Library Loot #3: South Asian Fantasy, First-Contact Sci-Fi, & Contemporary Japanese Lit.

Ah, the beautiful ritual of checking out books, then returning them, only to check out even more! It’s addicting as hell, friends. When I returned books earlier this week, my goal was to avoid grabbing more, aside from whatever I already had on hold. Suffice to say… I failed. But this just means I get to read more fantastic (hopefully) things, so is it really failing? I think not, not really any way.

Following my reading trends for 2018, I have more fantasy and psychological thrillers, as well as a couple Japanese fiction titles, one of which is from a favourite author of all-time. I can’t really complain, now can I?

Bonfire by Krysten Ritter

A debut psychological suspense thriller about a woman named Abby Williams, who ran away from home ten years ago and worked hard to erase her small-town roots by becoming a thriving environmental lawyer in Chicago. But then Abby receives a case that will force her to revisit her home in Barrens, Indiana, where everything she’s worked for is at risk of falling apart. Tasked with investigating the town’s most high-profile company, Abby begins to discover strange connections between the town’s biggest scandal from a decade ago, involving a popular gal named Kaycee right before she disappeared. While trying desperately to solve the case, Abby’s troubling memoires begin to resurface causing her to doubt her ability to do her work and threatening to consume her entirely.

Bonfire was one of my holds. Knowing it’s written by the gal who plays Jessica Jones on the series of the same name, I became super curious and couldn’t help myself. I’ve also heard great things about the book.

Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata

The #OwnVoices Japanese fiction story follows two sisters, Katie and Lynn Takeshima. They move from their small Japanese community in Iowa to the Deep South of Georgia, where things are vastly different for the two girls. Lynn explains to her younger sister why people are suddenly stopping to stare at the Takeshimas. It is Lynn who inevitably must teach Katie that in order to survive she has to look beyond tomorrow towards the future. But then Lynn becomes desperately ill and the family’s world starts to completely fall to pieces, leaving Katie to put them all back together and to remind them that there is always something to look forward to in the future.

Kira-Kira was recommended to me by a younger cousin a couple years ago, but it’s been difficult to find. So when I came across it at the library, I had to grab it.

Strange Weather in Tokyo by Hiromi Kawakami

This is an #OwnVoices Japanese contemporary fiction novel. Tsukiko is a 38-year-old office worker who lives alone. One night she runs into her former high school teacher, whom she has only ever called “sensei.” He is thirty years older than her, retired, and seemingly a widower. As they spend more time together, they develop a small acknowledgment of each other that gradually turns into a uncertain intimacy, and finally emotional love.

Strange Weather in Tokyo is one of my most-anticipated new reads of 2018. I never imagined that the library would actually have it. I snagged this so fast off the shelves when my eyes caught it. I’m still going to buy this book, as it’s Japanese literature and I must have all the J-Lit I can, but now I can read it until I am able to buy it.

The Miner by Natsume Sōseki

An #OwnVoices Japanese fiction literature novel, this is one of Sōseki’s least known novels. There was no synopsis for this book on the back cover, nor was there one available on Amazon, and if I’m to be perfectly honest, I love going into Sōseki’s novels utterly uninformed. It is the best way to experience them. What makes The Miner so much more captivating to me is that there is an introduction written by Haruki Murakami (my other favourite author of all-time) and it’s also one of his favourite books ever. How could I ever pass this up???

Skim by Mariko & Jillian Tamaki

This Japanese-Canadian young adult Queer graphic novel is about a high schooler named “Skim” Kimberly Keiko Cameron, a non-slim, Wiccan Goth who attends a girls’ private school. When Skim’s classmate’s boyfriend dumps her and commits suicide, the whole school goes into severe mourning, causing Skim to fall deeper in her battle with depression. As she struggles with all of the heaviness engulfing her life, she finds herself developing feelings for one of her classmate’s.

I’ve heard brilliant things about this graphic novel. Recently I finished reading This One Summer by the same duo and it was so extraordinary with some deep, dark motifs. This lifts my expectations for Skim quite a bite.

The Immortals of Meluha (The Shiva Trilogy Book #1) by Amish

This is an #OwnVoices Indian fantasy novel, the first in a series. Taking place in the year 1900 B.C. in what is presently known as the Indus Valley Civilisation, the story follows a group of inhabitants who referred to the region during their time as the land of Meluha, a near-perfect empire, the Suryavanshi, that was created many, many centuries prior by Lord Ram. Lord Ram was one of the greatest monarchs to live. The proud empire is facing severe perils as its primary river, Saraswati, is drying to extinction. In addition, the empire faces terrorist attacks from the land of the Chandravanshis, who have allied themselves with the Nagas, an ostracised race of deformed humans with remarkable martial arts capabilities. The only hope for the Suryavanshi to survive lies in an ancient legend: “When evil reaches epic proportions, when all seems lost, when it appears that your enemies have triumphed, a hero will emerge.” The hero that emerges is none other than a rough-hewn Tibetan immigrant named Shiva.

Indian fantasy. That’s all I have to say about it. INDIAN FANTASY!!

Or Else My Lady Keeps the Key by Kage Baker

This is a high-fantasy novella that takes place in 1672 in Port Royal, Jamaica. John James, a bricklayer-turned-pirate, is returning from the Panama with some lousy loot and a resolve to return to bricklaying since he failed at piracy. But before he can even begin to gather his old life back together again, he must deliver a letter to a lady; a letter written by a dead comrade, Sir Thomas Blackstone. The letter’s recipient is Clarissa Waverly, Blackstone’s mistress and partner in an illicit court intrigue.

This short novel sounded like it’d be a quick, fun read with PIRATES. Why not?

Semiosis by Sue Burke

This hard-science fiction, first-contact, stand-alone novel is about colonists from Earth who want to create the perfect home. Instead, they must survive on what they’ve got, not realising that there is another lifeform watching them, waiting patiently. Only mutual communication can help forge an alliance between the sentient species and the human colonists, proving that humans are much more than mere tools to be used.

Another anticipated read for 2018.  I love hard sci-fi, especially when it’s about a bunch of strange, sentient beings and how humans always manage to piss them off by being selfish and dumb. I also like that this is a stand-alone.

Those are all of the books from my recent library trip (yesterday). Please let me know in the comments if any of these appeal to you, or if you’ve read any of them. I’d love to hear from you.

Thank you for taking the time to visit me today. Until next time, happy reading and happy otakuing. 💙

One thought on “Library Loot #3: South Asian Fantasy, First-Contact Sci-Fi, & Contemporary Japanese Lit.

  1. Pingback: Library Loot #4: YA Fantasy, Adult Space Sci-Fi, & Japanese Revenge Thriller |

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