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#TheReadingQuest TBR

If you haven’t seen #TheReadingQuest reading challenge floating around Twitter, then you’re missing out! The theme, concept, and graphics for this challenge are all amazing, and I’m excited to be participating for the next month. This challenge is hosted by Aentee @ Read at Midnight and the graphics are by CW @ Read Think Ponder. You can find out more about the challenge here, but basically you pick one of the four character classes and follow a quest that is a series of reading prompts tailored to your character class.

I am playing as a Rogue, and here’s my character card:

Rogue The Reading Quest

Here is the reading quest board. My path is the bottom row going from the bottom right corner to the bottom left.

reading-quest-board1

Here are my picks for each prompt:

The Absolutely True DiaryA Banned Book: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Thanks to Google, I found out that this book was banned at a high school in Texas near me. I am super late to the party on this one, but now that I have a signed copy I grabbed from Barnes & Noble, I’m ready to finally experience this highly acclaimed #ownvoices book about a Spokane Indian boy.

The Disappearance of Ember Crow

A Book Cover with a Partially Obscured Face: The Disappearance of Ember Crow by Ambelin Kwaymullina

Ever since I finished The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf, I’ve been meaning to continue the series, and here’s my chance to knock it off my TBR.

Fire Boy.jpg

A Book with <500 Ratings on Goodreads: Fire Boy by Sami Shah. Aimal @ Bookshelves and Paperbacks recommended this book, and I’ve had the ebook for a while but haven’t gotten around to it.

perfect-liars

A Book Published by a Small Press: Perfect Liars by Kimberly Reid. This book features a Black girl who’s valedictorian of her school, and the love interest is Asian, specifically Korean American, if I recall correctly.

adaptation

A Book with a One Word Title: Adaptation by Malinda Lo. I’ve literally had this book for over a year and haven’t read it, and I’m long overdue to read it.

I don’t know how far I’ll get doing the other quests, but this is my tentative TBR for all of the other character and side quests outside of the Rogue’s path. 🙂

  • The first book of a series: Songs of Insurrection by JC Kang
  • A book with a verb in its title: POC Destroy Fantasy, edited by Daniel José Older
  • A book with a weapon on its cover: Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller
  • A book with a red cover: Elements: Fire A Comic Anthology by Creators of Color Edited by Taneka Stotts
  • A book that has a TV/movie adaptation: Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
  • A book set in a different world: The Black Tides of Heaven by JY Yang
  • Potions: a book concocted by 2+ authors: This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki
  • Multiplayer: buddy read a book: ?
  • Grind: a Book with 500+ pages: Shadowcaster by Cinda Williams Chima
  • A fairy tale retelling: ?
  • A book based on mythology: The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
  • Time Warp: A book set in the past or the future: Love and Other Consolation Prizes by Jamie Ford
  • Open World: read whatever you want: A Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo
  • Respawn: read a book you previously did not finish: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  • A book cover with striking typography: Paris Pan Takes the Dare by Cynthea Liu
  • A book that contains magic: The Speaker by Traci Chee
  • Expansion: Read a companion novel or short story: Death & Night by Roshani Chokshi
  • Mini-Game: Read a graphic novel, novella, or poem collection: The Red Threads of Fortune by JY Yang
  • Animal Companion: Book referencing an animal in the title: The Foretelling of Georgie Spider by Ambelin Kwaymullina
  • A book translated from another language: Dragon Sword and Wind Child by Noriko Ogiwara, translated by Cathy Hirano
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Book Playlist: The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee

genie lo cover

Okay, so this is my second book playlist (the first being for Want by Cindy Pon), and I’m happy to introduce y’all to these songs that I feel represent some aspect of The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee. It was hard to find songs with the themes/feelings I needed, but I definitely got the perfect “theme song” for Genie. Below is the track list (song titles link to YouTube) along with translations where appropriate and commentary. Enjoy!

