May is over, and with it, so is the Asian Readathon, sadly. I am happy to have participated and picked up a bunch of amazing books by Asian authors and seen what everyone has been reading! I talked about my TBR for this readathon at the beginning of the month, and here is how it actually went down:
I started with A Madness of Sunshine by Nalini Singh, which was a bit of a wildcard in the mix, because I am not really into romantic suspense and I wasn’t sure what to expect. In the end I could not finish reading this because it was really not my kind of book – the characters were not much more than stereotypes, the plot was super predictable and the writing was a stilted, too descriptive and slow. It’s possible that after a while the book becomes very twisty and romantic and interesting, but I could not wait to see and honestly, I don’t think it will. I DNF-ed it at 22%. So I needed a book to substitute this one!
Then I picked up Know my Name by Chanel Miller, the only nonfiction from this list. This is the most powerful book I’ve ever read, and I felt so much rage reading it. I can’t say how much this meant to me, what it meant to see what she went through get taken seriously and start a wave of victims feeling seen, understood, getting their voices back. I have the utmost respect and admiration for Chanel Miller. This was also one of the most difficult books to read – I’ve taken many, many breaks to stop myself from sobbing.
After such heavy reading, Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi was such a nice change of pace. I wish the writing had been more charming, although it might just be that the translation was a bit lacking, I don’t know. Otherwise, this was a cozy time-travel read, and I devoured it in a few hours.
Human Acts by Han Kang was not originally on my list but I added it to make up for my DNFing of Madness of Sunshine. This is an intense story, showing the uprising in South Korea in the 80s through the eyes of several characters, affected by the violence of it in several ways. The characteristic unflinching style of Han Kang makes for a powerful read, difficult and painful to read. An exceptional book.
I started An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine last, a book I received a couple years ago, it’s a translation from a Lebanese book – I’m part Lebanese, so I was super excited for this. Sadly the last week of May was quite stressful and put me in a slump, so I am still a third through this but didn’t finish the book in time for the readathon. Still, I am LOVING it. It’s so lovely and funny, the main character a bit eccentric and so bookish. I think this will be a punch on the gut by the end, but I’m really excited for it!
My list ended up being very East Asian as predicted, and next year I will try to make it more diverse, but since I wanted to read only books I already owned, my choices were rather limited. Turns out I have many Chinese and Japanese authors but not much else… pity! I will put more effort in the next readathons and especially look for more Middle Eastern books, since I am terribly lacking in those.
Otherwise, I loved participating in this and look forward to next year! It’s such a great way to put the spotlight on books that don’t get enough hype because they’re not “mainstream” enough, and for readers to find new books.