The Greatest "Beijing" Books of All Time

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This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 305 'best of' book lists to form a definitive guide to the world's most acclaimed books. For those interested in how these books are chosen, additional details can be found on the rankings page.

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  1. 1. Rickshaw Boy by Lao She

    "Rickshaw Boy" is a novel about a young man living in Beijing in the 1920s who struggles to escape poverty and achieve personal independence. Despite his hard work and determination, he is continuously set back by societal and personal misfortunes, including failed business ventures, a disastrous marriage, and the loss of his rickshaw. The book serves as a critique of traditional Chinese society, illustrating the harsh realities of life for the working class during this time period.

    The 1389th Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. The Gate of Heavenly Peace by Jonathan Spence

    "The Gate of Heavenly Peace" is a comprehensive historical analysis of China from the 1890s through the 1980s, focusing on the intellectual and political movements that shaped the country. The book explores the complex interplay between tradition and modernity, and the often tumultuous relationship between the Chinese people and their leaders. It delves into the lives and thoughts of key figures in Chinese history, providing a nuanced understanding of the forces that have shaped China's trajectory.

    The 2433rd Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. Teahouse by Lao She

    "Teahouse" is a historical drama that explores 50 years of Chinese history (1898-1948) through the microcosm of a Beijing teahouse. The narrative follows the lives of the teahouse owner and his customers, reflecting the social changes, political turmoil, and cultural shifts of the time. The story provides a deep insight into the Chinese society, its traditions, and the impact of Western influence. It also highlights the struggle of the common people amidst corruption, oppression, and the collapse of traditional values.

    The 2779th Greatest Book of All Time
  4. 4. Kinder Than Solitude by Yiyun Li

    This novel revolves around the intertwined lives of three friends from their youth in Beijing during the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square protests to their separate paths as adults in the United States and China. The mysterious poisoning of their friend, Shaoai, which occurred during their teenage years, casts a long shadow over their lives, influencing their relationships, personal development, and their ability to find solace and meaning in their adult lives. Through a narrative that weaves past and present, the story explores themes of memory, guilt, isolation, and the complex nature of human connections, revealing how the echoes of a moment can shape the course of a lifetime.

    The 8624th Greatest Book of All Time
  5. 5. Red Memory by Tania Branigan

    "Red Memory" delves into the complex legacy of Mao Zedong's rule in China, exploring how it continues to shape the nation's identity and politics. Through personal stories and interviews, the book uncovers the deep and often conflicting emotions of Chinese citizens who lived through the tumultuous periods of the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution. The narrative reveals a society grappling with its past, where personal memories of suffering, resilience, and ideological fervor coexist with a state-driven narrative that both reveres and selectively forgets aspects of its own history. This exploration highlights the challenges of reconciling individual trauma with collective memory and the ongoing impact of Mao's era on contemporary China.

    The 11101st Greatest Book of All Time

Reading Statistics

Click the button below to see how many of these books you've read!

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If you're interested in downloading this list as a CSV file for use in a spreadsheet application, you can easily do so by clicking the button below. Please note that to ensure a manageable file size and faster download, the CSV will include details for only the first 500 books.

Download