In May I attempted to participate in the Asian Readathon Challenge hosted by Read with Cindy (and several others) on Youtube and for the most part I actually stuck with it! I read some books that had been on my TBR for a while and some that I had just been interested in. Overall it was a pretty interesting bunch and a lot all over the place.
Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan
This one is about a girl whose kidnapped from her home and forced to become a Paper Girl essentially a courtesan to a brutal Emperor and while there she falls in love with one of the other girls as the Kingdom falls apart and rebellion begins to take hold.
Trigger warnings on this one for assault and rape.
Overall I liked it. I think it’s worth a read. It’s an interesting magic system/world and I’d put money on that girl Aoki being a problem in the future. The relationship played out nicely.
But something was still like, eh. I’ll probably read the sequel but I’m not bouncing at the seams for it.
My Brother’s Husband
By: Gengoroh Tagame
This graphic novel was middle of the road for me as well. I liked it. I liked Mike (the grieving husband), I liked the little girl and the black and white art but the story just felt a bit more simplistic than I would have expected.
It might be a bit unfair to judge without reading volume 2- maybe there’s more to the story?
Recommend: 50/50 I can’t completely say no or yes without volume 2 I just don’t really want to read it.
Story: Yuyoko Takemiya
I thought the idea for this one sounded cute. A bit of a romantic comedy vibe. A boy in school whose thought to be cruel and mean cause of his eyes joins forces with a girl to try to convince the people they actually like to like them back.
It would be hard to describe the Palm Top Tiger (tiny and adorable is the physical description) troubled? Crazy?
It struck me as she had broken into his apartment and was chasing him around the place with a weapon in the middle of the night that I would not like this relationship at all if it was reversed and cute and klutzy really doesn’t make it okay.
Maybe I’m overreacting but I wouldn’t wish her on anyone yet I got the feeling I was supposed to think her adorable…
There’s also this really weird beat at the end where characters look down on the teacher because she’s a spinster at the tender age of 29. And her inability to control her class is related to that.
It was just weird and very much not for me. Nice idea though.
By: Ted Chiang
This new book of short stories by Ted Chiang went a lot better. Chiang is the guy who wrote the story that the movie Arrival is based on. I wasn’t in love with that movie so I was a little worried but I really enjoyed the collection overall. (I’m going to pick up his first one as well.)
The stories are basically What Ifs? Like what if our children were raised by automated nannies? What if we treated AI like children?
I thought the most interesting was the rumination on what if we had access to our actual memories not just memories filtered and edited by time and our need to protect ourselves…
I think there’s a reason our minds edit those things.
Recommend: Yes. Would definitely recommend giving Chiang’s stories a try.
Somewhere Only We Know
By: Maurene Goo
I loved her last book The Way You Make Me Feel and I really liked that narrator but I know some people did not so it will be interesting to see where the reviews come down on this one which I think is a much more typical YA love story. And Lucky, a K-Pop superstar who bolts from her overbearing managers and runs right into a hot would be tabloid reporter, a much more typical YA heroine.
The relationship didn’t do much for me yet at the same time it’s a great summer vacation book because I loved the stuff about them exploring Hong Kong. And I really appreciate Lucky’s love for all things food.
You’re going to want to go and eat things after reading this book. The look at behind the scenes of K-Pop is also interesting. Not knowing anything about it I don’t know how true it is but I love discussions about art and all things around it. So overall Somewhere goes in the win column and Maurene Goo is becoming one of my favorite contemporary writers.
*Technically I finished the last two books in early June but I started them in May so I’m counting them toward the readathon 🙂
In the end even though my reading was a bit mixed I’m happy I stuck with it this month and would definitely do the readathon in the future. It’s also been a great place to get recommendations for books!