Weekend Reads #24: Chinese YA Contemporary, Vietnamese Historical Fiction, & Manga!

Good afternoon, campers! (Still on that Stargate SG-1 kick.) I am super thrilled that I read as much Asian literature as I did in August, and I’m going to ride that tide into September as much as I possibly can. So, this weekend, I will be focusing on the Asian books that I checked out from the library, and even return to some manga serials that I’ve had on hold in lieu of reading other things.

Two of these titles are my current reads and the other is one is a book that I’m hoping to begin by the end of the day today, or sometime tomorrow, pending my completion of homework assignments. I am definitely enjoying the diversity of the genre that I’m reading this weekend, and I think it will go a long ways toward helping me stay engaged and avoid ruts!

Check ‘em out down below!

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith

This is a book that I began about a week or so ago but placed aside so that I could pummel my way through books that were due back very soon. I picked it back up a couple of days ago and I have been loving the heck out of it. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much from it, yet the more that I read it, the more I find myself being drawn into the narrative and feeling enthusiastic about whatever’s going to occur next.

This is a fantasy horror, alternate history novel that is the biography of Abraham Lincoln, focusing on the hidden part of his life spent being a brutal vampire hunter, which was driven onwards as an act of vengeance.

Picture Us in the Light by Kelly Loy Gilbert

I began reading this earlier in the week because the breath-taking cover kept calling out to me. I also needed a fresh, new young adult novel to help replace the ick of the one I was reading prior to it, which had the worst imaginable protagonist ever. Thus far, approximately one-half of the way through, I am surprised by the quality. The writing is beautiful with a storyline focusing heavily on close familial bonds between a kid and his parents being jeopardised by long hidden secrets. It is emotionally evocative, and I’m curious to see how it will all resolve itself.

The young adult #OwnVoices Chinese-American contemporary novel is about a teenager named Danny Cheng. He discovers a taped-up box of stuff in his father’s closet filled with files on a local, wealthy, Bay-Area family, making him realise that there is far more to his parents than he believed possible. The deeper he digs, learning more about a past tragedy and uncovering a horrible secret, the more Danny’s familial foundation is rocked to its core, threating to destroy everything they all worked so hard to build.

The Lotus and the Storm by Lao Cao

I originally grabbed this off the library shelves because the premise sounded evocative, contemplative, and haunting, which are my favourite attributes in a historical fiction novel spanning decades. Then I learned it was an #OwnVoices Vietnamese novel on top of that and I knew it was a must-check-out. I’m sincerely hoping that I will get an opportunity to begin this book today or tomorrow.

The narrative transports us back to wartime Saigon as we follow two girls named Mai and Khanh, who revel in the rich cultural climate of their country during this intense era. Meanwhile, their father, Minh, goes off to work as an army commander and their mother conducts business with Chinese merchants. Then four decades later, in the suburbs of Virginia, the homey and reminiscent Vietnamese culture they adored so much is revived in a local refugee community. Here Minh and Mai, father and daughter, live their broken lives, haunted by the ghosts, secrets, and loss of country—remnants threatening to destroy all they’ve sacrificed for.

Each of these novels sound incredible, and so far two of the three have made for amazing reading experiences. I need more titles to add to my Best Books of 2018 list, and with enough luck and intrigue, by the time I’m finished I will have a couple more to add to the stack. In addition to these, I shall also be picking up long-paused manga serials, listed here:

  • Death Note Black Edition Volume III by Tsuguimi Ohba and Takeshi Obata – a shōnen, psychological, supernatural, crime thriller that had a bit of a slow, predictable start, but is turning into an intriguing and suspenseful romp.
  • Fruits Basket Collector’s Edition Volume 9 by Natsuki Takaya – a shōjo, romance, slice-of-life series that I have been loving with all of my heart.
  • Blade of the Immortal Omnibus III by Hiroaki Samura – a seinen, chanbara, supernatural series that is one of the most badass fucking things I have read, making me thirst for Akira Kurosawa films. The art is also some of the finest in the manga medium in existence.

That does it for my weekend reading shenanigans, planned ones at least. Please, come chat with me in the comments! Let me know what you’re planning on reading, or if any of these books sound interesting to you.

Thank you so much for visiting me today. I appreciate the support! Until next time, keep reading and keep otakuing. 💜

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6 thoughts on “Weekend Reads #24: Chinese YA Contemporary, Vietnamese Historical Fiction, & Manga!

  1. You’ll love Lotus. It’s heart-breaking. Not like Cat Chronicles, but still very emotionally powerful. Blade of the Immortal is one of the best narratives ever written.

  2. Plenty of interesting reads for you I see 😊😊 Thanks for sharing these. I actually saw the movie Abraham Lincoln-vampire hunter, and it wasn’t too bad. Not anything that I would call superspecial, but still a fun watch 😊😊Happy reading and have a great weekend! 😊

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