General Updates & To-Read books by Asian authors

Happy Easter to those who celebrate/have public holidays! I’m excited to have some time to rest and to dive into books. This post includes some general updates on my reading and writing, as well as further books by Asian authors on my TBR which I’m hoping to get to at least sometime this year.

Reading

In my previous post I’d mentioned The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf, which is now out, and The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee, which is coming out later this year. As for The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling by Wai Chim, it now has a beautiful cover! I feel so lucky to have beta-read this and can’t wait for everyone to experience the story. Keep an eye on Wai Chim’s website for more details in the next few months!

The Beast Player by Nahoko Uehashi

A book I recently loved was The Beast Player by Nahoko Uehashi, which involves a girl caring for magical beasts and trying to understand nature. She comes to realise her actions have unpredictably dangerous consequences as she uncovers secrets in her people’s history, and is caught in a political conflict. The sequels haven’t been translated into English yet so I’m thinking of attempting to read them in Chinese… I’m also hoping to read the Moribito series by the same author, as I love stories involving spirit worlds.

Writing

I’ve been working on and off on a new fantasy manuscript, and I’m mainly still in the planning/worldbuilding stage at the moment. Even though I’ve written more historical/realistic fiction in recent years, some of the first few stories I loved and wrote were fantasy, and it’s been fun diving into it again now.

The key difference is that in those early stories I’d erased anything to do with my culture from it, whereas I’ve grown a lot since then. So it’s been fascinating looking into loosely Chinese-inspired elements and coming up with my own story.

The trailer of Big Fish and Begonia (大鱼海棠), a film from China animated by Studio Mir. I loved the worldbuilding and themes in it and it’s been on my mind as I’ve been working on my own writing.

To-Read Books by Asian Authors

If you haven’t yet come across it, check out the Year of Reading Asian Challenge that some great book bloggers are hosting, including my friend CW of The Quiet Pond. I’m not officially setting a goal but they’ve got some great prompts for those of you who are looking for inspiration. May is also coming up so Lit CelebrAsian is looking to also have something (probably more low-key this year) that you can participate in throughout the month — stay tuned 🙂 For now, I wanted to share some books by Asian authors I’d really like to read in the near future:

America is Not the Heart by Elaine Castillo
  • America is Not the Heart by Elaine Castillo – my friend and Lit CelebrAsian co-host, Glaiza, loved this book, and the author’s coming to Sydney Writers’ Festival this year! I love multigenerational historical fiction and explorations of migrant families (e.g. Pachinko and Do Not Say We Have Nothing) — this sounds like a book I’d adore
  • Jade City by Fonda Lee — I’ve started this and am intrigued, meant to read it for the Lit CelebrAsian readalong but unfortunately didn’t get far before then! I’m excited to finish reading it soon 😀
  • Descendant of the Crane by Joan He — basically the premise sounds really fascinating, and I’m always glad to see ownvoices Asian fantasy. The author’s Twitter threads about writing about Chinese culture and language in the Anglo publishing context have also provoked my interest to see how she to implement this in action.
  • The Day the Sun Died by Yan Lianke — I found the book Dream of Ding Village by the author fascinating when I read it last year, and I’m excited to look into more of his works!
  • Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee — the concept sounds fascinating and I’ve heard nothing but good things about this book!
  • Nausicaa graphic novels by Hayao Miyazaki — I loved the film and I think I read the first few volumes a long time ago, but have completely forgotten them and would love to finish.
  • The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo — I’d enjoyed The Ghost Bride by the author and this book has a fascinating premise. Chinese-Malaysian historical fiction — will definitely be a great read!
  • The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro — I love the thematic description of this book — about memory and forgetting — and am intrigued by the speculative aspect and setting. I really liked Nocturnes and Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro, so I’m sure this will offer plenty of interest to me as well.
  • No Country Woman by Zoya Patel — I’d seen a lot of the author’s articles and also interviews in the past, but haven’t actually read the book yet. The themes in No Country Woman sound really relatable and I’m excited to explore her perspective on identity, culture and race in Australia.

Not yet released:

Stargazing by Jen Wang
  • Stargazing by Jen Wang — The Prince and the Dressmaker is one of my favourite graphic novels to date, so I was always keen to see what Jen Wang would have out next. Any stories involving Chinese diaspora communities is so relatable and fascinating, and I’m excited to read a story focusing on friendship. And as always, the art in the previews look beautiful!
  • Caster by Elsie Chapman — the pitch compares it to Avatar the Last Airbender, so that’s a definite drawcard! Again, great to see ownvoices fantasy (the story is described as involving Chinese-inspired magic) and I really enjoyed Elsie Chapman’s story in A Thousand Beginnings and Endings
  • The Rise of Kyoshi by FC Yeecontinuing with the Avatar theme as above, this sounds like a great prequel about the Earth Kingdom Avatar. One issue I’ve always had mixed feelings about regarding the animated series is the lack of POC on their writing team — so I’m really, really pleased with FC Yee’s involvement here, considering how imaginative he was with the Chinese mythology in Genie Lo. (as a sidenote, I’m also looking forward to the next Korra comic trilogy with art by Michelle Wong and Killian Ng). This book will be illustrated too! *heart eyes*

What are some of your favourite fantasies, and books by Asian authors you’re looking forward to reading?

5 thoughts on “General Updates & To-Read books by Asian authors

  1. This is such a great reading/writing update Wendy! I’m really looking forward to The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee too. I loved Jade City (even thought it’s a bit more gang-related/political than I usually go for) and I’m currently reading The Night Tiger — it’s really making me want to go to Ipoh! Have fun with your fantasy WIP, world building is such a fun stage to be at.

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