Hello Fiction Dwellers!
Let’s be honest I don’t have the best track record for challenges and staying true to my TBR because I am chronic mood reader. I read based on what I feel like reading.
For this readathon I am going to attempt to follow a certain list of books while also giving myself more choices in case I change I feel like reading something else from a different genre.
For this challenge there are five challenges and these challenges are loosely based on the movie ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’, an A24 movie starring Michelle Yeoh.
I still haven’t watched the movie yet, maybe this month I’ll abandon my true crime documentaries for it to bask in Michelle Yeoh’s greatness.
Challenge Prompts & Important Links ⤵️
This year’s challenge is loosely themed around ‘Everything Everywhere All At Once’ and is meant to be easy, accessible, and open to interpretation.
- Read a book written by an Asian author.
- Read a book featuring an Asian character who is a woman AND/OR older.
- Read a book by an Asian author that has a universe you would want to experience OR a universe that is totally different from yours.
- Read a book by an Asian author that has a cover worthy of googly eyes. 👀
- Read a book by an Asian author that has a high rating OR was highly recommended.
These challenges can be combined if you want to make it even easier!
- You can combine challenges and read in any order; however, EACH book you read should feature a character or author of a different Asian ethnicity. This is to encourage cultural diversity.
- Example: I can read a book by a Japanese author to combine challenges #1, #2, and #3. But if I read a second book by a Japanese author, that would not count for any other challenge, therefore I still need to read a book with a different ethnicity to cover challenges #4 and #5.
Important Links :
Google Doc with all the info: https://bit.ly/3rDYuY0
Directory of Asian Books: https://bit.ly/3vuAZBQ
1. Read a book written by an Asian author
The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah
Release Date : 17th May 2022
Neither here nor there, but long ago… Loulie al-Nazari is the Midnight Merchant: a criminal who, with the help of her jinn bodyguard, hunts and sells illegal magic. When she saves the life of a cowardly prince, she draws the attention of his powerful father, the sultan, who blackmails her into finding an ancient lamp that has the power to revive the barren land.
With no choice but to obey or be executed, Loulie journeys with the sultan’s oldest son to find the artifact. Aided by her bodyguard, who has secrets of his own, they must survive ghoul attacks, outwit a vengeful jinn queen, and confront a malicious killer from Loulie’s past. And, in a world where story is reality and illusion is truth, Loulie will discover that everything—her enemy, her magic, even her own past—is not what it seems.
👁️ Chelsea Abdullah is a Kuwait-American writer that will soon release her first book The Stardust Thief on May 17th 2022. I started this book a month ago and I still haven’t finished it, so I’m including it into my TBR to force myself to finish it. I am 50% in so far, currently waiting for the pacing to pick up because I am struggling here.
2. Read a book featuring an Asian character who is a woman AND/OR older.
Four Aunties and A Wedding (Aunties #2) by Jesse Q. Sutanto
Meddy Chan has been to countless weddings, but she never imagined how her own would turn out. Now the day has arrived, and she can’t wait to marry her college sweetheart, Nathan. Instead of having Ma and the aunts cater to her wedding, Meddy wants them to enjoy the day as guests. As a compromise, they find the perfect wedding vendors: a Chinese-Indonesian family-run company just like theirs. Meddy is hesitant at first, but she hits it off right away with the wedding photographer, Staphanie, who reminds Meddy of herself, down to the unfortunately misspelled name.
Meddy realizes that is where their similarities end, however, when she overhears Staphanie talking about taking out a target. Horrified, Meddy can’t believe Staphanie and her family aren’t just like her own, they are The Family–actual mafia, and they’re using Meddy’s wedding as a chance to conduct shady business. Her aunties and mother won’t let Meddy’s wedding ceremony become a murder scene–over their dead bodies–and will do whatever it takes to save her special day, even if it means taking on the mafia.
👁️ Four Aunties and A Wedding is the follow up to Jesse Q. Sutanto’s adult romance/murder-mystery book that was released in 2021. I read the book last year and was pretty entertained by the premise and the characters. For Asian Readathon I wanted to pick a book from my country so I picked this book because Jesse is an Indonesian like me, this story features five Indonesian women, and a mafia. I wanted to know where Jesse is taking the story so I hope it’s as good as the first book.
