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Summer 2023 Reading List from ChinaSource

Editor’s note: this post was updated on June 30 with information about where to get a reprint of Hand-Grenade Practice in Peking.

June has arrived, and summer is in full swing in the Northern Hemisphere. There’s often more time to relax, go on vacation, and read. The ChinaSource team came together to share the books on their summer reading lists. The books are divided into two sections—those about China and those about other topics. The excerpts are taken from Amazon. However you get your books, we hope you find a few that interest you.

China-related Books

The Peking Express: The Bandits Who Stole a Train, Stunned the West, and Broke the Republic of China by James M. Zimmerman.

The thrilling true story of train-robbing revolutionaries and passengers who got more than they paid for in this Murder on the Orient Express–style adventure, set in China’s republican era.

This one was recommended by several team members, so run—don’t walk—to get yourself a copy.

Assignment China: An Oral History of American Journalists in the People’s Republic by Mike Chinoy

At a time of crisis in Sino-American relations, understanding the people who have covered China for the American media and how they have done so is crucial to understanding the news. Through the personal accounts of multiple generations of China correspondents, Assignment China provides that understanding.

Eat the Buddha: Life and Death in a Tibetan Town by Barbara Demick

Illuminating a culture that has long been romanticized by Westerners as deeply spiritual and peaceful, Demick reveals what it is really like to be a Tibetan in the 21st century, trying to preserve one’s culture, faith, and language against the depredations of a seemingly unstoppable, technologically all-seeing superpower. Her depiction is nuanced, unvarnished, and at times shocking.

A Village with My Name: A Family History of China’s Opening to the World by Scott Tong 

When journalist Scott Tong moved to Shanghai, his assignment was to start the first full-time China bureau for “Marketplace,” the daily business and economics program on public radio stations across the US. But for Tong the move became much more: an opportunity to reconnect with members of his extended family who’d remained there after his parents fled the communists six decades prior. Uncovering their stories gave him a new way to understand modern China’s defining moments and its long, interrupted quest to go global.

Read our review of this book to find out more!

China in Ten Words by Yu Hua

Framed by ten phrases common in the Chinese vernacular, China in Ten Words uses personal stories and astute analysis to reveal as never before the world’s most populous yet oft-misunderstood nation. In “Disparity,” for example, Yu Hua illustrates the expanding gaps that separate citizens of the country… Witty, insightful, and courageous, this is a refreshingly candid vision of the “Chinese miracle” and all of its consequences.

Ten Sermons That Shook China by Watchman Nee

This book represents a collection of some of Watchman Nee’s best sermons that have special relevance and a powerful Gospel message. Selected sermons were taken from a sampling of literature, teaching manuals, and sermon notes that were delivered in China during times of revival or outpourings of the Spirit, Bible conferences, or teaching seminars.

China Hans: From Shanghai to Hitler to Christ by Hans Martin Wilhelm

Only God could have foreseen the incredible life and adventures of a German missionary named Hans Wilhelm. Fleeing Communists in China…surviving Japanese bombing raids…enduring an internment camp…joining, and later rejecting, the Hitler Youth…giving his heart to Jesus Christ in a bathtub…and that was just the beginning.

Hand-Grenade Practice in Peking: My Part in the Cultural Revolution by Frances Wood

This is a quirky account of revolutionary China, written by Frances Wood, who went to Peking as a student for a year in 1975.

Check your local library and used book retailers for this one, as it’s rather expensive on Amazon. Our friends who are in Europe can also find a reprint from Slightly Foxed.

Non-China Books

More Than I Imagined: What a Black Man Discovered About the White Mother He Never Knew by John Blake 

At the age of seventeen, Blake had a surprise encounter that uncovered a disturbing family secret. This launched him on a quest to reconcile with his white family. His search centered on two questions: “Where is my mother?” and “Where do I belong?” More Than I Imagined is Blake’s propulsive true story about how he answered those questions with the help of an interracial church, a loving caregiver’s sacrifice, and an inexplicable childhood encounter that taught him the importance of forgiveness.

Come and See: The Journey of Knowing God through Scripture by Jonathan Pennington

In Come and See, Jonathan Pennington helps readers understand what it means to know God from the Bible and details three effective approaches to interpreting Scripture. Using the engaging analogy of a road trip, he introduces three friends who each have distinct, clear ways of navigating the Bible: informational (understanding genres in Scripture and avoiding exegetical mistakes); theological (reading canonically, traditionally, and creedally); and transformational (focusing on the goal of reading Scripture, our posture as readers, and the role of the Holy Spirit).

Christianity in America: Triumph and Tragedy by G. Wright Doyle

Was America founded as a “Christian” nation? What role has the Christian faith of many of its leaders played in the course of its history? How has Christianity affected American culture and society? This trenchant critique of the role of Christianity in American history highlights both the ways in which Christians have made many valuable contributions as “salt and light,” and how they have caused a great deal of damage by trying to be “savior and lord.”

Surrender: 40 Songs, One Story by Bono

As one of the music world’s most iconic artists and the cofounder of the organizations ONE and (RED), Bono’s career has been written about extensively. But in Surrender, it’s Bono who picks up the pen, writing for the first time about his remarkable life and those he has shared it with. In his unique voice, Bono takes us from his early days growing up in Dublin, including the sudden loss of his mother when he was fourteen, to U2’s unlikely journey to become one of the world’s most influential rock bands, to his more than twenty years of activism dedicated to the fight against AIDS and extreme poverty.

The Polygamist’s Daughter by Anna LeBaron

This is the haunting memoir of Anna LeBaron, daughter of the notorious polygamist and murderer Ervil LeBaron. Ervil’s criminal activity kept Anna and her siblings constantly on the run from the FBI. Often starving, the children lived in a perpetual state of fear―and despite their numbers, Anna always felt alone. Would she ever find a place she truly belonged? Would she ever be anything other than the polygamist’s daughter?

Leading with a Limp: Take Full Advantage of Your Most Powerful Weakness by Dan B. Allender

Put your flawed foot forward.

Pick up most leadership books and you’ll find strategies for leveraging your power and minimizing your areas of weakness. But rather than work against your weakness, why not draw from a deeper well of strength? God favors leaders who make the most of the power that comes from brokenness.

Don’t Look Back: Getting Unstuck and Moving Forward with Passion and Purpose by Christine Caine

We may not know all God’s plans for us. We may not know where we are going, how long it will take us, or what we will encounter along the way, but with the strategies Christine Caine gives, we can move on from where we are to where God wants us to be.

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Image credit: Robert Norton via UnSplash.
Rachel Anderson

Rachel Anderson

  Rachel Anderson serves as the Assistant Content Manager at ChinaSource. Though she has never been to China, her ancestors were missionaries in East Asia and passed on a deep love and respect for those cultures. Rachel lives in Los Angeles with her husband and their five delightful children.      View Full Bio

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