42 books like Ghost Month

By Ed Lin,

Here are 42 books that Ghost Month fans have personally recommended if you like Ghost Month. 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 Notes of a Crocodile

Shawna Yang Ryan Author Of Green Island

From my list on an otherworldly Taiwan.

Why am I passionate about this?

The ghostly/magical and Taiwan are two of my major interests—I have written about both in my fiction. After living in Taiwan for a few years and getting to know my mother’s side of the family, I gained an appreciation for its complicated history, riveting politics, and the energy of daily life there. Its confluence of people and histories has made it a unique cultural amalgam and these books capture the way folk religion and the spiritual/magical are wedded into the bustling contemporary urban life of Taiwan. I hope you find yourself as enchanted and intrigued by these stories as I have been!

Shawna's book list on an otherworldly Taiwan

Shawna Yang Ryan Why did Shawna love this book?

This affecting and disturbing novel about a group of queer friends in late-80s Taiwan was ahead of its time in content, form, and vision. Premised on the idea of a collection of notebooks, the text incorporates multiple literary forms, and the “otherworldly” element is in Qiu’s use of the crocodile as a literalized metaphor for queer identity. A sobering and captivating read. 

By Qiu Miaojin, Bonnie Huie (translator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Notes of a Crocodile as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Lucien Stryk Asian Translation Prize Longlisted for the PEN Translation Prize A New York Times Editors' Choice
The English-language premiere of Qiu Miaojin's coming-of-age novel about queer teenagers in Taiwan, a cult classic in China and winner of the 1995 China Times Literature Award.

An NYRB Classics Original

Set in the post-martial-law era of late-1980s Taipei, Notes of a Crocodile is a coming-of-age story of queer misfits discovering love, friendship, and artistic affinity while hardly studying at Taiwan's most prestigious university. Told through the eyes of an anonymous lesbian narrator nicknamed Lazi, this cult classic is a…


Book cover of The Hell Screens

Shawna Yang Ryan Author Of Green Island

From my list on an otherworldly Taiwan.

Why am I passionate about this?

The ghostly/magical and Taiwan are two of my major interests—I have written about both in my fiction. After living in Taiwan for a few years and getting to know my mother’s side of the family, I gained an appreciation for its complicated history, riveting politics, and the energy of daily life there. Its confluence of people and histories has made it a unique cultural amalgam and these books capture the way folk religion and the spiritual/magical are wedded into the bustling contemporary urban life of Taiwan. I hope you find yourself as enchanted and intrigued by these stories as I have been!

Shawna's book list on an otherworldly Taiwan

Shawna Yang Ryan Why did Shawna love this book?

One of my favorite books set in Taiwan, The Hell Screens is dreamy and chilling, creating a landscape of winding alleys, dark apartments, and half-seen ghosts. It captures some of the peculiar alienation that I felt like a newcomer in Taiwan. Alvin Lu has such a unique voice and way of depicting the world—I can’t wait for more work from him.

By Alvin Lu,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Cheng-Ming, a Taiwanese American, rummages through the used-book stalls and market bins of Taipei. His object is no ordinary one; he's searching obsessively for accounts of ghosts and spirits, suicides and murders in a city plagued by a rapist-killer and less tangible forces. Cheng-Ming is an outsider trying to unmask both the fugitive criminal and the otherworld of spiritual forces that are inexorably taking control of the city. Things get complicated when the fetid island atmosphere begins to melt his contact lenses and his worsening sight paradoxically opens up the teeming world of ghosts and chimeras that surround him. Vengeful…


Book cover of The Stolen Bicycle

Shawna Yang Ryan Author Of Green Island

From my list on an otherworldly Taiwan.

Why am I passionate about this?

The ghostly/magical and Taiwan are two of my major interests—I have written about both in my fiction. After living in Taiwan for a few years and getting to know my mother’s side of the family, I gained an appreciation for its complicated history, riveting politics, and the energy of daily life there. Its confluence of people and histories has made it a unique cultural amalgam and these books capture the way folk religion and the spiritual/magical are wedded into the bustling contemporary urban life of Taiwan. I hope you find yourself as enchanted and intrigued by these stories as I have been!

