Pride Month 2021 Reading Wrap-Up

Jul 19, 2021

queer books for pride month


Hi friends, the long-awaited post is here. I'm ~finally~ sharing my reading wrap-up for June (better late than never, right? 😅). Save for one book, I read 20 books with LGBTQ+ representation mostly written by queer authors last month. All Half with the help of audiobooks (yes, audiobooks are real books).

Needless to say, June was a really good reading month and I wanted to share - and recommend - some books that I read for anyone looking for more books to add to their tbrs. (Evergreen reminder: support queer folks and books year-round)

Without further adieu, let's get to all the queer books! 😊




🕮 More Than Organs by Kay Ulunday Barrett ★★★★ | Rep: queer transmasc Filipino (they/them), disabled/chronic illness

🕮 The Bone Way by Holly J. Underhill ★★★★ | Rep: lesbian mc, sapphic li, f/f romance // TW: past death of parent, terminal illness

🕮 Continuum by Chella Man, Ashley Lukashevsky ★★★★| Rep: deaf transgender genderqueer pansexual biracial (Jewish, Chinese) // TW: ableism, transphobia, homophobia

🕮 When the Chant Comes by Kay Ulunday Barrett ★★★★ | Rep: queer transmasc Filipino (they/them), disabled/chronic illness

🎧 The Devourers by Indra Das ★★★ | Rep: Indian folklore, Muslim, bisexual and genderfluid // TW: rape, gore, graphic urination, body horror, homophobia

🕮 The Tangelroot Palace: Stories by Marjorie M. Liu ★★★★ | Rep: Biracial (Chinese, Scottish) wlw, lesbian, gay // TW: violence, gore, death, miscarriage, murder, rape, suicide, dismemberment

🕮 More Than Enough by Elizabeth Wambheim ★★★★ | Rep: asexual mlm // TW: acephobia, nonconsensual touch

🕮 Fin & Rye & Fireflies by Harry Cook ★★★ | Rep: gay Black mc with anxiety, gay, trans Indian adoptee, pansexual // TW: bullying, homophobia, transphobia, substance use, conversion therapy, panic attacks

🕮 I Am Out With Lanterns by Emily Gale ★★★★ | Rep: autistic, bisexual, lesbian // TW: bullying, sexual harassment, substance abuse, domestic violence

🕮 Finding Nevo by Nevo Zisin ★★★★ | Rep: nonbinary transmasc (they/them), Jewish, lesbian // TW: toxic masculinity, homophobia, misogyny, bullying, transphobia, mention of suicide




🎧 Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon ★★★★★ | Rep: Black albino intersex mc, trans Indigenous (Native American), sapphic // TW: racism, ableism, homophobia, misogyny, forced sterilization, body shaming, suicide, gore, gun violence, torture, drowning, death of child, cult [see full tw list here]

🎧 All Our Hidden Gifts by Caroline O'Donoghue ★★★ | Rep: nonbinary bisexual, lesbian, Filipino // TW: cult/religion, bullying, homophobia, suicide, racism, adultery

🎧 Perfect On Paper by Sophie Gonzales ★★★★ | Rep: bisexual mc, Vietnamese American lesbian, transgender, pansexual nonbinary, bisexual // TW: biphobia, bullying, emotional parent abuse, substance use, vomiting

🎧 Darling by K. Ancrum ★★★★ | Rep: Black mc, bisexual li, lesbian, Black characters, bisexual multiracial (Ojibwe, Irish), bisexual Ojibwe, disabled (hearing impared), Ojibwe, Korean American // TW: violence, off-page murder, guns, blood, child abuse, police brutality, abduction, manipulation, child abandonment

🎧 A Master Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark ★★★★ | Rep: African (Egyptian) cast, lesbian mc, sapphic // TW: murder, violence, gore, immolation, self-mutilation

🎧 Hani and Ishu's Guide to Fake Dating by Adiba Jaigirdar ★★★★ | Rep: bisexual Bengladeshi-Irish Muslim, sapphic Bengali-Irish, f/f romance // TW: racism, islamaphobia, biphobia, lesbophobia, homophobia, gaslighting, parental abandonment

🎧 Black Water Sister by Zen Cho ★★★★ | Rep: lesbian Chinese Malaysian, Chinese Malaysian, lesbian Indian American, Indian Chinese Malaysian // TW: misogyny, racism, attempted rape, homophobia, mention of cancer, mention of abuse

🕮 I Hope We Choose Love: A Trans Girl's Notes From the End of the World by Kai Cheng Thom ★★ | Rep: trans Asian author // TW: co-opting aave words by non-black people, discussions of sexual assault, self-harm, trauma, homophobia, discrimination

🎧 Some Girls Do by Jennifer Dugan ★★★ | Rep: lesbian, bisexual, sapphic, queer cast // TW: homophobia, abusive parent, accidental outing, bullying, substance use, 

🕮 The Lights of Prague by Nicole Jarvis ★★ | Rep: bisexual, sapphic, Romani // TW: antisemitism, homophobia, death, racism, suicide, gore, classism, misogyny


If any of the rep or tw's listed above are incorrect or not mentioned, please feel free to let me know and I'll correct them.


There you have it! 20 books for Pride Month!
What were your favorite queer reads this year?
Read any of the listed above? Let me know in the comments!


🏳️‍🌈 Pride month has come and gone, but the opportunities to uplift, support and amplify the LGBTQ+ community is ongoing year-round. One way to support is to call on your lawmakers to ensure safety protections and equality for queer folks, and another way to support is to donate to LGBTQ+ orgs if you can! ♥ Feel free to let me know of other LGBTQ+ orgs to add onto this list.
 

