100 books like The Corpse Walker

By Liao Yiwu,

Here are 100 books that The Corpse Walker fans have personally recommended if you like The Corpse Walker. 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 Crusade for Justice: The Autobiography of Ida B. Wells

Frances McNamara Author Of Molasses Murder in a Nutshell: A Nutshell Murder Mystery

From my list on real women in criminology.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was frustrated by stories of gilded-age women who floundered around and were pitied because of the limitations society put on them. I thought the heroine of House of Mirth was not heroine but a loser. It seemed to me there must be other women out there who weren’t just sitting around bemoaning their predicament. Since I’m a mystery writer I was especially pleased to find some women who were out there doing things, even in criminology. Finding Frances Glessner Lee was the icing on the cake when I learned that she is known as the Mother of Forensic Science. Had to be great stories there.

Frances' book list on real women in criminology

Frances McNamara Why did Frances love this book?

Ida B. Wells was a journalist. She was also an organizer of an anti-lynching campaign.

She’s a wonderful example of a woman who ignored the limitations the world of the time set on her to do what she felt was needed. She and others collected accounts of lynchings, many of them from white newspapers and published them to force society to confront the fact that they were happening.

As a young woman she sued a railroad for physically ejecting her from a carriage because she was African American. She won.

She’s just a great example of a young woman bucking the system. I’m so glad my feminine forebearers did!

By Ida B. Wells,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Crusade for Justice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"She fought a lonely and almost single-handed fight, with the single-mindedness of a crusader, long before men or women of any race entered the arena; and the measure of success she achieved goes far beyond the credit she has been given in the history of the country."-Alfreda M. Duster

Ida B. Wells is an American icon of truth telling. Born to slaves, she was a pioneer of investigative journalism, a crusader against lynching, and a tireless advocate for suffrage, both for women and for African Americans. She co-founded the NAACP, started the Alpha Suffrage Club in Chicago, and was a…


Book cover of The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper

Sarah Horowitz Author Of The Red Widow: The Scandal that Shook Paris and the Woman Behind it All

From my list on scandalous women you’ve never heard of.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always loved reading about women who lived in earlier eras, whether that was through nonfiction or historical fiction. Books gave me access to worlds beyond my own and I loved thinking about what I would do in a particular situation, whether I would have made the same choices as the women I was reading about. I suppose it’s no surprise that I have a Ph.D. in history and teach European history. I love sharing my passion for the past and I hope you love the books I recommended as much as I do!

Sarah's book list on scandalous women you’ve never heard of

Sarah Horowitz Why did Sarah love this book?

Ok, so I’m cheating a little bit here. A lot of people have heard of the women Rubenhold writes about because they’re famous for being Jack the Ripper’s victims.

And for many of the women, what they did was not particularly scandalous, since Rubenhold goes a long way to show that not all of them were streetwalkers. But this book is such a beautiful and heartbreaking read. It’s a meticulous and gripping reconstruction of the lives of women we thought we knew but don’t. She brings nineteenth-century London alive in a way that few authors have – when I read the book, I felt like I was there.

By Hallie Rubenhold,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked The Five as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE #1 SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER
WINNER OF THE BAILLIE GIFFORD PRIZE FOR NONFICTION 2019
'An angry and important work of historical detection, calling time on the misogyny that has fed the Ripper myth. Powerful and shaming' GUARDIAN

Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary-Jane are famous for the same thing, though they never met. They came from Fleet Street, Knightsbridge, Wolverhampton, Sweden and Wales. They wrote ballads, ran coffee houses, lived on country estates, they breathed ink-dust from printing presses and escaped people-traffickers.

What they had in common was the year of their murders: 1888.

Their murderer was never identified, but…


Book cover of Border Town

John Grant Ross Author Of You Don't Know China: Twenty-two Enduring Myths Debunked

From my list on or set in the Hunan province in China.

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 or set in the Hunan province in China

John Grant Ross Why did John love this book?

This 1934 work tells the moving story of a young country girl called Cuicui and her ferryman grandfather. As the girl comes of age, she catches the eye of two brothers. It’s a simple plot but beautifully told, with sympathetic depictions of the common folk and rich nostalgic evocations of rural life. The “border” in the title refers to the West Hunan setting near the provincial border with Sichuan. The area is also a cultural border between the Han and various minorities. Shen Congwen grew up there and was himself of mixed heritage. Chosen to receive the 1988 Nobel Prize in Literature, he died before the announcement, and the prize – following the rule against awarding posthumously – went to another writer. 

