100 books like Everything in Style

By Rosemarie Lamas,

Here are 100 books that Everything in Style fans have personally recommended if you like Everything in Style. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Sea of Poppies

Kendall A. Johnson Author Of The New Middle Kingdom: China and the Early American Romance of Free Trade

From my list on the fog of Opium Wars in US-China relations.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a scholar of literature, literary history, and American Studies based at the University of Hong Kong where I landed thanks to a Fulbright Scholarship in 2008. Prior to this I was very happily in Philadelphia, researching authors and artists who alluded to lucrative trade in the Far East when rendering scenes of the Far West premised on the promotion or the protest of continental Manifest Destiny. Archival materials at the Library Company and Swarthmore College inspired me to visit the places about which I was writing. Travelling to places that feature in my scholarly projects keeps me busy studying languages and humbly amazed by the enduring cultural varieties of our shared humanity.

Kendall's book list on the fog of Opium Wars in US-China relations

Kendall A. Johnson Why did Kendall love this book?

Sea of Poppies is the first of Amitav Ghosh’s Ibis Trilogy—an epic of global opium trade that features Zachary Reid, a mixed-race American whose story unfolds as it connects Baltimore to Bengal to Canton across the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.  

Filled with heartbreak and humor the trilogy invokes Herman Melville’s Moby Dick as Ghosh revives the primary sources of the Old China Trade and brings them into refreshing literary life. 

Ghosh’s novel complements another (very different) gem of historically based literary fiction featuring American involvement in opium smuggling and the ensuing First Opium War: Timothy Mo’s Insular Possession

By Amitav Ghosh,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked Sea of Poppies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At the heart of this epic saga, set just before the Opium Wars, is an old slaving-ship, The Ibis. Its destiny is a tumultuous voyage across the Indian Ocean, its crew a motley array of sailors and stowaways, coolies and convicts. In a time of colonial upheaval, fate has thrown together a truly diverse cast of Indians and Westerners, from a bankrupt Raja to a widowed villager, from an evangelical English opium trader to a mulatto American freedman. As their old family ties are washed away they, like their historical counterparts, come to view themselves as jahaj-bhais or ship-brothers. An…


Book cover of The Golden Ghetto: The American Commercial Community at Canton and the Shaping of American China Policy, 1784-1844

Kendall A. Johnson Author Of The New Middle Kingdom: China and the Early American Romance of Free Trade

From my list on the fog of Opium Wars in US-China relations.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a scholar of literature, literary history, and American Studies based at the University of Hong Kong where I landed thanks to a Fulbright Scholarship in 2008. Prior to this I was very happily in Philadelphia, researching authors and artists who alluded to lucrative trade in the Far East when rendering scenes of the Far West premised on the promotion or the protest of continental Manifest Destiny. Archival materials at the Library Company and Swarthmore College inspired me to visit the places about which I was writing. Travelling to places that feature in my scholarly projects keeps me busy studying languages and humbly amazed by the enduring cultural varieties of our shared humanity.

Kendall's book list on the fog of Opium Wars in US-China relations

Kendall A. Johnson Why did Kendall love this book?

This is the authoritative historical account of heritage wealth related to American participation in the Old China Trade (before and after the First Opium War). 

Downs details the kinship alliances of US family firms over a century and describes the logistics of trade as well as the historical archives related to it.

In a canon of authoritative scholarship on early US trade with China, The Golden Ghetto stands next to the subsequent fine books by Jay Dolin, James Fichter, John Haddad, Dane Morrison, Dael Norwood, John Pomfret, and Dong Wang, and the scholarship addressing Qing-era trade regulation by Paul A. Van Dyke and John D. Wong.

By Jacques Downs,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Before the opening of the treaty ports in the 1840s, Canton was the only Chinese port where foreign merchants were allowed to trade. The Golden Ghetto takes us into the world of one of this city’s most important foreign communities―the Americans―during the decades between the American Revolution of 1776 and the signing of the Sino-US Treaty of Wanghia in 1844. American merchants lived in isolation from Chinese society in sybaritic, albeit usually celibate luxury. Making use of exhaustive research, Downs provides an especially clear explanation of the Canton commercial setting generally and of the role of American merchants. Many of…


Book cover of Pacific Crossing: California Gold, Chinese Migration, and the Making of Hong Kong

Kendall A. Johnson Author Of The New Middle Kingdom: China and the Early American Romance of Free Trade

From my list on the fog of Opium Wars in US-China relations.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a scholar of literature, literary history, and American Studies based at the University of Hong Kong where I landed thanks to a Fulbright Scholarship in 2008. Prior to this I was very happily in Philadelphia, researching authors and artists who alluded to lucrative trade in the Far East when rendering scenes of the Far West premised on the promotion or the protest of continental Manifest Destiny. Archival materials at the Library Company and Swarthmore College inspired me to visit the places about which I was writing. Travelling to places that feature in my scholarly projects keeps me busy studying languages and humbly amazed by the enduring cultural varieties of our shared humanity.