For U.S., use this call script from 5Calls.org to urge your reps to pass the Equality Act of 2021, and take action and get involved with Human Rights Campaign. Don't forget to continue to show up for LGBTQ+ rights and community every day!

Stop Asian hate in the U.S. and around the world by contacting elected officials, donating, signing petitions, volunteeringattending bystander intervention trainings, supporting Asian businesses/creators, reporting anti-Asian hate crimes near you, and more: Stop AAPI Hate, Stop Asian Hate carrd, Anti-Asian Violence Resources carrd, Asian American Commission, Asian American Advocacy Fund, Asian Mental Health Collective, and this comprehensive list of Asian-led orgs and resources via NYMag. More resources in the sidebar as well. ➔


Help raise awareness and free Palestine from apartheid and settler colonization by protesting, donating to Palestinian mutual aid and recovery funds, demanding your elected officials to cut ties with Israel and to pass H.R. 2590 (for U.S.), get involved in the BDS movement, and educate yourself and family members via DecolonizePalestine. More ways to help on palestinematters.carrd.co and free-palestine.carrd.co

Resources + educational tools on what's going on around the world right now and ways to help: worldissues.carrd.co | issuesintheworld.carrd.co | getinformed.carrd.co | currentinfo.carrd.co | dotherightthing.carrd.co

If you've found this post helpful, please kindly consider buying ya fellow aro (apro) Asian girl a ko-fi. Any tip or shares are greatly appreciated. 💛

{Story Diary} Folklorn by Angela Mi Young Hur | A Genre-Defying Gothic Ancestry Family Saga Epic

Jul 12, 2021

folklorn by angela mi young hur


Folklorn is one of my favorite reads of 2021 so far. If you've been following the blog or me on twitter, you've probably noticed my screaming into the void about Folklorn for months now, and today I am finally sharing why it's a must-read (sans spoilers)! 

Read on to learn about the Korean myths, themes, and more in this spellbinding and genre-defying gothic ancestry epic family saga. Even if you're not a spec-fic reader, you might enjoy this just for the ghost friend and Korean myths.


Folklorn by Angela Mi Young Hur
Speculative Fiction, Mythology / Folklore, Asian Lit
April 27, 2021 from Erewhon

A genre-defying, continents-spanning saga of Korean myth, scientific discovery, and the abiding love that binds even the most broken of families.

Elsa Park is a particle physicist at the top of her game, stationed at a neutrino observatory in the Antarctic, confident she's put enough distance between her ambitions and the family ghosts she's run from all her life. But it isn't long before her childhood imaginary friend—an achingly familiar, spectral woman in the snow—comes to claim her at last.

Years ago, Elsa's now-catatonic mother had warned her that the women of their line were doomed to repeat the narrative lives of their ancestors from Korean myth and legend. But beyond these ghosts, Elsa also faces a more earthly fate: the mental illness and generational trauma that run in her immigrant family, a sickness no less ravenous than the ancestral curse hunting her.

When her mother breaks her decade-long silence and tragedy strikes, Elsa must return to her childhood home in California. There, among family wrestling with their own demons, she unravels the secrets hidden in the handwritten pages of her mother’s dark stories: of women’s desire and fury; of magic suppressed, stolen, or punished; of the hunger for vengeance.



★ Praises for Folkorn


"Ghost story, family saga, parable, feminist reimagined myth: Angela Mi Young Hur’s hugely ambitious Folklorn is a spellbinding shape-shifter of a novel that tackles questions of race, culture, and history head-on, exploring the blurry boundaries between past and present, fact and fantasy, and personal and cultural—or cosmic." —Celeste Ng, author of Little Fires Everywhere

“Folklorn is a work of capacious, original imagination: part supernatural mystery, part immigrant family story. Hur’s mixing and melding of genres is an inventive, elegant means of illuminating the dualities of diasporic experience, as well as a testament to the essential role of stories in understanding our identities.” —Peter Ho Davies, author of The Fortunes and A Lie Someone Told You About Yourself

"With enviable ambition and swagger, Folklorn tosses us from one shimmering setting to another: Antarctic research station, Korean spa, Scandinavian island, hipster neighborhood in Stockholm, auto body shop in Southern California. Exploring our genetic and traumatic inheritances, Angela Hur weaves gorgeous Korean fables through a woman’s messy, international search for redemption and connection. This novel is brash, defiant and ultimately full of yearning." —Chia-Chia Lin, author of The Unpassing

“A complex meditation on intergenerational trauma…. The honest look at prickly Elsa’s internalized racism is ambitious but often brutal in its unflinching execution…. This thought-provoking work will appeal to SFF fans who like their talk of particle physics side by side with fox spirits and fairy tales.” —Publishers Weekly






Folklorn in a Gist (a la Readerly)


 


[side note: add me on Readerly @emptykingdom]

Setting / Places


Antarctica


[Image Source]


Stockholm, Sweden


[Image Source]


Los Angeles, California, U.S.


[Image Source]


Korean Myths


Heo Hwang-Ok


[Image Source]


In Korean legends, Heo Hwang-Ok sailed from India to South Korea to meet King Suro whom she prophesized in a dream and then later married around 48BCE, making her the Queen of Gaya Kingdom in Korea. According to 13th century collections of legends and texts called the Samguk Yusa Chronicle, she was a princess of the Ayuta Kingdom, a distant country.

Fun fact: the author Angela is an ancestress of Heo Hwang-Ok, whom was the forebearer of the Hur family clan. How cool is that!?