3. Read a book by an Asian author that has a universe you would want to experience OR a universe that is totally different from yours.
Strange Beasts of China by Yan Ge
Translated by Jeremy Tiang
From one of the most exciting voices in contemporary Chinese literature, an uncanny and playful novel that blurs the line between human and beast …
In the fictional Chinese city of Yong’an, an amateur cryptozoologist is commissioned to uncover the stories of its fabled beasts. These creatures live alongside humans in near-inconspicuousness—save their greenish skin, serrated earlobes, and strange birthmarks.
Aided by her elusive former professor and his enigmatic assistant, our narrator sets off to document each beast, and is slowly drawn deeper into a mystery that threatens her very sense of self.
Part detective story, part metaphysical enquiry, Strange Beasts of China engages existential questions of identity, humanity, love and morality with whimsy and stylistic verve.
👁️ For the longest time I wanted to read Strange Beasts of China by Yan Ge published by Tilted Axis. I saw this book when I was scrolling through a local indie bookstore’s Instagram. It said Sci-Fi and short stories, I immediately bough it. The story is about a cryptozoologist commissioned to uncover stories of fabled beasts in China. Also the cover is just gorgeous! This is option one for the third challenge.
👁️ OR 👁️
Siren Queen by Nghi Vo
Release Date : 10th May 2022
🇻🇳 🇺🇸 🏳️🌈
“No maids, no funny talking, no fainting flowers.” Luli Wei is beautiful, talented, and desperate to be a star. Coming of age in pre-Code Hollywood, she knows how dangerous the movie business is and how limited the roles are for a Chinese American girl from Hungarian Hill—but she doesn’t care. She’d rather play a monster than a maid.
But in Luli’s world, the worst monsters in Hollywood are not the ones on screen. The studios want to own everything from her face to her name to the women she loves, and they run on a system of bargains made in blood and ancient magic, powered by the endless sacrifice of unlucky starlets like her. For those who do survive to earn their fame, success comes with a steep price. Luli is willing to do whatever it takes—even if that means becoming the monster herself.
Siren Queen offers up an enthralling exploration of an outsider achieving stardom on her own terms, in a fantastical Hollywood where the monsters are real and the magic of the silver screen illuminates every page. I also really like the old Hollywood aesthetic!
👁️ Siren Queen is Nghi Vo’s newest novel that will be released May 10th 2022. It is a historical fiction set in old Hollywood following an actress with a fantastical twist. I picked this book because it is set in a different time than the one I’m living in.
4. Read a book by an Asian author that has a cover worthy of googly eyes. 👀
Love in the Big City by Sang Young Park
Translated by Anton Hur
Love in the Big City is the English-language debut of Sang Young Park, one of Korea’s most exciting young writers. A runaway bestseller, the novel hit the top five lists of all the major bookstores and went into nine printings. Both award-winning for its unique literary voice and perspective, and particularly resonant with young readers, it has been a phenomenon in Korea and is poised to capture a worldwide readership.
Love in the Big City is an energetic, joyful, and moving novel that depicts both the glittering nighttime world of Seoul and the bleary-eyed morning-after. Young is a cynical yet fun-loving Korean student who pinballs from home to class to the beds of recent Tinder matches. He and Jaehee, his female best friend and roommate, frequent nearby bars where they push away their anxieties about their love lives, families, and money with rounds of soju and ice-cold Marlboro Reds that they keep in their freezer. Yet over time, even Jaehee leaves Young to settle down, leaving him alone to care for his ailing mother and to find companionship in his relationships with a series of men, including one whose handsomeness is matched by his coldness, and another who might end up being the great love of his life.
A brilliantly written novel filled with powerful sensory descriptions and both humor and emotion, Love in the Big City is an exploration of millennial loneliness as well as the joys of queer life, that should appeal to readers of Sayaka Murata, Han Kang, and Cho Nam-Joo.
👁️ Love in the Big City is a story following a young adult millennial gay man in Seoul by Sang Young Park translated by Anton Hur yet again another book published by Tilted Axis. When I first laid eyes on this book I lost all train of thought and just immediately had this impulse to buy it. This Tilted Axis edition is way better than the original cover. Tilted Axis does some of the best covers that makes you just want to buy everything. Truly googly eye worthy!
