100 books like The Real Taiwan and the Dutch

By Menno Goedhart, Cheryl Robbins,

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

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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…


Book cover of Two Trees Make a Forest: In Search of My Family's Past Among Taiwan's Mountains and Coasts

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?

Canadian Jessica Lee comes to Taiwan to unravel some family history (her grandfather, a pilot with the Flying Tigers, was part of the exodus to the island following the Nationalists’ defeat in China). A nature writer, Lee also investigates Taiwan’s beautiful mountain areas. The result is a well-written but sometimes odd mix of a family story and Taiwan’s plants. The country’s remarkable flora has too long been ignored in English-language works so it’s good to have it showcased, and by a capable writer. Two Trees Make a Forest is one of the most highly praised Taiwan titles of recent years.

By Jessica J. Lee,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Two Trees Make a Forest as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

I have learned many words for 'island': isle, atoll, eyot, islet, or skerry. They exist in archipelagos or alone, and always, by definition, I have understood them by their relation to water. But the Chinese word for island knows nothing of water. For a civilisation grown inland from the sea, the vastness of mountains was a better analogue: (dao, 'island') built from the relationship between earth and sky.

Between tectonic plates and conflicting cultures, Taiwan is an island of extremes: high mountains, exposed flatlands, thick forests. After unearthing a hidden memoir of her grandfather's life, written on the cusp of…


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 Lost Colony: The Untold Story of China's First Great Victory Over the West

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

From my list on Taiwan’s history.

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’s history

John Grant Ross Why did John love this book?

Few stood against many as the fate of Taiwan hung in the balance. This is a gripping account of the 1660s clash between Ming loyalist Koxinga and besieged Dutch colonists at Fort Zeelandia. Written by a historian with a flair for narrative, Taiwan’s most exciting historical episode is recounted in fascinating detail, with twists and turns, and wide zooms out for comparisons of European and Chinese technological prowess. It’s an accessible book yet so richly informative and dramatic that it rewards multiple readings. 

By Tonio Andrade,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

During the seventeenth century, Holland created the world's most dynamic colonial empire, outcompeting the British and capturing Spanish and Portuguese colonies. Yet, in the Sino-Dutch War - Europe's first war with China - the Dutch met their match in a colorful Chinese warlord named Koxinga. Part samurai, part pirate, he led his generals to victory over the Dutch and captured one of their largest and richest colonies - Taiwan. How did he do it? Examining the strengths and weaknesses of European and Chinese military techniques during the period, Lost Colony provides a balanced new perspective on long-held assumptions about Western…


Book cover of Lord of Formosa

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?

Recounting Taiwan’s single most gripping historical episode, Ming loyalist warlord Koxinga and his fight with Dutch forces in southwestern Taiwan, Lord of Formosa sticks close to the known facts. Koxinga’s life intertwines perfectly with that of the Dutch presence on the island. He was born in 1624, the year that the Dutch East India Company established a settlement on Taiwan, and he died in 1662, the year the Dutch were expelled. Dutch-born author Bergvelt adds flesh and breath to a fascinating cast of real-life figures, making them accessible for modern readers.

By Joyce Bergvelt,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The year is 1624. In southwestern Taiwan the Dutch establish a trading settlement; in Nagasaki a boy is born who will become immortalized as Ming dynasty loyalist Koxinga. Lord of Formosa tells the intertwined stories of Koxinga and the Dutch colony from their beginnings to their fateful climax in 1662. The year before, as Ming China collapsed in the face of the Manchu conquest, Koxinga retreated across the Taiwan Strait intent on expelling the Dutch. Thus began a nine-month battle for Fort Zeelandia, the single most compelling episode in the history of Taiwan. The first major military clash between China…


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 Island on the Edge: Taiwan New Cinema and After

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?

This is one of the first English books I read about Taiwan New Cinema (TNC), arguably the most significant film movement in Taiwan to date.

When the TNC occurred in the 1980s, I was a student and Taiwan was going through the early stage of regime transition and democratization. It was an exciting but also uncertain time. I found films of TNC compelling but often opaque in meaning.

Reading this book in the early 21st century suddenly unlocked a lot of mysteries about the TNC as a film movement and the brilliance of these works for me. It motivated me to start researching Taiwan cinema as a subject more seriously.       

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

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This is the first English-language anthology on the Taiwan New Cinema and its legacy. It is an exciting collection which covers all the major filmmakers from Hou Hsiao Hsien and Edward Yang to Ang Lee and more. The volume gatehrs a range of essays that analyze individual films produced since the advent of the Taiwan New Cinema in the early 1980s.

Taiwan and its internationally renowned cinema are " on the edge" in more ways than one. For all of its history the island has been on the edge of larger geopolitical entities, subjected to invasions, migrations, incursions, and pressures.…


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 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…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Taiwan, the Netherlands, and the Dutch East India Company?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Taiwan, the Netherlands, and the Dutch East India Company.

Taiwan Explore 38 books about Taiwan
The Netherlands Explore 78 books about the Netherlands
The Dutch East India Company Explore 10 books about the Dutch East India Company