So you’re planning a trip to China? Why not indulge in some of the country’s finest literature and most representative cinematic pieces before you go? Here are my recommendations:
Books About China
Semi-autobiographical, this novel recounts the story of two young men who covertly discover literature during the years of the cultural revolution.
Confucius is considered the single most important influencer of classical and modern Chinese thought. To truly understand the Chinese mindset, this collection of Confucius’ sayings is a vital read.
In the early 20th century, Mr Ma and his son travel to London to start a new life. This book explores the cultural differences and stigma they face.
I really enjoyed this book, particularly as the author wrote it after moving to London himself and took up a teaching position at my alma mater, The School of Oriental and African Studies.
This novel depicts the relationship four American born daughters have with their Chinese born mothers in a modern USA. It explores their cultural differences and communication difficulties, and was also made into a film.
There is much Chinese diaspora literature. However, this piece struck a cord with me, perhaps as I grew up in a country different to the one my parents grew up in.
Films About China
Film showing the devastating effects of the Japanese invasion on the country. For fans of historical and war films, this is a must watch. It also helps explain lingering Chinese/Japanese tension.
One of the most famous martial arts films, you really can’t miss this movie.
Comedy showing the mishaps of a Chinese tourist abroad. After this film came out, Thailand was inundated with Chinese tourists.
Go Lala Go!
Romantic comedy that shows a young professional learning to balance her love and work lives. I thought this film was modern, easy to follow, and not a bad film to watch to practice your Mandarin.