100 books like Boxers & Saints

By Gene Luen Yang,

Here are 100 books that Boxers & Saints fans have personally recommended if you like Boxers & Saints. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Homage to Catalonia

Peter Hain Author Of The Elephant Conspiracy

From my list on thrilling page-turners.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an activist-politician, who’s been both militant anti-apartheid protestor and Cabinet Minister, someone who tries to convey sometimes complex issues in straightforward terms, impatient with taking refuge down academic rabbit holes, striving to see the wood-for-the-trees. With the exception of George Orwell, each of the books I have recommended is by an author I know personally. My new thriller, The Elephant Conspiracy, sequel to The Rhino Conspiracy, reflects dismay at the corrupt betrayal of Nelson Mandela’s freedom struggle and the values which inspired it, the main characters fighting to revive those values of social justice, liberty, equal opportunities, and integrity, as well as service to others not selfish enrichment. 

Peter's book list on thrilling page-turners

Peter Hain Why did Peter love this book?

I recall reading it in my late teens, less as the classic it was on the barbarous Spanish Civil War of the 1930s, and more as a personal discovery by Orwell of how his democratic socialist instincts were sharpened and shaped by the buffeting swirl of ideological clashes and bitter sectarian struggles within the inspirational resistance to Franco’s fascism in Spain. As he witnessed the heroism and the horror, the passion and sometimes the ulterior purposes of these competing groups, Homage to Catalonia for me was a gripping narrative, climaxing in the internecine firefight in Barcelona where the left helped defeat itself, and thereby opened the door to Franco’s murderous victory and equally murderous rule. 

Like Orwell’s, the socialism that I had come to believe in during the first ten years of my life in Britain was instinctively ‘libertarian’ rather than ‘statist’, favouring democracy and liberty rather than central control…

By George Orwell,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Homage to Catalonia as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Homage to Catalonia remains one of the most famous accounts of the Spanish Civil War. With characteristic scrutiny, Orwell questions the actions and motives of all sides whilst retaining his firm beliefs in human courage and the need for radical social change.

Part of the Macmillan Collector's Library; a series of stunning, clothbound, pocket sized classics with gold foiled edges and ribbon markers. These beautiful books make perfect gifts or a treat for any book lover. This edition is introduced by Helen Graham, a leading historian on the Spanish Civil War.

When George Orwell arrived in Spain in 1936, he…


Book cover of My Beijing: Four Stories of Everyday Wonder

Sigrid Schmalzer Author Of Moth and Wasp, Soil and Ocean: Remembering Chinese Scientist Pu Zhelong's Work for Sustainable Farming

From my list on China for young readers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a historian of modern China who specializes in the history of science. My professional life revolves around teaching history at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and writing academic books and articles—but my not-so-secret dream has always been to write for children. For the past decade, I've been a regular visitor to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. Encouraged by a chance meeting with a publisher’s representative attending an event at the Carle, I decided to distill my academic book, Red Revolution, Green Revolution: Scientific Farming in Socialist China, into a children’s story. I’m proud that my fans now include elementary-school students…and at least one professional historian has admitted he read the kids’ version first! 

Sigrid's book list on China for young readers

Sigrid Schmalzer Why did Sigrid love this book?

This utterly charming collection of short stories by acclaimed cartoonist Nie Jun offers an insider’s glimpse into the alleys (hutong) of a Beijing neighborhood. Originally written for a Chinese audience, the book portrays a community that is quintessentially “old Beijing” and will be sweetly recognizable to anyone fortunate enough to have lived there in decades past: we see not only famous landmarks peeping out from behind the curved tile roofs of the classic courtyard-house (siheyuan) architecture, but also the green pillar mailboxes, low wooden courtyard chairs, bicycle repair stands, outdoor water spigots and washbasins, colorfully dressed old ladies dancing in the public square, and other authentic details that a book written for an international audience might not think to include.

The stories revolve around a young girl with an almost mystical connection to her quirky grandfather and are full of the kind of “everyday wonder” that…

By Nie Jun,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked My Beijing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A 2019 Batchelder Honor Book

Yu'er and her grandpa live in a small neighborhood in Beijing―and it's full of big personalities. There's a story around every corner, and each day has a hint of magic.

In one tale, Yu'er wants to swim in the Special Olympics, a sports competition for people with disabilities. But she and her grandpa don't have a pool! Their trick to help Yu'er practice wows the whole neighborhood. In another story, a friend takes Yu'er to a wild place full of musical insects. Later, Yu'er hears a special story about her grandparents. And in the final…


Book cover of Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

Gita Ralleigh Author Of The Destiny of Minou Moonshine

From my list on magic realism chosen by a children’s author.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a writer and poet who loved reading books set in fantasy worlds like Narnia as a child. When I began writing for children, I realised my own magical experiences had been on family trips to India, where goddesses and temples, palaces swarming with monkeys, ice-capped mountains, and elephant rides were part of everyday life. The term ‘magic realism’ seemed to better fit my own fantasy world, Indica. Here, elemental magic is rooted in the myths and culture of young hero Minou Moonshine, expanding her experiences and guiding the search for her destiny. The children’s books I've chosen also contain supernatural and magical elements which are intrinsic to the protagonist’s world – no wardrobe needed!

