Category Archives: Reading Challenge

#ARCAugust TBR

Another month, another reading challenge! For those who are curious as to what happened with my #24in48 challenge, I managed to finish 7 out of the 10 books on my TBR for the challenge, which is probably the most success I’ve had with a reading challenge in a while since I started working full-time. Despite burning through 7 ARCs for #24in48, I still have a million and one ARCs to get through, which is why I’m signing up for #ARCAugust. Here’s my rough TBR in no particular order (minus the split between YA and Adult)!

YA Fiction

  • Water in May by Ismee Amiel Williams
  • The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton
  • Solo by Kwame Alexander
  • The Edge of the Abyss by Emily Skrutskie
  • Starswept by Mary Fan
  • That Inevitable Victorian Thing by E.K. Johnston
  • A Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo
  • The Speaker by Traci Chee

Adult Fiction

  • The Red Threads of Fortune by JY Yang
  • The Black Tides of Heaven by JY Yang
  • Songs of Insurrection by JC Kang
  • Love and Other Consolation Prizes by Jamie Ford
  • Jade City by Fonda Lee
  • The Leavers by Lisa Ko
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#24in48 Readathon TBR

As a way to force myself away from social media for a while and knock out a chunk of my TBR, I decided to join the #24in48 readathon. What is it? From #24in48:

If you’re new to 24in48, this is the basic gist: beginning at 12:01am on Saturday morning and running through 11:59pm on Sunday night, participants read for 24 hours out of that 48-hour period. You can split that up however you’d like: 20 hours on Saturday, four hours on Sunday; 12 hours each day; six four-hour sessions with four hour breaks in between, whatever you’d like.

Based on my average reading speed and the average page count per book, I’m setting my goal at 10 books. Picking which books to read out of my TBR actually wasn’t hard because I am due to send out the last batch of my BEA ARC acquisitions soon, so this is my last ditch effort to read the ones that I reeeally wanted to read before I sent them out to the marginalized bloggers I promised them to. Here are the books in no particular order!

  • You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins (September 12th) – YA, Historical Fiction, #ownvoices Indian/Bengali American MCs
  • Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi (October 31st) – YA, #ownvoices Nigerian-inspired Fantasy, Black MC
  • The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton (February 20th,, 2018) – YA, Fantasy, #ownvoices Black MC
  • Dear Martin by Nic Stone (October 17th) – YA, Contemporary, #ownvoices Black MC
  • 27 Hours by Tristina Wright (October 3rd) – YA, Science Fiction/Fantasy, various QPOC characters (#ownvoices bi rep)
  • They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera (September 5th) – YA, Speculative Fiction (idk what do classify this as lol), #ownvoices queer Latinx MC, M/M romance
  • Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore (September 26th) – YA, Magical Realism, #ownvoices queer Latina MC
  • The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore (September 19th) – MG/YA, Contemporary, #ownvoices Black MC
  • Water in May by Ismee Amiel Williams (September 12th) – YA, Contemporary, Dominican MC (author is Cuban)
  • Calling My Name by Liara Tamani (October 24th) – YA, Contemporary, #ownvoices Black+Christian MC

You are permitted to cry in the comments about how utterly amazing this lineup is, I am crying as well. ;~;

Asian Lit Bingo Reading Challenge Announcement and Master Post

ETA: Rules and point allotments have been updated for the Contests.

I am pleased to announce that a bunch of Asian bloggers and I will be hosting a month-long reading challenge during May. This is the master post with all the relevant information for the reading challenge.

Background

Inspiration and Purpose: In the U.S., the month of May is Asian American Heritage Month*, so I thought, what better way to celebrate than to do a reading challenge that spotlights books with Asian characters and centers Asian voices? In publishing, there are power dynamics in play that marginalize Asian authors, especially those who write Asian characters and draw from their heritage for their writing. In the context of publishing in countries where white people are the majority/dominant group, diaspora Asians in those countries have a hard time breaking into publishing. In a more global context, Asian writers in Asia have a hard to reaching a wider market beyond regional publishing due to their perceived foreignness, plus a general lack of infrastructure for translations for those that don’t write in English (and many do write in English). There are also double standards in the industry that facilitate publication for white authors writing Asian[-inspired] characters/settings/stories while Asian writers who write from the place of a cultural insider are often told their stories are “too Asian” or “not Asian enough.” For this reason, I feel it is especially important to highlight #ownvoices Asian stories, where the authors share the heritage of the characters they write about.