Learn more about the fascinating legend of Queen Heo Hwang-Ok:


Themes / Tropes


☾ Ghosts
☾ Women in science
☾ Ancestral curses
☾ Gothic ancestry epic
☾ Family saga
☾ Past and present narratives
☾ Complex familial bonds and secrets
☾ Suppressed magic
☾ Immigrant/diaspora experience
☾ Vengeance
☾ Healing
☾ Redemption

Rep


Korean American adoptee MC
Korean American/Swedish-based author
☀ Parent with mental illness (schizophrenia) 

Content / Trigger Warnings


➤ Intergenerational trauma
➤ Death of parent
➤ Grief
➤ Abusive parent (mentioned/referenced)
➤ Discussions of domestic violence
➤ Discussions of war (Korean War) and racism









"My mother always spoke Korean to me, but when telling her stories, she didn't sound like herself."

--Angela Mi Young Hur, Folklorn



"We have full right to these stories of our ancestors, even more so because we are of the diaspora. These tales--like us--have traveled far across time and space, to be remade and understood in a new light."

--Angela Mi Young Hur, Folklorn



"Madness is like a muscle though—if you don’t use it, you lose it."

--Angela Mi Young Hur, Folklorn

Comparative Titles


   


The Vegetarian by Han Kang
The Quiet Is Loud by Samantha Garner
Little Gods by Meng jin
Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi







Angela Hur received a BA in English Literature from Harvard and an MFA in Creative Writing from Notre Dame, where she won the Sparks Fellowship and the Sparks Prize, a post-graduate fellowship. Her debut The Queens of K-Town was published by MacAdam/Cage in 2007. It has been assigned in Korean-American literature classes at Stanford, UC Berkeley, University of British Columbia, and University of Seoul.

Folklorn was chosen by Kelly Link for a Tin House novel mentorship through the Tin House Summer Workshop, where Hur also studied with Alexander Chee and Mat Johnson, and later with Peter Ho Davies at the Napa Valley Writers Conference.

Hur has taught English Literature and Creative Writing at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, in Seoul, Korea. She’s also taught for Writopia, a U.S. non-profit providing creative writing workshops for children and teens. While living in Stockholm, Sweden, she’s worked as a Staff Editor for SIPRI, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. She is currently living in Stockholm, with her husband and children.










Let's chat! Have you read Folklorn yet?
Do you plan on reading it if you haven't yet?
Let me know in the comments below!


Stop Asian hate in the U.S. and around the world by contacting elected officials, donating, signing petitions, volunteeringattending bystander intervention trainings, supporting Asian businesses/creators, reporting anti-Asian hate crimes near you, and more: Stop AAPI Hate, Stop Asian Hate carrd, Anti-Asian Violence Resources carrd, Asian American Commission, Asian American Advocacy Fund, Asian Mental Health Collective, and this comprehensive list of Asian-led orgs and resources via NYMag. More resources in the sidebar as well. ➔


Help raise awareness and free Palestine from apartheid and settler colonization by protesting, donating to Palestinian mutual aid and recovery funds, demanding your elected officials to cut ties with Israel and to pass H.R. 2590 (for U.S.), get involved in the BDS movement, and educate yourself and family members via DecolonizePalestine. More ways to help on palestinematters.carrd.co and free-palestine.carrd.co

Resources + educational tools on what's going on around the world right now and ways to help: worldissues.carrd.co | issuesintheworld.carrd.co | getinformed.carrd.co | currentinfo.carrd.co | dotherightthing.carrd.co

If you've found this post helpful, please kindly consider buying ya fellow Asian girl a ko-fi. Any tip or shares are greatly appreciated. 💛

Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases of the Second Half of 2021

Jun 29, 2021

top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

This weeks topic is...

Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases of the Second Half of 2021


I feel like I've mentioned some of my top anticipated releases for the later part of the year in the past few Top Ten Tuesday posts already, so for this post I decided to highlight other titles I'm also highly anticipating for the remainder of the year!


top ten most anticipated releases of 2021

The Tangleroot Palace: Stories by Marjorie M. Liu (June 15)
Squad by Maggie Tokuda-Hall, Lisa Sterle (October 5)
No Gods, No Monsters by Cadwell Turnbull (September 7)
The Annual Migration of Clouds by Premee Mohamed (September 30)


top ten most anticipated releases of 2021

It All Comes Back To You by Farah Naz Rishi (September 14)
Pahua and the Soul Stealer by Lori M. Lee (September 7)
The Crossing by Manjeet Mann (June 3)
Sway With Me by Syed M. Masood (November 2)
Skin of the Sea by Natasha Bowen (November 9)


Let's chat! What books are you anticipating
for the second half of the year?


🏳️‍🌈 Happy Pride Month! This month and every month, let's uplift, support and amplify the LGBTQ+ community. One way to support is to call on your lawmakers to ensure safety protections and equality for queer folks, and another way to support is to donate to LGBTQ+ orgs if you can! ♥ Feel free to let me know of other LGBTQ+ orgs to add onto this list.
 

For U.S., use this call script from 5Calls.org to urge your reps to pass the Equality Act of 2021, and take action and get involved with Human Rights Campaign. Don't forget to continue to show up for LGBTQ+ rights and community every day!

