Weekend Reads: #OwnVoices Chinese Fiction & British Non-Fiction

Today’s weather is forecasted to be quite gorgeous. The sun will be out with a light breeze and the skies will be blue as far as the eye can see. Even the temperature will be a comfortable 70-72 degrees Fahrenheit. I can’t think of a better way to spend this lovely California day than by sitting in the shade at the park or local library and reading with a bottle of cold iced barley tea and some cool cantaloupe munchies. I feel like this is a marvellous way to unwind after a chaotic week of Uni deadlines, extroverted interactions, and long hours of adulting, such as grocery shopping and cleaning the house. Granted, I do enjoy cleaning, but even my personal OCD needs a break every now and again.


One of my main goals for 2020 as a bibliophile is to read more #OwnVoices Asian books, more sci-fi and fantasy, and more nonfiction, which basically describes the trio stack of hardbacks that I shall have with me on my little excursion later today. Ever since I participated in Non-Fiction November last year (2019), I have been really digging the genre. I’ve tried to make a point of reading at least one non-fiction book every month this year, and so far, I’m doing alright. Hopefully as 2020 goes on, I’ll combine the Asian Literature goal with the nonfiction one, as I’ve recently stumbled across some fantastic titles at the Libs that I’m aching to check-out (get it? Check-out… okay, I’ll stop now).

My flames of passion for picking up more sci-fi and fantasy—specifically the cheesy kinds from the 80s and 90s—stems from the fact that my personal collection of novels consists mostly of SFF and Japanese Literature; my two favourite genres. However, ever since I discovered the beauty that is the local library, those books have gone positively untouched and dust racked. As such, the desire to indulge in this genre also has a sneak attack motive of tackling those unread beauts. Unfortunately, this goal is not going nearly as well, but hey, there’s still time for improvement.

Anyhoo, that pretty much sums up my reading shenanigans for 2020. I’m hoping to share some of my recent Libs Loot with you in a few days, so if you enjoy Asian Literature or SFF, keep an eye out for that post!

As I mentioned above, there are three books on my hitlist for the weekend and also the last week of February (where the hell did this month go?). I’m in the middle of the first novel, a few pages into the second, and the third is what I’ll pick up when I’m done with the first. Let’s take a look, shall we?

beijing paybackBeijing Payback by Daniel Nieh is an #OwnVoices Chinese-American contemporary thriller novel about a young dude named Victor Li and his sister, Jules. When their father is murdered, they must come to terms with his sudden demise while unravelling the pieces of his life that he kept buried. In the process, Victor and Jules learn some dark secrets about their father’s business; things that potentially led to his murder. As they try to put everything together, their own lives fall into the pit of danger and deception.

This is a debut novel for Mr Nieh and I’ve been enjoying it quite a bit. There is some awkwardness with the prose on occasion, but that mostly has to do with how the Mandarin is used, especially when it’s being translated. Aside from that, I feel compelled to learn more about their father and to see how these secrets will shape the siblings as they process their grief.

six wives of henry viiiSix Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII by David Starkey is a British nonfiction brick of a fucking book (760+ pages) that goes into incredible detail about the six wives of one of the most famous royal leaders of England, the Tudor King, Henry VIII.

I read the introduction last night, along with some brief information on the weddings that each woman had with the King. My favourite aspect of this book is that it’s extremely accessible and written in a manner that isn’t super pretentious or unbearably academic. While there are a lot of details and it’s still quite smart in its presentation, it reads rather fast and the information provided is offered in a way that doesn’t feel overwhelming or like walls and walls of indiscernible text, which I’ve noticed tends to be a common theme in a lot of British nonfiction, historical writings. This one will take me a little while to finish, but I don’t mind. My fascination for Henry VIII and his wives is a strange one that runs deep…

dear cyborgsDear Cyborgs by Eugene Lim is an #OwnVoices Chinese-American science-fiction novel with a non-linear story about two Asian American boys that bond over their outsider status and passion for comics, as well as an alternate or futuristic setting where superheroes contemplate the meanderings of society during their off-time. The book is supposed to be a unique exploration of positive protests and the woes of friendships that eventually dissolve.

The premise just sounds so strange to me that I knew I had to check it out. Plus, thought-provoking stories that can make me question the meaning or power of social justice is always a huge draw for my brain. It tends to help me become more open-minded and also to understand the world from other marginalised perspectives, which is super important, especially today! I have not started this but look forward to it quite enthusiastically.

Aside from reading, my only other plans for the weekend consist of writing a paper on Yuri on Ice for my Japanese Pop Culture class (oh yeah, this is a class I’m taking; it sounds great, but it’s really not as great as you’d think) and then working on more future content for both my blog and my BookTube channel (yup, reviving that sucker too). If you’d like to know more about my class, let me know in the comments and I’ll share all the dirt with y’all. I bid you adieu and hope you’ve a comforting and gentle weekend ahead.

end of post banner 2020

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13 thoughts on “Weekend Reads: #OwnVoices Chinese Fiction & British Non-Fiction

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  4. Sorry I don’t have an actual comment, but I’m just really happy to read your thoughts again.

  5. Welcome back clapclapclap Looking forward to reading your thoughts again. Hope the Henry VIII book is good, and Dear Cyborgs sounds really good as well.

    • Thank you so much!! 🙂 I’m loving the Henry VIII the book! It’s super good. Definitely explains the chaos of the Tudor family from that era white fantastically. I’ll do a review for it once I’m done with it.

  6. I hope Dear Cyborgs goes well for you. I tried it last year, but the writing style turned me off…or maybe I wasn’t in the mood for it.

    • I tried the first couple pages and so far I like it. I’ve realised with certain books, when I feel turned off by them, it’s almost always a mood thing. Especially with Asian Lit. I’m a super moody reader haha. XD

  7. My California day was supposed to be rainy. Didn’t happen Friday, probably won’t today either. Very sad for I like the rain.

    Have you ever watched the Movie “Things to Come?” B&W sci fi from the 1930s.

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