*May is technically designated as Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. However, a number of Pasifika activists and friends of mine have stated that lumping together Asian Americans with Pacific Islanders results in the erasure and co-opting of PIs and that they want to have their own spaces to discuss their issues. I am respecting that and keeping the two separate for this challenge.

Scope: Aside from the reading challenge, my co-hosts and I have planned a series of blog posts (e.g. discussions, author interviews, author features, etc.) and social media events to complement the challenge and celebrate Asian literature in other ways. I’ll be adding links to these posts and details on the social media events on this master post as they go up. If you are an Asian blogger/vlogger/bookstagrammer/etc. and have your own idea for a post/video you want to make about Asian lit, go for it, and feel free to leave a comment here with the link so I can add it to the list. You can use this template for your blog header if you’d like.

The Hosts

Shenwei @ READING (AS)(I)AN (AM)ERICA (#AsianLitBingo Creator)
Isabella @ The Book Pandas
Glaiza @ Paper Wanderer
Janani @ The Shrinkette
Wendy @ Written in Wonder
CW @ Read, Think, Ponder
Sophia @ Bookwyrming Thoughts
Mish @ Chasing Faerytales
Hazel @ Stay Bookish
Sue @ Hollywood News Source
Cassidy @ Quartzfeather
Stephanie @ Igniting Pages
Anisha @ Sprinkled Pages
Sinead @ Huntress of Diverse Books
Rana @ Words Across Borders
Aila @ One Way Or an Author
Aentee @ Read at Midnight (Graphic Designer Extraordinaire)

Reading Challenge Information

The reading challenge is a general challenge and also a contest with prizes!

The Hashtag

Use the hashtag #AsianLitBingo when posting on Twitter or Instagram about the challenge. Check out what other people are reading and find posts and reviews related to the challenge by searching the hashtag.

The Setup

Similar to the Diversity Bingo 2017 challenge, the Asian Lit Bingo challenge takes the form of a bingo board, a 5 by 5 grid with 25 total prompts for books to read. The baseline goal is to read prompts for a single line, vertically, horizontally, or diagonally on the board, for a total of 5 books. Post your progress on Twitter with the hashtag #AsianLitBingo.

Eligible Books:

  • Fiction books should have an Asian main character (can be one of several main characters) and be by an Asian author to qualify. It does not have to be #ownvoices, but reading #ownvoices books is strongly encouraged!
  • Nonfiction books should be by an Asian author with a focus on Asian people, whether it’s a[n] [auto]biography, history book, essay collection, etc. A nonfiction book can count for prompts other than the nonfiction square provided that it that focuses on a person/group that corresponds to that prompt (e.g. an autobiography of a Asian trans woman could count for either the nonfiction category or the LGBTQIAP+ Asian MC category).
  • The free space is for any book with an Asian main character by an Asian author.

Below is the bingo board, designed by Aentee. You can find the original image file here. Note: “MC” stands for “main character” (though as specified above, it can be a book about a real person).

AsianLitBingo

Book Suggestions

My co-hosts and I compiled a [far from exhaustive] list of book titles that fulfill each prompt. Here’s the link to the list.

Reading Challenge Sign-up

To sign up for the challenge, simply make a blog post/vlog/etc. with a summary of what the challenge is about, a link to this master post, the bingo board, and your tentative TBR if you put one together (you won’t be penalized for the contest portion if you don’t follow your TBR). You can add any book recommendations as you see fit for other people who are interested in participating in the challenge (optional). You are welcome to use the header image of this post for your post. Once you’ve posted your announcement, add your post to the link-up below:

Contest Information

There are two contests associated with this reading challenge, each with a prize.

General Rules for Qualifying Books:

  1. Book must have an Asian main character (can be one of several main characters) and be by an Asian author to qualify. It does not have to be #ownvoices, but #ownvoices is strongly encouraged.
  2. Book can be a novel/novella/novelette or comic book/graphic novel.
  3. Book must be read during May 1st through May 31st to qualify.
  4. Review link-up will close end of June 1st at midnight PDT. The extra margin is to give people the opportunity to write up a review for a book they might have finished late May 31st. We’ll follow the honor system assuming you didn’t read the book on June 1st.

