74 books like Island on the Edge

By Chris Berry (editor), Feii Lu (editor),

Here are 74 books that Island on the Edge fans have personally recommended if you like Island on the Edge. 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 32 New Takes on Taiwan Cinema

Ming-Yeh Rawnsley Author Of Taiwan Cinema: International Reception and Social Change

From my list on understanding and enjoying Taiwan cinema.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Taiwan and have always been fascinated by cinema. I received my Ph.D. in 1998 in the UK in communications studies and shifted my research priority from media to Taiwan cinema in 2005 when I became Head of Chinese Studies at the University of Nottingham Ningbo, China. I had fun working on several projects, screening Taiwanese films, discussing Taiwan cinema and society with filmmakers and audiences, and publishing widely in Chinese and in English. I have travelled, lived, and worked in different cities and countries since 2005 and have continued to find it rewarding to study what I have been passionate about since childhood. 

Ming-Yeh's book list on understanding and enjoying Taiwan cinema

Ming-Yeh Rawnsley Why did Ming-Yeh love this book?

I have always enjoyed reading works by Emilie Yueh-yu Yeh and Darrell William Davis as I find their perspectives on the subject I love–Taiwan cinema–refreshing and intelligent.

In their new volume, Yeh and Davis team up with co-editor Wenchi Lin and provide a meticulous examination of 32 individual Taiwanese films between 1963 and 2017. I like the fact that this book offers a wide spectrum of Taiwanese cinematic output in addition to updating the existing literature.

I am particularly inspired by a question that runs through the entire volume: What does national cinema mean to Taiwan at different times under different social, political, and cultural contexts?  

By Emilie Yueh-Yu Yeh (editor), Darrell William Davis (editor), Wenchi Lin (editor)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked 32 New Takes on Taiwan Cinema as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Curating Taiwan Cinema: 32 New Takes covers thirty-two films from Taiwan, addressing a flowering of new talent, moving from art film to genre pictures, and nonfiction. Beyond the conventional framework of privileging "New and Post-New Cinema," or prominence of auteurs or single films, this volume is a comprehensive, judicious take on Taiwan cinema that fills gaps in the literature, offers a renewed historiography, and introduces new creative force and voices of Taiwan's moving image culture to produce a leading and accessible work on Taiwan film and culture.

Film-by-film is conceived as the main carrier of moving picture imagery for a…


Book cover of Cinema Taiwan: Politics, Popularity and State of the Arts

Ming-Yeh Rawnsley Author Of Taiwan Cinema: International Reception and Social Change

From my list on understanding and enjoying Taiwan cinema.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Taiwan and have always been fascinated by cinema. I received my Ph.D. in 1998 in the UK in communications studies and shifted my research priority from media to Taiwan cinema in 2005 when I became Head of Chinese Studies at the University of Nottingham Ningbo, China. I had fun working on several projects, screening Taiwanese films, discussing Taiwan cinema and society with filmmakers and audiences, and publishing widely in Chinese and in English. I have travelled, lived, and worked in different cities and countries since 2005 and have continued to find it rewarding to study what I have been passionate about since childhood. 

Ming-Yeh's book list on understanding and enjoying Taiwan cinema

Ming-Yeh Rawnsley Why did Ming-Yeh love this book?

When I decided to study Taiwan cinema more systematically, I tried to read as much on the subject as possible. I enjoyed this book because it offered me a broad overview of many kinds of questions that can be asked about and through Taiwan cinema.

For example, I realized that it is possible to try and understand Taiwanese domestic & international politics, cross-strait relations, colonial history, and the impact of globalization in a more relatable manner by reading films and documentaries as texts. It is also possible to analyze different festivals, genres, filmmakers, and individual films from the perspectives of the film industry and film artistry.

I was totally energized by the enormous potential the subject of Taiwan cinema can offer because of this book.     

By Darrell William Davis (editor), Ru-shou Robert Chen (editor),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Following the recent success of Taiwanese film directors, such as Hou Hsiao-hsien, Edward Yang, Ang Lee and Tsai Ming-liang, Taiwanese film is raising its profile in contemporary cinema. This collection presents an exciting and ambitious foray into the cultural politics of contemporary Taiwan film that goes beyond the auterist mode, the nation-state argument and vestiges of the New Cinema.

Cinema Taiwan considers the complex problems of popularity, conflicts between transnational capital and local practice, non-fiction and independent filmmaking as emerging modes of address, and new possibilities of forging vibrant film cultures embedded in national (identity) politics, gender/sexuality and community activism.…


Book cover of Taiwan Cinema: A Contested Nation on Screen

Ming-Yeh Rawnsley Author Of Taiwan Cinema: International Reception and Social Change

From my list on understanding and enjoying Taiwan cinema.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Taiwan and have always been fascinated by cinema. I received my Ph.D. in 1998 in the UK in communications studies and shifted my research priority from media to Taiwan cinema in 2005 when I became Head of Chinese Studies at the University of Nottingham Ningbo, China. I had fun working on several projects, screening Taiwanese films, discussing Taiwan cinema and society with filmmakers and audiences, and publishing widely in Chinese and in English. I have travelled, lived, and worked in different cities and countries since 2005 and have continued to find it rewarding to study what I have been passionate about since childhood. 

