushed around by a million other tourists! 😉


  2. Pingback: This and That: AMWF Edition | Marissa Kluger

  3. I agree with Rosalie! “Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven” is a thriller and gets quite scary at the end. I also loved “Foreign Babes in Beijing” and Kevin Kwan’s books! It was so great to see how he used footnotes to explain the Hokkien or Cantonese or Mandarin terms, and I could totally picture Eddie Cheng telling his wife she’s crazy for her gauche fashion when in fact she was wearing next season’s couture. I’m impatient for his third book to come out. I’ve read many Anchee Min books, but not this one. “Becoming Madame Mao” is one of my favorites.


  4. Pingback: My recent China reads II | Diaries of a Yangxifu

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