Good morning and happy Saturday to you all! It has been raining beautifully for the past few days here in my corner of the world, and I must confess that it has created the perfect ambience for reading! So, my weekend is off to a lovely beginning.
A few days ago, Sir Betrothed and I embarked on a small trip to a second-hand bookstore as our way of celebrating our new car! Luckily, we ended up finding exactly what we were looking for (car), and it was well-within our budget. Naturally, us bookworms decided that is there is no better way to revel than to buy books! I am proud that I did not let myself go wild, which was difficult, and still managed to find a wonderful small stack of reads! All of them are #OwnVoices Asian literature except for one that is a British literature novel.
So, on this dreary day, I wanted to share these books with you so that I can help your TBRs groooow!
The Ibis Trilogy by Amitav Ghosh
This is an #OwnVoices Indian Literature trio of books that is essentially an epic historical fiction saga. It takes place on a ship called the Ibis, and she is embarking on a very dangerous voyage across the Indian Ocean shortly prior to the Opium Wars in China. During an era of colonial upheaval, fate has brought together a group of beautifully diverse characters—a bankrupt raja, a widowed tribes-woman, a mulatto American freedman, a free-spirited French orphan—who through their journey become jahaj-bhais, or ship-brothers while their old ties are washed away. The historical adventure takes readers through a scenic lush poppy field, the rolling high seas, and the mysterious backstreets of Canton. The narrative is a panoramic of people whose diaspora captures the vexed colonial history of the East. The books in the series are: Sea of Poppies, River of Smoke, and Flood of Fire respectively.
The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng
I was SO excited to find this book! I read Tan Twan Eng’s The Garden of Evening Mists, which you can read my full review for here, and I at once fell in love with the author’s writing style, especially of historical fiction. The Gift of Rain, an #OwnVoices Malaysian book, is the novel that he wrote before The Garden of Evening Mists and I cannot describe how much I am looking forward to it!
This book takes place in 1939 and follows a 16-year-old half-Chinese, half-English boy named Philip Hutton. He is the youngest child of the head of one of Penang’s great trading families and feels alienated from both the Chinese and British communities. He at last discovers a sense of belonging in his unexpected friendship with Hayato Endo, a Japanese diplomat. Philip proudly shows his new friend around his adored island, and in return Endo teaches him about Japanese language and culture, and trains him in the art and discipline of aikido. But such knowledge comes at a terrible price.
The Surrendered by Chang-Rae Lee
This is an #OwnVoices Korean novel revolving around a woman named June Han, who was orphaned as a girl by the Korean War. Hector Brennan is a young GI who fled the tragedies of his small town to serve his country. After the war ends, their lives intertwine at a Korean orphanage, where they compete for the affections of Sylvia Tanner, a beautiful yet deeply damaged missionary.
The main reason I am interested in this is that I have not read a book about a woman and a man vying for the affections of a person before. It is usually two men, or two women, etc. I also have not read many books surrounding, or relating to, the Korean war and I have been desperately wanting to expand on my Korean history and literature repertoire.
The Flower Drum Song by C.Y. Lee
This is an #OwnVoices Chinese book, credited with being the first Chinese-American novel, about a young man named Wang Ta who wants what every young American man wants: a distinguished career and a woman to love. While living in San Francisco with his widowed father who misses the old way of life in China, and his younger brother who simply wants to be a normal American teenager, Wang Ta attends med-school and has a series of love affairs. Three distinct women have caught his attention, and he loves them each for their own personal quirks, yet he struggles to decide which one is the woman for him. Meanwhile, his aunt is always full of advice on how Wang Ta should adapt to his situation.
Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights: A Novel by Salman Rushdie
This is an #OwnVoices Indian-British magical realism novel. Centuries ago, Dunia, a princess of the fantastical jinn, fell in love with a mortal man of reason. They had many children, unaware of their lineage or powers, who were spread across the human world through many generations. Now, in New York City after a chaotic storm, some of these children are experiencing their strange gifts. The veil between the jinn and human worlds has started to lift, and Dunia’s children and others will play a role in an epic war between light and dark, spanning a thousand and one nights. It is a time of enormous upheaval, in which beliefs are challenged, silence is a disease, and a noise may hold a hidden curse.
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
I have been wanting to try a Jane Austen novel for years, so when I came across this beautiful edition of Northanger Abbey, I knew the time had arrived for me to give it a shot! It was also super affordable, which I will always appreciate!
Northanger Abbey is the light-hearted telling of a young girl’s first excursion into fashionable society. Catherine Morland is taken to Bath where she meets Henry Tilney and his sister Eleanor. They invite her to live with them at their family home, Northanger Abbey. Catherine is an aficionado of Gothic novels and fervently hopes that the Abbey will match the haunted ruins she conjures up in her imagination.
Those are the eight books that were acquired on this celebratory biblio-infused trip! Have you guys read any of these titles? Which titles sound most interesting to you?