By Shen Congwen, Jeffrey C. Kinkley (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Originally published in 1934, "Border Town" tells the story of Cuicui, a young country girl who is coming of age during a time of national turmoil. The granddaughter of a poor ferryman, Cuicui grows up in Chadong, a small town in China's exotic southwestern frontier, where she is sheltered from the warlord fighting that was prevalent in China in the 1920s. Like any teenager, Cuicui dreams of romance and finding true love. She's caught up in the spell of the local custom of nighttime serenades, but she is also haunted by her grandfather's aging and imminent death. Both Cuicui and…


Book cover of The King of Trees

Michael Meyer Author Of The Last Days of Old Beijing: Life in the Vanishing Backstreets of a City Transformed

From my list on set in China’s diverse regions.

Why am I passionate about this?

I arrived in China in 1995 as one of the country’s first Peace Corps volunteers, and for over a decade lived in rural Sichuan, historic Beijing, and arcadian Jilin. These settings inform my trilogy of books about daily life in corners of the country overlooked by correspondents. I’ve won a Whiting Writers’ Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, two Lowell Thomas Awards for travel writing, and I am currently a Fulbright Scholar in Taiwan. I’m a member of the National Committee on United States-China Relations‘ Public Intellectuals Program, a recipient of a 2017 National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar Fellowship, and a Professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh, where I teach nonfiction writing. 

Michael's book list on set in China’s diverse regions

Michael Meyer Why did Michael love this book?

Set in China’s southwestern mountainous rainforest borderland of Xishuangbanna, this novella is based on the author’s time as a “sent-down youth” during the Cultural Revolution. Politics take a backseat to the intimate friendships forged during those years, alongside the heedless degradation of the country’s lushest lands. The famed director Chen Kaige—who had served two mountains away from the author—made a faithful film adaptation.

By Ah Cheng, Bonnie S. McDougall (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When the three novellas in The King of Trees were published separately in China in the 1980s, "Ah Cheng fever" spread across the country. Never before had a fiction writer dealt with the Cultural Revolution in such Daoist-Confucian terms, discarding Mao-speak, and mixing both traditional and vernacular elements with an aesthetic that emphasized not the hardships and miseries of those years, but the joys of close, meaningful friendships. In The King of Chess, a student's obsession with finding worthy chess opponents symbolizes his pursuit of the dao; in The King of Children-made into an award-winning film by Chen Kaige, the…


Book cover of Rickshaw Boy

Michael Meyer Author Of The Last Days of Old Beijing: Life in the Vanishing Backstreets of a City Transformed

From my list on set in China’s diverse regions.

Why am I passionate about this?

I arrived in China in 1995 as one of the country’s first Peace Corps volunteers, and for over a decade lived in rural Sichuan, historic Beijing, and arcadian Jilin. These settings inform my trilogy of books about daily life in corners of the country overlooked by correspondents. I’ve won a Whiting Writers’ Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, two Lowell Thomas Awards for travel writing, and I am currently a Fulbright Scholar in Taiwan. I’m a member of the National Committee on United States-China Relations‘ Public Intellectuals Program, a recipient of a 2017 National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar Fellowship, and a Professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh, where I teach nonfiction writing. 

Michael's book list on set in China’s diverse regions

Michael Meyer Why did Michael love this book?

If you read only one book set in Beijing, let it be this one. During the Japanese occupation, a rickshaw puller named Xiangzi ping-pongs between success and misfortune in his quest to one day own a vehicle of his own. The author, a Manchu who grew up in the capital’s dense net of hutong alleyways, knows his material and his city unlike any Beijing writer before or since, especially its fatalist sense of humor. The editor of its first American edition changed the ending so everyone lived happily-ever-after. Lao She knew better; three decades later, he was among the most prominent casualties of the Red Guards.

By Lao She,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

“Lao She’s great novel.”
—The New York Times

 

A beautiful new translation of the classic Chinese novel from Lao She, one of the most acclaimed and popular Chinese writers of the twentieth century,  Rickshaw Boy chronicles the trials and misadventures of a poor Beijing rickshaw driver. Originally published in 1937, Rickshaw Boy—and the power and artistry of Lao She—can now be appreciated by a contemporary American audience.