Ming-Yeh's book list on understanding and enjoying Taiwan cinema

Ming-Yeh Rawnsley Why did Ming-Yeh love this book?

I recommend this book because it is one of the few single-authored monographs in English that covers Taiwan cinema exclusively and comprehensively.

The study of Taiwan cinema has proliferated and diversified a great deal in recent years. However, when Hong’s Taiwan Cinema was published in 2011, most books on this subject were edited volumes and tended to have a narrower focus at the time. I like the fact that the author has offered many first-hand research materials.

I learned not only about the history of Taiwan cinema from pre-1945 to the new millennium but also why and how Taiwan cinema has shown the island as a contested nation on screen throughout the many decades. 

By Guo-juin Hong,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A groundbreaking study of Taiwan cinema, Hong provides helpful insight into how it is taught and studied by taking into account not only the auteurs of New Taiwan Cinema, but also the history of popular genre films before the 1980s. The book is essential for students and scholars of Taiwan, film and visual studies, and East Asian cultural history.


Book cover of Taiwan Cinema as Soft Power: Authorship, Transnationality, Historiography

Ming-Yeh Rawnsley Author Of Taiwan Cinema: International Reception and Social Change

From my list on understanding and enjoying Taiwan cinema.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Taiwan and have always been fascinated by cinema. I received my Ph.D. in 1998 in the UK in communications studies and shifted my research priority from media to Taiwan cinema in 2005 when I became Head of Chinese Studies at the University of Nottingham Ningbo, China. I had fun working on several projects, screening Taiwanese films, discussing Taiwan cinema and society with filmmakers and audiences, and publishing widely in Chinese and in English. I have travelled, lived, and worked in different cities and countries since 2005 and have continued to find it rewarding to study what I have been passionate about since childhood. 

Ming-Yeh's book list on understanding and enjoying Taiwan cinema

Ming-Yeh Rawnsley Why did Ming-Yeh love this book?

I think the author is very clever by bringing in the trendy concept of soft power and thus opening a new window for our understanding of Taiwan cinema.

I found the book not the easiest to read if you are not particularly familiar with the language of cultural studies or with specific films and filmmakers in Taiwan. However, the author has presented a convincing and valuable argument by linking a cinematic output to the entire system, which enables the production, circulation, and distribution of this output.

In other words, Taiwan cinema is a result, but the system that enriches creativity is where Taiwan’s values and soft power lie.  

By Song Hwee Lim,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Taiwan Cinema as Soft Power as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


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 Heaven Lake

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?

Hard to beat for the quality of writing, this is a thoughtful coming-of-age story about faith, loneliness, and love, and also beautifully captures the early post-martial law years when Taiwan was newly rich and free for the very first time. It’s 1989 and recent college graduate Vincent arrives in small-town Taiwan to serve as a missionary. He’s approached with an offer to make some easy money; he just needs to go to Xinjiang in China’s far northwest and marry a woman and then bring his wife back to Taiwan. Vincent initially turns down the offer, but circumstances will see him change his mind.

By John Dalton,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When Vincent Saunders -- fresh out of college in the States -- arrives in Taiwan as a Christian volunteer and English teacher, he meets a wealthy Taiwanese businessman who wishes to marry a young woman living in China near Heaven Lake but is thwarted by political conflict. Mr. Gwa wonders: In exchange for money, will Vincent travel to China, take part in a counterfeit marriage, and bring the woman back to Taiwan for Gwa to marry legitimately? Believing that marriage is a sacrament, Vincent says no.
Soon, though, everything Vincent understands about himself and his vocation in Taiwan changes. A…


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 Ghost Month

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?

In Ghost Month, the first in a 4-book mystery series, Ed Lin vibrantly depicts nightlife in Taiwan, particularly in the night markets. I love this book for doing what John Gardner says good fiction should—it creates a “vivid and continuous dream,” bringing to life so much of the sensory experiences of Taipei. I could see, smell, hear, and taste this book!

By Ed Lin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Welcome to Unknown Pleasures, a food stand in Taipei's night market named after a Joy Division album, and also the location for a big-hearted new mystery set in the often undocumented Taiwan.

August is Ghost Month in Taiwan—a time to pay respects to the dead and avoid unlucky omens. Jing-nan, who runs a food stand in a bustling Taipei night market, isn’t superstitious, but this August will haunt him nonetheless. He learns that his high school sweetheart has been murdered—found scantily clad near a highway where she was selling betel nuts. Beyond his harrowing grief, Jing-nan is confused. “Betel nut…


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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