Three excellent books for understanding modern China:
The Barefoot Lawyer: A Blind Man’s Fight for Justice and Freedom in China, by Chen GuangCheng
— A very accessible and engaging first-person autobiographical novel that tells the story of a blind man from China and his fight for individual freedom.
Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Dragon: Why China Has the Best (and Worst) Education System in the World, by Yong Zhao
— A detailed historical and contemporary analysis of the relationship between Chinese society and education in China.
Dealing with China: An Insider Unmasks the New Economic Superpower, by Henry M. Paulson
— Provides a high-level look at China’s contemporary macroeconomic policies along its path to ‘reform and opening up’ of its economy. A familiarity with terminology related to economics and finance is helpful for making this book accessible.