Good morning and a happy Monday, y’all!
This weekend, in an effort to combat my agoraphobia a bit more before school begins at the end of August, I embarked on a used book-buying adventure! My local library was having a warehouse sale, so I visited them and then promptly afterwards I received a kick-ass coupon from Barnes & Noble, so I made a pit-stop there on my way home as well. The goodies acquired consider a nice variety of literature from epic fantasy to a memoir to Asian literatures of varying sorts. It’s safe to say that this haul was quite the pleasant one! Woot.
Today I’m going to be sharing my haul with y’all. As per usual, I’ll provide the title, author, genre, and a succinct synopsis. Please let me know in the comments if you have read any of these narratives, or if any of them sound interesting to you. They are in order of genre.
A Most Peculiar Malaysian Murder (Inspector Singh #1) by Shamini Flint
This is an #OwnVoices Malaysian mystery fiction novel, the first in a series, that revolves around weighty Inspector Singh. Being an annoyance to the Singaporean police department, he gets shipped off to Malaysia to monitor the trial of Chelsea Liew, a Singaporean beauty queen accused of killing her abusive millionaire ex-hubby. While observing, Inspector Singh realises that justice isn’t being served and interferes where he can to assist.
My biggest interest in the novel, aside from it being a Malaysian mystery story, is that it revolves around the secular and Islamic custody laws. I have never read a book that focuses on this element. Excitedly intrigued, I decided to snag it. It was also fifty-cents, which blew my mind.
The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
This is an #OwnVoices Indian fiction literature novel that revolves around two brothers who are as different as night and day. Udayan, during the 1960s, is charming and impulsive and quickly finds himself swept up in a Naxalite movement, a rebellion waged to eradicate inequality and poverty. His involvement will shatter his family and break his wife’s heart with tragedy. Subhash, who had left India to study science in a quiet corner of America, returns home after hearing of the events that have transpired in an effort to save his family and his sister-in-law.
Family stories, while quite difficult for me to read at times due to personal experiences, are some of my favourite kinds of fiction literature to read, especially when they are from Asian cultures. There is always something for me to relate to or understand intimately, as well as plenty for me to learn about that culture. I also do love a beautiful tale of the bonds between people, whether they are good or bad. I paid a dollar for this title.
The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen
From the author that wrote The Sympathiser, comes a new collection of short stories that revolve entirely on the refugee experiences, specifically Vietnamese refugees. The #OwnVoices book explores the life-changing and commonly heart-breaking decision to leave one’s country for another, where they are faced with culture shock, a loss or confusion of cultural identity, a variety of relationships and loyalties.
I love his unique and occasionally challenging writing style, and the stories that Nguyen shares are always very all-encompassing. So, in my effort to branch out and read more short story collections, this was one I had to have. I paid a dollar for this one as well.
Years of Red Dust: Stories of Shanghai by Qin Xiaolong
Another short story collection, this one is #OwnVoices Chinese by an author who is renowned for his Inspector Chen novels. The collection has stories revolving around modern China, from the early days of the Communist Revolution in 1949 to the Modernisation movement of the late 1990s. All of the stories are told from the perspective of one small street in Shanghai, Red Dust Lane.
I have very few, if any, short story collections that focus on the modern history of China, so when I saw this book, and for fifty-cents no less, I knew that I had to have it.
The Thousand Deaths of Ardor Benn (Ardor Benn #1) by Tyler Whitesides
This adult fantasy novel revolves around the main character, Ardor Benn, who is hired by a priest to steal an extremely important and valuable item from the most powerful king the realm has ever known. Knowing that this shall be no easy task, Benn assembles a team of forgers, disguisers, schemers, and thieves to help him devise the ultimate scheme. But when the time comes to steal the item in question, Benn realises that much more is at stake than he could’ve imagined.
The premise sounded really neat and different from my other fantasy books, and I had a coupon for twenty-percent off one item, so naturally I went ahead and got it.
The Never King by James Abbott
A dark and twisted adult fantasy novel follows Xavir Argentum who is nothing more than a rotting gaol, sentenced to life in Hell’s keep for an atrocity that he didn’t commit. Once a legendary commander, Xavir is a forgotten nothing now. A half a decade has passed with him forced to watch the oppressive tyrant who framed him inheriting the kingdom that was to be his. But patience is a virtue and paves the path to vengeance if one is willing. When a former spymaster infiltrates the Keep, bearing news of his old enemy’s treachery, plans are forged. Compelled to make his escape for the first time in years, Xavir is determined to have his revenge.
The book sounds like it will contain a lot of intrigue and some cool twists and turns, which I fucking love in fantasy novels. I also noticed that it is a stand-alone, a rare in the genre’s breed. Since I had never heard of this book before, choosing it randomly off the shelves at BN, I went ahead and bought it before I could forget about it.
Hirohito: The War Years by Paul Manning
Via detailed eyewitness accounts, previously undisclosed archives, minutes, and excerpts from the diaries of the emperor’s closest aides, the veteran reporter and war correspondent, Paul Manning, has compiled a deep and intimate look at the emperor who was hell-bent on a bloody conquest of domination.
I saw this at my library and I immediately snagged it. If you’ve been following my blog for the past month, you probably have noticed that I am enriching myself with Japanese history as much as I can. It’s for my own personal interest, as well as one that’s educational and professional. I have not seen many books that go into such grand detail about Hirohito at such an amazing price. While I do expect the book to be a bit outdated in terms of writing and perspective (1989), I am still very eager to read it. I would prefer a book written by a Japanese person, but that is virtually impossible to obtain outside of Japan.
Japan: Profile of a Nation by Kodansha International
This is essentially a concise reference book on the country of Japan. It goes into geographical information, briefly talks about flora and fauna, government, economy, society, culture, and life.
I originally checked out a different version of this book from the library, so when I saw that they had a slightly older one (with a bit more content in it) for sale for a dollar, I grabbed it! I liked the compactness of the one that I checked out, as it’s a smaller paperback, but the hardback is still easy to read and hold, and I’m happy with my purchase, woot.
That does it for my weekend book-buying shenanigans. Out of all of the books listed, the one that I am most-likely to pick up very soon is the non-fiction book about Emperor Hirohito. It is definitely the most-compelling one for me out of the entire stack.