If you have any questions about whether something qualifies, feel free to message me through Twitter (@theshenners) or my blog contact form.

Contest 1 – Equal Opportunity/Participation Contest

Every person who participates in the reading challenge and reads at least 3 books for the challenge will have one entry each for this contest. The winner will be randomly drawn. If somehow the winner drawn is the same as the winner of the second contest, I will draw a different winner.

Prize:

  • Your choice of one 2017 release by an Asian author.
  • Signed hardcover of Flowers of Luna by Jennifer Linsky
  • Signed paperback of Paper Wishes by Spencer Hoshino
  • Ebook of Songs of Insurrection by J.C. Kang
  • Ebook of No More Heroes by Michelle Kan
  • Open to international.

Contest 2 – Extra Credit/Merit-Based Contest

For the more competitive folks, the competition for the prizes is based on the number and type of books you read and review for the challenge. The person who accumulates the most points wins. Here is the point system:

  • 1 point per book read
  • 1 extra points per #ownvoices (ethnicity-wise) book (so 2 points total for an #ownvoices book)
  • 1 point per review for qualifying books. Please write at least 300 words for the review that are not quotes or copy pasted synopses.

Prize: 

  • Your choice of one 2017 release by an Asian author
  • Signed ARC of The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee
  • Signed paperback of Gates of Thread and Stone by Lori M. Lee
  • A custom-designed mug with a book quote of your choice by Aentee @ Read At Midnight.
  • Open to international.

Wrap-Up Post Link-Up

In order to verify your participation and points for the contests, please make a post/video that lists all of the qualifying books you’ve read (please label whether they’re #ownvoices) and links to reviews for any books you’ve reviewed.

Review Link-Up

This is to keep all the reviews for the challenge in one place for easy access. Please add links to your reviews to the link-up below:

Social Media Events

Asian Lit Twitter Cha

Asian Lit Posts/Videos

    Credits and Acknowledgements

    A huge thank-you to Aentee @ Read at Midnight for designing all the gorgeous graphics for this challenge and for donating a custom-designed mug as a prize for the contest.

    I’d also like to thank each and every one of my co-hosts for their time, labor, dedication, and ideas. You transformed this reading challenge from a little pet project of mine to something so much bigger and better. I am grateful to be working with all of you. ❤

    February TBR and Book List: #ReadYourResistance and Black History Month

    I decided a while back to do some mini themed reading challenges in 2017 that I create for myself in order to make it easier to pick what to read next out of a few hundred titles on my TBR. These challenges follow various history, heritage, and awareness months in the U.S. Though this decision predates and wasn’t inspired by #ReadYourResistance, it ties in neatly with that hashtag, which symbolizes a commitment to reading books by marginalized voices to challenge the dominant narratives that dehumanize them and to fight the increase in persecution of marginalized people under Trump’s regime.

    February is Black History Month, so most of my TBR will be books by Black authors. Aside from the books I want to read for the month of February, I’m also listing January and February releases by Black authors, some already released books by Black authors on my 2017 TBR that I won’t get to in February, and books featuring Black characters (mostly #ownvoices) that are coming out later this year. And lastly, I’ll list a few February releases by non-black authors that I’m looking forward to.

    (Note: Release dates are U.S. release dates.)

    Books by Black Authors I Plan to Read in February

    boy-snow-bird

    Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi

    This book is a sort-of Snow White retelling that tackles the complex issue of mixed race identity and “passing” for white, with critical attention to racialized beauty standards. I’d already seen it here and there, and when Barnes & Noble was selling a copy at a reduced price a few months ago, I snatched it up. I’ve heard that there is some problematic content, so I’ll be on the lookout for that so I can discuss it in my review.

    americanah

    Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie

    I was first introduced to her through two different TED talks, one on feminism, the other on the “danger of a single story” and stereotyping. I read We Should All Be Feminists about a year or two ago and have been meaning to read the rest of her work. Americanah shall be that first step toward that goal. It’s a story of race, romance, and immigration that spans three continents, Africa (Lagos, Nigeria), North America, and Europe (London, England).