Shawna's book list on an otherworldly Taiwan

Shawna Yang Ryan Why did Shawna love this book?

There is a scene in this book where one of the characters finds himself diving among the bodies of dead veterans in the flooded basement of a building. Is it real? Is it a dream? The uncanniness and careful sense of loneliness and history in the scene not only intrigued my imagination, but touched my heart too. In talking about the search for a bicycle, this Booker International Prize-nominated novel encompasses so much more—archive, history, memory, war, colonialism, butterflies. This is a surprising and expansive book by one of Taiwan’s best contemporary writers.

By Ming-Yi Wu, Darryl Sterk (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A writer embarks on an epic quest in search of his missing father’s stolen bicycle and soon finds himself ensnared in the strangely intertwined stories of Lin Wang, the oldest elephant who ever lived, the soldiers who fought in the jungles of South-East Asia during World War II, and the secret world of butterfly handicraft makers in Taiwan. The result is both a majestic historical novel and a profound, startlingly intimate meditation on memory, family and home. Wu’s writing has been compared to that of Margaret Atwood, Haruki Murakami, W.G. Sebald and Yann Martel.


Book cover of Bestiary

Shawna Yang Ryan Author Of Green Island

From my list on an otherworldly Taiwan.

Why am I passionate about this?

The ghostly/magical and Taiwan are two of my major interests—I have written about both in my fiction. After living in Taiwan for a few years and getting to know my mother’s side of the family, I gained an appreciation for its complicated history, riveting politics, and the energy of daily life there. Its confluence of people and histories has made it a unique cultural amalgam and these books capture the way folk religion and the spiritual/magical are wedded into the bustling contemporary urban life of Taiwan. I hope you find yourself as enchanted and intrigued by these stories as I have been!

Shawna's book list on an otherworldly Taiwan

Shawna Yang Ryan Why did Shawna love this book?

Though Bestiary is not set in Taiwan, K. Ming Chang’s debut novel incorporates a sense of enchantment not only in her queer retellings of Taiwanese folk tales, but also in her dazzling language. She casts a spell on the reader as a magician of language, making nouns and verbs work together in innovative ways. 

By K-Ming Chang,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Three generations of Taiwanese American women are haunted by the myths of their homeland in this blazing debut of one family's queer desires, violent impulses and buried secrets.

One evening, Mother tells Daughter a story about a tiger spirit who lived in a woman's body. Her name was Hu Gu Po, and she hungered to eat children, especially their toes. Soon afterwards, Daughter awakes with a tiger tail. And more mysterious events follow: Holes in the backyard spit up letters penned by her estranged grandmother; a visiting aunt leaves red on everything she touches; a ghost bird shimmers in an…


Book cover of Bu San Bu Si: A Taiwan Punk Tale

John Grant Ross Author Of Taiwan in 100 Books

From my list on novels set in Taiwan.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Kiwi who has spent most of the past three decades in Asia. My books include Formosan Odyssey, You Don't Know China, and Taiwan in 100 Books. I live in a small town in southern Taiwan with my Taiwanese wife. When not writing, reading, or lusting over maps, I can be found on the abandoned family farm slashing jungle undergrowth (and having a sly drink).

John's book list on novels set in Taiwan

John Grant Ross Why did John love this book?

Readers looking for something different will enjoy this. There’s no history lesson here, no cultural tourism of night markets, martial arts, and temples, no Western protagonists finding their feet and getting a girl. Bu San Bu Si is a gritty journey into the underground music scene in Taipei. In electric prose, the novel follows the triumphs and more often the travails of Xiao Hei, the bass guitarist in a four-man band called Resistant Strain, “a bunch of nobodies in a scene full of more nobodies.” The talented young man’s work ethic doesn’t match his ambitions for street cred, fame, and fortune. When gangster connections offer a shortcut, things spin out of control.  