Stop Asian hate in the U.S. and around the world by contacting elected officials, donating, signing petitions, volunteeringattending bystander intervention trainings, supporting Asian businesses/creators, reporting anti-Asian hate crimes near you, and more: Stop AAPI Hate, Stop Asian Hate carrd, Anti-Asian Violence Resources carrd, Asian American Commission, Asian American Advocacy Fund, Asian Mental Health Collective, and this comprehensive list of Asian-led orgs and resources via NYMag. More resources in the sidebar as well. ➔


Help raise awareness and free Palestine from apartheid and settler colonization by protesting, donating to Palestinian mutual aid and recovery funds, demanding your elected officials to cut ties with Israel and to pass H.R. 2590 (for U.S.), get involved in the BDS movement, and educate yourself and family members via DecolonizePalestine. More ways to help on palestinematters.carrd.co and free-palestine.carrd.co

Resources + educational tools on what's going on around the world right now and ways to help: worldissues.carrd.co | issuesintheworld.carrd.co | getinformed.carrd.co | currentinfo.carrd.co | dotherightthing.carrd.co

If you've found this post helpful, please kindly consider buying ya fellow queer Asian girl a ko-fi. Any tip or shares are greatly appreciated. 💛

Top Ten Books on My Summer 2021 TBR

Jun 15, 2021


Top Ten Tuesday is weekly bookish meme, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week's topic is...

🌞 Top Ten Books on My Summer 2021 TBR 🌞



      

The Oldest Dance by Misba (August 2021)
The Return of the Sorceress by Silvia Moreno-Garcia (June 30, 2021)
Not Here to Be Liked by Michelle Quach (September 14, 2021)
The All-Consuming World by Cassandra Khaw (September 7, 2021) 🌈
Bacchanal by Veronica Henry (May 25, 2021)


      

The Shaadi Set-Up by Lillie Vale (September 7, 2021)
Rise to the Sun by Leah Johnson (July 6, 2021) 🌈
Redemptor by Jordan Ifueko (August 17, 2021) 🌈
Darling by K. Ancrum (June 22, 2021) 🌈
The Bones of Ruin by Sarah Raughley (September 7, 2021)


Lets chat!
What books are on your TBRs this summer (or winter)?


Stop Asian hate in the U.S. and around the world by contacting elected officials, donating, signing petitions, volunteeringattending bystander intervention trainings, supporting Asian businesses/creators, reporting anti-Asian hate crimes near you, and more: Stop AAPI Hate, Stop Asian Hate carrd, Anti-Asian Violence Resources carrd, Asian American Commission, Asian American Advocacy Fund, Asian Mental Health Collective, and this comprehensive list of Asian-led orgs and resources via NYMag. More resources in the sidebar as well. ➔


Help raise awareness and free Palestine from apartheid and settler colonization by protesting, donating to Palestinian mutual aid and recovery funds, demanding your elected officials to cut ties with Israel and to pass H.R. 2590 (for U.S.), get involved in the BDS movement, and educate yourself and family members via DecolonizePalestine. More ways to help on palestinematters.carrd.co and free-palestine.carrd.co

Resources + educational tools on what's going on around the world right now and ways to help: worldissues.carrd.co | issuesintheworld.carrd.co | getinformed.carrd.co | currentinfo.carrd.co | dotherightthing.carrd.co

Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Reading Roundup

Jun 1, 2021

asian american and pacific islander heritage month books


Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (APIHM) may have come to an end but the opportunities to support and celebrate Asians and Pacific Islanders lives on all year round. As the month comes to a close, it's time to round up and see all of the books written by Asian and Pacific Islander authors I've read this month. 

I'm quite proud of how much reading I managed to accomplish this month (despite my mental health being at its lowest)! Honestly, if it weren't for audiobooks and taking an extra day from each work week, I wouldn't have been able to read as much. Although I didn't get to all of the books on my tbr, I'm still satisfied with the quality of the books that blessed my eyes and ears. Most of the titles in this post I recommend, so trust that they're pretty tbr-worthy. 😊

To clear which books are from Asian authors and which are from Pasifika authors, I categorized by Asian titles then Pacific Islander titles. Sit back and relax with a cup of tea/coffee/water or your furbaby because I read 37 books this month (!!), so this post will be a long one.


Asian-authored titles





Folklorn by Angela Mi Young Hur ★★★★★ | A genre-defying, continents-spanning saga of Korean myth, scientific discovery, and the abiding love that binds even the most broken of families.

Elsa Park is a particle physicist at the top of her game, stationed at a neutrino observatory in the Antarctic, confident she's put enough distance between her ambitions and the family ghosts she's run from all her life. But it isn't long before her childhood imaginary friend—an achingly familiar, spectral woman in the snow—comes to claim her at last. [full book summary]

The Quiet Is Loud by Samantha Garner ★★★★ | When Freya Tanangco was ten, she dreamed of her mother's death ten days before it happened. That’s when she realized she was a veker, someone with enhanced mental abilities and who is scorned as a result. Freya's adult life has been spent in hiding: from the troubled literary legacy created by her author father, and from the scrutiny of a society in which vekers often meet with violence.

Interwoven with themes of Filipino-Canadian and mixed-race identity, fantastical elements from Norse and Filipino mythology, and tarot card symbolism, The Quiet Is Loud is an intergenerational tale of familial love and betrayal, and what happens when we refuse to let others tell our stories for us. [full book summary]


Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao ★★★★½ | The boys of Huaxia dream of pairing up with girls to pilot Chrysalises, giant transforming robots that can battle the mecha aliens that lurk beyond the Great Wall. It doesn't matter that the girls often die from the mental strain.

