Adult Summer Reading 2011 – Asia

Another friendly reminder that we’re in the midst of our Summer Reading contest. Win a cool prize just for commenting on a book you’ve read since June 6. Fill out a form, or comment on our Summer Reading page or the Goodreads group page.

This year’s Summer Reading theme is Novel Destinations, so we’ve been visiting each of the continents. Our next stop: Asia!

1. Just so you don’t have to leave the comfort of your recliner (or hammock, or lawn chair, or whatever…), we’ve created a list of good Armchair Traveler reads for Asia.

2. I can personally recommend the following titles for a look at this vast continent:

  • City of Thieves by David Benioff – Trail along with Lev and Kolya as they attempt to find a dozen eggs for a Soviet colonel during the Siege of Leningrad.
  • Burma Chronicles by Guy Delisle – A graphic novel detailing the author’s experience as a “househusband” while living in the police state of Burma.
  • The Marriage Bureau for Rich People by Farahad Zama – Mr. Ali opens a marriage bureau after retirement, to help clients find love and happiness.
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini – Two women endure life with their brutal husband under Taliban rule, while developing a long-lasting friendship.
  • The Piano Tuner by Daniel Mason – A young man ventures into the Burmese jungle to tune a piano, and its beauty, danger, and people enchant him in ways he couldn’t have imagined.
  • Pearl of China by Anchee Min – The fictional story of Pearl S. Buck and her childhood best friend, Willow.
  • The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet by David Mitchell – It’s 1799, and Jacob plans to earn his fortune in Nagasaki, but finds life in feudal Japan political and dangerous.
  • The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa – The Professor has a short-term memory problem and looks to his housekeeper and her 10-year-old son to help him.
  • The Commoner by John Burnham Schwartz – Haruko, a commoner, becomes the wife of the Crown Prince of Japan, and must learn to meet the rigid restrictions placed on royalty.
  • Stalin’s Ghost by Martin Cruz Smith – Although this is the 6th in the Arkady Renko series, it’s one of the best – Russian police detective Renko is investigating reports of the “appearance” of Stalin in the Moscow Metro, which leads him to the more contemporary “ghosts” of Chechnya.

3. If you like historical fiction, check out one of these novels based on famous figures:

4. Pick up one of these for a good look at the various ways history has shaped Asia:

5. Wanting a classic? Here are some to dig in to:

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