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo album tracks

1. 終極三國 – 曾沛慈+東城衛 (K.O.3anGuo – Pets Tseng+Dong Cheng Wei)

(3anGuo=SanGuo=Three Kingdoms from Chinese history)

This has exactly the right feel for The Epic Crush of Genie Lo. It’s the theme song for a Taiwanese drama where students face down supernatural forces. The following lyrics (translated by me) were perfect for Genie:

Until the final moment, I refuse to back down
Even if the battle rages for days, hope is still in sight

Until the final moment, I refuse to back down
Even tears scattering can’t blur my vision

Sinister forces are clamoring, hunting me down to provoke me into duels
My battle prowess soars – don’t think you can escape

After I shed my uniform jacket, I’ll let you make ten moves first
[Otherwise] I’m afraid you’ll be laughed at – KO’d in one punch

2. Destiny – Infinite

I chose this song by my favorite kpop band Infinite to represent Quentin’s feelings toward Genie, specifically (spoiler alert, highlight text to read) his feelings as the Monkey King losing his beloved Ruyi Jingubang. (end spoiler) Lyrics of note (translation credit: pop!gasa):

Don’t leave, don’t turn around, I can’t let you go like this
Even if you leave me like this, you can’t escape me
Cause you are my destiny
Don’t turn around and leave me, don’t brush me off, don’t avoid me
You are my destiny

3. Run Around – Jasan Radford

90s throwback, anyone? (God, I’m old.) This song is from the English dub of Digimon 02, and I chose it for the frenetic feelings it invokes. It’s a song that goes well with Genie and Quentin’s scramble to fight demons all over the Bay Area. The lyrics are self-explanatory and can be found in the description of the YouTube video linked. ^o^

4. 天下大亂 – 蘇慧倫 (Chaos – Tarcy Su)

This song is the opening theme to the Taiwanese drama adaptation of Mulan from 1999 featuring Anita Yuen as Mulan (one of my favorite Mulan adaptations tbh). The title is an idiom that literally means “big mess under the heavens,” so I took artistic liberty and translated it as “Chaos.” The theme of the song is of a woman taking control of a messy situation, thus making it perfect for Genie. Lyrics of note (translated by me):

The Heavens can’t fix it
My fate is mine to settle

The Heavens are broken, the world is broken
Everything, everywhere is unhinged

5. Borders – Amber Liu

This last song is by Amber Liu, a Taiwanese American who’s a part of the popular kpop girl group f(x). She wrote it from a very personal place, and the theme is about breaking free of expectations and standards that hold us back, whether it’s the policing of gender expression (Amber is known for rocking an androgynous look in an industry where female idols are supposed to be ultra-feminine), stereotypes, or stigmas. I thought it was an appropriate song for Genie since she struggles to feel like she’s any good when faced with the dehumanizing experience of applying to competitive top colleges where you are measured against a checklist of traits and accomplishments. The chorus is a good message to keep in your heart during these tough times:

’Cause mom said I’d be crossing borders
Never be afraid even when you’re cornered
Stand up straight, fight your way
Fight your way, fight your way

Asian Lit Bingo TBR!

I announced the launch of Asian Lit Bingo yesterday, and since then, I’ve been busy putting together my own tentative TBR for the challenge. It’s a good opportunity to read a lot of the books I’ve had sitting on my shelves but haven’t gotten around to because of reasons. So without further ado, here is my super ambitious TBR!

