Top 5 Chinese Story Books

Posted by Lilian Li on Dec 9, 2015

top 5 Chinese story books

Today, we will introduce top 5 Chinese story books for you, which will help you a lot if you want to improve your Chinese reading skills.

1. Ancient Chinese Folk Tales


Children will enjoy reading this picture book series as they explore ancient folk tales and legends of famous places to open the door of history and begin to understand the Chinese culture. This series includes Shun Tilled Land at the Foot of Lishan Mountain, The Birth of Yellow Emperor, Yu the Great Chained up the Dragon, The Nine Sons of the Chinese Dragon, The Story of Lady Mochou, The Grotesque Peak Flying from Afar, The Precious Pearl of Brass Speculum, and The Wushan Mountain Goddess.

Chinese story books

2. Journey to the West


Journey to the West is Originally published anonymously in the 1590s during the Ming Dynasty. The novel is a fictionalized and mythologized account of the Buddhist monk Xuánzàng's pilgrimage to India during the Tang Dynasty in order to obtain Buddhist religious texts called Sutras. The Bodhisattva Guān Yīn, on instruction from the Buddha, gives this task to the monk and his three protectors in the form of disciples — namely Sun Wukong, Zhu Bajie and Sha Wujing — together with a dragon prince who acts as Xuanzang's horse mount.

These four characters have agreed to help Xuanzang as an atonement for past sins. The pilgrims undergo eighty-one calamities of all sorts before bringing the sutras back to the Chinese capital of Chang'an (present-day Xi'an). Part of the novel's enduring popularity comes from the fact that it works on multiple levels: it is a first-rate adventure story, a dispenser of spiritual insight, and an extended allegory in which the group of pilgrims journeying toward India stands for the individual journeying toward enlightenment. It also has much comedy, poetry and word play.

great Chinese story books

3. A Dream of Red Mansions


A Dream of Red Mansions was also named The Story of Stone, written in the latter half of the 18th century. It is not only a great Chinese novel but also a gem of world literature. The author is Cao Xueqin. A Dream of Red Mansions describes the life and declining fortunes of a large family. At the heart of the novel is a tragic love story between Jia Baoyu, Lin Daiyu and Xue Baochai. The author, instead of telling the love story superficially, tries to tap the social origins of the tragedy through probing deeply into the characters' minds and the complicated relationship among them, hence exposing the hypocrisy and cruelty of feudalism and the decadence of the ruling class. The novel goes far beyond the tragic love story, to depict a broad swath of society through describing a series of complicated conflicts and struggles, and ultimately predicting the domed fate of feudal society as a whole. The novel criticizes feudalism, its corrupted politics, marriage system and ethical relationships and passionately denounces its cruelty and inhumanity. And it made great artistic achievements. For instance, the novel provides a large number of detailed descriptions of everyday lives reflecting high aesthetic quality in many aspects including poetry, drama, art, architecture, and gardens, and medicine.

Chinese story books

4. Moment in Peking


Moment in Peking is a novel originally written in English by Chinese author Lin Yutang. The novel, Lin's first, covers the turbulent events in China from 1900 to 1938, including the Boxer Uprising, the Republican Revolution of 1911, the Warlord Era, the rise of nationalism and communism, and the start of the Sino-Japanese War of 1937-1945.

Lin tries not to be overly judgmental of the characters because he recognizes that too many issues were involved in the chaotic years of the early twentieth century China. There are no absolutely right or wrong characters. Each character held a piece of truth and reality and a piece of irrationality. In the preface, Lin writes that "[This novel] is merely a story of... how certain habits of living and ways of thinking are formed and how, above all, [men and women] adjust themselves to the circumstances in this earthly life where men strive but gods rule." The novel ends with a cliffhanger, letting the readers hope that the major characters who fled from the coastal regions to the inland of China would survive the horrible war.

top 5 Chinese story books

5. Red Sorghum


The First Chinese Nobel Winner Mo Yan, his writings cover a wide span, from short stories, to novels, to essays. His path to a literary career was not clear-cut. Mo Yan was born to a poor farming family in Shandong Province, China. After only a few years of schooling, he began work as a cattle herder at the age of 11. As a young man, Mo Yan enlisted in the army, where his literary talent was first discovered. He published his first short story in 1981, which, like his earlier works, was written according to the prevailing literary dictates of the ruling regime.

Over time, however, Mo Yan's storytelling began to seek out its own, more independent paths. His international breakthrough came with the epic novel 'Red Sorghum'. Other famous works by the Nobel Prize-awarded author include 'The Garlic Ballads' and 'Life and Death are Wearing Me Out'. His narrative style bears the hallmarks of magical realism. Mo Yan's writing often uses older Chinese literature and popular oral traditions as a starting point, combining these with contemporary social issues.

Chinese story books online

Besides the above introduced Chinese story books, there are a lot of great Chinese books you can read, which will help you a lot for your Chinese learning.

About The Author

Clarice Zhao

Clarice Zhao is a Chinese Learning teacher at Hanbridge Mandarin who graduated from Beijing Language and Culture University. As an expert in linguistics, pedagogy, and Chinese culture, Clarice is committed to helping her students succeed.

Learn Chinese online with Clarice Zhao >>

Related Articles

Online learn Chinese with native teacher