    All of Nnedi Okorafor’s books, aside from Akata Witch, which I read in December last year.

    She writes both YA and adult SFF and has won multiple awards (the Hugo, the Nebula, and the World Fantasy Awards, among others) for her books. She’s Nigerian (Igbo) American and draws on her Nigerian heritage and West African cultures for her work.

    •  Zahrah the Windseeker – YA, fantasy, in the kingdom of Ooni, those born with the dadalocks are feared for their powers. Zahrah is one such person, and when her friend Dari is endangered, she is forced to confront the things that make her different
    • The Shadow Speaker – YA, science fiction, in 2070 Niger, a young woman seeks revenge for her father’s murder and finds herself on a trans-Saharan quest to save her people from a force that threatens to annihilate them all
    • Binti – Science fiction, when Binti becomes the first of her people to be accepted at the prestigious Oomza, the best university in the galaxy, she must leave her family and travel among people who neither understand nor respect her culture
    • Binti: Home (Sequel to Binti)
    • Kabu-Kabu – Anthology, SFF, a collection of short stories that take you to far-flung places of magic, adventure, and danger
    • Who Fears Death – Science fiction, as a biracial child of rape, Onyesonwu (“Who Fears Death?”) faces prejudice wherever she goes. However, she has great powers and an even greater destiny
    • The Book of Phoenix (Who Fears Death #2)
    • Lagoon – Science fiction – after a large object crashes into the sea on the coast of Lagos, Nigeria, three people from different walks of life must work together to save the country they love

    All of N.K. Jemisin’s books.

    Also a multi-award-winning author (the Hugo and the Locus). She has three different adult SFF series so far.

    The Inheritance Trilogy:

    1. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms – Yeine Darr hails from the north, and when her mother dies, she is summoned to the city of Sky, ruled by the Arameri family and named an heir to the king. However, her ascendance isn’t a given, and she must compete for the throne with many cousins.
    2. The Broken Kingdoms
    3. The Kingdom of Gods

    The Dreamblood Duology:

    1. The Killing Moon – In the city of Gujaareh, the Gatherers maintain order by harnessing the power of sleeping minds to heal and kill those deemed corrupt. Peace reigns until Ehiru, the most famous of these Gatherers, realizes that someone is killing innocents in the name of the Goddess.
    2. The Shadowed Sun

    The Broken Earth Trilogy:

    1. The Fifth Season – Chaos has struck in just one day. An empire falls, a continent rends in two, spewing ash to blacken the sky, and in a small town, a woman named Essun loses her son to murder and her daughter to kidnapping at the hands of her own husband. Resources are scarce, everyone is fighting for their survival, and Essun will do anything to save her daughter, even if it means breaking the world itself.
    2. The Obelisk Gate
    3. Book 3 is not out yet, but it’s called The Stone Sky and is releasing later this year on August 17th!

    Two books by Octavia Butler.

    Octavia Butler is one of the most well-known Black women in science fiction. Her books are considered classics by some and overlooked by many because of racism/misogynoir, of course. Here are my two picks:

    • Kindred – Described as a “combination of slave memoir, fantasy, and historical fiction,” this book is about an African American woman who travels backward in time in order to save her own ancestor.
    • Parable of the Sower Given the current state of affairs in U.S. politics, it feels appropriate for me to read a dystopian novel by a Black woman.

    Parable of the Sower is the #DSFFBookClub (Diverse Science Fiction and Fantasy Book Club, hosted by Naz at Read Diverse Books) pick for February, so if you want to read and participate in a discussion at the end of the month, definitely join us. 😀

