Living in China

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Recommended Reads

The one thing that all expatriates in China complain about missing is decent reading material. Outside of Beijing and Shanghai it is very difficult to get hold of anything in English other than text books aimed at Chinese learners of English and  'approved' classics such as Dickens etc. Even in Beijing and Shanghai the selection is still very limited.

As far as I know, none of the books listed below are available in China. Some are specifically banned.

If you have any suggestions, please contact us.

China and the Chinese - History and People

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Chinese Literature

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Chinese Food

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Guide Books

There is a large range of guide books to China - some great; some not so good. It is worth bearing in mind that most, if not all, of these are aimed at travellers rather than expatriate residents of China

The most popular seems to be the Lonely Planet guide. Like all Lonely Planet guides, it is aimed at the backpacker or low budget tourist. This is now in its 8th edition, although not everything is checked between editions. The general information sections are informative and generally accurate. However, the entries for individual cities and tourist sites are variable in quality. The entry for Liuzhou is frankly, nonsense. One wonders if the writer left the train station. 

They also publish guides to Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong which cover those cities in more detail than the all China guide. There is also a separate guide for South West China which covers Yunnan, Guangxi, Sichuan and Guizhou.

LP's main rival is the Rough Guide to China, which some people prefer. Coverage is similar, but my own feeling is that it goes into less depth.

For those interested in the culture of China, the Blue Guide to China is highly recommended. It gives essential background information on history, religion, art and architecture, and language.

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