Dublin Literary Award 2019 Longlist

How many have you read? More details here

I’ve marked those I’ve read with a ❤️ – not very many!!

The New Animals by Pip Adam
Stay With Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀
4321 by Paul Auster

Beartown / The Scandal by Fredrik Backman, translated from the Swedish by Neil Smith
Mrs Osmond by John Banville
The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao by Martha Batalha, translated from the Portuguese by Eric M. B. Becker
A Line Made by Walking by Sara Baume
The Trick by Emanuel Bergmann
The 7th Function of Languageby Laurent Binet, translated from the French by Sam Taylor
The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

The Greatest Hits of Wanda Jaynesby Bridget Canning
A Long Way From Home by Peter Carey
Marlborough Man by Alan Carter
Song of the Sun God by Shankari Chandran
Dragon Springs Road by Janie Chang
Brother by David Chariandy
What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons
Terra Nullius by Claire G. Coleman
The Last Beothuk by Gary Collins
Acts of Allegiance by Peter Cunningham

The Life to Come by Michelle de Kretser
In the Distance by Hernan Diaz
Her by Garry Disher
Smile by Roddy Doyle
A Vineyard in Andalusia /The Vineyardby Maria Dueñas, translated from the Spanish by Nick Caistor & Lorenza García

Special Envoy by Jean Echenoz, translated from the French by Sam Taylor
Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan
American War by Omar El Akkad
Compass by Mathias Énard, translated from the French by Charlotte Mandell
Go, Went, Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck, translated from the German by Susan Bernofsky

Decline and Fall on Savage StreetbyFiona Farrell
First Person by Richard Flanagan
This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel
The Invented Part by Rodrigo Fresán, translated from the Spanish by Will Vanderhyden
History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund

Return to the Dark Valley by Santiago Gamboa, translated from the Spanish by Howard Curtis

Here in Berlin by Cristina Garcia
Dreams Beyond the Shore by Tamika Gibson
There Your Heart Lies by Mary Gordon
Little Sister by Barbara Gowdy
The Road to Shenzhen by Huang Guosheng

How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

❤️Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
A House in Norway by Vigdis Hjorth, translated from the Norwegian by Charlotte Barslund
The Sparsholt Affair by Alan Hollinghurst
❤️Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by  Gail Honeyman

Sleeps Standing Moetu by Witi Ithimaera, translated from Maori by Hemi Kelly
Darker by E.L. James
The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin
Baby by Annaleese Jochems
First Snow, Last Light by Wayne Johnston
❤️The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce

Spaceman of Bohemia by Jaroslav Kalfař
English Animals by Laura Kaye
You Should Have Left by Daniel Kehlmann, translated from the German by Ross Benjamin
Of Darkness by Josefine Klougart, translated from the Danish by Martin Aitken
❤️The Leavers by Lisa Ko
The Harvest of Chronos by Mojca Kumerdej, translated from the Slovenian by Rawley Grau

Ferocity by Nicola Lagioia, translated from the Italian by Antony Shugaar
The Choke by Sofie Laguna
A Poison Apple by Michel Laub, translated from the Portuguese by Daniel Hahn
The Changeling by Victor LaValle
❤️Pachinko by Jin Min Lee
The Barrowfields by Phillip Lewis
Escape From Sunset Grove by Minna Lindgren, translated from the Finnish by Kristian London
The End of Eddy by Edouard Louis, translated from the French by Michael Lucey
The History of Bees by Maja Lunde, translated from the Norwegian by Diane Oatley

Midwinter Break by Bernard MacLaverty
The Temptation to be Happy by Lorenzo Marone, translated from the Italian by Shaun Whiteside
❤️All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai
The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott
Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor
The Blood Miracles by Lisa McInerney
Ithaca by Alan McMonagle
Gather the Daughters by Jennie Melamed
The Forensic Records Society by Magnus Mills
Elmet by Fiona Mozley
Like a Fading Shadow by Antonio Muñoz Molina, translated from the Spanish by Camilo A. Ramirez
The Sixteen Trees of the Somme by Lars Mytting, translated from the Norwegian by Paul
Russell Garrett

