Hi Virtually Readers! The lovely CW @ Read Think Ponder has, along with several other wonderful people, created a reading challenge called Year of the Asian, where you basically try to read more books written by Asians. I’m signing up for the Indian Cobra level, where you have to read 20 books, but hopefully I’ll manage to read more. I actually already did a tweet about this; if you follow me on twitter, that’s great, I do not spend enough time there (because it stresses me out) and it is mostly sporadic inanity so super fun, basically. Anyway, why am I participating in this? (all images created by CW, who is a phenomenally talented human)
The main reason I’m doing this is that I do not read enough Asian books. I guess I read a fair few with Asian American protagonists and writers, but I really want to read more Indian and South Asian writers, as well as more people who actually live in Asia. I’d also like to read more Asian Australian and Australian New Zealander writers
The problem with this is that a lot of the books about Asia which I have sort of earmarked to read are written by non Asians, usually journalists. This has something to do with language, and a lot to do with colonialism, capitalism, and power, and how these manifest in publishing houses. But of course the goal is just aspirational, so I can always read more books about my favourite continent at other times.
I have a few specific books in mind which I plan to read; mostly Soth Asian books, because I am far away from India and miss it painfully, and I also want to know more about India’s neighbours. I’m particularly fascinated by Indian politics; with an election this year, I’d love to find some fun and informative books, written by Indians, about the Indian political landscape.
I also want to practice Hindi, and I siphoned a Hindi dictionary from my parent’s house when I was visiting, so I may check the foreign language section of my city library to see if they have any Hindi picture books that are at my level. To be honest, I find reading books in Hindi quite trying because the books that I can read are not the books that I’m interested in…but if I get to count picture books for this challenge, then I’ll do it!
I am super open to recommendations, and delighted that there are going to be lots of recomendations released as part of Year of the Asian. I’d love to find more interesting or indigenous YA as part of this story, and especially books that might not have been published by major Western publishers. For the meantime though, these are some of the authors on my TBR.
I’ve read some of her short stories but not her novels. To be honest, it seems like she writes a lot of disilusioned second generation immigrant books. But it’s still cool to read such a classic diaspora author.
He curated The Good Immigrant, which is a bunch of essays about race, but I’ve also seen his YA and novels at the bookshop, which could be interesting.
- Amitav Ghosh
I did an Indian Literature class in high school and we read part of Sea of Poppies. After visiting Hong Kong recently, I’m even more interested in opium (that sounds super dodgy but like…not to use. as history!) and my dad read the whole book and said it was slightly unrealistic but a great examintion of colonial relationships, so I think that would be good to read (especially because I am doing and ACTUAL ENGLISH DEGREE which features very little postcolonial analysis, which upsets me)
- Roshani Choksi
I have The Star Touched Queen! Which is technically Shar’s but I have custody of it for now, sorry Shar, claim it when you see me next. But I never read the companion, A Crown of Wishes, and apparently The Gilded Wolves is excellent (so saith Marie, whom I trust) and I really need to get in on the Indian action.
- Tasha Suri
I was very obsessed with the Mughals as a child, and for a delirious period of my life lived in Delhi where I wrote like secret Mughal diaries (which if I ever review Tasha Suri’s books, will definitely be part of the post haha). Empire of Sand is Mughal inspired fantasy, and having written at least one short story in a similar vein, I could not be MORE here for it.
- Jade Chang
Lighter books are good too! I’d love to read some Asian romance authors this year (I’m currently reading a book by Courney Milan, who is hapa) and Jade Chang’s The Wangs vs. The World sounds extremely fun.
okay, so I’m so pumped for this challenge! do you have any recommendations for me! are there any authors who you’re going to make an effort to read this year?