As many of you know, on May there are a bunch of readathons, and I don’t normally participate because I don’t normally own all the books needed to fulfill the prompts, so I just drool wistfully from afar. But this year, the rules for the Asian Readathon (created by Cindy) are so easy even I can participate! *crowd cheers*
In addition to the challenges below, I added a personal one: I could not buy new books to participate, so all the books listed are books I own! Which is great! My backlisted books are quite thankful.
1) Read any book by an Asian author.
This is a fantasy/sci-fi book that sounds lovely, by a Japanese author!
2) Read a book featuring an Asian character or written by an Asian author who you can relate to.
Ex: If you’re an immigrant you can read about an immigrant character; if you’re a woman you can read a book by another woman; etc.
If you don’t know, I am part Lebanese, so I chose this book my husband gave me a couple years ago: the main character is a woman who loves books, so I thought it was quite a good fit for this challenge!
3) Read a book featuring an Asian character or written by an Asian author who is different from you.
Ex: If you’re straight you can read about a queer character; if you’re Japanese you can read a book by a Vietnamese author; etc.
I’ve already started this one! It’s about a woman from New Zealand, and the author is from Fiji, lived most of her life in New Zealand and is of Indian descent! So pretty different from me.
4) Read a book recommended by an Asian.
Ex: Watch an Asian booktuber’s recommendations video; ask your Asian friend what book best represents them; have an Asian friend choose between 2 books on your TBR; etc.
So I watched Coco’s video and got a recommendation from her (give her a follow, she’s so sweet):
And so I will be reading:
Chanel Miller is of Chinese descent and I’ve been wanting to read this for a while. It will be a hard-hitting book but I am really looking forward!
5) OPTIONAL: Read “Little Fires Everywhere” by Celeste Ng and participate in the Little Fires Readalong and the Little Fires Watchalong
I’m not going to do the optional part, because I’ve already read Little Fires Everywhere, and also because I was unsure if the “For each book you read, make sure to vary the Asian ethnicity” (see below) would have included this one (I think it does!) and, since Celeste Ng is Chinese-American, it would have meant I shouldn’t read Chanel Miller’s book, which I really want to! I might still watch the series, though.
*These challenges can be personalized to you – make it as easy or as complex as you want.
*Challenges CAN be combined.
*For each book you read, make sure to vary the Asian ethnicity so that your books have more cultural diversity.
Cindy also has a list of sources and books to choose from! It’s such a comprehensive list and helped so much with remembering some books I’ve owned for years and haven’t picked up yet & also qualified for this readathon. Really great job she did there! 🙂
Hmmmm I do NOT count myself as Asian, despite my Lebanese descent, because honestly there is very little in terms of culture on how I was brought up that would make me identify so – I am Brazilian & German and in terms of heritage I’m 3/4 European and 1/4 Middle Eastern… I’d feel weird identifying as Asian. I don’t even know which generation comes from Beirut, although I think it’s my great-grandparents? So if you choose to read one of the books below, please don’t count it on the “Recommended by an Asian” challenge. For that, look for Cindy’s own video or other amazing bloggers/booktubers out there!
All the books below are books I loved, and I hope you feel inspired to pick some up and join the Asian Readathon!
This is one of my favorite fantasies of all time, an urban fantasy story set in a Hong Kong-inspired country. It’s full of politics, badass women, amazing fight scenes… really such a well-rounded series!
This seriously gritty and dark fantasy series is amazing! The author is Chinese-American and the fantasy world is inspired in 20th century China, which is so rich and wonderful.
I’m swooning just thinking about this – this romantic, dark fantasy is an amazing retelling of German fairy tales by a Korean-American author and I LOVE it.
This very timely book is set in the US and tells the story of a Chinese-American young woman who’s living through a pandemic starting in China, which causes people to slowly lose their identity and humanity – it is a strong criticism of capitalism and also beautifully written! The author was born in China.
The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa / Goodreads
This beautiful book is set in an unnamed island where things disappear and people live on as if they never existed. The author is Japanese.
Another story about a pandemic, which affects memories, until people forget how to eat and breathe, and die. The author is Chinese-American and from the three recommendations here, it’s the only one who isn’t also a Literary Fiction book, and it’s paced more like a thriller/mystery, if you prefer your dystopias a bit pacier!
Mystery / Thriller
Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama / Goodreads
This is a political thriller by a Japanese author, a bit of a dense read but gosh, it was so good and intense!
This court thriller is written by a Korean author, and it’s so addictive!
The Widows of Malabar Hill by Sujata Massey / Goodreads
This is a cozy mystery set in 1920s India is also written by an Indian author, with Perveen, one the first female lawyers in the country. Such a good read!
This book is written by a Singaporean author and was longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction! It’s about a Singaporean woman who is forced to become a comfort woman for the Japanese during WWII, and it’s also part mystery, which makes it so readable and while sensitive and heartbreaking, not a book that leaves you depressed – but rather hopeful.
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy / Goodreads
This is a heartbreaking story set in 1960s India about a family dealing the past traumas. Such a beautiful book.
Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai / Goodreads
This lovely middle grade book is written in poem, it’s surprisingly beautiful and hard-hitting. The author is from Vietnam and it tells the story of a Vietnamese family fleeing their country during the Vietnam War. It’s also a very quick read!
General & Literary Fiction
This is one of my favorite books, so beautiful, poetic and touching! This story follows a gay Vietnamese boy writing to his mother about their shared history and traumas. Such a gorgeous book.
I loved this short, a bit weird book about a Japanese woman who works at a convenience store all her life: she has no other aspirations and her friends, family and colleagues find it unnatural.
This is an eerie book about a woman’s descent into madness – it’s violent and creepy, and so, so very good. This Korean book is short but so powerful!
This is a story about families who work at a restaurant, each with their own secrets and stories about immigrating from China.
This is a sexy, funny book with surprising depth: these widows find joy and community in learning to write together and reading steamy stories. The author is from Singapore – and has another book out now, too: The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters.
Romance / Rom-Com
Angelfall by Susan Ee / Goodreads
This YA paranormal romance is very old school – think 2012 or so – and written by a Korean-American author. Angels, apocalypse, lots of yearning and a badass heroine, I loved this some years ago!
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang / Goodreads
This was a lovely, steamy and yet wholesome romance with autistic representation and a biracial Vietnamese main character.
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan / Goodreads
Funny and light rom-com set in Singapore, by a Singaporean author! It’s really entertaining and a whole series!
I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai / Goodreads
This famous book is truly inspirational and beautiful, so full of strength! Malala is from Pakistan, so it’s a nice option to vary from East Asian authors!