❤️Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
Mirror, Shoulder, Signal by Dorthe Nors, translated from the Danish by Misha Hoekstra

A Book of American Martyrs by Joyce Carol Oates
The Dead House by Billy O’Callaghan
Mama’s Maze by Agnes Ong
Incredible Floridas by Stephen Orr

Heretics by Leonardo Padura, translated from the Spanish by Anna Kushner
Uncertain Weights and Measuresby Jocelyn Parr
Next Year, For Sure by Zoey Leigh Peterson
Reincarnation Blues by Michael Poore
No One is Coming to Save Us by Stephanie Powell Watts
The Bedlam Stacks by Natasha Pulley

The Death of the Perfect Sentenceby Rein Raud, translated from the Estonian by Matthew Hyde
Through the Lonesome Dark by Paddy Richardson
White Bodies by Jane Robins
Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson
Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney
To Die in Spring by Ralf Rothmann, translated from the German by Shaun Whiteside
The Ministry of Utmost Happinessby Arundhati Roy
Breathe by Beni Rusani
The Golden House by Salman Rushdie
Idaho by Emily Ruskovich
The Bridge Troll Murders by Sheldon Russell

No One Can Pronounce My Nameby Rakesh Satyal
❤️Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
Adua by Igiaba Scego, translated from the Italian by Jamie Richards
Tench by Inge Schilperoord, translated from the Dutch by David Colmer
❤️See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt
Fever Dream by Samantha Schweblin, translated from the Spanish by Megan McDowell
Taboo by Kim Scott
The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Laneby Lisa See
A Boy in Winter by Rachel Seiffert
Kruso by Lutz Seiler, translated from the German by Tess Lewis
Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie
The Woman in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck
House of Spies by Daniel Silva
To the Back of Beyond by Peter Stamm, translated from the German by Michael Hofmann
My Cat Yugoslavia by Pajtim Statovci, translated from the Finnish by David Hackston
The Necessary Angel by C.K. Stead
The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.  by Neal Stephenson & Nicole Galland
Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout

My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent
Monte Carlo by Peter Terrin, translated from the Dutch by David Doherty
❤️The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Naondel ; the Red Abbey Chronicles by Maria Turtschaninoff, translated from the Swedish by A. A. Prime

Temporary People by Deepak Unnikrishnan
They Know Not What They Do by Jussi Valtonen, translated from the Finnish by Kristian London
Borne by Jeff VanderMeer
And Fire Came Down by Emma Viskic
Radiant Terminus by Antoine Volodine, translated from the French by Jeffrey Zuckerman

❤️Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward
Clear to the Horizon by Dave Warner
Girlcott by Florenz Webb Maxwell
The Consequences by Niña Weijers, translated from the Dutch by Hester Velmans
When the English Fall by David Williams
Tin Man by Sarah Winman
Lost in September by Kathleen Winter
The Resurrection of Joan Ashbyby Cherise Wolas

The Impossible Fairytale by Han Yujoo, translated from the Korean by Janet Hong
The Book of Joan by  Lidia Yuknavitch
The Image Interpreter by Zoran Živković, translated from the Serbian by Randall A. Major


It’s Monday and it’s been a hazy week

View of Foster City from the bridge on Saturday morning

It’s been a strange and smoky week. The smoke is from the Camp Fire, which destroyed the town of Paradise and has, as of Sunday night, a death toll of 77, making it California’s deadliest natural disaster since Loma Prieta in 1989 which claimed 69 lives. It is terrifying to see the number of bodies found climb. Every day the newspapers report another bigger number. The number of missing is still as high as 1,300. It is heartbreaking to hear of all the lives lost. And also heartwarming to read the stories of those who rushed to help others.

Schools in our county were closed on Friday and since Tuesday the kids had been having indoor recess and all outdoor activities were canceled. The air quality index in our part of the East Bay went into the Unhealthy zone for a couple of days. And we’ve been trying to stay indoors for as much as we possibly can but it’s hard with two energetic boys!

