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Books set in China/Japan?

Discussion in 'Book Search & Suggestions' started by Idril Silmaure, Jun 10, 2005.

  1. Fantasy Moon

    Fantasy Moon kickbox

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    I admit that it is a well written book with lots of details and beautiful imagery, but I honestly dislike the story. Odd considering how I truly like geisha things.
     
  2. Kookamoor

    Kookamoor New Member

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    Bear in mind that 'Memoirs of a Geisha' is fictional. There are many other books that came out on the heels of this that are autobiographical. I haven't read either of these, but here's two I've heard about:

    Geisha by Liza Crihfield Dalby is supposed to be excellent and is on my TBR

    Geisha: A Life by Mineko Iwasaki is supposed to be not as well written, but is an autobiographical (or possibly ghost written - I'm not sure) account of one of the most famous modern geishas. Iwasaki was one of the primary sources for Arthur Golden's 'Memoirs of a Geisha'. I think it's worth a look if you're interested, but based solely on the reviews I've read, I'd borrow rather than buy.
     
  3. Kookamoor

    Kookamoor New Member

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    Currently Reading:
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    In a more fictional adventure/fantasy vein, I just finished Across the Nightingale Floor: Tales of the Otori: Book 1 by Lian Hearn. This is loosely set in feudal Japan:

    This book can be read on its own or in conjunction with the rest of the series. I've read elsewhere that this is aimed at young adults, and I beg to differ. Certainly it's not written as a literary work, but it's a rollicking good ride for anyone!
     
  4. Ronny

    Ronny Well-Known Member

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    Currently Reading:
    Dark Places - Gillian Flynn
    I really liked China Dawn by Robert L. Duncan

     
  5. Fantasy Moon

    Fantasy Moon kickbox

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    I was surprised to find Memoirs in the fiction section after I first heard about it. Everyone was telling me what a wonderful book it was yet after reading it, I was disappointed. My best friend loves it though. I'm just waiting for the day when she wants to debate me about it!

    I read a bit of A Life when I was doing research on the geisha for my term paper in a Japanese history class. It's something I need to return to soon.

    Across the Nightingale Floor sounds interesting so I'll have to look into it.
     
  6. angerball

    angerball Active Member

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    Currently Reading:
    The Famous Five series - Enid Blyton
    Out by Natsuo Kirino set in Japan, in modern time. It's a brilliant read - very very dark, and very gory in some places (at one point I had to put the book down). I really can't recommend it highly enough; one of the best books I've read.

     
  7. lenny nero

    lenny nero New Member

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    Currently Reading:
    'Watch You Bleed' by Stephen Davis
    The 'Sano Ichiro' series by Laura Joh Rowland. These are basically detective novels set in Tokugawa era Japan. I think they're nine so far. Very good historical detail in these.
     
  8. Idril Silmaure

    Idril Silmaure New Member

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    I don't know about Accross the Nightingale Floor..I read it a while ago in a few hours and it was certainly an action-packed adventure with all the ingredients of a cracking good read, that's why I read it. But somehow it seemed a bit lacking, and I found myself being able to predict the next scene a bit too easily for my liking.

    Memoirs of a Geisha is fictional, but isn't it based loosely on actual memoirs by a real geisha? Or is that just my memory tricking me??
     
  9. Breaca

    Breaca Member

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    A truly beautiful book, in my humble opinion. The back book cover says it's based on 'true confessions of one of Japan's most celebrated geisha'. Either way, I really enjoyed reading this one and look forward to seeing the movie. The story is a little painful at times as you begin to relate to the characters and reminds me how far the role of women (in all their glory) has changed over the centuries.

    Another book which provides a peek into life in Japan from early in the 20th Century up to WW2 is 'The Ginger Tree' by Oswald Wynd. It's about a young scottish woman who goes to Peking to wed her fiance who's serving as an attache for the British military. She has an affair with a Japense count - her marriage breaks up and she is ostracized by her family. She has the Count's child but has him adopted and continues to live in Japan. The book is written in the form of letters to her friends and entries in her journal. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book.
     
  10. Balmy Westwind

    Balmy Westwind New Member

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    Currently Reading:
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    I have just finished reading Wild Swans by Jung Chang. You might like this if you are interested in China. It is an account of the lives of three generations of women living in China in the 20th Century. After reading it I would also like to find out a bit more about China. I think I will put 'The Palace of Heavenly Pleasure' on my TBR list.

    Eva :)
     
  11. sirmyk

    sirmyk New Member

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    A couple modern books:

    Rising Sun, by Michael Crichton

    number9dream, by David Mitchell
     
  12. abecedarian

    abecedarian Well-Known Member

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    Years ago I read a great adventure novel called High Road to China by Jon Cleary. Peter Jenkins has a travelogue called Across China that's pretty good too. I assume you're wanting adult material, so I won't mention my two all-time favorite Chinese stories: The Story of Ping, and The Five Chinese Brothers ;)
     
  13. muggle

    muggle New Member

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    The late James Clavell is one of my favorite authors. I have read most of his books. Favorites are Shogun, Noble House, Tai-pan, and King Rat.
     
  14. ions

    ions New Member

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    See post #17 of this thread. ;)
     
  15. lenny nero

    lenny nero New Member

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    Currently Reading:
    'Watch You Bleed' by Stephen Davis
    Mark Salzman's Iron and Silk is another good one. The true story of his travels as a english teacher/martial arts student in China in the 80's.
     
  16. Breaca

    Breaca Member

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    Talking of all things oriental. Does anyone remember seeing the tv series 'The Watermargin'. I believe it was based in China. Not sure if it was based on a novel but it would be great to see it again - although it was many moons ago that I had the pleasure of following the series:rolleyes:
     
  17. Champagne

    Champagne New Member

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    "The Teahouse Fire" by Ellis Avery. I found this book really fascinating. It's set in Japan during the second half of the 19th century, the time of the Meiji Restoration when Japan is just starting to communicate and trade with the West. A French/American orphan is taken in by a tea ceremony master and his family, and the novel traces her story against the setting of a rapidly changing culture.
     
  18. silverseason

    silverseason New Member

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    Many of the books recommended here would be on my list also, including Pearl Buck and the more recent White Swans and Memoir of a Geisha. Has anyone mentioned December 6 by Martin Cruz Smith. It is a thriller, a portrait of Japan just before the Pearl Harbor attack.
     
  19. angerball

    angerball Active Member

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    Oh wow, that brings back memories!! I watched that as a young kid, and can't really remember anything except that I enjoyed it. I haven't thought of that show in years! :D Have a look on Amazon - if this is the same show, they have the entire series on DVD.
     
  20. Proofreader

    Proofreader New Member

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    I remember "The Water Margin" - great stuff!

    If you can get them, Daniele Vare's books set in China in the 1920s are wonderful reading. Lafcadio Hearn wrote about Japan.
     

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