When 18-year-old Zetian offers herself up as a concubine-pilot, it's to assassinate the ace male pilot responsible for her sister's death. But she gets her vengeance in a way nobody expected—she kills him through the psychic link between pilots and emerges from the cockpit unscathed. She is labeled an Iron Widow, a much-feared and much-silenced kind of female pilot who can sacrifice boys to power up Chrysalises instead. [full book summary]

Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim ★★★★ | Shiori, the only princess of Kiata, has a secret. Forbidden magic runs through her veins. Normally she conceals it well, but on the morning of her betrothal ceremony, Shiori loses control. At first, her mistake seems like a stroke of luck, forestalling the wedding she never wanted, but it also catches the attention of Raikama, her stepmother. [full book summary]

Mercury Boys by Chandra Prasad ★★★½ | History and the speculative collide with the modern world when a group of high school girls form a secret society after discovering they can communicate with boys from the past, in this powerful look at female desire, jealousy, and the shifting lines between friendship and rivalry. [full book summary]

You Exist Too Much by Zaina Arafat ★★★★ | On a hot day in Bethlehem, a 12-year-old Palestinian-American girl is yelled at by a group of men outside the Church of the Nativity. She has exposed her legs in a biblical city, an act they deem forbidden, and their judgement will echo on through her adolescence. When our narrator finally admits to her mother that she is queer, her mother’s response only intensifies a sense of shame: “You exist too much,” she tells her daughter.

Opening up the fantasies and desires of one young woman caught between cultural, religious, and sexual identities, You Exist Too Much is a captivating story charting two of our most intense longings―for love, and a place to call home. [full book summary]

Renegade Flight by Andrea Tang ★★★★ | Viola Park's life is over. She's gone from planning her future as a pilot-in-training to resigning herself to life on the ground. And it's all because she made one tiny, not-altogether-legal maneuver on the prestigious GAN Academy's entrance exam. It's bad enough that she didn't get into the Academy, but getting caught cheating? It's probably the worst thing Vi could imagine.

Set fifteen years after Prudence Wu took flight in Rebelwing, a new generation of scrappy young pilots challenge corruption, competition, and more dangerous mechs than ever, as they redefine what it means to be a revolutionary. [full book summary]

Queen of Fire by Devika Rangachari ★★★★ | Lakshmibai, the widowed queen of Jhansi, is determined to protect her son's right to his father's throne and safeguard the welfare of her kingdom. Faced with machinations to take over Jhansi, at a time when all of India is rising up against the British, she has to prove her valour and sagacity time and again. But will this be enough to save all that she values?

In this gripping novel, award-winning historical novelist Devika Rangachari brings to vivid life the interior life of this nineteenth-century queen, thrust into a position she does not desire but must assume, and of her son, who is cowed by the challenges he has to face but determined to live up to his mother's courage.




Between Demons and Deities by Bianca Wang-Polendo ★★★½ | Death was waiting around the corner, ready to welcome another soul with a cool embrace.

After waking up from a coma two years ago, half-Atonacan, half-Wei fire mage Esmeralda has struggled with lost memories. Since then, Esme has led a quiet life in Atonaco with her best friend, a spirit mage named Dacio. Everything begins to fall apart the day that Dacio is arrested for a crime that they couldn’t possibly have committed—the attempted murder of the emperor of Wei.

Between Demons and Deities features the magic and freedom of friendship and self-acceptance in the face of adversity and murky secrets. [full book summary]

The High Auction by Misba ★★★★ | Few humans in the future find the secrets of what words and sounds can do, for the Apocalypse and war led them to evolve in mind and physique. Two of them end World War III with just a speech. Some say they did a mass hypnosis. Others say it was their voice and will.

Fifty years later in South Asia, KUSHA, a twenty-three-year-old machine-geek with social awkwardness and amnesia, tries to get the Devil’s Book with secrets of voice. [full book summary]

Little Gods by Meng Jin ★★★½ | On the night of June Fourth, a woman gives birth in a Beijing hospital alone. Thus begins the unraveling of Su Lan, a brilliant physicist who until this moment has successfully erased her past, fighting what she calls the mind’s arrow of time.

When Su Lan dies unexpectedly seventeen years later, it is her daughter Liya who inherits the silences and contradictions of her life. Liya, who grew up in America, takes her mother’s ashes to China, Liya’s memories are joined by those of two others: Zhu Wen, the woman last to know Su Lan before she left China, and Yongzong, the father Liya has never known. In this way a portrait of Su Lan emerges: an ambitious scientist, an ambivalent mother, and a woman whose relationship to her own past shapes and ultimately unmakes Liya’s own sense of displacement.

Block Seventeen by Kimiko Guthrie ★★★½ | When Akiko "Jane" Thompson first met Shiro Yamamoto, she knew they were meant to be. Five years later, their happiness is threatened. An intruder burgles their apartment but takes nothing, leaving behind only cryptic traces of his or her presence. Shiro risks their security in a plot to expose the misdeeds of his employer, the TSA. Jane's mother has seemingly disappeared, her existence only apparent online. Jane wants to ignore these worrisome disturbances until a cry from the past robs her of all peace, forcing her to uncover a long-buried family secret. [full book summary]

A Burning by Megha Majumdar ★★★★ | Jivan is a Muslim girl from the slums, determined to move up in life, who is accused of executing a terrorist attack on a train because of a careless comment on Facebook. PT Sir is an opportunistic gym teacher who hitches his aspirations to a right-wing political party, and finds that his own ascent becomes linked to Jivan's fall. Lovely--an irresistible outcast whose exuberant voice and dreams of glory fill the novel with warmth and hope and humor--has the alibi that can set Jivan free, but it will cost her everything she holds dear.

Taut, symphonic, propulsive, and riveting from its opening lines, A Burning has the force of an epic while being so masterfully compressed it can be read in a single sitting. Majumdar writes with dazzling assurance at a breakneck pace on complex themes that read here as the components of a thriller: class, fate, corruption, justice, and what it feels like to face profound obstacles and yet nurture big dreams in a country spinning toward extremism. An extraordinary debut. [full book summary]

His Footsteps, Through Darkness and Light by Mimi Mondal ★★★ | I am not a fighter. I am a trapeze master.

An act of compassion puts a trapeze artist in India on a collision course with a terrifying supernatural power in His Footsteps, Through Darkness and Light: a Tor.com Original from Dalit writer Mimi Mondal.