Gita's book list on magic realism chosen by a children’s author

Gita Ralleigh Why did Gita love this book?

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon drew me in with its beautiful illustrations and glimpse into the rich mythologies of China.

Minli, a poor girl, lives where Fruitless Mountain and Jade River meet and like Haroun, has a storyteller father. When she spends two copper coins on a talking goldfish, it tells her how to find the Old Man on the Moon and change her family’s fortune. Minli sets off on her quest in the company of a dragon who cannot fly and discovers that good fortune means more than riches.

A delightful fable of friendship and family, with stories from Chinese folklore embedded within the main narrative.

By Grace Lin,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Where the Mountain Meets the Moon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

In the valley of Fruitless mountain, a young girl named Minli lives in a ramshackle hut with her parents. While her father regales her with old folktales of the Jade Dragon and the Old Man in the Moon, Minli's mother chides him for filling her head with stories. But inspired by these stories, Minli spends one of her precious copper pennies on a beautiful goldfish, which is said to be able to change the fortune of the owner. Her mother reprimands her for the silly purchase, but, it pays off when the goldfish talks and offers to show her the…


Book cover of Bronze and Sunflower

Justine Laismith Author Of Secrets of the Great Fire Tree

From my list on to see the hidden side of Chinese culture.

Why am I passionate about this?

Being half-Chinese and half-Peranakan, I grew up in a mixed cultural environment but went to secondary school with a strong Chinese culture. I became aware of my inferior knowledge, not just of the language, but also Chinese culture and history. Hence I immersed myself in the Chinese environment. But there is so much in this long and illustrious history of one of the oldest civilisations that my initial motive to learn was soon replaced by a genuine interest. Now I am always on the lookout for anything related to China, its history, and the Chinese culture.

Justine's book list on to see the hidden side of Chinese culture

Justine Laismith Why did Justine love this book?

I always like reading anything about day-to-day living in China. In this book, I loved the descriptions of what life is like in rural China, eg making their own reed shoes and building their own roofs. On the surface, this book is about the idyllic life in the countryside. However, it is set during the cultural revolution but so subtly described in the back-drop that it is perfect for the target audience. We often read about the people banished to the countryside, and this book tells me what happens to them when they arrive.

I also enjoyed it as it is a translated text, so there is a sense that this is authentic.

By Cao Wenxuan, Meilo So (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Bronze and Sunflower as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

A classic, heartwarming tale set to the backdrop of the Chinese cultural revolution, with the timeless feels of Eva Ibbotson's Journey to the River Sea.

A beautifully written, timeless tale by bestselling Chinese author Cao Wenxuan, winner of the Hans Christian Andersen Award. When Sunflower, a young city girl, moves to the countryside, she grows to love the reed marsh lands - the endlessly flowing river, the friendly buffalo with their strong backs and shiny round heads, the sky that stretches on and on in its vastness. However, the days are long, and the little girl is lonely. Then she…


Book cover of Little White Duck: A Childhood in China

Sigrid Schmalzer Author Of Moth and Wasp, Soil and Ocean: Remembering Chinese Scientist Pu Zhelong's Work for Sustainable Farming

From my list on China for young readers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a historian of modern China who specializes in the history of science. My professional life revolves around teaching history at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and writing academic books and articles—but my not-so-secret dream has always been to write for children. For the past decade, I've been a regular visitor to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. Encouraged by a chance meeting with a publisher’s representative attending an event at the Carle, I decided to distill my academic book, Red Revolution, Green Revolution: Scientific Farming in Socialist China, into a children’s story. I’m proud that my fans now include elementary-school students…and at least one professional historian has admitted he read the kids’ version first! 

Sigrid's book list on China for young readers

Sigrid Schmalzer Why did Sigrid love this book?

This graphic novel, based on the author’s own childhood experiences, offers a darker picture of life in 1970s China than I usually like to share with other Americans, whose view is often already bleak at best. But Little White Duck passes my nuance test: for every episode that strikes the reader as shockingly foreign, there is something that highlights the commonality of human experience. The story begins in 1976, when four-year-old Na attends a funeral for Chairman Mao with her grief-stricken parents. In the years that follow, Na’s life continues to be shaped by political campaigns: inspired by the heroic tales of Lei Feng, Na and her friend perform many acts of kindness, but their attempt to “save” some baby chicks ends badly.

