The food of Taiwan has been the subject of a number of recent books, such as Frankie Gaw’s First Generation and Clarissa Wei’s Made in Taiwan. Chop Fry Watch Learn by Michelle King joins them, although it is a scholarly work, rather than providing recipes. While the first  two do also include cultural, historical, and personal background, Michelle King’s work delves deeper as it follows the journey of Fu Pei-Mei, one of the first TV presenters on food and author of bilingual Chinese cookbooks.

Blurred Boundaries: A Martial Arts Legacy and the Shaping of Taiwan, Hong Ze-Han, Christoper Bates (trans) (YMAA, December 2023)
Blurred Boundaries: A Martial Arts Legacy and the Shaping of Taiwan, Hong Ze-Han, Christoper Bates (trans) (YMAA, December 2023)

The civil war between the Nationalists and the Communists drove the largest refugee exodus in the modern history of China, across the sea to the southern island of Taiwan. Martial artists of many styles were among this diaspora. In the 1940’s areas of Taipei, Taiwan were terrorized by local gangsters. Supported by desperate martial artists who had to flee mainland China with no other resources but their martial skills, they robbed and extorted the population. The locals trying to rebuild a new life after the Japanese occupation, often hired their own cadre of martial artists. The Hong family was one of these merchant families.

The Musha Incident: A Reader on the Indigenous Uprising in Colonial Taiwan, Michael Berry (Columbia University Press, May 2022)
The Musha Incident: A Reader on the Indigenous Uprising in Colonial Taiwan, Michael Berry (Columbia University Press, May 2022)

On October 27, 1930, members of six Taiwanese indigenous groups ambushed the Japanese attendees of an athletic competition at the Musha Elementary School, killing 134. The uprising came as a shock to Japanese colonial authorities, whose response was swift and brutal. Heavy artillery and battalions of troops assaulted the region, spraying a wide area with banned poison gas. The Seediq from Mhebu, who led the uprising, were brought to the brink of genocide.

Kai the Dancing Butterfly, Crystal Z Lee, Allie Su (illus) (Balestier, February 2022)
Kai the Dancing Butterfly, Crystal Z Lee, Allie Su (illus) (Balestier, February 2022)

Kai and Ami are dancing butterflies from Taiwan! They have a performance coming up at the Winter Festival dance show in the southern part of the island. They are currently in northern Taiwan, so they need to hurry and start flying south. That’s far for a butterfly! Kai is worried about the long journey, and about the big show too. Can Kai step up to the challenge?

Wu Shih-sheng is a taxi driver, sinking in debt and living in a cockroach-infested metal shack in the outskirts of Taipei with his wife, Hsiang-ying. When she dies in a mental hospital, after claiming to have been hearing the voice of a ghost threatening her life and that of their daughter, Shih-sheng decides to dig deeper. His journey will lead him to consult with a deranged Taoist priestess, and eventually to embark on a dangerous hike on the top of Mount Jade, in central Taiwan, with the purpose of destroying the evil creature.