    January Releases and February Releases by Black Authors

    • Midnight Without a Moon by Linda Williams Jackson – MG, historical fiction, a fictionalized account of the Emmett Till case through the perspective of a young black girl in Jim Crow era Mississippi
    • Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson – YA, contemporary, tackles systemic racism in the American justice system through the story of a Black teen girl in the foster care system who allegedly murdered a baby (note: I’ve seen reviews/comments from diverse book bloggers about problematic content re: homophobia, rape apologism, anti-Indian racism, etc., so be careful if you are planning to read this)
    • The Harlem Charade by Natasha Tarpley – MG, contemporary, three kids, Elvin, Jin, and Alex, work together to solve the mystery of what happened to Elvin’s grandfather, only to stumble on priceless artworks that might just save their neighborhood from gentrification by a wealthy politician
    • Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson (out Feb. 14th) – YA, contemporary, addresses the intersections of racism, classism, sexism, sizeism/fatphobia and more through the story of a Black girl who attends an elite, mostly white school
    • American Street by Ibi Zoboi (out Feb. 14th) – YA, contemporary, focuses on a Haitian American immigrant girl trying to fit in and her mother’s undocumented immigration experience
    • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (out Feb. 28th) – YA, contemporary, a novel inspired by Black Lives Matter that addresses police brutality and systemic antiblack racism through the story of a girl who witnesses an unarmed friend’s fatal shooting at the hands of police

    Later 2017 Releases by Black Authors

    • One Shadow on the Wall by Leah Henderson (out June 6th; Black author) – MG, magical realism, the story of a Senegalese boy dealing with the difficulty of keeping his family together and honoring a promise to his deceased father after he and his sisters are orphaned
    • Solo by Kwame Alexander (out July 25th; Black Author) – YA, contemporary, a novel-in-verse about a Black teen whose father is a famous musician with an addiction problem as he explores family secrets and forbidden love
    • Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert (out Aug. 8th; Black author) – YA, contemporary, a Black Jewish girl moves back home to L.A., helps her brother with his bipolar disorder, and falls in love with the same girl he loves
    • Beasts Made of Night by Tochi Onyebuchi (out Sep. 26th; Nigerian American author) – YA, fantasy, a debut novel featuring a talented young sin-eater who is called upon to eat the sin-beast of a royal, only to find himself caught in a web of political intrigue that puts the life of the princess he loves at stake
    • Dear Martin by Nic Stone (out Oct. 17th; Black author) – YA, contemporary, a incisive story about police brutality from the perspective of a Black teen whose status at the top of his elite prep school doesn’t prevent him from being racially profiled
    • My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich by Ibi Zoboi (release date TBA; Haitian American author) – MG, historical fiction, a young Black scifi geek girl tries to find a place to belong in the 80s hip-hop explosion in Harlem
    • Akata Warrior (Sequel to Akata Witch) by Nnedi Okorafor (release date TBA; Nigerian American author) – MG/YA, fantasy, no blurb yet, but I’m sure Sunny and her friends return for another juju-filled adventure

    Already Released Books by Black Authors I’d Like to Read in 2017

    • Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson – MG, memoir, novel-in-verse, tells the story of the author’s experience growing up as a Black girl in the Civil Rights era of the 60s and 70s and the joy she found in words and writing
    • Pointe by Brandy Colbert – YA, contemporary, a story of a Black ballerina that addresses heavy topics like eating disorders and child sexual abuse
    • The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds – YA, contemporary, a young Black teen deals with the loss of his mother and his absent father’s alcoholism while working at a funeral home and meets a girl who gives him hope
    • This Side of Home by Renée Watson – YA, contemporary, identical twins Nikki and Maya start to diverge when they go off to attend college at a historically black college and develop different opinions on the importance of home and their ethnicity and culture
    • Endangered by Lamar Giles – YA, contemporary, a Black teen runs an anonymous blog on her high school’s scandals and ends up drawn into a deadly game by someone who threatens to expose her identity
    • Touching Snow by M. Sindy Felin – YA, contemporary, a Haitian American girl struggles to live a normal life and change her situation for the better after her abusive father is taken away
    • All-American Boys by Jason Reynolds – YA, contemporary, a Black teen, Rashad, is beaten by the police for supposedly stealing when he didn’t, a white teen, Quinn, witnesses it, and when the incident becomes national news and the center of a debate on police brutality and systemic racism, all of a sudden Quinn’s silence is no longer just a personal choice
    • The Crossover by Kwame Alexander – MG, contemporary, this novel-in-verse tells the tale of twins Josh and Jordan as they play basketball and learn lessons about life both on and off the court
    • Perfect Liars by Kimberly Reid – YA, contemporary, interracial romance (Black girl, Korean boy), when Drea’s parents disappear, her perfect girl facade as junior class valedictorian begins to crumble and she finds herself in the company of delinquents from her school who share more in common with her than one might expect

