The most recommended Hong Kong books

Who picked these books? Meet our 41 experts.

41 authors created a book list connected to Hong Kong, and here are their favorite Hong Kong books.
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Book cover of The Communist Party of China and Marxism 1921-1985

Christine Loh Author Of No Third Person: Rewriting the Hong Kong Story

From my list on the Chinese Communist Party and Hong Kong.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am East-and-West. Born in British Hong Kong, studied in England, and worked for a US multinational in Beijing, I had a range of experiences that traversed Chinese and western cultures. Sucked into politics in Hong Kong prior to and post-1997, I had a ringside seat to colonial Hong Kong becoming a part of China. I too went from being a British citizen to a Chinese national. Along the way, I got interested in the environment and was appointed a minister in Hong Kong in 2012. I have always read a lot about the world and how things work or don’t work. I hope you like what I have enjoyed!

Christine's book list on the Chinese Communist Party and Hong Kong

Christine Loh Why did Christine love this book?

The author, a Jesuit priest from Hungary, spent years in China before moving to Hong Kong. He was the preeminent scholar on China in the 1970s-80s. Ladany poured over what the CCP said about itself to construct a marvellous “self-portrait” of the CCP, including insights about Hong Kong. His scholarship is awesome and there hasn’t been someone quite like him among scholars on China.

By Laszlo Ladany,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Communist Party of China and Marxism 1921-1985 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Without an understanding of the Communist Party no one can understand the China in which the Party has dominated the country. This book follows the development of the Communist Party and of Marxism in China from the early years. For the years 1921-49, it relies mainly on revelations in the Communist press of the early 1980s, when Chinese historians of the Party were relatively free to write. In relation to the People's Republic, beginning in 1949, it summarises what was reported by the author in China News Analysis. This is essentially the story of the Chinese Communist Party in its…


Book cover of On Java Road

Annette Hamilton Author Of Revolutionary Baby: Strange Tales from the Twentieth Century

From Annette's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Iconoclast Artist Traveller Stoic

Annette's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Annette Hamilton Why did Annette love this book?

Lawrence Osborne’s books lie somewhere between thrillers, memoirs, psychological investigations, and cross-cultural mysteries. He has been likened to Graham Greene, Paul Bowles, and Ian McEwen, but his stories are truly contemporary in feeling and could be called Expat Noir.

I loved this book for its depiction of the confusions experienced by a veteran British journalist as he attempted to unravel the disappearance of a student protestor amidst the pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong in 2019-2020. His descriptions of the city, its texture and sensations, and the increasing difficulties arising from powerful political pressures as he follows tangled threads involving his own deep feelings for the missing student are brilliantly interwoven.

I can’t think of any other author treading this terrain so well: the white middle-class expatriate in Asia has become something of a taboo subject, but this book shows how much can be learnt from a still unravelling colonial…

By Lawrence Osborne,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A veteran British journalist living in Hong Kong investigates the disappearance of a student protestor amidst the pro-democracy demonstrations in this unsettling new novel from the acclaimed author of The Forgiven

After twenty years as an ex-pat reporter in Hong Kong, Adrian Gyle has almost nothing to show for it. But now the streets are choked with students demanding democratic freedoms, and the old world is beginning to fall apart.

Adrian's old friend Jimmy Tang, the scion of a wealthy Hong Kong family, has begun a reckless affair with Rebecca, a leading pro-democracy protestor. But when Rebecca disappears and Jimmy…


Book cover of The Borrowed

Mo Moulton Author Of The Mutual Admiration Society: How Dorothy L. Sayers and Her Oxford Circle Remade the World for Women

From my list on fans of Dorothy L. Sayers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I got hooked on mystery novels as a kid reading the Encyclopedia Brown stories. Something about the combination of a great story and a puzzle to solve is irresistible to me.  As a historian, I’m interested in communities, and especially how people understood themselves as being part of the new kinds of economic, political, and cultural communities that emerged in the first half of the twentieth century. When I learned about Dorothy L. Sayers’ lifelong writing group, the wryly named ‘Mutual Admiration Society’, I was thrilled at the chance to combine my professional interests with my personal passion for detective fiction. 

Mo's book list on fans of Dorothy L. Sayers

Mo Moulton Why did Mo love this book?

