Since I listed some of the Chinese books I read in this post, I made a list of some English books I’ve read in the last 3 years or so for completeness. The books are not listed in any specific order. I highly recommend most of them.
I am currently reading a Chinese book, 我的父亲邓小平，(My Father Deng Xiaoping), written by Deng’s daughter. I usually alternate English and Chinese books for reading.
Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
Great book. Highly recommended. Funny I can relate to Frank McCourt’s Irish experience, growing up a country boy in rural China.
Soul Mountain by Gao XingJian
Great book. Great, great translation by Marbel Lee. It helps if you know some of China’s recent history.
One Man’s Bible by Gao XingJian
See comment above.
The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
Great book and very entertaining. A great blend of culture, religion, history, and geography.
Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
See comment above
Mapping Human History: Discovering the Past Through Our Genes by Steve Olson
Excellent book, highly recommended for people who are interested in understanding more of our common ancestry.
Waiting by Ha Jin
Excellent, excellent book. Ha Jin writes individual’s longing, helplessness, kindness, cruelty with beautiful and compact language. I am deeply impressed by his mastery of the English language.
The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman
Good book. It helped me to contemplate and organize a lot of thoughts I already have on the subject of globalization. I don’t necessarily agree with all his conclusions, especially his discussions on the Middle East and the Muslim world. Nonetheless, the author provides good background and interesting anecdotal evidence to put globalization in perspective. I wish he did more research on China, though.
Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
A classic. Pete Jackson did a great job adapting the trilogy to the big screen.
Getting Things Done by David Allen
A great book full of practical tips on how to prioritize, manage your time, and enhance productivity. I followed the principles for a while but kind of fell off the wagon, so to speak. I’ve got to re implement most of the ideas again.
Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner
Interesting book. One takeaway is to remember many so-called experts are biased when giving you advice, especially when the expert’s own interest is at stake. Think your real estate agent and financial adviser.
The Importance of Living by Lin YuTang
A best seller in the late 1930s, this book is a classic. I haven’t finish it yet, but so far I love it a lot. I will borrow it from the library again and read it in its entirety soon. Lin YuTang is a true great author that bridges East and West, and I think he deserves more credit than what he gets. Frank McCourt also talked about his reading of Lin YuTang’s work in Limerick, Ireland.
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
I brought this book to Sweden in summer, but didn’t finish it. I read probably 2 chapters and loved it. I will read it in its entirety soon. The novel was made to a movie of the same title. I remember seeing it a few years ago and loved it.