Most poignant of all is the story of Na’s trip to visit her grandmother in the countryside, where Na comes face to face with profound social inequity.…

By Na Liu, Andrés Vera Martínez (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Little White Duck as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

The world is changing for two girls in China in the 1970s. Da Qin―Big Piano―and her younger sister, Xiao Qin―Little Piano―live in the city of Wuhan with their parents. For decades, China's government had kept the country separated from the rest of the world. When their country's leader, Chairman Mao, dies, new opportunities begin to emerge. Da Qin and Xiao Qin soon learn that their childhood will be much different than the upbringing their parents experienced.


Book cover of Asterios Polyp

Moro Rogers Author Of City in the Desert

From my list on ideological adventure.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up in a household with a fantasy author dad and a philosophy professor mom, I learned to appreciate stories that expressed big ideas. I realized the books and movies I liked weren’t just vehicles for ideology, but that ideas are the hooks that draw me into a story. I’ve also always loved animals and monsters. Like Miyazaki and C.S. Lewis, I was attempting to create a narrative that brought my beliefs and interests together. Now I live in Southern California with my husband, son, and cat, surrounded by rattlesnakes, tarantulas, hawks, and coyotes. It’s an imperfect, beautiful world! 

Moro's book list on ideological adventure

Moro Rogers Why did Moro love this book?

If the other books on my list are about disillusionment, Asterios Polyp provides a good counterpoint as its message runs in the opposite direction. Sometimes people are better than you think. Asterios is an obnoxious architect whose worldview starts with the assumption that everyone else is wrong. After a series of crises (thrown out by wife, apartment fire) he has to flee the city and rent a room in the home of a rightwing redneck married to a hippie, just the sort of people he would never associate with by choice. He learns humility and goes about fixing his life. It’s all pretty predictable but the mix of elegantly cartoonish art and funny storytelling kept me engaged (even when I wanted to smack the hero.)

By David Mazzucchelli,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Asterios Polyp as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The triumphant return of one of comics’ greatest talents, with an engrossing story of one man’s search for love, meaning, sanity, and perfect architectural proportions. An epic story long awaited, and well worth the wait.

Meet Asterios Polyp: middle-aged, meagerly successful architect and teacher, aesthete and womanizer, whose life is wholly upended when his New York City apartment goes up in flames. In a tenacious daze, he leaves the city and relocates to a small town in the American heartland. But what is this “escape” really about?

As the story unfolds, moving between the present and the past, we begin…


Book cover of The Doomed City

Moro Rogers Author Of City in the Desert

From my list on ideological adventure.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up in a household with a fantasy author dad and a philosophy professor mom, I learned to appreciate stories that expressed big ideas. I realized the books and movies I liked weren’t just vehicles for ideology, but that ideas are the hooks that draw me into a story. I’ve also always loved animals and monsters. Like Miyazaki and C.S. Lewis, I was attempting to create a narrative that brought my beliefs and interests together. Now I live in Southern California with my husband, son, and cat, surrounded by rattlesnakes, tarantulas, hawks, and coyotes. It’s an imperfect, beautiful world! 

Moro's book list on ideological adventure

Moro Rogers Why did Moro love this book?

Written in Soviet Russia in 1972, but only published in 1989, this is the story of a bizarre experimental city populated by strangers from all over the last century. All have made a deal with mysterious mentors who are trying to find out…something, by subjecting the city’s inhabitants to apparently arbitrary torments like plagues of baboons. Our hero, Andrei, tries to take it in stride like a good Soviet boy, but finds himself increasingly doubtful as the conditions of the experiment just get weirder and weirder. The humor and situations are very Russian while the emotions will be familiar to anyone dealing with seemingly incoherent orders from above. Reading it at the height of the pandemic was certainly a trip.

By Arkady Strugatsky, Boris Strugatsky,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Doomed City as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The magnum opus of Russia’s greatest science fiction novelists translated into English for the first time
 
Arkady and Boris Strugatsky are widely considered the greatest of Russian science fiction masters, and their most famous work, Roadside Picnic, has enjoyed great popularity worldwide. Yet the novel they worked hardest on, that was their own favorite, and that readers worldwide have acclaimed as their magnum opus, has never before been published in English. The Doomed City was so politically risky that the Strugatsky brothers kept its existence a complete secret even from their closest friends for sixteen years after its completion in…


Book cover of A Voyage to Arcturus

John Triptych Author Of Visitor

From my list on cult sci-fi and fantasy you may not have heard of before.

Why am I passionate about this?

The reasons I’ve chosen these particular books is because of my penchant for reading offbeat stuff, and unearthing little-known works that I feel deserves more attention. My tastes are eclectic, and I’ve done a lot of research when it comes to finding the true origins of pop culture. Having written and published more than forty books that range from science fiction to crime thrillers, I’ve wanted to share my findings in the hopes that others will notice something new and exciting as well. 

