Hi there, I am Nessie. I am the editor for Chinese BL Novels here at The Red Oak Tree.
BL stands for “Boy Love”, boy-boy love versus a heterosexual love relationship. This genre of novels has been around for at least more than a decade and I consider myself late coming on board. In Chinese, this genre is known as 耽美 dān měi. In Japanese, it’s often tagged as “yaoi” or “shounen ai”.
It was around March 2019 when a close friend of mine shared with me one of the novels that she had read. We were really bored at that time so she started telling me the stories she read. They were “The Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation” 《魔道祖师》mó dào zǔ shī , and another non-BL novel, “The King’s Avatar”.
I was thoroughly invested reading “The Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation”. I read it five times in total, in English and Chinese. I watched the animation and the Chinese drama starring Wang Yi Bo and Xiao Zhan several times. Subsequently, I was intrigued by other novel like “Heavenly Officials Blessing”, “Scum Villain’s Self-Saving System”, “Years of Intoxication” and so on. It was truly an amazing journey in the world of boy love novels considering the fact that I have not picked up any books to read for the past several decades!
Thereafter, I started reading bl novels one after another. I swear I will never pick up any non-BL to read ever again!
What I like about BL novels is that the main characters are men – powerful, macho, handsome, headstrong, intelligent, cold, yandere type of characters (not the sissy type!). I enjoy reading about how these powerful and antagonistic characters clash with each other and then realise they have possessive obsession for each other later on. There are lots of humour to be had! In bl novels, usually either or both the ‘gong’ and ‘shou’ are not aware of their budding interest for the other initially, since heterosexual love is more rampant and readily accepted. Therefore, the relationship between the couple needed to be one that is very deep, unconditional type of love for the characters to have the courage to accept and bend for the other in order to cross the social and psychological chasm.
This genre of novels has a great variety of themes too, ranging from fantasy, wu xia, xian xia, xuan huan, cultivation, system, modern day, ancient China, mystery, horror, supernatural, games, apocalypse, zombies, futuristic, transmigration, rebirth and so on. Some of these novels are just so unique and captivating that I can binge-read them for days and weeks! But I particularly enjoy reading only Chinese BL novels due to the beauty of the Chinese language and the rich Chinese culture. I can speak, read and write Chinese.
Novels like “Are You Addicted”, “Lawless Gangster” and “Waiting For You Online” made me book a holiday in China in December 2019. I wanted to taste the tang hu lus and immerse myself in the hutongs of Beijing after reading “Are You Addicted”. I want to take the sleeper trains after reading “Lawless Gangster”. And I wanted to visit China Snow Town after reading “Waiting For You Online”. My wishes were fulfilled and I had an enchanting and unforgettable holiday. Next time, I want to return again to visit Tibet (“Are You Addicted”) and Xinjiang (“My Little Poplar”). And probably gay bars in Taiwan (after reading “Beloved Enemy”)! hahaha! I wonder if they will let me in to have my eye candies !
Having read a handful of BL novels, I don’t want to forget the stories I have read. So I started penning the spoilers in my Chinese BL Novels Facebook blog. It was initially for myself only. I did not want to actively reach out for followers. But subsequently other bl novel lovers found my blog and connected with me. I totally respect readers who do not want to read my spoilers and spoil their reading pleasure. There are other readers, however, who are confused with the story when they read the MTL-ed (machine translated language) version. My spoilers guide them with the story. Similarly, there are bl novel fans who read my facebook blog for novel recommendations. Thus, I warmly welcome you to join me in my journey to read Chinese BL novels as we can chat and share our reading pleasures, laugh and cry together.
I enjoy interacting with bl novel fans and I do help them out from time to time. Giving me your comments and feedback enable me to improve my postings. If you like my Chinese BL Novels postings or The Red Oak Tree’s food and travel log, please show us your love in your comments or in any other ways in kind.