Kendall's book list on the fog of Opium Wars in US-China relations

Kendall A. Johnson Why did Kendall love this book?

The Opium Wars never reduced Chinese people to pathetic victimization. 

Sinn spotlights the agency of brokerage and the circulatory migration of Chinese laborers and merchants, from different regions within China, as they underwent passage to-and-fro the Pacific Ocean with the United States. 

This is also the story of Hong Kong’s rise as an influential hub of exchange with merchants brokering flows of capital and economic power beyond state control. 

In tracing circuits of travel and brokerage, Sinn animates various cultural senses of being Chinese, Hong Kong, and American, embracing legacies of familial adaptability and endurance. 

She conveys the diversity within Chinese-American communities while framing the Chinese diaspora in transnationally nuanced senses of home and family that defy simple categorization based on the strict legality of citizenship.

By Elizabeth Sinn,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

During the nineteenth century tens of thousands of Chinese men and women crossed the Pacific to work, trade, and settle in California. Drawn initially by the gold rush, they took with them skills and goods and a view of the world which, though still Chinese, was transformed by their long journeys back and forth. They in turn transformed Hong Kong, their main point of embarkation, from a struggling infant colony into a prosperous international port and the cultural center of a far-ranging Chinese diaspora. Making use of extensive research in archives around the world, Pacific Crossing charts the rise of…


Book cover of Shanghai Grand: Forbidden Love and International Intrigue in a Doomed World

Kendall A. Johnson Author Of The New Middle Kingdom: China and the Early American Romance of Free Trade

From my list on the fog of Opium Wars in US-China relations.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a scholar of literature, literary history, and American Studies based at the University of Hong Kong where I landed thanks to a Fulbright Scholarship in 2008. Prior to this I was very happily in Philadelphia, researching authors and artists who alluded to lucrative trade in the Far East when rendering scenes of the Far West premised on the promotion or the protest of continental Manifest Destiny. Archival materials at the Library Company and Swarthmore College inspired me to visit the places about which I was writing. Travelling to places that feature in my scholarly projects keeps me busy studying languages and humbly amazed by the enduring cultural varieties of our shared humanity.

Kendall's book list on the fog of Opium Wars in US-China relations

Kendall A. Johnson Why did Kendall love this book?

The cultural and financial legacy of the two Opium Wars and the general opium economy lingered well into the twentieth century, through the First and Second World Wars.

In the mid-1930s, the American journalist Emily Hahn lived in Shanghai where she opened an astonishing window on the immense change over a century, culminating in the downfall of the Qing Empire and the struggle of early national China to counter Japanese imperialism. 

As a prolific New Yorker journalist, novelist, and autobiographer Hahn renders accounts of cross-cultural intimacy and literary ambition that unfold against the expanding war zones of the Second World War. 

Grescoe’s compelling biography pulls the reader into a seductive circle of opium smoking and literary salon conversation, coordinated by the Shanghainese writer and publisher Zau Sinmay (Shao Sunmei; 邵洵美). 

Grecoe then charts the harrowing and melancholy demise of its members.

By Taras Grescoe,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

On the eve of WWII, the foreign controlled port of Shanghai was the rendezvous for the twentieth century's most outlandish adventurers, all under the watchful eye of the illustrious Sir Victor Sassoon. Emily Hahn was a legendary New Yorker writer who would cover China for nearly fifty years, playing an integral part in opening Asia up to the West. But at the height of the Depression, Emily "Mickey" Hahn, who had just arrived in Shanghai nursing a broken heart after a disappointing affair with an alcoholic Hollywood screenwriter, was convinced she would never love again. When she enters Sassoon's glamorous…


Book cover of City of Broken Promises

Alice Poon Author Of Tales of Ming Courtesans

From my list on novels that take place in China.

Why am I passionate about this?