This set of interlocked novellas opens with a comatose detective – a legend in his time – apparently conducting an interrogation through means of electrical signals sent from his brain to a computer. I was skeptical.

I’m a fan of the rules that Sayers and the Detection Club developed: no magic, no ‘jiggery-pokery’, no mystery poisons or miracle drugs, only the fair play of putting the evidence before the reader and letting them practice deduction. My skepticism was totally misplaced.

Chan Ho-Kei’s brilliant work tells the history of twentieth-century Hong Kong through the careers of two policemen. Each novella pays homage to the classic genres of crime fiction, and they build up to twists and revelations that are both shocking and completely faithful to fair play as Sayers knew it.

By Chan Ho-Kei, Jeremy Tiang (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Six interlocking stories. One spellbinding novel. The year is 2013, and Hong Kong's greatest detective is dying. For fifty years, Inspector Kwan quietly solved cases while the world changed around him. Now his partner Detective Lok has come to his deathbed for help with one final case. Where there is murder, there is humanity. This bold and intricate crime novel spans five decades of love, honour, race, class, jealousy and revenge in one of the most intriguing nations in the world. This is the story of a man who let justice shine in the space between black and white. This…


Book cover of Little Reunions

Michelle Quach Author Of Not Here to Be Liked

From my list on coming-of-age about smart but flawed Asian girls.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Chinese Vietnamese American author who writes about the Asian girls I never saw in books as a kid. Growing up in Southern California, I was part of an Asian community that was extremely diverse—a reality that was rarely reflected in American pop culture. For years, I longed to see messy, flawed, fully humanized Asian characters in all different kinds of stories, not just the typical child-of-immigrant narratives. As a result, I now spend a lot of time thinking about representation (whether I want to or not!), and I’m always looking for writers who pull it off with nuance and realism. I hope you’ll find these books are great examples of that.

Michelle's book list on coming-of-age about smart but flawed Asian girls

Michelle Quach Why did Michelle love this book?

I’m always struck by how modern Eileen Chang’s voice feels to me, even though her stories take place in China decades ago.

Little Reunions, for instance, opens with the main character Julie facing her school exams just before the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong during WWII. But I found it easy to identify with Julie—her observations, her longings, and even her pettiness.

It’s one thing to read about a character who would get your background; it’s another to read about a character who would get you. In Little Reunions, I got both.

By Eileen Chang, Jane Weizhen Pan (translator), Martin Merz (translator)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A best-selling, autobiographical depiction of class privilege, bad romance, and political intrigue during World War II in China.

Now available in English for the first time, Eileen Chang’s dark romance opens with Julie, living at a convent school in Hong Kong on the eve of the Japanese invasion. Her mother, Rachel, long divorced from Julie’s opium-addict father, saunters around the world with various lovers. Recollections of Julie’s horrifying but privileged childhood in Shanghai clash with a flamboyant, sometimes incestuous cast of relations that crowd her life. Eventually, back in Shanghai, she meets the magnetic Chih-yung, a traitor who collaborates with…


Book cover of Neon Panic

Gerald Elias Author Of Cloudy with a Chance of Murder: A Daniel Jacobus Mystery

From my list on mysteries in the world of classical music.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve spent a lifetime as a professional classical musician and a mystery reader. Starting with Hardy Boys adventures at the same time I started playing the violin, my intertwined love affairs with music and the mystery genre continue to this day. As a long-time member of major American symphony orchestras, I’ve heard and experienced so many stories about the dark corners of the classical music world that they could fill a library. It gives me endless pleasure to read other mystery authors’ take on this fascinating, semi-cloistered world and to share some of my own tales with the lay public in my Daniel Jacobus mystery series.

Gerald's book list on mysteries in the world of classical music

Gerald Elias Why did Gerald love this book?

The setting is roiling Hong Kong just before the British turnover to China. A musician in the Hong Kong Philharmonic, searching for an unaccountably missing friend and colleague, becomes sucked into the back alleys of organized crime. Martin himself was a veteran professional orchestral string bass player in Hong Kong and has a consummate grasp of the pulse of the city and the vagaries of the music business. This gritty, rough-and-tumble page-turning thriller, with dialogue as spicy as the food and a noire feel, is an under-the-radar gem that in a fair world should be a best-seller. May be hard to find but so worth the effort.

