Library Loot #2: Asian Literature & Irish Fantasy

I have come to realise that the library is a dangerous place for me, mostly because I have no restraint when it comes to books! Ever since I snagged a library membership, I’ve always had a maxed-out account of 30 checked out books. I have returned stuff, only to bring home even more things, keeping myself tapped out. Recently, I returned nine books and, since I was feeling down on Saturday, Sir Betrothed and I went back to the library where I promptly checked out another nine titles!

Today, I wanted to share with you my latest haul of reads. I ended up discovering a neat, eclectic mix of Asian literature from various places around the world and a couple of fantasy books, one of which is an Irish fantasy novel that is laced with Celtic lore and mysticism. I’ll begin with the Asian Lit., and then move on to the fantasy.

When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro

Every time I’m in a bookstore, or now the library, I glance over at the collection of Ishiguro novels, but then I talk myself out of picking one of them up. The only reason for this is all of the hype. As I’ve mentioned many times before on my blog, and will probably moan about a bit more before my time as a blogger is up, hype tends to kill any or all interest I will have, for anything; books, films, anime, etc. But as I was standing there, staring at the spines, I caved and decided to try one out. I went with this book because I have heard the least about it, making it the most appealing.

This Japanese-British fiction book revolves around a character named Christopher Banks, who was born in Shanghai at the beginning of the 20th century. He lived in the city quite happily until his parents’ sudden disappearance. Then Christopher left Shanghai and never looked back. Twenty years after leaving the city, Banks returns as a renowned detective, with hopes of finally solving his parents’ unsolved disappearances. But the deeper that he digs, the more complicated and unexpected, and more dangerous things turn out to be.


The Lotus and the Storm by Lan Cao

I have read very few Vietnamese literature novels, as they are quite difficult to come by, unfortunately. So, when I found this while paroozing the fiction section, I immediately grabbed it. When I read the premise, I became even more interested than I already was.

This #OwnVoices Vietnamese fiction novel follows a father and daughter, Minh and Mai, a few decades after the war. In a small refugee community in the Virginia suburbs, this small family has built a home rich with the Vietnamese culture that they had to leave behind. Haunted by secrets, trauma, and losses of their country, Mai and Minh ponder all of the people that they left behind, people that they were never able to say good-bye to before the evacuation. Their memories and fears of the unknown eat away at them, bringing all of that trauma back to the surface like a rolling boil, and they have no choice but to face it.

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Women by Balli Kaur Jaswal

This is another one that I’ve been interested in picking up, but once more the hype has kept me at arm’s length. I was very surprised to see this at my local library. When I eyed it, I figured it was a sign that I should suck it up and try it out.

An #OwnVoices Punjabi contemporary fiction novel, it follows a woman named Nikki, who lives in West London, tending at a local pub. Being a daughter of Indian immigrants, Nikki has spent most of her life avoiding her South Asian culture and traditional Sikh community in lieu of a Western and modern life. When her father passes away, her family starts to struggle financially. Being a law school drop-out, she impulsively accepts a job teaching creative writing at a community centre in the heart of London’s close-knit Punjabi community. Due to miscommunication problems, proper Sikh widows show up hoping to learn basic English fluency, not how to spin stories. Then one of the widows comes across a book of sexy stories in English and shares it with the class. Nikki quickly realises that beneath their white veils, the students contain within them a wealth of fantasies and memories. Eager to liberate these modest women, she teaches them how to express these unspoken stories, unleashing creativity of the most unexpected and thrilling kind.

 This One Summer by Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki

Skim is another graphic novel by Mariko Tamaki that I have been trying to find for a long time. I ended up finding one of her newer graphic novels, This One Summer, which she also co-authored with her cousin, under the comics section and knew that I couldn’t pass it up.

Every summer Rose goes to Awago Beach with her mother and father. It’s their ritualistic getaway. Rose’s friend, Windy, who is like the sister that she never had, always joins them as well. But things this summer feel vastly different than normal. Her parents won’t stop fighting, and when Rose and Windy go looking for a distraction, they find themselves in a whole new set of problems. One of the local teens, someone who’s a handful of years older than the girls, gets caught in something very bad and life threatening, turning the summer into one of secrets, sorrow, and lessons on growing up.

The Last Days of Magic by Mark Tompkins

Since Sir Betrothed is Scottish-Irish, I have someone to fuel and motivate my passionate interest in Celtic lore and fantasy, as well as Scottish and Irish histories. When I originally came across this book, I immediately thought of Sir Betrothed. Smiling, I knew I had to check it out for us both. I made a point of saying that I get to read it first since I found it first!

Written by an Irish-American author, the novel follows Aisling, a goddess in human form that was born to rule both domains with her twin sister, Anya, thus uniting the Celts with the powerful faeries of the Middle Kingdom. But within medieval Ireland, interests are horribly divided. Far from its shores, there are greater forces brewing. Both England and Rome have a stake in driving magic from the Emerald Isle. Enter Jordan, a Vatican commander who is tasked with vanquishing the remnants of otherworldly creatures, who has built his career on schemes. Yet, increasingly he finds himself torn between duty and his desire to further understand the forbidden magic.

The Ascendant Kingdoms Saga Books 1-4 by Gail Z. Martin

Epic fantasy is one of my favourite genres of all-time, no matter the medium, but particularly for books. The spine of the first book caught my attention, so I picked it up off the shelf and skimmed the premise lightly (I don’t like knowing too much going into my fantasy books). It was more than enough to convince me to check it out. I ran a quick Google Search of the saga and saw that there were four books in the series, all of which were lined up neatly on the shelf. Guess what I did? 😊

Blaine “Mick” McFadden was condemned for murdering the man who dishonoured his sister, spending six long years in Velant, a penal colony in the frigid northern wastelands. Harsh military discipline and oppressive magic maintain a delicate peace as the colonists struggle against a hostile environment. But then the supply ships from Dondareth have stopped coming, boding ill omens for the kingdom that banishes the colonists. Now as the world’ magic runs amid chaos, McFadden and the people of Velant must fight to survive and to make their own fate.

Well, friends, this does it for my most-recent library swag! You can expect to see reviews for these books on BiblioNyan within the coming months. Please, let me know if you have read any of these or if any of them sound interesting to you.

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit me today. I appreciate your support. Until next time, happy reading and happy otakuing. 🌴

8 thoughts on “Library Loot #2: Asian Literature & Irish Fantasy

  1. Haven’t read the Irish fantasy book. Will have to hunt it down. I’ve read the other ones and the only one I felt was pretty average was the Punjabi women one. There was nothing bad about it at all, just the writing felt subpar.

    • Subpar writing doesn’t bother me too much if there is good, consistent focus on other things, like the characters.

    • Thanks, Jenna! Me too! I remember going to the library with my mum when I was a kid, but after she started working full-time we stopped. Because I had gotten used to buying books online (thanks to my agoraphobia and severe social anxiety), the library never occurred to me. But it’s helped me in many ways. I’m glad I discovered we had one close by and that I chalked up the nerve to visit. 😀

  2. Sounds like you had a great haul l, the library has become a little treasure hove of forgotten books just waiting to be discovered.

  3. I really enjoyed Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows – it’s definitely unlike anything I’ve ever read before!

    • Cool, good to know! It sounds very different from anything I’ve ever read as well. I’m looking forward to it.

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