Born and raised in Hong Kong, I received a fully bilingual (English and Chinese) education and also learned French in my youth. Since the release of my two historical Chinese novels: The Green Phoenix and Tales of Ming Courtesans, nostalgia for the magical world of wuxia fiction, which I grew up with, has spurred my desire to write wuxia stories following Jin Yong’s style, but with a mythical slant. Overall, my fiction writing has been influenced by Jin Yong, Emile Zola, and the wuxia/xianxia media.

Alice's book list on novels that take place in China

Alice Poon Why did Alice love this book?

This book has stayed in my memory even though I read it many years ago. Subtle in the telling, this novel is one that drills into your soul. Set in 18th century Macau (then a Portuguese enclave), it is a story of forbidden interracial love, prejudices, and intrigue surrounding a British trader surnamed Mierop and a Chinese orphan named Marta da Silva, based on true events. The author got his inspiration for the novel when he saw a portrait of a Chinese lady, Marta Mierop, in a Macau museum. In the story as well as in real life, Marta rose from her humble and wretched childhood to become a legend and one of the most influential women in Macau.

I love this novel for the impeccable setting, the moving plot, and the larger-than-life protagonist.

By Austin Coates,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This historical novel is based on the true story of the affair between the Chinese orphan Martha Herop and her English lover, son of the founder of Lloyd's, in the 18th century.


Book cover of Like Froth Floating on the Sea: The World of Pirates and Seafarers in Late Imperial South China

Larry Feign Author Of The Flower Boat Girl

From my list on Chinese pirates.

Why am I passionate about this?

For half my life I’ve lived on an island near Hong Kong, walking distance from former pirate havens. I made my career as a cartoonist and published numerous satirical books about Hong Kong and China. Recently, I've spent years deeply researching the pirates of the South China coast, which culminated in writing an utterly serious book about the most powerful pirate of all, a woman about whom the misinformation vastly outnumbers the facts. I made it my mission to discover the truth about her. The books on this list hooked me on Chinese pirates in the first place and are essential starting points for anyone prepared to have their imaginations hijacked by Chinese “froth floating on the sea”.

Larry's book list on Chinese pirates

Larry Feign Why did Larry love this book?

Formerly a professor of History at the University of Macau, Robert Antony has made it his life’s work to study piracy along the China coast. Among his several books on the topic, this one digs deepest into the development of piracy in the early 19th century, citing weather, economic, and political conditions, told in a highly readable narrative style. Among the entertaining details, he tracks the average annual going rates for ransom and stolen goods. He writes in an agreeable, relaxed manner, with a number of incidents told as edge-of-your-seat thrillers. The title itself was a common term of invective to describe Chinese pirates. An essential read for students of piracy.

By Robert J. Antony,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Like Froth Floating on the Sea as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Book by Robert J. Antony


Book cover of The Red Pole of Macau

Delvin Chatterson Author Of No Easy Money

From my list on where the action hero is everyone.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been a storyteller and I’m fascinated by the use of language and how a story can be told well. I’ve used storytelling as an entrepreneur, executive, and management consultant, and my two business books for enlightened entrepreneurship use real-life stories to make the messages and lessons learned more memorable. Fictional versions of those stories were wandering through my imagination to make them more fun to read (and to write) for about fifteen years before they emerged in the Dale Hunter crime thriller series to show that entrepreneurs are not all evil, selfish monsters; sometimes they’re the hero!     

Delvin's book list on where the action hero is everyone

Delvin Chatterson Why did Delvin love this book?

I was introduced to Ian Hamilton’s Ava Lee Novels when I was looking for a successful Canadian writer of “business fiction.” We never call it that, of course, it has to be written as an action-adventure, thriller, mystery, suspense novel, and Hamilton meets those criteria with Ava Lee as a tough-as-nails, lesbian Chinese-Canadian forensic accountant tracking down money stolen from business clients.

Her connections and family investments lead her to Hong Kong and Macau for a settling of accounts with local organized crime and Ava Lee knows that violence is the only negotiating tactic they understand.           

By Ian Hamilton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A forensic accountant attempts to rescue her half-brother and his business partner from a bad real estate deal in Macau that involved gangsters posing as developers in the third novel of the series following The Wild Beasts of Wuhan.


Book cover of China's Last Empire: The Great Qing

Henrietta Harrison Author Of The Perils of Interpreting: The Extraordinary Lives of Two Translators between Qing China and the British Empire

From my list on Qing Dynasty China from an Oxford historian.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a historian of modern China in the department of Chinese at the University of Oxford. I started off working on the twentieth century but have been drawn back into the Qing dynasty. It’s such an interesting and important period and one that British students often don’t know much about! 

