The Far East–East of the Sun

Far-East-Asia-MapWelcome to the first week of East of the Sun! This week we are exploring the Far East. Countries included in the Far East include China, India, Mongolia, Nepal, Japan, and Korea. These countries are vastly different from each other, and even within a single country, multiple cultures co-exist. China is especially rich in cultural traditions and scientific advancements. Their great mythological epic “Journey to the West” is considered the longest book in the world. Japanese animation in the form of manga and anime is a cultural phenomenon in the west. Eastern pop music and television shows are also becoming increasingly popular, thanks to the internet.

India’s poetry is among some of the greatest in the world. Rabindranath Tagore, a Bengali poet, was the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize for literature in 1913 for his book of devotional poems: “Gitanjali.” India has two great mythological sagas: the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, both featuring the adventures of two incarnations of Vishnu. The Mahabharata is thought to be the longest poem in the world.

Between them India and China have given us four of the world’s great religions: Taoism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Confucianism. China gave us martial arts; India gave us the concept of karma. There are several amazing Chinese science fiction writers today, including Ken Liu and Liu Cixin, both winners of a Hugo award. Many others have been inspired by the rich culture these countries have to offer.

Explore the world of the Far East further by reading something from our suggested reading list. If you find a great book that’s not on this list let us know and we’ll add it in! Be sure to keep a list of all the reading you do this summer, and if you haven’t already, register to be eligible for prizes at the end of July! Be sure to come back Wednesday for our interview with Donna Jo Napoli–a celebrated author of fairytale retellings, set in countries around the world!

615lBSfXuGL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Suggested Reading

Journey to the West (Chinese Mythological Epic)
Mahabharata (Indian Mythological Epic)
Ramayana (Indian Mythological Epic)

Bound – Donna Jo Napoli (Chinese Cinderella)
The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen – Lloyd Alexander (Chinese inspired YA Fantasy)
Palace of Illusions – Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (Retelling of the Mahbharata)
The Night Itself—Zoe Marriott (Chinese Urban Fantsay)
The Oathbreaker’s Shadow—Amy McCulloch (Mongol inspired YA Fantasy)
The Walled City—Ryan Graudin (Chinese inspired YA Dystopia)
Ash Mistry Chronicles by Sarwat Chadda (Indian Middle Grade Fantasy)
The Three Body Problem — Liu Cixin (Chinese Science Fiction)

Katie Lynn Daniels is the author of Supervillain of the Day, and the mastermind behind Vaguely Circular. She blogs about science and things that are peripherally related to science. You can read all her posts here.


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