    Nonfiction Books About Black Women

    • Redefining Realness by Janet Mock: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More – in this memoir, Janet Mock, a Black trans woman activist, talks about her transition and the struggles to live her life as her authentic self
    • Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina by Misty Copeland – in her memoir, ballet prodigy Misty Copeland recounts her path from living in a motel room to becoming a successful professional dancer and the first Black principal dancer for the American Ballet Theatre
    • Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly – in this historical biography, Margot Lee Shetterly tells the stories of four extraordinary Black women (Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden), who worked at NASA during the height of the Space Race and an era of segregation and Jim Crow laws and made monumental contributions to their field
    • Courage to Soar: A Body in Motion, A Life in Balance by Simone Biles – Gymnastics champion and Olympian Simone Biles shares the story of her journey to becoming a gymnast with the help of faith and family
    • Black Girl Dangerous on Race, Queerness, Class and Gender by Mia Mckenzie – in this honest, humorous, and accessible essay anthology, popular blogger and activist Mia McKenzie shares stories about intersectionality, identity, activism, and allyship from the perspective of a queer Black woman

    Some Highly Anticipated February Book Releases by Non-Black Authors

    • Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones (out Feb. 7th; Korean American author) – YA, fantasy, An atmospheric retelling that chronicles the life of a girl after she trades her life to save her sister’s and binds herself to the Goblin King in marriage
    • Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza (out Feb. 7th; Filipina American author) – YA, SFF, an intergalactic adventure of political intrigue, war, and vengeance that brings together two people from very different walks of life, one a princess, the other a war refugee turned superstar
    • The Education of Margot Sanchez (out Feb. 21st; Puerto Rican author) – YA, contemporary, a Puerto Rican girl in the Bronx learns a lesson about privilege and gentrification when she gets into trouble borrowing her dad’s credit card
    • The Ship Beyond Time (Sequel to The Girl from Everywhere) by Heidi Heilig (out Feb. 28th; biracial white/Chinese American author) – YA, fantasy, Nix and the diverse crew of the Temptation are back for another time-traveling adventure

    #DiverseAThon TBR

    I decided to join the #DiverseAThon initiative. It’s a low-stress reading initiative where you read diverse books from January 22nd to January 29th. There are no reading prompts or minimum requirements. You get to pick how many and which books you’d like to read. The point is to diversify your reading and participate in discussions and/or Instagram prompts to share your progress and experiences. You can find more information about the schedule for discussions on Twitter by checking out @DiverseAThon/#DiverseAThon.

    Since I failed at my most recent bookish goals (didn’t quite get blackout on #DiversityDecBingo, only read half of the 7 books for #DAReadathon), I’ve decided to take it easy this time and not stress myself out setting overly ambitious goals. Thus, I’m focusing mostly on shorter books for MG and younger YA audiences.

    I picked these out based on the idea of diversity within diversity. Five of these books feature South Asian characters, but they’re from a variety of cultural, linguistic, regional, and/or religious backgrounds.

    In addition, I decided to read some older diverse books, published a few years ago (or even longer). The diversity in publishing movement only blossomed in the past two years, so older books tend to slip between the cracks, overshadowed by the hype of newer/upcoming releases.

    the-abyss-surrounds-usThe Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie (2016) – YA, science fiction

    This book has been on my TBR forever, so I decided to bump it up, just in time for the upcoming release of the sequel. It’s a science fiction pirate adventure with sea monsters and f/f romance and a Chinese protagonist.

    god-smites-and-other-muslim-girl-problemsGod Smites and Other Muslim Girl Problems by Ishara Deen (2017) – YA, mystery

    A Bengali Canadian Muslim girl deals with teenage growing pains while trying to solve a murder mystery. I just interviewed the author a week ago. You can read the interview here!

    child-of-springChild of Spring by Farhana Zia (2016) – MG, contemporary

    A middle grade contemporary set in a small village in India, this book explores class privilege through the perspective of a young girl who is a servant to a rich girl.

    paris-pan-takes-the-dareParis Pan Takes the Dare by Cynthea Liu (2009) – MG, Contemporary

    A middle grade story about a Chinese American girl who’s new to town and is put to the test by her peers exploring the mystery of the supposedly haunted shed in her backyard.