AsianLitBingo

  1. East Asian MC – The Emperor’s Riddle by Kat Zhang – #ownvoices, MG, Contemporary, Adventure, Chinese American MC
  2. Asian Refugee MC – The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen – #ownvoices, Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction, Vietnamese MCs
  3. Asian Immigrant MC – Something in Between by Melissa De La Cruz – #ownvoices, YA, Contemporary, Undocumented Filipina American MC
  4. Asian MC with a Disability – Four Weeks, Five People by Jennifer Yu – #ownvoices, YA, Contemporary, Asian American MC w/ OCD/anxiety
  5. Multiracial/Multiethnic Asian MC – Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han – #ownvoices, YA, Contemporary, Biracial white/Korean American MC
  6. LGBTQIAP+ Asian MC – Seven Tears at High Tide by C.B. Lee – #ownvoices, YA, Fantasy, M/M Romance, Bisexual Vietnamese American MC
  7. West Asian MC – Ten Things I Hate About Me by Randa Abdel-Fattah – YA, Contemporary, Lebanese-Australian MC
  8. Asian Muslim AC – That Thing We Call a Heart by Sheba Karim – #ownvoices, YA, Contemporary, Pakistani American MC
  9. Religious Asian MC – A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki – #ownvoices, iterary Fiction, Magical Realism, Zen Buddhist Japanese American MC
  10. Poor or Working Class Asian MC – One Half from the East by Nadia Hashimi – #ownvoices, MG, Contemporary, Afghan MC
  11. SFF with Asian MC – The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana – #ownvoices, YA, Fantasy, Indian MC
  12. Historical Fiction with Asian MC – It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas – #ownvoices, MG, Iranian American MC in the 70s
  13. Free Space – The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard – #ownvoices, Fantasy, French Vietnamese MC
  14. Retelling with Asian MC – The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni – #ownvoices, Fantasy, Retelling of the Mahabharata, Indian MC
  15. Contemporary with Asian MC – She’s So Money by Cherry Cheva – #ownvoices, YA, Thai American MC
  16. Graphic Novel with Asian MC – Monstress Vol. 1 by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda
  17. Queer Romance with Asian MC – Flowers of Luna by Jennifer Linsky – #ownvoices, Science Fiction, F/F Romance, Biracial Japanese MC
  18. Romance w/ POC/Indigenous Love Interest – It’s Not LIke It’s a Secret by Misa Sugiura – #ownvoices, YA, Contemporary, F/F Romance, Japanese American MC, Latina LI
  19. Central Asian MC – Jamilia by Chingiz Aitmatov – #ownvoices, Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction, Kyrgyz MC
  20. Translated Work by an Asian Author – Dragon Sword and Wind Child by Noriko Ogiwara – #ownvoices, YA, Fantasy, Japanese MC
  21. Southeast Asian MC – Roots and Wings by Many Ly – #ownvoices, YA, Contemporary, Cambodian American MC
  22. Asian Superhero MC – The Shadow Hero by Gene Yang and Sonny Liew – #ownvoices, Chinese American MC
  23. Asian Transracial Adoptee MC – The Leavers by Lisa Ko – #ownvoices, Literary Fiction, Chinese American MC
  24. Non-Fiction by an Asian Author – The Making of Asian America by Erika Lee
  25. South Asian MC – Swimming in the Monsoon Sea by Shyam Selvadurai – #ownvoices, YA, Historical Fiction, M/M Romance, Sri Lankan MC

A Discussion About Asian Representation

I shared it on Twitter a while ago, but I participated in a discussion (hosted by Puput at Sparkling Letters) with some other Asian bloggers from different backgrounds about Asian representation in YA and books. We talked about topics like common misconceptions, things to avoid when describing Asian characters, our wish list for what we want to see more of in Asian rep, books with problematic Asian rep, and recommended books with good Asian rep. I highly recommend reading the post. You can find it here. 🙂

My Complete Fiction Collection

I finally shoved all of the stray books in my room onto my bookshelves so I could take a picture of my complete fiction collection. There are a few autobiographies and memoirs thrown in here and there, but this is 99% fiction. My book collection has changed a lot in the past two years. I got rid of/donated a ton of books (about 300) that were for early readers and started buying a bunch of newer, mostly diverse YA, NA, literary fiction titles to replace them. I don’t think my diverse book count is greater than my non-diverse book count yet, but it’s getting there.

How I Organize My Books:

  • The overarching organization scheme is alphabetically by author’s last name.
  • Books in a series are placed together and arranged in chronological order.
  • Books by the same author are arranged either by publication order or by size from smallest to largest.
  • Anthologies in which the stories are all by the same author are grouped with books by that author.
  • Anthologies that are by multiple authors are groued seall together at the very end of my collection, after the Zs, and arranged in order by [first] editor’s last name

If I didn’t arrange my books this way, I’d never be able to find anything. Haven’t updated my inventory in a while, so I’m not sure exactly how many books I have (some of these are omnibus editions so they’re actually more than one book). My best estimate is somewhere around 500. I’ve been reading and collecting YA books since circa 2003, so this is some 13-odd years’ worth of books (granted, I purchased a lot of them in the past two years, but a decent number were published years ago and/or I first read them during the 2003-2014 time period). I might update this with my book count later on.

