It’s Tuesday (oops)

It’s the first official week of summer break. The elementary schools here let out last Wednesday and we had a class party in a nearby park to celebrate. Other than that we’ve been relaxing and hanging out at home.

On Saturday, we drove down to Santana Row in San Jose to have lunch at EMC Seafood, a modern Asian-fusion kind of seafood place. Their uni pasta is amazing, and even my father-in-law who usually doesn’t eat pasta enjoyed it. But the star of the show was the seafood tower, which had scallops, oysters, mussels, prawns, sashimi, uni, crab and a whole lobster.

When in Santana Row, one also has to wander into the Amazon bookstore. But one bookstore wasn’t enough for us and we also went to the Barnes and Noble in San Jose. We sadly don’t have a proper bookstore in our city now – although when we first moved there, there was a big Borders (RIP) and a B&N which apparently had a dispute with the landlord and left and is now a supermarket.

Then on Sunday, a barbecue at home.

Currently…

Reading:

Watching:

Terrace House: Opening New Doors on Netflix!

At first I was wondering, why should I watch it? It doesn’t seem very interesting, plus I was never into the kind of strangers-in-a-big-house kind of reality shows. But I love it! Nothing very much happens to be honest, but that’s somehow very refreshing. Interestingly, the six strangers still go to work or go to school, get access to phones and Internet and whatnot. They range in age from 19 to 31, one wants to be a chef, another is a pro-snowboarder, there is an aspiring model, a writer. And in between, there is commentary about the show by six people sitting in a studio. Somehow I cannot stop watching it!

Listening:

We finally finished listening to the Stephen Fry-narrated Harry Potter series. And we are now trying out Chris Colfer’s The Land of Stories series. I am also listening to Alan Cumming read Leviathan.

Eating:

Last night for dinner, laksa fried noodles.

Drinking:

Lots of water

Cooking:

Tonight, perhaps a steamed whole fish if we find a nice one at the Asian supermarket later.

Browsing:

This cute market bag crochet pattern 

Black pepper parmesan biscuits sound delicious

It’s been a while since I’ve read crime/mystery/thriller type book and The Last Place You Look sounds good

Number One Chinese Restaurant is on my TBR list so I’m glad to hear it’s a good read

Last week:

I read:

Dear Committee Members – Julie Schumacher
A Tale for the Time being – Ruth Ozeki
Annihilation – Jeff Vandermeer

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date
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RIP Anthony Bourdain

 

His books were my first foray into the world of food writing. It was loud and purposeful, it was adventurous and a little bit crazy, but a good kind of crazy, an “I love the world and all that it encompasses” kind of crazy. His willingness to try almost everything and embrace the colorfulness and all the tastes of the world was inspirational.

I am heartbroken.

It’s Monday and it’s been a sick week

Good day to you, wherever you are!

I feel like this year hasn’t been a fantastic one health-wise. Last year was pretty good – I don’t remember being sick much but this year coughs seem to have been plaguing me.

And last week, not long after we returned from Oregon (more on that in another post), I got the chills, and a cough and cold. Then somehow that got worse with some chest pain in the middle of the night. So I finally dragged myself to a doctor, he looked me over, listened to my lungs and all that, said, “it doesn’t sound like pneumonia but I’m going to send you off for a chest x-ray just to rule it out”.

Chest x-ray done, waiting for results, trying to cough discreetly into my mask in a corner of the waiting room, he calls me in and says, “it’s pneumonia”.

So I’ve always thought pneumonia was something that affected old people especially in their dying days. Apparently not.

Also, I’m not dying or in hospital or anything, in case you were concerned!

I was given an antibiotics prescription and told to rest and take deep breaths now and then.

And I’ve just been trying to rest and recover since!

My dahlias are blooming!

Last weekend, the boys attended a friend’s mini golf birthday party, did a Home Depot workshop, and we hit the farmers market and bought a ton of fruits and vegetables.

Currently…

Reading:

Amberlough – Lara Elena Donnelly

Watching:

Lords and Ladles – a lovely Irish series about three chefs who recreate banquets from time past, including strange things like boiled turkey, Cabinet pudding, stuffed pike and more.