Fragile Monsters by Catherine Menon ★★★½ | Mary is a difficult grandmother for Durga to love. She is sharp-tongued and ferocious, with more demons than there are lines on her palms. When Durga visits her in rural Malaysia, she only wants to endure Mary, and the dark memories home brings, for as long as it takes to escape. [full book summary]

re: desire by Afshan D'souza-Lodhi ★★★★ | Afshan D’souza-Lodhi’s debut poetry collection [re:desire] explores the yearning to love, be loved and belong from a desi (South Asian) perspective. Her work sits on the intersections of flash fiction, poetry and script, echoing the hybridity of the worlds that many young British desis find themselves occupying. Drawing on the poetry of many different languages and cultures – Urdu, English, Konkani, Islamic and Christian – this collection explores how we access our traditions from a distance.




A Hero Born by Jin Yong ★★★ | Set in ancient China, in a world where kung fu is magic, kingdoms vie for power and the battle to become the ultimate kung fu master unfolds, an unlikely hero is born... in the first book in the epic Legends of the Condor Heroes series by the critically acclaimed master of the genre, Jin Yong.

After his father--a devoted Song patriot--is murdered by the Jin empire, Guo Jing and his mother flee to the plains of Ghengis Khan and his people for refuge. For one day he must face his mortal enemy in battle in the Garden of the Drunken Immortals. Under the tutelage of Genghis Khan and The Seven Heroes of the South, Guo Jing hones his kung fu skills. Humble, loyal and perhaps not always wise, Guo Jing faces a destiny both great and terrible. [full book summary]

The Hundred Years War on Palestine: A History of Settler-Colonial Conquest and Resistance 1917-2017 by Rashid Khalidi ★★★★★ | In 1899, Yusuf Diya al-Khalidi, mayor of Jerusalem, alarmed by the Zionist call to create a Jewish national home in Palestine, wrote a letter aimed at Theodore Herzl: the country had an indigenous people who would not easily accept their own displacement. He warned of the perils ahead, ending his note, "in the name of God, let Palestine be left alone." Thus Rashid Khalidi, al-Khalidi's great-great-nephew, begins this sweeping history, the first general account of the conflict told from an explicitly Palestinian perspective.

Original, authoritative, and important, The Hundred Years' War on Palestine is not a chronicle of victimization, nor does it whitewash the mistakes of Palestinian leaders or deny the emergence of national movements on both sides. In reevaluating the forces arrayed against the Palestinians, it offers an illuminating new view of a conflict that continues to this day. [full book summary]

Version Zero by David Yoon ★★★ | A lightning fast and scorchingly observant novel of the moment, Version Zero is a thrilling, humorous adult debut from the brilliant mind of New York Times bestselling author David Yoon.

Reboot the present. Save the future.

Max, a data whiz at the Facebook-like social media company Wren, has gotten a firsthand glimpse of the dark side of big tech. When he starts asking questions about what his company is doing with the data they collect, he finds himself fired…and then blackballed across all of Silicon Valley. [full book summary]

All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung ★★★★ | What does it mean to lose your roots—within your culture, within your family—and what happens when you find them?

Nicole Chung was born severely premature, placed for adoption by her Korean parents, and raised by a white family in a sheltered Oregon town. From early childhood, she heard the story of her adoption as a comforting, prepackaged myth. She believed that her biological parents had made the ultimate sacrifice in the hopes of giving her a better life; that forever feeling slightly out of place was simply her fate as a transracial adoptee. But as she grew up—facing prejudice her adoptive family couldn’t see, finding her identity as an Asian American and a writer, becoming ever more curious about where she came from—she wondered if the story she’d been told was the whole truth.

Heaven by Mieko Kawakami ★★★½ | Hailed as a bold foray into new literary territory, Kawakami’s novel is told in the voice of a 14-year-old student who subjected to relentless torment for having a lazy eye. Instead of resisting, the boy chooses to suffer in complete resignation. The only person who understands what he is going through is a female classmate who suffers similar treatment at the hands of her tormentors.

Kawakami's simple yet profound new work stands as a dazzling testament to her literary talent. There can be little doubt that it has cemented her reputation as one of the most important young authors working to expand the boundaries of contemporary Japanese literature.

Night Flowers Shirking From the Light of the Sun by Li Xing ★★★ | A cultivator insists on repaying her life debt to a demoness.

No one is happy with this development.

• xianxia (ancient fantasy china)
• idiots to lovers
• tall hot and murderface/disaster dumbass
• happy ending
• 18+ for post-story content


Pacific Islander-authored titles





The Boy From the Mish by Gary Lonesborough ★★★★½ | A funny and heart-warming queer Indigenous YA novel, set in a rural Australian community, about seventeen-year-old Jackson finding the courage to explore who he is, even if it scares him.

It's a hot summer, and life's going all right for Jackson and his family on the Mish. It's almost Christmas, school's out, and he's hanging with his mates, teasing the visiting tourists, avoiding the racist boys in town. Just like every year, Jackson's Aunty and annoying little cousins visit from the city - but this time a mysterious boy with a troubled past comes with them… As their friendship evolves, Jackson must confront the changing shapes of his relationships with his friends, family and community. And he must face his darkest secret - a secret he thought he'd locked away for good. [full book summary]

The Pōrangi Boy by Shilo Kino ★★★★ | Twelve-year-old Niko lives in Pohe Bay, a small, rural town with a sacred hot spring – and a taniwha named Taukere. The government wants to build a prison over the home of the taniwha, and Niko’s grandfather is busy protesting. People call him pōrangi, crazy, but when he dies, it’s up to Niko to convince his community that the taniwha is real and stop the prison from being built. With help from his friend Wai, Niko must unite his whānau, honour his grandfather and stand up to his childhood bully.