So we’ve been eating out once in a while like dim sum on Sunday, picked up my mum from the airport on Saturday morning, played tennis (indoors) Saturday evening.

Oh and I finally finished my sweater! It’s the first sweater I’ve ever crocheted and it was kind of tricky as the pattern wasn’t as detailed as I would like and I had to redo the sleeves several times. But it’s wearable, hooray!





West Wing





Hot pot is our usual Thanksgiving dinner choice. Although this year with my mum around maybe we will have something more traditional


The Master List of 2019 Reading Challenges

Popsugar Reading Challenge 2019

The Reading Women Challenge

Last week:

I read:

America Vol 1 – Gabby Rivera
America Vol 2 – Gabby Rivera
Strange Weather – Joe Hill
Saga Volume 9 – Brian K Vaughan, Fiona Staples

I posted:

Weekend Cooking: Treats from Singapore

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

Weekend Cooking: Treats from Singapore

My mum flew in from Singapore yesterday morning. And she brought some lovely and yummy things with her.


These canned poppadoms are really quite good. Of course freshly fried ones can’t be beat but really, am I going to fry poppadoms? No, the answer is no.

Also, peanuts. Singapore-style peanuts taste quite different from whatever I’ve seen here. The husband and I have grown up eating them at Chinese restaurants, which lay out plates of peanuts to snack on while waiting.






We are fortunately living in a city where Asian supermarkets are common enough, and some of these Asian supermarkets do sell ready-made pastes for chicken rice and some other Singapore or Malaysia-style dishes. But I don’t think I’ve seen this brand here. Asam Pedas Ikan is a sour-spicy fish dish – the sourness comes from the tamarind or Asam Jawa.

Laksa may be more familiar to some of you, it’s a spicy coconutty noodle gravy, eaten with fish cakes, prawns, bean sprouts. It’s just so much easier to make with a paste!




On the left is Ang Ku Kueh, literally translated as Red Tortoise Cake. It’s a sticky glutinous rice flour skin wrapped around a filling, in this case, yellow mung bean paste. It’s steamed on a piece of banana leaf to prevent it from sticking. The pink cake on the left is kueh lapis, tapioca and rice flours, coconut and pandan, then brightly colored and steamed. Sometimes it comes in rainbow colours.


Pineapple tarts and kueh bangkit. Pineapple tarts are my husband’s favourite and we have tried several store-bought brands over the years and none of them have been as good as this one. The pineapple paste is good, not too sweet, the biscuit base is buttery and crumbly and so delicious! The kueh bangkit is a light biscuit made with tapioca flour and coconut milk. It has a melt-in-your-mouth texture.

Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, beer, wine, photographs

Weekend Cooking: Sour cherry cake and Biscotti

Remember that Black Forest cake I made?

(If you don’t, I posted it here!)

Anyway in that Black Forest cake (long eaten, it doesn’t keep well with all that fresh whipped cream), were lots of these lovely morello cherries, a jar of which I had bought from my friendly local Trader Joe’s.

I still had a good half of the jar left and unlike last year, when I completely forgot about the remaining cherries until it was way too late, I wanted to use them up.

There are quite a few things I could have done with it. A pie or crumble perhaps? But I didn’t really have very many cherries and I didn’t want to sweeten the cherries themselves too much (which I imagined I would have to do to make a sour cherry pie less sour?). So instead I looked for a sour cherry cake recipe and luckily this one sounded like it would work! I was attracted by the “Easy and Delicious” part, as well as the way the recipe was given in both volume and weight – I’m very fond of my trusty digital weighing scale, perhaps one of the most useful tools in my cupboard.

I pretty much followed the recipe steps except for using the zest of one small Meyer lemon and not measuring it to see if it was indeed 1/2 tsp worth. And not using quite enough cherries as it was about half the jar of Morello cherries. I think I would have liked more cherries in the cake and the recipe does call for the whole Trader Joe’s jar, drained of course.

