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Best China books

Today I’ll be sifting through the extensive responses to our Best China Books survey, which was a very short questionnaire tied to the very short reading list in our very short new book This Is China. The respondents gave us *lots* more suggestions, as well comments on and criticisms of the books we selected, which I’ll be incorporating in a new and longer survey where we’ll start breaking the list down by level of familiarity with China and also by subject and study goals. We’ll keep a current list posted online, too – I may do this at Librarything, to make it easier to find books.

In the meantime, you can see how respondents rated the books we listed at Best China Books. The top rating for history was a well-known standard: Fairbank, John King, & Goldman, Merle. (1998). China: A New History. More generally, Jonathan Spence’s books are leading the lists. Across the board, he and Peter Hessler got top marks, but many other friends and colleagues aren’t far behind. For business readers, Tim Clissold’s Mr. China holds the top spot. In fiction, Lu Xun’s The True Story of Ah Q is in the lead for fiction. It’s set in the revolutionary China of 1911.

Only one respondent who reminded me of the people who write most of the “answers” on Yahoo and other online Q&A sites, with comments like, “I don’t know much about this but in my opinion….” or “Just guessing but maybe it’s….”

The survey is still open, so do join in if you haven’t already by clicking here.

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