Listening:

No audiobook at the moment

Eating:

One of these pastries

Drinking:

Water and green tea. Also, over the weekend I made a lemon-ginger-mint-lemon thyme tea that was quite nice and apparently is good for coughs.

Last week:

I read:


Turtles All The Way Down – John Green
Paper Girls Vol 4 – Brian K Vaughan
A Girl on the Shore – Inio Asano

I posted:


#AsianLitBingo wrap-up

Here We Are Now by Jasmine Warga

#AsianLitBingo – Miss Burma by Charmaine Craig

#AsianLitBingo – Don’t Let Him Know by Sandip Roy

Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira T Lee #AsianLitBingo

#AsianLitBingo : After Dark by Haruki Murakami

badge
It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week. This meme started with J Kaye’s Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date

#AsianLitBingo wrap-up

I didn’t do too badly this time! I got three bingos! I always enjoy this challenge and got to read some very beautiful books in May. Some of my favourites were the manga series Orange, Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira T Lee, and Lucy and Linh by Australian writer Alice Pung.

Here’s what I read for Asian Lit Bingo:

Asian Muslim MC:Here We Are Now by Jasmine Warga (own voices)

Southeast Asian MC: Miss Burma by Charmaine Craig (own voices)

South Asian MC: Don’t Let Him Know by Sandip Roy (own voices)

Asian MC with Disability: Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira T Lee (own voices)

Graphic Novel with Asian MC: Orange by Ichigo Takano (own voices)

Translated Work by an Asian Author: After Dark by Haruki Murakami (own voices)

Asian Immigrant MC:  The Land of Forgotten Girls by Erin Entrada Kelly (#ownvoices)

SFF with Asian MC:  The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by FC Yee #ownvoices

LGBTQIAP+ Asian MC: Tell Me Again How A Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan #ownvoices

Poor or Working Class Asian MC: Girls Burn Brighter by Shobhaa Rao #ownvoices 

East Asian MC:Kinder than Solitude by Yiyun Li #ownvoices

Asian Refugee MC:Lucy and Linh by Alice Pung #ownvoices

Contemporary with Asian MC: Rainbirds by Clarissa Goenawan

Multiracial/multiethnic Asian MC Such a Lovely Little War by Marcelino Truing #ownvoices

Here We Are Now by Jasmine Warga

While reading this I had this desperate urge to pull out my old CDs and listen to them again. Why yes, I did once have a CD collection! Of course everything is available online nowadays and with Spotify I was able to pull up some Neutral Milk Hotel, some Teitur, The National…

This book was a quick, fun but also a little sad bit of a read while nursing a horrendous cough that kept me up all night.

It’s very YA – a rock star turns out to be Taliah’s dad, and he drives to meet her in Ohio after she sends letter after letter to him. I mean, isn’t that every teen’s dream? To meet a famous musician and to learn that you’re related?

Luckily the story is a bit more than that.

Not so fortunately though, Julian’s father, Taliah’s grandfather, is dying and he wants her to meet him. She sets off with him and her best friend – her mother is away in Paris for a work trip. And in the first place, her mother had told Taliah that her father was dead. Very YA

“This may sound weird, but there are certain songs, like really great songs – you don’t just listen to them, you know? They make you feel like they’re listening back. Like the person who wrote the song heard you. Music makes you feel less alone in that way. It’s proof that someone out there has felt the exact same way you do and they’ve managed to capture it in this perfect blend of words and sound.”

But as the setting moves to Julian’s small hometown and Taliah meets his family and gets to know her father better, the story improves quite a bit and I get drawn towards this family-not-quite-family that is facing the last few days of a loved one – although in Taliah’s case, more like a person she might have loved if she had gotten to know him.

The other thing I should mention is that I read this for Asian Lit Bingo and the reason for that is Taliah’s mother is Jordanian. Warga’s father is from Jordan and she said in an interview that she identifies as Middle Eastern American and also as biracial.

I do wish we knew more about Taliah’s mother’s family but overall it was an enjoyable read.

I read this for Asian Lit Bingo – Asian Muslim MC

#AsianLitBingo – Miss Burma by Charmaine Craig

Shan, Mon, Chin, Rohingya, Kachin, Karen (these last pronounced with the accent on the second syllable, it seemed to him – Ro-HIN-gya, Ka-CHIN, Ka-REN) and so on.