By J.W. Henley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bu San Bu Si as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Bu San Bu Si—"not three not four." To the Taiwanese people, it's an idiom used to describe the punks, lowlifes, and losers of society—the ones who don't fit in, and never will. It's what they would call someone like Xiao Hei. Talented and self-destructive, young and reckless, Xiao Hei is the guitar player for Taipei punk band Resistant Strain. He and his band mates don't just play punk. In the vein of the music's more nihilistic Western progenitors, they take it as a lifestyle. Live Fast. Die Young. Get Drunk. Stay Broke. And yet, at the back of their minds,…


Book cover of Loveboat, Taipei

Erica George Author Of The Edge of Summer

From my list on YA romances set during the summer.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up, I always loved reading young adult romances where first love and growing up seemed like the perfect kind of summer story. As an adult, and especially as an educator, I have too often seen the likes and interests of my female students dismissed as silly or frivolous, romance being at the top of this list. I love cultivating a diverse classroom library, one that includes books for everyone’s interest and background. Writing stories for young readers and about what interests them has been the great privilege of my life.

Erica's book list on YA romances set during the summer

Erica George Why did Erica love this book?

I was hooked from just reading about the premise of this book–eighteen-year-old Ever Wong is sent to a summer program in Taipei, Taiwan in order to hone her academic skills and learn Mandarin. But little do her parents know that this program is known as “Loveboat” where kids are partying and hooking up when they’re not busy with academics. Ever is a well-rounded protagonist, trying to balance her parents’ expectations and first love while figuring out who she is, all in one wild summer.

By Abigail Hing Wen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Loveboat, Taipei as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 11, 12, 13, and 14.

What is this book about?

Perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Sarah Dessen, this romantic and layered Own Voices debut from Abigail Hing Wen is a dazzling, fun-filled romp.

"Our cousins have done this program," Sophie whispers. "Best kept secret. Zero supervision."

And just like that, Ever Wong's summer takes an unexpected turn. Gone is Chien Tan, the strict educational program in Taiwan that Ever was expecting. In its place, she finds Loveboat: a summer-long free-for-all where hookups abound, adults turn a blind eye, and the nightlife runs nonstop.

But not every student is quite what they seem:

Ever is working toward becoming a…


Book cover of Through Formosa: An Account of Japan's Island Colony

John Grant Ross Author Of Formosan Odyssey: Taiwan, Past and Present

From my list on Taiwan and why you should visit.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Kiwi who has spent most of the past three decades in Asia. My books include Formosan Odyssey, You Don't Know China, and Taiwan in 100 Books. I live in a small town in southern Taiwan with my Taiwanese wife. When not writing, reading, or lusting over maps, I can be found on the abandoned family farm slashing jungle undergrowth (and having a sly drink). 

John's book list on Taiwan and why you should visit

John Grant Ross Why did John love this book?

A delightful travelogue based on a brief trip Rutter made in the spring of 1921, from Kaohsiung up the west coast to Taipei. At that time, Taiwan was a Japanese colony and largely closed to tourists, and Through Formosa a rare glimpse. Rutter was an English colonial administrator and rubber planter in Borneo, so as well as typical travel descriptions of transport, accommodation, and sights, we also get informed opinions on matters such as how the Japanese colonial government was developing agriculture and trying to assimilate the aborigines. 

By Owen Rutter,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Excerpt from Through Formosa

About the Publisher

Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books.

This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works. This text has been…


Book cover of Green Island

John Grant Ross Author Of Taiwan in 100 Books

From my list on novels set in Taiwan.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Kiwi who has spent most of the past three decades in Asia. My books include Formosan Odyssey, You Don't Know China, and Taiwan in 100 Books. I live in a small town in southern Taiwan with my Taiwanese wife. When not writing, reading, or lusting over maps, I can be found on the abandoned family farm slashing jungle undergrowth (and having a sly drink).

John's book list on novels set in Taiwan

John Grant Ross Why did John love this book?