Book cover of Love in a Fallen City

Janet Beard Author Of The Atomic City Girls

From my list on women’s experiences of World War II.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up near Oak Ridge, Tennessee, I was aware that the city had historical significance but also that it wasn’t particularly famous, at least to people from outside the region. I’ve always been drawn to these sorts of overlooked stories from history, which are, not coincidentally, often women’s stories. Women made up the majority of workers in Oak Ridge during World War II, and for decades afterward, their stories were generally viewed as less important than male-dominated narratives of the war. But I’ve always believed that women’s stories are no less interesting than men’s. These books look at history’s worst conflict from unique perspectives that foreground the female experience. 

Janet's book list on women’s experiences of World War II

Janet Beard Why did Janet love this book?

Though these collected stories were popular in Chang’s native China when first published in the 1940s, decades passed before they were translated into English. The title story brings war-torn Hong Kong to life, but even against the most dramatic political backdrop, Chang’s focus is firmly on women and relationships. Though the time and place may seem remote, readers will find universal emotions in these carefully constructed tales. 

By Eileen Chang, Karen S. Kingsbury (translator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Love in a Fallen City as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Masterful short works about passion, family, and human relationships by one of the greatest writers of 20th century China. 

A New York Review Books Original

 

“[A] giant of modern Chinese literature” –The New York Times

 

"With language as sharp as a knife edge, Eileen Chang cut open a huge divide in Chinese culture, between the classical patriarchy and our troubled modernity. She was one of the very few able truly to connect that divide, just as her heroines often disappeared inside it. She is the fallen angel of Chinese literature, and now, with these excellent new translations, English readers can…


Book cover of Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin

Gregg Hecimovich Author Of The Life and Times of Hannah Crafts: The True Story of the Bondwoman's Narrative

From my list on recovering lost histories.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a biographer and literary scholar who loves to resurrect stories otherwise lost to history. I first felt this calling on football Saturdays at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, when I would sneak into the Rare Book Room to pore over old records, while my friends all went to the game. There I checked out manuscript boxes that told stories of the communities I inhabited. On these Saturdays, I started to see the invisible forces that created my physical world and marked my presence. Every book I picked below does the same precise work—they make visible a past that shapes our present.

Gregg's book list on recovering lost histories

Gregg Hecimovich Why did Gregg love this book?

Everyone knows the life and times of Benjamin Franklin, but what about the extraordinary experiences and opinions of his beloved sister, Jane Franklin?

“Gabby, frank, and vexed,” Jane’s life story demonstrates a smart, witty, and hardworking woman who birthed 12 children and survived the death of all of them but one. The hidden history of women in early America comes alive through Lepore’s sleuthing arts in this compelling nugget of forgotten history.

By Jill Lepore,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST

ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR
NPR • Time Magazine • The Washington Post • Entertainment Weekly • The Boston Globe

A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK

From one of our most accomplished and widely admired historians—a revelatory portrait of Benjamin Franklin's youngest sister, Jane, whose obscurity and poverty were matched only by her brother’s fame and wealth but who, like him, was a passionate reader, a gifted writer, and an astonishingly shrewd political commentator.

Making use of an astonishing cache of little-studied material, including documents, objects, and portraits only just discovered, Jill Lepore…


Book cover of The Witch of Eye

Kim Todd Author Of Sensational: The Hidden History of America's "Girl Stunt Reporters"

From my list on about women you’ve never heard of.

Why am I passionate about this?

There's magic in a book that opens a window to the lives of ordinary people who lived in a time and place very different from our own. That’s why I enjoy exploring these stories. The narratives of the famous are often polished to the point that all the odd edges of a delicious pea soup or a long trip in uncomfortable boots are worn away. But I love these little details: how certain boarding house rules meant women had no place to stay when Jack the Ripper was prowling, or how a journal might consist of rag paper with a hand-stitched binding. They show us a distant era, but also reinforce our common humanity.

Kim's book list on about women you’ve never heard of

Kim Todd Why did Kim love this book?

Different stylistically than the other books on the list, The Witch of Eye is a collection of lyric essays about those accused of witchcraft. In its pages, we meet Lisbet Nypan of Norway, who cured patients using a “ritual of salt” only to be put on trial in the late 1600s, and the German midwife Walpurga Hausmannin, who allegedly coupled with the devil in the clothes of the neighborhood corn farmer. The sentences are dense and hypnotic, transporting readers into fields and courtrooms. One essay begins by describing the language of magic: “You begin a spell with an invocation like Hear me or I beseech you or Oh friend or Listen.” Let yourself be drawn in.