    the-not-so-star-spangled-life-of-sunita-senThe Not-So-Star-Spangled Life of Sunita Sen by Mitali Perkins (1993, 2005) – YA, contemporary

    A second generation teen struggles to find her place in between two cultures, American and Indian/Bengali. I found this book at a used bookstore and snatched it up since it was only $2.50. It was originally published under a different title in 1993, meaning it’s as old as I am (wowzers), and was republished in 2005.

    shine-coconut-moonShine, Coconut Moon by Neesha Meminger (2009) – YA, contemporary

    This book features a Punjabi Sikh American girl who learns more about her heritage when her estranged uncle shows up in her life in the aftermath of 9/11.

    swimming-in-the-monsoon-seaSwimming in the Monsoon Sea by Shyam Selvadurai (2005) – YA, contemporary

    During monsoon season of 1980, an orphaned Sri Lankan boy grapples with his sexuality when his cousin arrives from Canada. There aren’t nearly enough queer South Asian books out there, so I’m excited to read this one. The author is gay and mixed Sinhalese/Tamil.

    #DiversityBingo2017 TBR and Book Suggestions

    With a new year on its way, I’m renewing my commitment to reading diverse books. Here’s one of the reading challenges that I’ll be tackling. The goal is to fill all of the squares on the board by reading a book that corresponds to the square. You can show your participation and track other people’s progress with the hashtag #diversitybingo2017 on Twitter. Aside from being a year-long challenge as opposed to a month-long one like #DiversityDecBingo, #DiversityBingo2017 encourages reading #ownvoices books (books where the author shares the same marginalization[s] as the main character).

    Although not all of the squares are marked as #ownvoices, I’m striving to read #ownvoices for as many as possible. Below is the board, plus my picks for my bingo TBR and some suggestions for people who are looking for books to read. For books that are being released in 2017 and have set release dates, I have put the [U.S.] release month/date in parentheses. Books listed under categories that aren’t designated as #ownvoices on the board will be labeled with #ownvoices where applicable. For books that I’ve reviewed, I’ve linked my review.

    In the case where I couldn’t find [m]any #ownvoices books, I’ve included some non-#ownvoices books that I’ve done my best to curate based on recommendations and reviews by people who belong to the community/identity represented.

    If I am mistaken about any book being #ownvoices or you have seen (from your own reading or from reviews calling out) problematic representation in any of these books,  or you have more detailed info on any MC’s ethnic background (I tried to be as specific as possible based on the information I could find), or any other errors, please let me know so I can correct and update my list! Thanks!

    I did my best to include books across different genres, media, and target age group, so hopefully there’s something for everyone here. If you are looking for more places to find books for the challenge, I recommend checking out the links on my Resources page.

    Hope you join the challenge, and happy reading! 🙂

    diversity-bingo-2017

    Continue reading #DiversityBingo2017 TBR and Book Suggestions

    Dumbledore’s Army Readathon TBR

    I’m planning to participate in a Harry Potter themed readathon for the first two weeks of January, from the 1st to the 15th. It’s being hosted by Aentee at Read at Midnight. Basically, you join a Hogwarts House, pick your books based on the seven different spell prompts, and then read the books to earn points for your House. There are ways to earn extra points that are listed in the link above.

    My Hogwarts House is Ravenclaw!

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    My Book Picks for Each Prompt

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    My Pick: Lightspeed Magazine’s People of Colo(u)r Destroy Fantasy! Special Issue, Guest Edited by Daniel Jose Older

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    My favorite genre is fantasy, no competition. It’s so hard to find SFF by POC that I’m super excited to read an entire anthology dedicated to fantasy by POC. I actually backed the original Kickstarter campaign to make it (as well as POC Destroy Science Fiction! and POC Destroy Horror!) happen, and the original goal was to fund the SciFi issue with the Fantasy issue as a stretch goal. I’m glad that the Fantasy stretch goal was reached because now I have two speculative fiction anthologies to read. 🙂

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    My Pick: In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner

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    This book takes place during the Cambodian civil war and genocide. It’s not often you see Cambodian characters in fiction. Cambodian Americans are among the most marginalized ethnic groups under the Asian American umbrella. Because the majority of first generation Cambodian Americans were refugees, they did not have the elite backgrounds of the Asian immigrants who came under the provisions of the 1965 Immigration Act that gave preference to highly educated immigrants. On average, Cambodian Americans have lower rates of higher education completion, higher rates of poverty, etc. Most of what I know about Cambodian history is from my Asian American studies classes, plus documentaries I watched in 2015 and 2016: The Killing Fields of Haing S. Ngor, directed by Arthur Dong and New Year Baby, directed by Socheata Poeuv. This will be my first #ownvoices book by a Cambodian author.