By Charles Philipp Martin,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The body of a young woman washes up in Hong Kong harbour. To Inspector Herman Lok of the Hong Kong Police Force it appears to be an acccidental death - a fisherwoman who drowned. But Lok soon discovers that the woman is linked not just to the triads, the city's infamous criminal societies, but also to an organization not usually associated with murder and conspiracy - the Hong Kong Symphony Orchestra.

Meanwhile Hector Siefert, an American musician living in Hong Kong, learns that his colleague for Leo Stern has disappeared. Enlisting the help of a newspaper reporter with the unlikely…


Book cover of Dying to Be Me: My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing

Ingrid Ricks Author Of Focus

From my list on leveraging the now and the power of your mind.

Why am I passionate about this?

A shock diagnosis of a blinding eye disease at the age of 37, coupled with a trip to South Africa to write about the devastating toll of AIDS, drove home the importance of focusing on the Now. This newfound perspective led me to radically change my life and turn my author dream into reality. Eleven years later another shock diagnosis—this time with aggressive breast cancer—led me to the intersections between spirituality and science. That’s where I learned about the proven impact our thoughts and beliefs have on our health and overall life. I now use my transformative journey to empower audiences and help them pursue the lives they want—regardless of the challenges they face. 

Ingrid's book list on leveraging the now and the power of your mind

Ingrid Ricks Why did Ingrid love this book?

This book, which is part memoir, part healing, and transformation, is about a woman’s near-death experience after her body was ravaged by stage-four cancer and the miraculous spontaneous healing that followed. It’s an incredible story on its own. But what I found particularly fascinating were Moorjani’s conclusions regarding the thoughts, beliefs, and life experiences that led to her illness, as well as her overall take on how readers can promote healing in their own lives. 

By Anita Moorjani,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Dying to Be Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this truly inspirational memoir, Anita Moorjani relates how, after fighting cancer for almost four years, her body began shutting down-overwhelmed by the malignant cells spreading throughout her system. As her organs failed, she entered into an extraordinary near-death experience where she realized her inherent worth . . . and the actual cause of her disease. Upon regaining consciousness, Anita found that her condition had improved so rapidly that she was released from the hospital within weeks-without a trace of cancer in her body!

Within these pages, Anita recounts stories of her childhood in Hong Kong, her challenge to establish…


Book cover of Muir's Gambit: A Spy Game Novel

James Stejskal Author Of Dead Hand

From James' 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Story Teller Historian of Unconventional Warfare Conflict Archaeologist Former Soldier and Spook Curmudgeon

James' 3 favorite reads in 2023

James Stejskal Why did James love this book?

This book will surprise the hell out of you.

The author (& screenwriter of Spy Game) writes deftly with incisive dialogue and humor. He details the hidden human motivations that drive spies and their masters, and with his command of intelligence tradecraft, rules that can be twisted, and an insider's grasp of the Agency’s culture, you have a recipe for great reading.

Beckner takes the reader into a high-stakes battle of wits and memories between two Cold Warriors that spans years and takes the reader through a dense wilderness of mirrors. Old operations and secrets no one wants revealed lie in wait and propel the story towards a whirlwind conclusion that will leave you breathless.

This is a deliciously layered tale told from the front porch of a Florida vacation home under the influence of good whisky cut with rainwater. There are echoes of Chandler, hints of Thompson, and…

Book cover of A City Mismanaged: Hong Kong's Struggle for Survival

Steve Tsang Author Of A Modern History of Hong Kong: 1841-1997

From my list on Hong Kong’s history and politics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born in colonial Hong Kong, and my teenage rebellion was anti-colonialism. So I went on a journey to rediscover ‘mother China’ by reading and visiting the Mainland. What I saw and learned first-hand contradicted what I had read of China, primarily Communist Party propaganda. The realization that colonial Hong Kong treated its people so much better than in socialist China made me think, and started my interest in researching the history of Hong Kong. A Modern History of Hong Kong: 1841-1997 is the result, and based on years of research into the evolution of Hong Kong’s people, its British colonial rulers, as well as China’s policies towards Hong Kong.

Steve's book list on Hong Kong’s history and politics

Steve Tsang Why did Steve love this book?

