Chinese Poems Bookstore
The following are recommended works for those wishing to learn more about Chinese poems, other literature, the language or Chinese culture.
Click on the picture of the book you are interested in to reach the relevant page; non-US customers can look up books in their local online or real-life bookshop!
cover The Selected Poems of Du Fu
by Burton Watson

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cover Chinese Poetry
by Wai-lim Yip

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cover Li Po and Tu Fu
by Arthur Cooper

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cover One Hundred Poems from the Chinese
by Kenneth Rexroth

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cover An Anthology of Chinese Literature: Beginnings to 1911
by Stephen Owen

A huge book about a huge subject: more than a thousand pages of Owen's own translations of a wide range of works from every period of classical literature. The Tang poetry translations in particular are unrivalled for their elegance and fidelity. If you buy only one book of Chinese literature, this should be the one.
cover Personae: The Shorter Poems of Ezra Pound
by Ezra Pound

This collection of Pound's earlier poetry is included here for Cathay, his versions of poems by Li Bai and other writers. The much-criticised inaccuracies of these translations are often overstated, and judged in poetic terms they stand head and shoulders over almost all others.
cover Soul Mountain
by Gao Xingjian, translated Mabel Lee

Gao is China's only Nobel prizewinner, and Soul Mountain is his masterpiece: a semi-autobiographical odyssey through the western fringes of China. A difficult but rewarding read.
cover Fifty Tang Poems
by Stephen M. Johnson

This book presents a short selection of poems in a similar format to this site, with Chinese texts and literal as well as literary translations. A good choice for Chinese speakers or those learning the language.
cover Selected Stories of Lu Hsun
by Lu Xun, translated Yang Xianyi and Gladys Yang

Lu Xun was a doctor who turned to writing, and his engagement with his country's social problems is obvious in his writing. This collection includes his most famous story, The True Story of Ah Q.
cover Rickshaw: The Novel Lo-T-O Hsiang Tzu
by Lao She, translated Jean M. James

Less well known than Lu Xun, Lao She is similar in purpose and style. He was killed during the Cultural Revolution.
cover New Age Chinese English Dictionary
This is an up to date dictionary produced in China. Its 2000 pages include 120,000 entries, covering both the classical and modern languages very comprehensively. The indexing system is also clear and easy to use. The best choice for intermediate to advanced students.
cover Concise English-Chinese Chinese-English Dictionary
This pocket-sized, two-way dictionary is a classic. It can be hard to obtain in the US, but it is readily available in the UK and in China (the Chinese printing is clearer). Pinyin is used extensively, making this a good dictionary for the beginner.
cover An Introduction to Literary Chinese
by Michael A. Fuller

For those with a fair knowledge of modern Chinese, this is a good introduction to the classical language. Fuller provides a good introduction to the challenges of interpreting literary texts, followed by lessons of increasing difficulty.
cover Chinese Characters
by L. Wieger

This is a classic work on the derivation of Chinese characters in the best 19th century tradition: eccentric, full of character and often inaccurate, but none the worse for that. The etymologies are useful mnemonics even when historically incorrect.
cover Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China
by Jung Chang

A deservedly popular autobiographical account of 20th century China through the eyes of one family's women.
cover Red China Blues: My Long March from Mao to Now
by Jan Wong

A good contrast to Wild Swans, this memoir by a Canadian journalist (and former Red Guard) presents the comic as well as the tragic side of the Mao years.
cover The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci
by Jonathan D. Spence

The "Memory Palace" of the title is a mnemonic system which Ricci used to learn the Chinese language, and which he attempted to teach to the Chinese. Spence uses it as a frame for the story of Ricci himself, who secured for his Jesuit order an important role in Chinese society, but who failed in his real ambition of converting the nation to Catholicism.
cover To Change China: Western Advisers in China, 1620-1960
by Jonathan D. Spence

In this work, Spence as usual combines scholarship and accessibility in his discussion of Westerners' efforts to reshape China in their own image.
cover God's Chinese Son: The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom of Hong Xiuquan
by Jonathan D. Spence

One of Spence's denser works, this is nevertheless a fascinating account of the Taiping rebellion, led by a Christian fundamentalist who believed himself to be the son of God. Hong Xiuquan is regarded by modern Chinese as something of a folk hero, giving the book particular contemporary resonance.
cover The Search for Modern China
by Jonathan D. Spence

Spence traces China's history from the fall of the Ming dynasty down to the modern era. The thrust of the book is his convincing argument that the modern country can be understood only by understanding its roots in this period.
cover Mandate of Heaven: The Legacy of Tiananmen Square and the Next Generation of China's Leaders
by Orville Schell

An examination of the repercussions of the Tiananmen massacre on the country's future, this is a very readable book by one of the leading journalistic commentators on China.
cover The China Reader: The Reform Era
(ed) Orville Schell, David Shambaugh

Co-edited by Schell, this is a compilation of documents and articles surveying the social, economic and political changes in China since 1972.