👁️ OR 👁️
The Spear Cuts Through Water by Simon Jimenez
Release Date : 30th August 2022
A reluctant warrior goes on the run with an ancient goddess through a lush world full of wild magic, wondrous creatures, and hidden enemies in this beautiful epic fantasy from the author of The Vanished Birds .
In the land of the Strangled Throat, the people suffer under the rule of a despotic Emperor. His sons, the Three Terrors, despoil the countryside and oppress its citizens. When Keema Daware–a fierce warrior who lost his left arm in battle–finds the mythic Empress, who has escaped from her royal imprisonment, at his sentry outpost, he must make a choice: turn her in and evade the wrath of the Three Terrors, or help her overthrow the government and free a nation.
👁️ The Spear Cuts Through Water is one of my most anticipated releases this year. It is The Vanished Birds author, Simon Jimenez, second full length novel. After Simon’s phenomenal debut he plans to release The Spear Cuts Through Water on August 30th 2022. When I first saw the cover last year I immediately want to pre-order! It is just so beautiful! The cover is done by Simón Prades is just exquisite to look at. Also I’m pretty sure Simon Jimenez will deliver with beautiful prose through their impeccable skill in story telling, themes, and characterization.
👁️ OR 👁️
The City Inside by Samit Basu
Release Date : June 7th 2022
“They’d known the end times were coming but hadn’t known they’d be multiple choice.”
Joey is a Reality Controller in near-future Delhi. Her job is to supervise the multimedia multi-reality livestreams of Indi, one of South Asia’s fastest rising online celebrities—who also happens to be her college ex. Joey’s job gives her considerable culture power, but she’s too caught up in day-to-day crisis handling to see this, or to figure out what she wants from her life.
Rudra is a recluse estranged from his wealthy and powerful family, now living in an impoverished immigrant neighborhood. When his father’s death pulls him back into his family’s orbit, an impulsive job offer from Joey becomes his only escape from the life he never wanted.
But as Joey and Rudra become enmeshed in multiple conspiracies, their lives start to spin out of control—complicated by dysfunctional relationships, corporate loyalty, and the never-ending pressures of surveillance capitalism. When a bigger picture begins to unfold, they must each decide how to do the right thing in a world where simply maintaining the status quo feels like an accomplishment. Ultimately, resistance will not—cannot—take the same shape for these two very different people.
👁️ The City Inside is sci-fi anti-dystopian set in the year 2030 within the modern city of Delhi, India. This story was originally published in India by Simon & Schuster back in 2020. After receiving critical acclaim it has been acquired by Tordotcom. What made me request for this ARC on NetGalley is the cover. The cover is done by Kuri Huang, the artist that made covers for multiple books such as The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh and In The Watchful City by S Qiouyi Lu, and designed by Christine Foltzer. I’d say this cover has the same colour vibes as the movie Everything Everywhere All At Once. I’ve never read any South Asian dystopian before so this will be an interesting read.
5. Read a book by an Asian author that has a high rating OR was highly recommended.
Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo
🇨🇳 🇺🇸 🏳️🌈
A story of love and duty set in San Francisco’s Chinatown during the Red Scare.
“That book. It was about two women, and they fell in love with each other.” And then Lily asked the question that had taken root in her, that was even now unfurling its leaves and demanding to be shown the sun: “Have you ever heard of such a thing?”
Seventeen-year-old Lily Hu can’t remember exactly when the question took root, but the answer was in full bloom the moment she and Kathleen Miller walked under the flashing neon sign of a lesbian bar called the Telegraph Club.
America in 1954 is not a safe place for two girls to fall in love, especially not in Chinatown. Red-Scare paranoia threatens everyone, including Chinese Americans like Lily. With deportation looming over her father—despite his hard-won citizenship—Lily and Kath risk everything to let their love see the light of day.
👁️ Last Night at the Telegraph Club is a lesbian historical fiction set in San Francisco’s Chinatown in the year of 1954 during the Red Scare. This book have googly eye worthy cover with the details that goes into the cover. I picked Last Night at the Telegraph Club for my last challenge because it won the Booker Prize Award and for being nominated during the Goodreads Award 2021. Besides that many of my friends that have read and reviewed this book has said nothing but good things about it. Also I’ve been craving to read a good queer story lately so this book is perfect for me!