Both a family history and a political primer of Taiwan, spanning the years from 1947 to 2003, this is my go-to fiction recommendation. The title comes from the name of an island where many political prisoners were sent during the martial law era. Green Island opens with the birth of the female narrator as a revolt against oppressive Nationalist rule breaks out on the streets of Taipei. She is delivered by her father, a doctor who is arrested and sent to Green Island. A deserved popular and critical success, this is one of the few Taiwan works available as an audiobook.

By Shawna Yang Ryan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Taipei, February 28, 1947: As an uprising rocks Taiwan, a young doctor is taken from his newborn daughter by Chinese Nationalists, on charges of speaking out against the government. Although he eventually returns to his family, his arrival is marked by alienation from his loved ones and paranoia among his community. Years later, this troubled past follows his youngest daughter to America, where, as a mother and a wife, she too is forced to decide between what is right and what might save her family-the same choice she witnessed her father make many years before. A stunningly lyrical story of…


Book cover of Formosa Moon

John Grant Ross Author Of Formosan Odyssey: Taiwan, Past and Present

From my list on Taiwan and why you should visit.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Kiwi who has spent most of the past three decades in Asia. My books include Formosan Odyssey, You Don't Know China, and Taiwan in 100 Books. I live in a small town in southern Taiwan with my Taiwanese wife. When not writing, reading, or lusting over maps, I can be found on the abandoned family farm slashing jungle undergrowth (and having a sly drink). 

John's book list on Taiwan and why you should visit

John Grant Ross Why did John love this book?

Fun excursions around Taiwan told by the likable duo of Brown – a Taiwan long-timer and veteran travel writer – and Huffman, who is on her first trip to Asia. It’s a quirky travelogue packed with practical info, and with the pairing of new eyes and an old hand working beautifully. They both write with wit and affection for the country. Huffman’s observation that “Taiwan is never boring,” applies to the book. Memorable sections include a visit to the remote aboriginal village of Smangus, meeting various artists, an odd encounter with a fortune teller, and the auditory pleasures of living in “Dog Lane.” 

By Joshua Samuel Brown, Stephanie Huffman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Formosa Moon is a romantic, geeky cultural journey around Taiwan undertaken by a couple comprised of a seasoned guidebook writer intimately familiar with Asia and a first-time visitor who agreed to relocate sight unseen. Join the couple on their journey of discovery through Formosa, “The Beautiful Island”.


Book cover of Taiwanese Feet: My walk around Taiwan

John Grant Ross Author Of Formosan Odyssey: Taiwan, Past and Present

From my list on Taiwan and why you should visit.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Kiwi who has spent most of the past three decades in Asia. My books include Formosan Odyssey, You Don't Know China, and Taiwan in 100 Books. I live in a small town in southern Taiwan with my Taiwanese wife. When not writing, reading, or lusting over maps, I can be found on the abandoned family farm slashing jungle undergrowth (and having a sly drink). 

John's book list on Taiwan and why you should visit

John Grant Ross Why did John love this book?

A down-to-earth account of Canadian ex-pat John Groot’s circumnavigation, on foot and in stages, around the island’s entire 1,200 kilometers of coastline. Looking for a big adventure and also hoping to connect more deeply to the land and its people, he set off from his home in Danshui in late 2006. He walked on weekends and other days off, a total of 83 walking days spread out over eight years.

Groot’s epic trek is related with good humor, whether highlights like exploring the majestic East Coast, with its sea cliffs and soaring backdrop of mountains, or low points such as trudging through ugly west coast wastelands.

By John Groot,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Canadian John Groot’s walk around the entire coastline of Taiwan takes us through bustling cities, fishing ports, rural villages, military sites, and magnificent coastal scenery for a unique, intimate look at the country.

Groot first came to Taiwan in 2001, fell in love with the island and its friendly people, and decided to stay. Years later, looking for a big adventure and a way to forge deeper bonds to his adopted home, he set off on foot from Tamsui, traveling clockwise around the island on weekends and holidays, in what would turn out to be an eight-year trek.

Taiwanese Feet…


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