Good morning, chums! Recently, I have been super stressed out with life. With trying to figure out a way to pay for colleges and medications, as well as dealing with some self-image issues, I have been a basket of negative feelings. Usually when I feel this way, I do unwise things like eat a lot of crap or spend a lot of money. Rather than give into those nasty temptations, I visited my library instead!
Our local library community upgraded their whole system not too long ago, increasing the limit from 30 books to 60 books. Naturally, I went out and checked-out a bunch more things. It satisfied those pesky feelings I had for shopping, which in turn helped validate some of the stress that was weighing on me (I plan on talking more in depth about this on Sunday for a Self-Care Sunday post, stay tuned).
Since I’ve been in a mood for graphic novels and laid-back Asian narratives, that’s precisely what I ended up bringing home! I’m quite excited for all the manga that I shall be sharing with you as most of them have been on my TBR for a very long time. The two cosies that I picked up were recommended to me via #OwnVoices bloggers and their premises sound like just the easy and interesting sort of vibe that I’m going for. Check ‘em out below!
Satoko & Nada Volume 1 by Yupechika
Satoko & Nada is a slice-of-life manga series about a young Japanese woman named Satoko who travels to America for her studies. There she meets a Saudi Arabian Muslima who is also her roommate. The story follows the two women as they formulate a friendship and navigate cultural divides.
The Muslima within me is thrilled by the concept of this. I have never seen Muslims in a Japanese manga series before and I’m seriously hoping that it will live up to my expectations.
Tokyo Tarareba Girls Volume 1 by Akiko Higashimura
Tokyo Tarareba Girls is a josei, comedy, romance serial from the same mangaka that brought us Princess Jellyfish. The story follows a woman named Rinko who is 33-years-old and feeling the weight of her midlife. Her fast-track career has plateaued and she’s still dreadfully single. One night while she’s out getting drunk with her mates at a local pub, she vows that she shall find herself a man and get hitched by the arrival of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
I loved Princess Jellyfish even though I didn’t care for some small parts. The artwork and the comedy were brilliant, and the representation of an Indian character didn’t follow any shitty, stereotyped tropes either. So, naturally, I’m curious to see what sort of thrill ride the author shall be taking me on next!
Onwards Towards Our Noble Deaths by Shigeru Mizuki
Onwards Towards Our Noble Deaths is a non-fiction, autobiographical manga that is the author’s memoir of his time spent in the Imperial Army during the Second World War. It’s set against the island backdrop in the Pacific and shares stories of camaraderie as well as the dreadful reality of what war can do to a person’s spirit.
Shigeru Mizuki is the author of the non-fiction manga series Showa: A History of Japan. I read half of the first volume (had to return it before I could finish it) and I love his work. The artwork and the careful way that he discusses history is absolutely wonderful. I’ve heard amazing things about his critique of the Imperial Army and the role it played during the war in this memoir, which as a Japanese history nerd, I can’t wait to read.
The Osamu Tezuka Story: A Life in Manga & Anime by Toshio Ban
The Osamu Tezuka Story is a non-fiction, biography that tells the story of the brilliant and revolutionary mangaka, Osamu Tezuka. It’s a graphic-format that includes anecdotal accounts of Japan’s early anime and manga business, and the people who were influenced by Tezuka’s creative breakthroughs in Japan’s post-war years.
This book is fucking humongous and that was one of the reasons that I grabbed it. I feel like it’s going to be a challenge to read through this monstrosity. Aside from that, I’m very curious to learn about one of the fathers of modern-day anime and manga. His influence and the respect that he has garnered is quite extraordinary.
The Dark Maidens by Rikako Akiyoshi
The Dark Maidens is a seinen, mystery thriller, stand-alone light novel. The mystery revolves around the death of a young girl at a prestigious high school, and is told Rashōmon-style where each girl shares their perception of what happened to the dead student.
The Akutagawa geek within my heart and soul could not pass up a story written in one of my favourite styles. Let’s not forget that Rashōmon is one of my favourite novels and one of my favourite Akira Kurosawa films as well.
Death by Dumpling (Noodle Shop Mystery #1) by Vivien Chien
Death by Dumpling is an #OwnVoices Asian, cosy mystery book. It revolves around a young woman named Lana Lee, who after a bad break-up and a dramatic workplace walk-out, returns to the Cleveland area to help out at her family’s restaurant by waiting tables. In the meantime, she works to piece her mangled life back together while fighting her mother’s attempts at setting Lana up with potential husbands. However, when the restaurant’s property manager, Mr Feng, turns up dead after a delivery of shrimp dumplings, the whole restaurant falls under suspicion, placing all of Lana’s plans on a drastic hold.
A ravenous reader that I follow on Instagram had great things to say about this book and the cover looked way too charming to pass up. When I looked it up and saw that it wasn’t as intimidatingly long as other cosy serials, I snagged the first instalment.
Aunty Lee’s Delights (Singaporean Mystery #1) by Ovidia Yu
Aunty Lee’s Delights is an #OwnVoices Singaporean, cosy mystery. After losing her husband, rather than sitting about and becoming an idle rich lady, Aunty Lee starts a journey of spicy Singaporean food by opening a new restaurant called Aunty Lee’s Delights. But when a body is found in the restaurant’s locality and a guest at Aunty’s dinner party never shows up, she’s convinced the two occurrences are related.
I felt charmed by a woman trying to find herself in the aftermath of a marriage ending. While this one ended with death and mine ended in other more depressing ways, I feel like there will be some inspiration within these pages to help me as I embark on some new adventures of my own. Also, it sounds like there shall be mentionings of tasty dishes, which I definitely can’t pass up.
That is my most recent library haul! What do you think? Are there any books listed here that you would like to read, or that you’ve read and enjoyed?