Top 5 Wednesday – Fave Non-Western Books

Welcome back to Top 5 Wednesday.  This is a meme started in November of 2013 and is still going strong! If you’re interested in being a part of it please see the group on Goodreads.

This week’s topic is Favorite Books Not in a Western or European Setting.

I happen to love Asian culture in particular, and I’ve included quite a few from those settings. Actually almost all from China or Japan. I love it so much!

line clipart


Peony in Love by Lisa See

This book shows up frequently on my lists. It is a real favorite for me. Briefly, it is about a young woman in 17th century China who becomes obsessed with a Chinese opera called The Peony Pavillion. It has proven deadly to a number of young women. She falls prey to it and then finds herself wandering the earth as a “hungry ghost”. The book is haunting (pun not intended) and ethereal. I really love it and can’t recommend it enough.

(bonus: an own voices book)

line clipart


A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

Mr. Hosseini is probably best known for The Kite Runner, but I really felt more of an attachment to this book. Two women in Kabul, find themselves married to the same man. At first they are antagonistic towards one another, but eventually they come to bond and love one another, despite the fact that the world around them is becoming more dangerous every day. It is a sad, scary, inspiring book. I love stories about women who care about and support each other.

(bonus: an own voices book)

line clipart


Risuko: A Kunoichi Tale by David Kudler

A middle school book about a young girl in 16th Century Japan who, after her parent’s death, finds herself training at a Ninja school for women. Yes this is awesome, and yes this school actually existed! Look up Mochizuki Chiyome sometime. She kicked all kinds of ass!

(see my original review here)

line clipart


The Kitchen God’s Wife by Amy Tan

Amy Tan is a goddess. She writes books that flow so easily but strike deep into the readers heart. I love every book she’s written, but this is by far my favorite. Winnie & Helen have had a tempestuous friendship over the years. They were frenemies before the term existed. Now in their older age Helen has made a threat. She will tell all the secrets that Winnie has been keeping from her daughter, all about their past in China during World War II. In this way, forcing Helen to confront the pain and build a new relationship with her daughter.

(bonus: an own voices book)


line clipart


The Story of Saiunkoku by Kairi Yura & Sai Yukino

I had to add at least one manga. This is a really great story. It is complete fantasy, set in China. Shurei Hong is a wonderful character. A young woman of scintillating intellect and ambition. However, at this time period that is unacceptable in a woman. She is asked to become a consort to the childish King, and she turns that position into an opportunity to affect change in government and mold the King into a great ruler. She’s wonderful.

line clipart

Well that’s all for now. I will add on a bonus. Sainkoku is also an anime (of course!) and I’m attaching the opening. It’s a lovely, pink delight with a great song! Check the show out if you get a chance.



7 thoughts on “Top 5 Wednesday – Fave Non-Western Books

  1. I remember getting approved for Risuko on Netgalley. Unfortunately, I never got to it. Also, I thought of including a Lisa See book too, “Dreams of Joy.”

  2. I am super excited to see Risuko on this list because I just placed it on my TBR for August! I had no idea the Ninja school for women that is featured in this book actually existed either! Now I am even more excited to read it 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s