I began my study of Asia with Lisa See’s 2009 novel Shanghai Girls. The novel follows the story of two modern-for-the-forties Chinese girls, a brilliant 姐姐(jiě jie，older sister) and a breathtaking 妹妹 (mèi mei， younger sister； called Sze Yup moy moy in the novel) as they are sold to American husbands and as Japan invades their home.
Lisa See, the author, is actually 1/8 Chinese Asian-American. She lived in Chinatown as a child and learned more than one dialect, and her knowledge of Chinese history is astounding.
I highly recommend See’s Shanghai Girls. I felt each event as it happened; reading this book is an emotional experience.
From here, I will be researching Asian poetry, then short stories and possibly more novels. I also plan on producing my own work in response to what I read. As I have been learning Chinese for nearly ten years and Japanese for one, I am extremely excited to begin this unit!
Image from http://www.lisasee.com，