This is a cogent book on how Hong Kong’s Government has squandered a magnificent inheritance, a vibrant, energetic, and entrepreneurial people willing to engage with the government by neglecting their social rights. Goodstadt does so by examining housing, medical services, and education policy, as well as Hong Kong’s all important relationship with Mainland China. It is a readable piece of serious scholarship by someone who had served as the head of the government’s Central Policy Unit for over a decade in British Hong Kong. It explains the background to the social discontent that underpinned the massive protests of 2019, which triggered a dramatic change in China’s policy towards Hong Kong.

By Leo F. Goodstadt,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A City Mismanaged traces the collapse of good governance in Hong Kong, explains its causes, and exposes the damaging impact on the community’s quality of life. Leo Goodstadt argues that the current well-being and future survival of Hong Kong have been threatened by disastrous policy decisions made by chief executives and their principal officials. Individual chapters look at the most shocking examples of mismanagement: the government’s refusal to implement the Basic Law in full; official reluctance to halt the large-scale dilapidation of private sector homes into accommodation unfit for habitation; and ministerial toleration of the rise of new slums. Mismanagement…


Book cover of Tai-Pan

Joan Havelange Author Of Death and Denial

From my list on new and not so new murder mystery and mayhem.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write whodunits. I love a good puzzle. And I love humour. I have written five mysteries Wayward Shot, Death and Denial, a travel mystery, The Trouble with Funerals, The Suspects, my protagonists, go on another travel mystery, and Murder Exit Stage Right. I have won BWL INC best-selling author two years in a row. I am now writing another mystery Moving is Murder the publishing date is October 2023. And new to me and a challenge is a historical mystery I’m writing set in the 1900s.

Joan's book list on new and not so new murder mystery and mayhem

Joan Havelange Why did Joan love this book?

As a historical fiction, this novel rates right up at the top.

I loved this story; James brought the people of the day alive for me. And I followed up with his other novels. He was a fantastic storyteller.

It is an adventure that takes place in the early 19th century. English, European and American traders sailed to Asia and began trade with the Chinese. James paints an exotic picture of the China of the day.

The culture of China mixed with the craftiness of the traders as they vied for domination over the other. Who will become the leader, The Tai-Pan? 

Book cover of Thrilling Cities

Anistatia R. Miller Author Of Spirituous Journey: A History of Drink, Book Two

From my list on folklore and fact on spirits & cocktail history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been researching and writing with my co-author husband Jared Brown about spirits and mixed drinks for three decades. After writing more than three dozen books plus hundreds of articles about the history and origins of alcoholic beverages, you could say I am addicted to the topic in a big way. While we’ve travelled and tasted drinks around the world we’ve also amassed a few thousand books on the subject. It’s served as a launch point of our secondary careers as drinks consultants and master distillers for global spirits brands. I'm currently finishing my doctoral thesis on early-modern English brewing at the University of Bristol to put a feather on the cap of my long career.

Anistatia's book list on folklore and fact on spirits & cocktail history

Anistatia R. Miller Why did Anistatia love this book?

My husband and I have spent three decades travelling the world in search of great drinks and great drink stories. You could say this one volume ignited a wanderlust in us both when we first kicked off our drinks writing career. Written between 1959 and 1960, some of the places mentioned don’t exist any longer but brought back fond memories for me. The Musket & Henrickson pharmacy in Chicago which had a late-night café frequented by Playboy Club entertainers and mafiosi is just one example. What Fleming offered in his portrayals of Hong Kong, Macau, Tokyo, Honolulu, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Chicago, New York, Hamburg, Berlin, Vienna, Geneva, Naples, and Monte Carlo undoubtedly inspired Anthony Bourdain’s portrayals of places in his fabulous TV series.

By Ian Fleming,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

On November 2nd armed with a sheaf of visas...one suitcase...and my typewriter, I left humdrum London for the thrilling cities of the world...

In 1959, Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, was commissioned by the Sunday Times to explore fourteen of the world's most exotic cities. Fleming saw it all with a thriller writer's eye. From Hong Kong to Honolulu, New York to Naples, he left the bright main streets for the back alleys, abandoning tourist sites in favour of underground haunts, and mingling with celebrities, gangsters and geishas. The result is a series of vivid snapshots of a…