The cake turned out just right. It wasn’t too sweet and offered a nice contrast with the sour cherries. I don’t like when cakes are too sweet so tend to reduce the sugar amounts when using American recipes. But this one didn’t seem like very much sugar so I left it as is.

The only thing is that my 5yo was a bit dismayed that the cherries were still a bit sour.

Oh and the remaining juice in the jar? I ended up adding that to a sirloin pork roast dish I made. I had braised the pork in beer but wanted to add more sweetness to the dish. So I took the cooking liquid that remained in the slow cooker, added a good slug or four of the cherry juice to it and reduced it way down to a kind of beer-cherry reduction. And it was the perfect sauce for the pork.

In case that wasn’t enough baking and cooking for one day, I also tried out this King Arthur Flour recipe for vanilla biscotti. I was intrigued by the “American-style” description, as the recipe hints that it’s more light and crunchy and not as hard as Italian-style biscotti. I’ve been thinking about Christmas gifting, usually I bake gingerbread cookies to give to school teachers and friends but this year, maybe I’ll give biscotti!

The interesting part about this recipe is that after the first bake (when they’re still in log form), the logs are given a sprinkling of water, which makes slicing easier, and which I guess makes them less hard?

I followed the recipe closely, reducing the sugar just a little but I think next time I will reduce the sugar more. And maybe increase the salt to 1tsp. I’d also like to try it with add-ins, perhaps chocolate chips (which my kids would love), perhaps one batch with some roasted almonds, and I would love to try one with earl grey, and maybe cardamom. The only thing I don’t want to do is glaze or ice them!

What flavors do you like in biscotti?

Weekend Cooking at Beth Fish Reads is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, beer, wine, photographs

What We Were Promised by Lucy Tan

In the first chapter of this book, I learn a surprising fact about China – it has one standard time zone, despite it spanning five geographical time zones! How confusing is that?

Luckily this book, despite its interweaving stories of an expat family, a long-lost brother, and a housekeeping staff-turned-ayi, isn’t confusing at all.

Sunny is from rural China. She works as a maid cleaning rooms and serviced apartments at a hotel in Shanghai. Her name isn’t Sunny of course – it’s just a name tag she picked out of the bin, finding something that seemed right about the name, although she couldn’t even read it herself.

“Chinese names were too difficult for foreign residents to pronounce and carried too much meaning to be revealed to the Chinese speakers. When characters in a name were combined, they produced a complex of feelings and images. That was no good; the best thing for a housekeeper to be was forgettable. Better to take on the blankness of American names.”

One of the apartments that Sunny cleans belongs to the Zhen family, an expat family returned to China after a decade in the US. Lina and Wei have had a long history, having been betrothed since they were young. Wei works long hours at his advertising job, Lina is one of the many taitais in the hotel – “ladies of luxury who could not be called housewives because, aside from cooking the occasional meal, they did no housework at all”.

Wei’s long-lost brother Qiang, contacts them out of the blue after 22 years, and comes to visit. What exactly does he want? Why did he disappear all those years ago? And it turns out that Qiang and Lina have had a history of their own.

I’ve read quite a few books by Chinese authors but this one is written from a very different perspective of a returning Chinese family. Their move from China to the US and then back to China was such a contrast – from a young couple with no money to spare, entertaining themselves by wandering into drugstores and looking at all the goods on display and not being able to buy anything, to becoming a well-off expat family living in a fancy apartment, owning Rolex watches and expensive jewelry. It was a bit hard to like Lina though, although I felt like we had plenty in common in that I am an immigrant to the US myself and while Singapore isn’t such a huge contrast from the US with all its shopping malls and what not, there were all these very “American” things that fascinated (and sometimes frustrated) me. Like the way our first apartment had an open kitchen and this combination cooker hood/microwave over the stove – how was one to get rid of all the cooking smells if that was all?