By Kathryn Nuernberger,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This amazingly wise and nimble collection investigates the horrors inflicted on so-called "witches" of the past. The Witch of Eye unearths salves, potions, and spells meant to heal, yet interpreted by inquisitors as evidence of evil. The author describes torture and forced confessions alongside accounts of gentleness of legendary midwives. In one essay about a trial, we learn through folklore that Jesus's mother was a midwife who cured her own son's rheumatism. In other essays there are subtle parallels to contemporary discourse around abortion and environmental destruction. Nuernberger weaves in her own experiences, too. There's an ironic look at her…


Book cover of One Child: The Story of China's Most Radical Experiment

Yang Huang Author Of Living Treasures

From my list on China’s one-child policy and Tiananmen Square protests.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in China during the years of the one-child policy. In 1989 I joined millions of people in the pro-democracy protests. Our hope and joy were crushed by the Tiananmen Square Massacre. A year later, I left China and came to the States. I wanted to write a story about the students’ fight but create a more meaningful arc. It took me twenty years of soul searching to find my story. At the heart of my novel Living Treasures is a metaphor for the Tiananmen Square Massacre. My heroine continues the fight by doing grassroots work and helping rural women, who are victimized by the one-child policy.

Yang's book list on China’s one-child policy and Tiananmen Square protests

Yang Huang Why did Yang love this book?

Mei Fong has spent years documenting and traveling across China to meet the people who live with the consequences of the draconian one-child policy. I was riveted by this slim but expansive book, its searing clarity, deep compassion, and unflinching interrogation only avail to an outsider unhampered by the censorship in China. Mei Fong explores in depth how the one-child policy has changed every facet of social life from cradle to grave: courtship, marriage, women’s work, only children, adoption/baby trafficking, surrogate, IVF, aging, retirement, hospice/death, and much more. Weaving in with the author’s own quest to become a mother, Mei Fong weighs the cost of parenthood and asks the hard question: Why do we have children?

By Mei Fong,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Tang Shuxiu and her husband are on an 800-mile train journey from Beijing to Shifang, where they believe their only child has perished in a recent earthquake. Three days after the event, Tang is too dehydrated to cry.

Liu Ting becomes a national hero when he brings his mother to college, a celebration of filial piety in a nation that now legally compels adult children to visit their elderly parents.

Tian Qingeng and his parents are deeply in debt. They have bought an apartment they hope will improve his eligibility in a nation that has 30 million bachelors, or 'bare…


Book cover of Frog

Yang Huang Author Of Living Treasures

From my list on China’s one-child policy and Tiananmen Square protests.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in China during the years of the one-child policy. In 1989 I joined millions of people in the pro-democracy protests. Our hope and joy were crushed by the Tiananmen Square Massacre. A year later, I left China and came to the States. I wanted to write a story about the students’ fight but create a more meaningful arc. It took me twenty years of soul searching to find my story. At the heart of my novel Living Treasures is a metaphor for the Tiananmen Square Massacre. My heroine continues the fight by doing grassroots work and helping rural women, who are victimized by the one-child policy.

Yang's book list on China’s one-child policy and Tiananmen Square protests

Yang Huang Why did Yang love this book?

As a writer who works under China’s censorship, Mo Yan spins literary gold in his novel Frog by blending high farce with social commentary. Narrator Tadpole’s aunt Gugu, a feisty woman with extraordinary gifts, evolves from a legendary midwife to a demonic one-child policy enforcer, then becomes an incorrigible go-between for surrogate and intentional parents. Readers see how China and rural Gaomi townships have changed, almost beyond description, from Maoist times to the current hyper-capitalistic phase. Much of the story is funny, brutal, yet firmly grounded, as people endure, and many perish during a half-century of social and political turmoil.

By Mo Yan, Howard Goldblatt (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A NEW YORK TIMES TOP BOOK OF THE YEAR
WASHINGTON POST NOTABLE BOOK

From the Nobel-prize winning author of Red Sorghum and one China's most revered writers, a novel exploring the One-Child Policy

Before the Cultural Revolution, Gugu, narrator Tadpole's feisty aunt, is a respected midwife in her rural community. She combines modern medical knowledge with a healer's touch to save the lives of village women and their babies. Gugu is beautiful, charismatic, and of an unimpeachable political background.

After a disastrous love affair with a defector leaves Gugu reeling, she throws herself zealously into enforcing China's draconian new family…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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