Every now and then I like to glance away from my TV screen and rejoin the real world. Usually by reading a book in a coffee shop surrounded by the smell of coffee and a nice cup of peppermint tea sitting in front of me. What? I am not going to do something crazy like go to a party or anything. That kind of thing is exhausting. But despite my stepping away from on-screen drama, the drama often follows me into my reading choices. Which inspired me to share my favorite Asian themed books and hopefully give you new options to explore when you are forced away from your dramas.
So in no particular order, here is my reading list:
Many people had to read this for high school English. I was not one of those people. I actually discovered this novel through a book group in my twenties and I am so glad I waited till I was older before reading. The themes and concepts are easier to understand as an adult. Also, the story of the farmer Wang Lung and his selfless wife O-Lan took on new significance when I had more knowledge of the history of China. It is a wonderful glimpse into China just before it was forever changed by world war.
Have you ever wondered what a classic drama storyline would look like if it was Americanized? Well, here is the book for you. As you read the story of Maya Lindberg who has an unfortunate run-in with the four most popular and rich boys in school. Yup. We have a Boys Over Flowers inspired book. I personally enjoyed it more than the original.
In this novel, we discover Desi Lee, a girl with extreme intelligence who has every moment of her life planned. That is, until the boy of her dream walks into her life! Come watch Desi attempt to win his love by using the tried and true romantic methods found in Kdramas. I laughed my way through this story even as I was cringing in secondhand embarrassment at her romantic hijinks.
Not yet ready to let go of your love for the drama Three Lives Three Worlds Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms? Then read the book that started it all. To the Sky Kingdom starts after Bai Qian lands on earth with no memory of being immortal. Follow her as she shares an epic love with the same man multiple times.
I had to use this moment to recommend our co-blogger Jennie Bennet’s series of Kpop inspired Novellas. These are perfect for a quick fluffy read when you have limited time to devote to a book. You don’t have to read them in any order, but they do tie in together.
I am going to include the two follow up novels, China Rich Girlfriend and Rich People Problems to this recommendation as well. Nicholas Young and his American-Chinese fiancée must keep their relationship strong despite the fact that Nicholas comes from one of the richest families in the world. All three books follow the story of the Young family and all their crazy relatives. This is the perfect book to read if you like modern Chinese dramas that contain over the top kooky characters.
I decided to add this book even though I just bought it and have not yet had the time to finish. From the few pages I have read, it seems like a truly wonderful story. So just in case anyone wants something not romance related, come give this story a try.
*SYNOPSIS: From one of China’s foremost authors, Jia Pingwa’s Happy Dreams is a powerful depiction of life in industrializing contemporary China, in all its humor and pathos, as seen through the eyes of Happy Liu, a charming and clever rural laborer who leaves his home for the gritty, harsh streets of Xi’an in search of better life.
This concludes my suggested reading list. If you are interested in purchasing any of these books, just click on the title and it will take you to the Amazon link, but many of these are also available from your favorite etailers. Be sure to share any books, novellas, or on-line translations that I might have missed in the comments.
Til next time,
Dramas With A Side of Kimchi