A Clear Dawn: New Asian Voices from Aotearoa New Zealand, edited by Paula Morris, Alison Wong ★★★★ | A landmark anthology of creative work – poetry, fiction and essays – by emerging Asian New Zealand writers.

This landmark collection of poetry, fiction and essays by emerging writers is the first-ever anthology of Asian New Zealand creative writing. [full book summary]

This anthology can actually count for both Asian and Pasifika reads as editor Paula Morris is Pacific Islander and editor Alison Wong is of Asian descent.

In the Jaded Grove by Anela Deen ★★★★ | Simith of Drifthorn is tired of war. After years of conflict between the Thistle court and the troll kingdom, even a pixie knight known for his bloodlust longs for peace. Hoping to secure a ceasefire, Simith arranges a meeting with the troll king—and is ambushed instead. Escape lies in the Jaded Grove, but the trees of the ancient Fae woodland aren’t what they seem, and in place of sanctuary, Simith tumbles through a doorway to another world.

With their fates bound by magic, Simith and Jessa must keep the strife of his world from spilling into hers—except the war isn’t what it appears and neither are their enemies. Countless lives depend on whether they can face the truths of their pasts and untangle the web of lies around them. But grief casts long shadows, and even their deepening bond may not be enough to save them from its reach. [full book summary]

Author Anela Deen is hapa haole Hawaiian and the main character in the book is Filipino American.

When Water Burns by Lani Wendt Young ★★★★ | "Maybe you're not meant to manipulate fire the way I do. Maybe sparks are all you're ever going to make." He snarled, "Or maybe you just need to be a better teacher and give me more." Before I could reply, he grabbed my hand, twisted and pulled me into a restraining lock. Body pressed against my back, he held me in a chokehold. I struggled. Kicked. Fought. Pain knifed me as I tried to free myself. He spoke and his breath was hot in my ear. "Now, fire goddess let's see if I can make more than sparks."

As a malicious telesa plots her revenge, a mysterious stranger arrives on the island. Fuelled by hate and running from a fiery past, he looks to Leila for answers and she must fight to contain the fury of fanua-afi while trying to protect all those she loves.

When it comes to Water and Fire, daughter of earth and son of the ocean - who will endure? When water burns?This is the second book in the Telesa Trilogy and follows on from book one, 'Telesa: The Covenant Keeper.' [full book summary]

Dawn Raid by Paula Vaeluaga Smith ★★★★ | Like many 13-year-old girls, Sofia's main worries are how she can earn enough pocket money to buy the groovy go-go boots that are all the rage, and if she will die of embarrassment giving a speech she has to do for school! It comes as a surprise to Sofia and her family when her big brother, Lenny, talks about protests, overstayers and injustices against Pacific Islanders.

Through her spirited and heartfelt diary entries, we join Sofia as she navigates life in the 1970s and is inspired by the courageous and tireless work of the Polynesian Panthers as they encourage immigrant families across New Zealand to stand up for their rights. My New Zealand Story is a series of vividly imagined accounts of life in the past ... making history come alive. [full book summary]

Flock: First Nations Stories by Ellen Van Neerven ★★★★★ | This wide-ranging and captivating anthology showcases both the power of First Nations writing and the satisfaction of a good short story. Curated by award-winning author Ellen van Neerven, Flock roams the landscape of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander storytelling, bringing together voices from across the generations. Featuring established authors such as Tony Birch, Melissa Lucashenko and Tara June Winch, and rising stars such as Adam Thompson and Mykaela Saunders, Flock confirms the ongoing resonance and originality of First Nations stories.

Scar of the Bamboo Leaf by Sieni A.M. ★★★½ | "That boy is like the bamboo...foreign and unknown in this environment. But like the bamboo, if you plant and nurture it in the right soil, it has the potential to grow vibrant and strong."

Walking with a pronounced limp all her life has never stopped fifteen-year-old Kiva Mau from doing what she loves. While most girls her age are playing sports and perfecting their traditional Samoan dance, Kiva finds serenity in her sketchbook and volunteering at the run-down art center her extended family owns, nestled amongst the bamboo. [full book summary]




Ghost Bird by Lisa Fuller ★★★½ | Stacey and Laney are twins – mirror images of each other – and yet they’re as different as the sun and the moon. Stacey works hard at school, determined to get out of their small town. Laney skips school and sneaks out of the house to meet her boyfriend. But when Laney disappears one night, Stacey can’t believe she’s just run off without telling her.

As the days pass and Laney doesn’t return, Stacey starts dreaming of her twin. The dreams are dark and terrifying, difficult to understand and hard to shake, but at least they tell Stacey one key thing – Laney is alive. It’s hard for Stacey to know what’s real and what’s imagined and even harder to know who to trust. All she knows for sure is that Laney needs her help. Stacey is the only one who can find her sister. Will she find her in time?

Sister Heart by Sally Morgan ★★★★ | A young Aboriginal girl is taken from the north of Australia and sent to an institution in the distant south. There, she slowly makes a new life for herself and, in the face of tragedy, finds strength in new friendships.

Poignantly told from the child’s perspective, Sister Heart affirms the power of family and kinship.

Teine Samoa by Dahlia Malaeulu ★★★★ | Teine Sāmoa means Sāmoan girl. It’s a label that carries with it an unspoken duty to obey, serve and respect your family and Sāmoan culture. But who can be teine Sāmoa? When should you be teine Sāmoa? And how can you be teine Sāmoa outside of Sāmoa?

