So, a lot happened in 2016.
In May, I decided to start this blog to review the Asian lit I read and posted my very first blog post on the first book featuring a Taiwanese American character that I’d ever read, Nothing but the Truth (and a few white lies) by Justina Chen.
Then, in November, I made the first real step toward posting regularly and averaged about one review per day since late November, totaling 35 reviewing as of yesterday.
Starting on December 1st, I participated in my first reading challenge, #DiversityDecBingo. The goal was to get one row of 5 books, but I was aiming for a complete blackout. Unfortunately, I didn’t quite reach that goal, with 3 books unfinished (I’d started and gotten a third of the way through of 2 of them). Even so, I’m proud of how far I got.
I did my first book tag, the Diverse Books Tag.
I hosted my first giveaway, for Stacey Lee’s Under a Painted Sky. It was part of an author spotlight, and you can read the spotlight post here.
I broke 20 followers on my blog and 150 Twitter followers after about a month of activity.
Now, for the 2017 resolutions!
- Diversify my reading even more! I started out focusing on Asian lit and that’s still the primary focus of my blog, but there are so many other amazing diverse books out there. Some specifics:
- I’m prioritizing #ownvoices books. I’ve already been doing that for the most part, so I’m renewing and strengthening my commitment.
- I want to read more books with/by Black, Latinx, and Indigenous characters/authors.
- By indigenous, I don’t just mean Native American, I mean indigenous peoples all over the world. In particular, I’m interested in reading books by/about Taiwan’s indigenous people and Pacific Islanders (the two are actually related, ethnically and linguistically).
- I want to read more Asian lit by Southeast Asian authors, as there are a lot of them who publish English-language lit in their regional market but don’t get much attention in the U.S. Thankfully, the Internet exists, and I’ve been following more SEA authors on Twitter so I can be more in the loop about publishing news in SEA.
- I want to read more books with/by disabled characters/authors. I’m disabled myself (I have two-ish mental illnesses), and I want to read about the many disabilities that are out there that differ from my own.
- I want to read more LGBTQ+ books. Because queer Asian lit is hard to come by, especially #ownvoices, and queer lit is very white as a whole, I kind of neglected queer lit for a while. Thankfully more books are coming out that feature queer Asian characters, so it’s not as much of an either/or situation of reading Asian lit vs. queer lit.
- I want to read more books with/by Jewish characters/authors. I’ve read a decent number of books with Muslim rep because the majority of Muslims are Asian, but not so much Jewish rep. I’ve actually found a number of books featuring Asian Jewish characters, and I’m interested in that intersectionality since people tend to assume all Jewish people are European, which is false.
- I want read more poetry and comics/graphic novels by marginalized creators. I read mostly prose right now, but as a former poet and a visual artist, I can definitely appreciate other creative media besides prose.
- I want to host my own diverse reading challenge/bingo in celebration of Asian American Heritage Month in May. More details to come later. If you are an Asian reader/blogger/booktuber who wants to help brainstorm and co-host this challenge, you can DM me on Twitter @theshenners, drop a comment on this post, or send me a message through my blog’s Contact form. I’m also looking for a graphic designer to help design the bingo board, and I will compensate the person with their choice of a 2017 book release with an Asian MC by an Asian author in their preferred format. If you know anyone who might be interested, send them my way!
- Note: The US government refers to it as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. However, the lumping in of Asian Americans with Pacific Islanders (aka Pasifika/Pacifica people) is problematic because it erases the fact that Asian people are complicit in settler colonialism against Pasifika people. For this reason, I keeping this reading challenge to Asian lit. If anyone who is Pasifika wants to host a separate/parallel reading challenge for Pasifika lit, that would be awesome and I will totally boost/support it and participate.
- I want to reduce and clear out my backlist of TBR books from 2015 and 2016. Hopefully I can accomplish that through some of my reading challenges by matching books with a reading challenge prompt. 🙂
- I want to participate in mini reading challenges corresponding to the various history/heritage and awareness months/weeks such as Black History Month, Transgender Awareness Week, etc.
- I have two other year-long reading challenges that I’m eyeing with interest. Hopefully I can juggle all of these reading challenges.
- I want to post regular Asian author spotlights. I’ll probably pair them with giveaways like I did with my Stacey Lee author spotlight.
- I want to review books right after finishing them. I started my diverse book reading quest in 2015 but didn’t think to review the books I read until last year, so I have an enormous backlog of books I’ve read but haven’t reviewed. At this point I’ll probably have to reread some of them so I can write a more thorough review.
- With all of the above points in mind, I also want to make sure that I’m not stressing myself out too much trying to reach various goals. I read because I love to immerse myself in stories, and turning it into an assignment-like deal can be draining. So even if I don’t reach all of my goals, I hope to enjoy myself as much as possible. 🙂
Thanks to everyone who welcomed me into the book community in 2016. Hope to share my bookish adventures with y’all in 2017!