“American kitchens weren’t designed for wok use, Lina complained. She had tried the American recipes and decided people here didn’t know what real cooking was. All that boiling and baking? Those were safe ways of preparing food. Oil was meant to be splattered on walls, the wok lid held in front of your body like a shield. Cooking, she said, was an act of love and creation. Danger should be somewhere in the mix or it didn’t count. You had to put yourself on the line; you had to sweat. Chinese cuisine required more energy and a higher flame.”

What We Were Promised is a story of contrasts. Sunny’s qunzu fang, a room she shares with five others and which reeks of boiled cabbage and urine vs the large and luxurious jasmine-scented Lanson Suites she cleans. The silk factory where Lina’s father worked vs the skyscraper in which Wei’s office is located. Rural vs city life, rich vs poor.

In case you can’t tell by now, I loved this book and I am just so excited to see what else Lucy Tan writes.

Is it too late to join #NonFictionNov ?





Week 1: Your Year in Nonfiction So Far (Hosted by Kim at Sophisticated Dorkiness)
Take a look back at your year of nonfiction and reflect on the following questions – What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year? Do you have a particular topic you’ve been attracted to more this year? What nonfiction book have you recommended the most? What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?


So far this year I have read 15 nonfiction books, 9 of which were audiobooks. That may sound like a decent number, but it’s really not, as it’s only 7.5% of my total so far this year! And as for why most of them are audiobooks… I don’t have a long commute and when I’m in the car with the kids (that is to say, a good part of my day) I let them listen to audiobooks of their choice (current fave is the Wings of Fire series). I listen to audiobooks when I’m taking a walk and prefer to listen to nonfiction books, which are easier to pick up again after some time away. Oh and in the past year or so I’ve been crocheting and audiobooks are the best thing to crochet with.

What was your favorite nonfiction read of the year?

In terms of my nonfiction reading, I read mostly memoirs and a few science nonfiction. My favourite nonfiction is I Contain Multitudes by Ed Yong, which really opened my eyes to the fascinating world of microbes! As for favourite memoir, it’s hard to pick really! I enjoyed Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime, partly because it was set in South Africa, and Shaun Bythell’s Diary of a Bookseller, a sweet and funny read by the owner of Scotland’s largest secondhand bookshop.

Do you have a particular topic you’ve been attracted to more this year?

I really don’t read as much nonfiction as I want to but I think in the past couple of years I’ve been more attracted to science-related nonfiction.

What nonfiction book have you recommended the most?

Sy Montgomery’s The Soul of an Octopus

What are you hoping to get out of participating in Nonfiction November?

Book recommendations! And also inspiration to read heaps more nonfiction! I’m currently on the look out for a true crime read, in order to finish the Popsugar challenge!

Thanks for reading! And feel free to throw all kinds of nonfiction reads my way.

It’s Monday and it’s November!

Hello November. Why is it still so hot?

We attended a class picnic for my second-grader on Saturday and it was a hot day. Luckily the picnic area was nice and shaded but the playground was in the sun and the kids were all sweaty after. And it was a fun variety of food from tamales to fried rice to Señorita bread.

On Sunday, we finally got to take the husband out for a nice birthday meal and he wanted sushi.

And of course the big day last week was Halloween. There was a school Halloween parade, a class party for the kindergarteners and then trick-or-treating at our neighbourhood. It seemed a bit quieter this year and we actually had candy leftover. The boys of course were thoroughly pleased with their haul, and they had fun going around the neighbourhood with their classmates who live nearby.

Making a spider out of marshmallows and pretzel sticks


Someone had a last-minute change of heart about his Batman costume and decided to be a ninja for the school parade. So I hastily crocheted him some gear to make him a ninja!

The Black Forest cake I made for the husband’s birthday.




West Wing and Queer Eye


Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman


Kabocha squash buns


Water but I just had some Yorkshire Gold earlier


Korean sweet potato noodles with Napa cabbage and chicken

Maybe shepherd’s pie this week

Last week:

I read:
Red Sparrow – Jason Matthews
Never Judge a Lady By Her Cover – Sarah Maclean
Fledgling (reread) – Octavia Butler

I posted: 

Weekend Cooking: Black Forest Cake

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