Looking For Literature: English Books in Shenyang

Looking For Literature: English Books in Shenyang
By Victoria Edwards , eChinacities.com

For the most part, Shenyang does not offer easy access to English books; however, there is one notable exception: Liaoning Provincial Library. Whereas the ‘Foreign Language’ section in bookstores here is small and lacking in variety, the library offers seven long aisles devoted to books in English, ranging from cooking to sociology to fiction to computer programming. Although some bookstores here might offer a smattering of English books on Chinese history, philosophy or economics, it was virtually incomparable.

In addition to a wide array of subject matter, the library offers two full aisles devoted to contemporary literature. Their aisles boast authors such as Stephen King, Salman Rushdie and Amy Tan. These contemporary authors are virtually nonexistent in the bookstores whose selection is mostly limited to traditional classics, such as Gone with the Wind and Great Expectations.

Although the library has many benefits, the bookstores here are not completely without merit. There are treasures to be unearthed. Several bookstores carry popular literature such as Twilight and Princess Diaries as well as Classic Chinese literature translated into English. And the bookstores have an undisputed benefit over the library as you end up keeping the books you read. The two bookstores worth visiting are the Shenyang Xinhua Books Center and the Beifang Tu Shu Cheng Bookstore.

1) Liaoning Provincial Library 辽宁省图书馆
The Foreign Language section is located on the left side, on the third floor of the library. The section starts halfway to the back of the room and is numbered 1-7. All of the books on the left side are in English. The library holds the usual classics that can be found at the bookstores here, as well as more contemporary literature. The organization of the books is bit random in places; a copy of Sex and The City is placed near a Norton’s Anthology of Poetry. However, it is generally very easy to find books in the library as all of them are in English and the sections are apparent.

What is more difficult is getting a library card to cart the treasures home. To undergo this feat you must pay a 100 RMB deposit, bring a passport and a letter from your employer verifying your employment. English books can be checked out for up to four weeks at a time.

Liaoning Provincial LibraryView In Map
Add: No.111,Wanliutang Rd., Dongling District, Shenyang
地址: 沉阳市东陵区111路万柳塘路
Tel: 024 2482 2449
Cost: Anyone can come in and read the books, but for a library card a 100 RMB deposit, passport and verification letter from employer, are required.
Opening Hours: Mon, Tue, Thurs, Fri, 08:00 – 17:00; Wed, 08:00-12:00

2) Shenyang Xinhua Books Center 沈阳新华书店
The ‘Foreign Language’ section is located on the fourth floor in the left hand corner near the bathrooms. From there find the fifth aisle. Although most of the book titles are classics, the bookstore boasts a rather eclectic collection. There are also some relevant books about China: travel books about Beijing and Shanghai, books on the Great Wall, Tibetan culture and a thick book on China’s foreign affairs. The ‘Young Adult’ genre is also quite abundant with box sets of Harry Potter or the Twilight saga.

Shenyang Xinhua Books CenterView In Map
Add: 70 Zhongshan Road, Heping District, Shenyang
Tel: 024 3187 1528
Average Price of an English Book: 60 RMB
Opening Hours: Mon-Sun, 09:00-18:00

3) Beifang Tu Shu Cheng 北方图书城
The foreign language section for this newly opened bookstore is almost impossible to find, being tucked away on the second floor underneath a Chinese moniker. Working the maze has its own reward. Most of the books in this section are Chinese and English. You’ll find the same European classics, and also a great deal of translated Chinese literature. This is a good bookstore for expats seeking culture minus the arduous process of learning to read the written characters. In addition to translated Chinese texts, this store carries a smattering of romance novels written without Chinese translations. The English novels are considerably more expensive than the Chinese, and an average novel costs about 60 RMB. In contrast, the Chinese books that have been translated into English are drastically cheaper with an average book priced at 20 RMB.  

Beifang Tu Shu ChengView In Map
Add: 2 Wu Ai Street,  Shenhe District, Shenyang
地址: 沉阳市沉河区五爱街2号
Tel: 024 2394 5054
Opening Hours: Mon-Sun, 09:00-17:00

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Keywords: Liaoning provincial library English books English language books Shenyang English bookstores Shenyang


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Dec 04, 2021 15:19 Report Abuse



A half block from the Mao Zedong Statue across from Lenore's just down from Carney's BBQ and Cafema on Zhongshan Lu is a great bookstore called GOETHE open all night with frequent events, food and coffee and half the entire upstairs is English books!

Nov 22, 2019 02:47 Report Abuse