Lani is an afakasi, and is unsure of her Sāmoan heritage and what being Sāmoan even means. But one thing she knows for sure is that she’s afraid of Vai and the ‘Real Sāmoans’. Masina, the free-spirited daughter of a Church Minister, is bound by parental expectations and struggling to fulfill the destiny set by her parents. Teuila is the good Islander girl and proud teine Sāmoa who realises she doesn’t want to be a ‘switcher’ anymore.

Teine Sāmoa is a journey of cultural identity and discovery for four junior high school students, their families, their teachers and, most importantly, anyone who has ever faced the challenges of being a teine Sāmoa.

Wraith by Shane Smithers, Alex Smithers ★★★ | James can fly, though his landings need some work. However, that’s the least of his problems when he crash lands into a city in the clouds. Soon James is drawn into a race against time to find the SAFFIRE, a new technology designed to save the city from the effects of climate change. Finding his way home seems impossible but with the help of Aureole, a young girl determined to save her city, James just might be able to fly away and help save the city in the process.

Living On Stolen Land by Ambelin Kwaymullina ★★★★½ | Living on Stolen Land is a prose-styled look at Australia's colonial-settler ‘present’. This book is the first of its kind to address and educate a broad audience about our colonial contextual history, in a highly original way. It pulls apart the myths at the heart of our nationhood and challenges Australia to come to terms with its own past and its place within and on ‘Indigenous Countries’.

This title speaks to many First Nations’ truths; stolen lands, sovereignties, time, decolonisation, First Nations perspectives, systemic bias and other constructs that inform our present discussions and ever-expanding understanding. This title is a timely, thought-provoking and accessible read.

Hawaii's Story by Hawaii's Queen Lili'uokalani ★★★★★ | Hawai'i's Story by Hawai'i's Queen is an account of those difficult years at the end of the nineteenth century, when native Hawaiian historian David Malo's 1837 prophecy concerning "the small ones" being "gobbled up" came true for the Hawaiian Islands.

When this book was first published in 1898, it was an international plea for justice. Just as Admiral Thomas had restored Hawaiian sovereignty in 1843 following an illegal action by Lord Paulet, Queen Lili'uokalani prayed that the American nation would similarly reestablish the Hawaiian throne. Queen Lili'uokalani died on November 11, 1917, her poignant plea for justice unanswered.

Hawaiian Blood: Colonialism and the Politics of Sovereignty and Indigeneity by J. Kehaulani Kauanui ★★★★ | In the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act (HHCA) of 1921, the U.S. Congress defined “native Hawaiians” as those people “with at least one-half blood quantum of individuals inhabiting the Hawaiian Islands prior to 1778.” This “blood logic” has since become an entrenched part of the legal system in Hawai‘i. Hawaiian Blood is the first comprehensive history and analysis of this federal law that equates Hawaiian cultural identity with a quantifiable amount of blood. J. Kēhaulani Kauanui explains how blood quantum classification emerged as a way to undermine Native Hawaiian (Kanaka Maoli) sovereignty. Within the framework of the 50-percent rule, intermarriage “dilutes” the number of state-recognized Native Hawaiians. Thus, rather than support Native claims to the Hawaiian islands, blood quantum reduces Hawaiians to a racial minority, reinforcing a system of white racial privilege bound to property ownership.

Kauanui also addresses the ongoing significance of the 50-percent rule: Its criteria underlie recent court decisions that have subverted the Hawaiian sovereignty movement and brought to the fore charged questions about who counts as Hawaiian. [full book summary]


And there you have it - 37 books for APIHM!
Have you read any books from this list?
What did you read in May and what were
your favorites? Let me know in the comments!


AAPIHM/APIHM is over until next year, but like I said: celebrate Asian and Pacific Islander works and people all year round. It's also important to be informed of the rising Asian hate crimes that's increased over the past year and do what you can to help support fellow Asians and stop Asian hate.

Stop Asian hate in the U.S. and around the world by contacting elected officials, donating, signing petitions, volunteeringattending bystander intervention trainings, supporting Asian businesses/creators, reporting anti-Asian hate crimes near you, and more: Stop AAPI Hate, Stop Asian Hate carrd, Anti-Asian Violence Resources carrd, Asian American Commission, Asian American Advocacy Fund, Asian Mental Health Collective, and this comprehensive list of Asian-led orgs and resources via NYMag. More resources in the sidebar as well. ➔


Support Pacific Islanders in Oceania and abroad by signing petitions to protect their land or donating to their causes and mutual aids. Some orgs/aids to donate to: Covid: Hawai'i Resilience FundPasifika Medical Association, Hawai'i Food BankHawai'ian Way Fund via Council for Nativa Hawai'ian Advancement, sign petitions to protect Hawai'i Mauna Kea (and here and here and here), and send an open letter to Hawai'i governor. Get to know some amazing Pacific Islander folks and meet these Pasifika artists/activistscheck out these lists of Pasifika books to read and this thread of Pasifika artists! Into podcasts? Check out these podcastsHere's a list of films to peruse via IMDB. Be sure to check out their works and support and uplift them in any way you can.

Help raise awareness and free Palestine from apartheid and settler colonization by protesting, donating to Palestinian mutual aid and recovery funds, demanding your elected officials to cut ties with Israel and to pass H.R. 2590 (for U.S.), get involved in the BDS movement, and educate yourself and family members via DecolonizePalestine. More ways to help on palestinematters.carrd.co

Resources + educational tools on what's going on around the world right now and ways to help: worldissues.carrd.co | issuesintheworld.carrd.co | getinformed.carrd.co | currentinfo.carrd.co | dotherightthing.carrd.co


If you've found this post helpful, please kindly consider buying ya fellow Asian girl a ko-fi. I'd greatly appreciate it. 💛
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