My round of books from the library this time have more Asian titles in it and that makes me very happy because one of my reading goals for 2019 is to increase the number of #OwnVoices Asian literature novels that I read. I want that to eventually become the bulk of what I consume, mostly because I tend to enjoy these sorts of books the most. As someone who’s trying to surround themselves with far more moments of joy in my life, I figured there’s no reason this shouldn’t transcend to my bibliophilic tendencies as well.
There are two titles that may be well-known around the bookish-spheres, but I like to believe the other novels are a bit obscure, which makes them further enticing to me. I’ve a spot of fantasy and mystery, along with science-fiction horror and regular ol’ fiction. Check ‘em out down below.
Ghost Month (A Taipei Night Market #1) by Ed Lin
Ghost Month is an #OwnVoices Taiwanese-Chinese mystery thriller that I decided to pick up because the premise appealed to me and also because one of my GR friends read it somewhat recently and had good things to say about it.
It takes place in Taiwan during the Ghost month, which is a time to pay respects to those who have passed away in an effort to displace unlucky omens. We are introduced to a dude named Jing-nan who runs a food stand in Taipei’s night market. When he learns about his high school sweetheart being murdered—found scantily clad, near an area where she sold betel nuts—he feels a harrowing grief. In the midst of his sorrow, Jing-nan also feels immense confusion as the young woman was highly intelligent and full of potential for a prosperous future, and her falling into such a lowly occupation doesn’t add up. Driven onwards by his curiosity and disbelief, Jing-nan starts to investigate on his own, but no matter the depth of his determination, nothing can truly prepare him for the truth behind the mystery.
Empire of Sand (The Books of Ambha #1) by Tasha Suri
Empire of Sand is an #OwnVoices Punjabi, young adult fantasy novel that I didn’t know anything about until I read Nandini’s amazing review for it, which also prompted me to check it out.
The book revolves around a girl named Mehr who is the illegitimate daughter of an imperial governor and an exiled Amrithi, or outcast, mother. Even though she doesn’t know her mother, Mehr inherited her mother’s looks and magic, which attracts the attention of the Emperor’s most feared and dangerous mystics. In order to resist their cruel plots, Mehr will have to utilise the full breadth of her fortitude and willpower.
Contagion by Erin Bowman
Contagion is a science-fiction, horror suspense novel that, once again, I didn’t know a lick about until I read a fantastic review for it written by Kaleena. To the library I went afterwards.
I don’t know much about the plot regarding this book other than the fact that it has something to do with zombies. Personally, I like to go into my horror books with as little information as possible. But if y’all are interested, you can check out Kaleena’s review above (which I highly recommend) and this GR link.
Exit Strategy (Murderbot Diaries #4) by Martha Wells
Exit Strategy is the final instalment in the science-fiction, artificial intelligence novella series, Murderbot Diaries. I’ve been making my way through this series a bit slowly for the past six months, give or take, and I’m ready to see how things will wrap-up. I won’t provide a synopsis here to prevent spoilers from previous volumes, but you can visit the GR series link here.
Goodbye Tsugumi by Banana Yoshimoto
Goodbye Tsugumi is an #OwnVoices Japanese fiction novel authored by one of my favourite modern writers. This has been on my to-be-read list for a long time, so when I accidentally came upon the novel at the library, I didn’t hesitate for a second in checking it out.
The narrative is about the complicated friendship shared by two female cousins. Maria is the daughter of an unmarried woman, who grew up alongside her cousin Tsugumi. Tsugumi has been an invalid her entire life and has lived a cushioned, spoiled existence that’s made her a bit cruel. When Maria’s father is finally able to move her and her mother to Tokyo, Maria is thrust into a world of college, impending adulthood, and seemingly “normal” family dynamics.
Go by Kazuki Kaneshiro
Go is an #OwnVoices Japanese fiction novel that I have on my Kindle, but since reading eBooks tend to make my eyes hurt dreadfully, I haven’t read the novel yet. I was flipping through my Kindle books one day, and when I came across it, I ran a search to see if my library had it. Lucky for me, they did.
Go is about a Korean student in a Japanese high school named Sugihara who’s been defending himself against bullies for as long as he can remember. Yet, nothing could have ever prepared him for the heartache that stems from falling in love with a Japanese girl named Sakurai. Sharing an adoration for classical music and foreign films, the two eventually grow closer and closer. Then one night after being hit with a personal tragedy, Sugihara confides in Sakurai that he’s not Japanese, as his name indicates. Sugihara finds himself torn between an opportunity of self-discovery and the prejudices of other people, and he has to decide the kind of person that he wants to be and the future that he wants for himself.
I think I say this with virtually all of my library hauls, but I feel like I’ve a good variety here to keep myself entertained (hopefully). Do any of the books sound interesting to you? Is there one that you would like to see a review for the most? Please, come chat with me in the comments! The support would mean so much to me.