Henrietta's book list on Qing Dynasty China from an Oxford historian

Henrietta Harrison Why did Henrietta love this book?

I think this is the best up-to-date history of the Qing dynasty. I use it for teaching because it’s completely reliable, covers everything you might need to know, and lays it all out clearly.

It also has a really good balance between the history of major events like the Opium Wars and the Taiping Rebellion and the social history and context. And I like the fact that it explains the big debates that scholars are having in clear and simple terms.

By William T. Rowe, Timothy Brook (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked China's Last Empire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In a brisk revisionist history, William Rowe challenges the standard narrative of Qing China as a decadent, inward-looking state that failed to keep pace with the modern West. The Great Qing was the second major Chinese empire ruled by foreigners. Three strong Manchu emperors worked diligently to secure an alliance with the conquered Ming gentry, though many of their social edicts - especially the requirement that ethnic Han men wear queues - were fiercely resisted. As advocates of a 'universal' empire, Qing rulers also achieved an enormous expansion of the Chinese realm over the course of three centuries, including the…


Book cover of The Opium War: Drugs, Dreams, and the Making of Modern China

Bill Hayton Author Of The Invention of China

From my list on the emergence of modern China.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve spent more than a decade exploring the historic roots of Asia’s modern political problems – and discovering the accidents and mistakes that got us where we are today. I spent 22 years with BBC News, including a year in Vietnam and another in Myanmar. I’ve written four books on East and Southeast Asia and I’m an Associate Fellow with the Asia-Pacific Programme at the London-based thinktank, Chatham House. I love breaking down old stereotypes and showing readers that the past is much more interesting than a series of clichés about ‘us’ and ‘them’. Perhaps through that, we can recognise that our future depends on collaboration and cooperation.

Bill's book list on the emergence of modern China

Bill Hayton Why did Bill love this book?

A brilliant account of the two Opium Wars showing how they have been remembered in particular ways in order to make modern political points. Lovell shows us how political operators on both sides used the question of the opium trade to further their own interests. It exposes the nasty business of imperialism but also takes down a lot of myths about the wars. The book allows us to see the conflicts both in terms of what happened at the time, and how views over those events changed over the following century and a half. She explores the international history of opium and how it became linked with racist representations of Chinese overseas and how this continues to affect relations between peoples and governments today.

By Julia Lovell,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Opium War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A gripping read as well as an important one.' Rana Mitter, Guardian

In October 1839, Britain entered the first Opium War with China. Its brutality notwithstanding, the conflict was also threaded with tragicomedy: with Victorian hypocrisy, bureaucratic fumblings, military missteps, political opportunism and collaboration. Yet over the past hundred and seventy years, this strange tale of misunderstanding, incompetence and compromise has become the founding episode of modern Chinese nationalism.

Starting from this first conflict, The Opium War explores how China's national myths mould its interactions with the outside world, how public memory is spun to serve the present, and how…


Book cover of The Talented Women of the Zhang Family

Henrietta Harrison Author Of The Perils of Interpreting: The Extraordinary Lives of Two Translators between Qing China and the British Empire

From my list on Qing Dynasty China from an Oxford historian.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a historian of modern China in the department of Chinese at the University of Oxford. I started off working on the twentieth century but have been drawn back into the Qing dynasty. It’s such an interesting and important period and one that British students often don’t know much about! 

Henrietta's book list on Qing Dynasty China from an Oxford historian

Henrietta Harrison Why did Henrietta love this book?

I loved this book because the story of the Zhang family brings the history of the Qing dynasty alive as real women experienced it. Qing dynasty people can seem very different from us, and it’s often hard to get a sense of their characters, but Mann does this by taking us right into their homes and making this a story of the three women who were also writers, poets, and teachers.

We hear about their studies, their loves, and their families’ grief when they died, and just when we’ve really got to know them, we find that they were also living through and writing about some of the great events of the nineteenth century like the Opium Wars and the Taiping Rebellion. It’s also beautifully researched by a great scholar.

By Susan Mann,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Talented Women of the Zhang Family as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The history of China in the nineteenth century usually features men as the dominant figures in a chronicle of warfare, rebellion, and dynastic decline. This book challenges that model and provides a different account of the era, history as seen through the eyes of women. Basing her remarkable study on the poetry and memoirs of three generations of literary women of the Zhang family - Tang Yaoqing, her eldest daughter, and her eldest granddaughter - Susan Mann illuminates a China that has been largely invisible. Drawing on a stunning array of primary materials - published poetry, gazetteer articles, memorabilia -…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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