This book was longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction which is probably where I first heard of it.

I was curious about it as its focus is on the Karen people of Myanmar, people who have been persecuted for their beliefs, and still are today.

It was something about their friendliness, their relaxed natures, their open courteousness, their love of life, their easy acceptance of his right to be among them, elephantine as he must have appeared in their eyes (and hopelessly dumb, miming what he wanted to purchase). He had the sense that wherever they had come from (Mongolia? Tibet?), however many centuries or millennia ago, they had long ago accepted others’ infiltration of their homeland so long as it was peaceable. Yet he also had the distinct impression that they’d never forgotten the dust of homelessness on their feet.

I have to confess that I was also interested by Craig’s own background. She is an actress and is part Karen and based much of the book on the lives of her grandmother and mother, who was actually Miss Burma and a political revolutionary.

But I felt that this book was a really difficult read. Part of it is the violence and the suppression of the Karen people. Part of it is the way the author crams so much into the book. It was very heavy, very intense, something that probably required a longer reading time than the three weeks my ebook loan allowed me.

It was one hell of a tough read.

It did however open my eyes to Burmese history, which I knew almost nothing about before this.

I realized that after writing all this I never actually talked about the synopsis.

And to be honest it’s just easier to paste the official synopsis for you. Maybe you might appreciate this book more than I did.

A beautiful and poignant story of one family during the most violent and turbulent years of world history, Miss Burma is a powerful novel of love and war, colonialism and ethnicity, and the ties of blood.

Miss Burma tells the story of modern-day Burma through the eyes of Benny and Khin, husband and wife, and their daughter Louisa. After attending school in Calcutta, Benny settles in Rangoon, then part of the British Empire, and falls in love with Khin, a woman who is part of a long-persecuted ethnic minority group, the Karen. World War II comes to Southeast Asia, and Benny and Khin must go into hiding in the eastern part of the country during the Japanese Occupation, beginning a journey that will lead them to change the country’s history. After the war, the British authorities make a deal with the Burman nationalists, led by Aung San, whose party gains control of the country. When Aung San is assassinated, his successor ignores the pleas for self-government of the Karen people and other ethnic groups, and in doing so sets off what will become the longest-running civil war in recorded history. Benny and Khin’s eldest child, Louisa, has a danger-filled, tempestuous childhood and reaches prominence as Burma’s first beauty queen soon before the country falls to dictatorship. As Louisa navigates her newfound fame, she is forced to reckon with her family’s past, the West’s ongoing covert dealings in her country, and her own loyalty to the cause of the Karen people.

Based on the story of the author’s mother and grandparents, Miss Burma is a captivating portrait of how modern Burma came to be and of the ordinary people swept up in the struggle for self-determination and freedom.

I read this for Asian Lit Bingo – South East Asian MC

#AsianLitBingo – Don’t Let Him Know by Sandip Roy

I wouldn’t have heard of this book if not for the lists of suggested reads for Asian Lit Bingo. I initially read it with the thought of using it for the “Queer Romance with Asian MC” square but ended up using it for a different square so as to get a bingo!

Don’t Let Him Know opens with Romola who is visiting her son Amit in America not long after her husband Avinash dies. Amit finds among her things, part of a letter from someone named Sumit. And Amit assumes Sumit was his mother’s former lover, before she met and married his dad. But she doesn’t know how to tell him – can she even tell him? – that this letter from Sumit wasn’t written to her, but to Amit’s father and Romola’s late husband, Avinash.

The book reads more like a collection of linked stories than a novel. We move from character to character, back and forth in time, through various stages of their lives.

It opens with an adult Amit and Romola as a recent widow. Then move back to the time of Romola and Avinash as newlyweds in Illinois. We also meet with a young Amit and in another chapter, an older Amit trying to find his own way in America.

I was surprised that a lot of the chapters belonged more to Romola and Amit than to Avanish. I guess I was expecting to learn more about Avanish and his coming to understand (or perhaps failure to understand) his true self, one that he kept hidden for so long and just seemed so uncomfortable with. I wanted the book to explore more of that.

Still it was a worthwhile read.

I read this for Asian Lit Bingo – South Asian MC