Sorry for the bad picture quality, my camera sucks. =___=

img_2746
My main wall of shelves. There are two more against the opposite wall, one with prose novels, the other with manga.

Now, all of my shelves, one by one.

shelf-1
Shelf 1: Abawi-D’Lacey
shelf-2
Shelf 2: D’Lacey-Lam
shelf-3
Shelf 3: Lasky-Nix
shelf-4
Shelf 4: Nix-Redgate
img_2769
Shelf 5: Rodda-Zia+anthologies+three miscellaneous books that aren’t fiction

See any familiar titles and authors? 😀

Books and Authors on My TBR that I REALLY Need to Read Sometime Soon

So even as fast as I read, there are books that I haven’t gotten around to even though I’ve had them on my TBR list and/or on my actual bookshelf for a while (like, over a year in some cases).

The top of the list would be various POC who write adult SFF. I’m mostly a YA person, I guess because adult lit bores me a lot of the time (though I may just be biased because we spent so much of secondary school reading adult lit “classics,” i.e. books by long-dead, cishet white dudes). Maybe I just like escapism but speculative fiction, particularly fantasy, is my favorite genre. I don’t have anything against contemporary/realistic fiction, and I read a decent amount of it (for the POC representation! Also school life romcoms are fun), but SFF is what I live and breathe.

These are the adult SFF authors I need to read:

  • Nnedi Okorafor – She writes both YA and adult SFF, and I’m about to read Akata Witch very soon for #DiversityDecBingo, but I need to get into her other books too. I own most of them already.
  • N.K. Jemisin – I own all of her books except The Obelisk Gate and I need to read them. The covers are gorgeous.
  • Ken Liu – I read his short story, Paper Menagerie, a while ago and I was like ;__; and then when I found out that the Grace of Kings+sequels are a wuxia-style series I was like “sign me up yesterday,” but also it’s really hella long so I put it off. One of my friends said his writing is kinda dry, but we’ll see how I feel once I get to reading it.
  • Yoon Ha Lee – I found out about his existence through a short story anthology that he was included in that I bought, and I was like “whoa Asian writing adult SFF, cool!” But I haven’t read said short story yet. Conservation of Shadows and Ninefox Gambit are sitting on my wishlist.
  • Daniel Jose Older – I LOVED Shadowshaper, his YA debut, and can’t wait for the sequel. I have the first two books of the Bone Street Rumba series (adult urban fantasy) on my shelf. The covers feature kickass POC. Just need to read them.
  • Kate Elliott – I have the ebooks of the Jaran Series and physical copies of the Crown of Stars series, The Spiritwalker Trilogy, and The Crossroads Trilogy. Haven’t read them. Also have Court of Fives, her YA novel, so I’m starting with that one because YA.

For YA, here are a few I’ve put off for Reasons:

  • Adaptation and Inheritance by Malinda Lo – I loved Ash and Huntress, so I put these two on my TBR once I knew they existed. And then left them there…possibly because they’re scifi, which I don’t like as much as fantasy, and also because the main character is white (I just outed myself as a reverse racist, didn’t I? Just kidding). But she’s bisexual and one of the love interests is an Asian American dude so I should really, actually, read this series. Especially while waiting on Malinda Lo’s upcoming A Line in the Dark, which is a YA thriller with an Asian American protagonist.
  • Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo – I’m about to read Six of Crows for #DiversityDecBingo, actually, but despite knowing about its existence I put it off. The author is white, and I felt kind of meh about The Grisha Trilogy. But then I found out that the new series features a diverse cast of characters, so I was like “I’ll give this one a shot.” If I don’t like it then it’ll be a waste because I paid full price for the books and got them signed and personalized at the Texas Teen Book Festival a few months ago.
  • Gates of Thread and Stone and The Infinite by Lori M. Lee – I have no excuse for this considering it’s fantasy by an Asian American author. Shame on me.
  • The Penryn and the End of Days Trilogy by Susan Ee – I knew the author is Korean, but I didn’t realize that Penryn was Asian until I read a description of her on Wikia or something. Bumping it up for #ownvoices.