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    My Pick: When Fox is a Thousand by Larissa Lai

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    Larissa Lai is a Chinese Canadian author, and I’ve had her two novels, Salt Fish Girl and When Fox is a Thousand, on my TBR forever. I bought them in summer of 2015, but my TBR pile is so enormous that I just never got around to them. When Fox Is A Thousand features a fox spirit, and since I love the mythology surrounding fox spirits in Chinese folklore, I knew I had to read this book.

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    My Pick: Dove Arising by Karen Bao

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    This is another book I’ve had sitting on my TBR forever. It’s a YA scifi novel set in the future, when humans have colonized the moon. The main character is of Chinese descent, but the story isn’t about her being Chinese, which is cool. Her mother gets arrested, and all of a sudden her plans for the future get thrown into disarray.

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    My Pick: Song of the Cuckoo Bird by Amulya Malladi

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    Also had this on my TBR for a while. It’s a historical fiction novel that begins in the 1940s and spans decades, telling the story of a young Indian girl who chooses to flee her marriage and begin a life at an ashram (a monastery). There, she becomes a part of a family of women who are outcasts.

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    My Pick: Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

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    I just bought this book a week or two ago. I can’t wait to actually read it since it’s been on my radar a long time. It’s a fantasy book set in an alternate Regency era England where there’s a society dedicated to maintaining the magic of the kingdom. It features POC as main characters, which is great because a lot of people seem to think POC sprang up circa 1965 when we’ve been around forever.

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    My Pick: Kaleidoscope: Diverse YA Science Fiction and Fantasy Stories, edited by Alisa Krasnostein and Julia Rios

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    I’ve found out about the existence of this anthology a while back but forgot about it for some time until Glaiza recommended one of the short stories included in it, Seventh Day of the Seventh Moon by Ken Liu. It’s a lesbian retelling of a Chinese myth. The 7th day of the 7th month of the Chinese calendar is the Qixi Festival, also known as Chinese Valentine’s Day, which marks the reunion of the Cowherd and the Weaver (Altair and Vega), who were placed in the sky as constellations and separated by the Silver River (The Milky Way) as a punishment for their forbidden love.

    #DiversityDecBingo TBR List

    So I’m participating in a month-long event that focuses on reading diversely, and the goal is to fill one row (horizontally, vertically, diagonally) on the bingo sheet (see below) by reading one book per prompt on during the month of December. Winners will get entered in a giveaway for a free book. You can learn more here and follow the buzz on this event by looking at the #DiversityDecBingo hashtag on Twitter. Below is the Bingo Board and my list of books I’ll be reading for each prompt. I’m feeling ambitious, so I’m aiming to get a blackout, or as close as possible. I’ll link my review for each book on this post once I post it.

    If you need help finding books for this challenge, check out the books in my review index and my TBR list because basically all of them fulfill one or more of the prompts.

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    Non-Western Cultural Fantasy

    Non-binary Main Character

    • Pantomime by Laura Lam

    Refugee Main Character

    POC Superheroes

    Chronic Pain Sufferers

    • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

    Demisexual Main Character

    • Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

    Muslim Main Character

    Trans Main Character

    Diverse Non-fiction

    • Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly

    POC or Interracial M/M

    Mental Health Awareness

    Asian Main Character (might as well be a free space for me lol)

    Free Space

    • Exo by Fonda Lee

    Own Voices

    Non-Western (Real World) Setting

    POC on Book Covers

    POC with Natural Hair

    Disabled Main Character

    SFF w/ LGBTQIA+ Main Character

    Pansexual Main Character

    Indigenous Main Character

    F/F Romance

    Biracial Main Character

    Neurodiversity

    Asexual or Aromantic Main Character

    • Dark Metropolis by Jaclyn Dolamore