John's book list on cult sci-fi and fantasy you may not have heard of before

John Triptych Why did John love this book?

With an equal mix of strangeness and enigmatic philosophies, this short novel barely sold a hundred copies when it was first published in 1920, but has since been recognized as a unique work by noted critic Colin Wilson. Once you’ve read it, you’ll find it both hard to categorize and understand, but it sticks to you like the remnants of a drugged-out fever dream. 

The story of a mysterious man named Maskull, who travels to a planet called Tormance, a world both wondrous and strange. Even though it’s written as a travelogue, the sheer originality invokes an atmosphere of hidden, yet unattainable knowledge for both the protagonist and the reader. The abrupt ending itself neither answers anything nor brings the story to a conclusion, and it’s an experience you won’t soon forget.

By David Lindsay,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked A Voyage to Arcturus as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A stunning achievement in speculative fiction, A Voyage to Arcturus has inspired, enchanted, and unsettled readers for decades. It is simultaneously an epic quest across one of the most unusual and brilliantly depicted alien worlds ever conceived, a profoundly moving journey of discovery into the metaphysical heart of the universe, and a shockingly intimate excursion into what makes us human and unique. After a strange interstellar journey, Maskull, a man from Earth, awakens alone in a desert on the planet Tormance, seared by the suns of the binary star Arcturus. As he journeys northward, guided by a drumbeat, he encounters…


Book cover of History in Three Keys: The Boxers as Event, Experience, and Myth

Peter Zarrow Author Of After Empire: The Conceptual Transformation of the Chinese State, 1885-1924

From my list on how imperial China became modern China.

Why am I passionate about this?

Like many Americans of my generation (boomer) who became China scholars, I witnessed the civil rights and anti-war struggles and concluded that we in the West could learn from the insights of Eastern thought and even Chinese Communism. I ended up specializing in modern political thought—I think of this field as the land of “isms”—nationalism, socialism, liberalism, and the like. I have lived in China and Japan, and spent twelve years as a historical researcher in Taiwan before returning to America to teach at the University of Connecticut. Today, I would not say China has the answers, but I still believe that the two most important world powers have a lot to learn from each other.

Peter's book list on how imperial China became modern China

Peter Zarrow Why did Peter love this book?

This book is by a man who has done as much as anyone to shape how historians approach the study of modern China. Here he not only looks at the rise and fall of the infamous Boxers (1898-1900) but also what the Boxer movement felt like to its various participants at the time, and finally the many strikingly different ways (myths) later generations have understood the Boxers. I learned how to better think about history from this book.

By Paul Cohen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked History in Three Keys as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A comprehensive look at the Boxer Rebellion of 1898-1900, a bloody uprising in north China against native Christians and foreign missionaries.


Book cover of Woman Evolve: Break Up with Your Fears and Revolutionize Your Life

Bobi Gentry Goodwin Author Of Revelation: A Novel

From my list on getting your heart, mind, and spirit inspired.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been a reader since childhood and books have simply become a part of my life’s tapestry. They have comforted me in times of stress. They have provided me with ripples of joy. And simply kept me up almost all night. The books that I have recommended underscore the changing cultures of the human condition all centered around three universal themes, faith, mental illness, and family. When drafting my first novel I dived into simply capturing aspects of the human condition. As a mental health clinician I see the many tides of life and how the human condition has many times been couched within family dynamics. 

Bobi's book list on getting your heart, mind, and spirit inspired

Bobi Gentry Goodwin Why did Bobi love this book?

This book is all about relationships. It is about a relationship with God and his people and that we are certainly more alike than different. Woman Evolve takes the reader through the story of Eve and shows the reader just how she is relatable to each and every one of us. Eve was human and we are human. She had flaws and we have flaws. Her vulnerabilities are also ours and before we point the blame at her, or anyone else for that matter we can look right back at ourselves and understand how each and every one of us doesn’t necessarily deserve redemption, but God gave it anyway. Want a good read, this book will keep you turning page after page as the reader and author explores just how fallible, alike, and loved we all are.

By Sarah Jakes Roberts,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Woman Evolve as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New York Times bestseller! With life lessons she's learned and new insights from the story of Eve, Sarah Jakes Roberts shows you how past disappointments, struggles, and even mistakes can be used today to help you become the woman God intended.

Who would imagine being friends with Eve-the woman who's been held responsible for the fall of humanity (and cramps) for thousands of years? Certainly not Sarah Jakes Roberts. That is, not until Sarah discovered she is more like Eve than she cares to admit.

Everyone faces trials, and everyone will mess up. But failure should not be the…


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