Posts by Sharlene

Reader. Book blogger. Parent. Eater of foods aplenty. Tea drinker. Crocheter

Grown by Tiffany D Jackson

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I started reading this book on Sunday night. It was getting late and I reluctantly put it away to try to go to sleep, not quite realizing it would keep me wide awake for much much longer. It was full of rage-inducing moments that made me want to throw it across the room. It had this despicable man who used his fame and his charm to cajole and to enchant young girls. 

It does open with quite the shocker. Enchanted, age 17, finds herself in a hotel room, covered in blood, and there is Korey Fields, a famous singer, lying dead. What does Enchanted have to do with this? Did she kill him? 

The narrative moves back to Enchanted, pre-Korey, where she dreams of being a singer and enters an audition. That’s where they meet. He offers to help her but their text conversations soon start to get a bit creepy (at least to the reader). And soon the relationship turns abusive. But she’s far from her family and friends. 

This was such a difficult read. The way their relationship builds, the way Korey influences and manipulates Enchanted is so skillfully managed by Jackson. 

Don’t go into this book expecting a murder-mystery, although the synopsis does make it sound a bit like one. This is a story about abuse, psychological and sexual. This is a story about a pedophile and how he manipulated his victim. But this is also a story about how society turns a blind eye to these victims, questioning if they are to blame for what happened. 

Library Loot (February 10 to 16)

badge-4Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

Happy Library Loot day! Claire has the link-up this week.

I don’t read books set in Africa much so I’m always glad when reading challenges push me to expand my reading horizons. This is part of the #ReadTheWorld challenge on Instagram. The focus for February is eastern and southern Africa. Also, so far the books I’ve picked for this challenge have been by women writers.

Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangarembga

A modern classic in the African literary canon and voted in the Top Ten Africa’s 100 Best Books of the 20th Century, this novel brings to the politics of decolonization theory the energy of women’s rights. An extraordinarily well-crafted work, this book is a work of vision. Through its deft negotiation of race, class, gender and cultural change, it dramatizes the ‘nervousness’ of the ‘postcolonial’ conditions that bedevil us still. In Tambu and the women of her family, we African women see ourselves, whether at home or displaced, doing daily battle with our changing world with a mixture of tenacity, bewilderment and grace.

The Shadow King – Maaza Mengiste

A gripping novel set during Mussolini’s 1935 invasion of Ethiopia, The Shadow King takes us back to the first real conflict of World War II, casting light on the women soldiers who were left out of the historical record.

With the threat of Mussolini’s army looming, recently orphaned Hirut struggles to adapt to her new life as a maid in Kidane and his wife Aster’s household. Kidane, an officer in Emperor Haile Selassie’s army, rushes to mobilize his strongest men before the Italians invade. His initial kindness to Hirut shifts into a flinty cruelty when she resists his advances, and Hirut finds herself tumbling into a new world of thefts and violations, of betrayals and overwhelming rage. Meanwhile, Mussolini’s technologically advanced army prepares for an easy victory. Hundreds of thousands of Italians—Jewish photographer Ettore among them—march on Ethiopia seeking adventure.

As the war begins in earnest, Hirut, Aster, and the other women long to do more than care for the wounded and bury the dead. When Emperor Haile Selassie goes into exile and Ethiopia quickly loses hope, it is Hirut who offers a plan to maintain morale. She helps disguise a gentle peasant as the emperor and soon becomes his guard, inspiring other women to take up arms against the Italians. But how could she have predicted her own personal war as a prisoner of one of Italy’s most vicious officers, who will force her to pose before Ettore’s camera?

What follows is a gorgeously crafted and unputdownable exploration of female power, with Hirut as the fierce, original, and brilliant voice at its heart. In incandescent, lyrical prose, Maaza Mengiste breathes life into complicated characters on both sides of the battle line, shaping a heartrending, indelible exploration of what it means to be a woman at war.

What did you get from your library this week?

It’s Monday (February 8, 2021)

Happy Monday!

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Last Saturday, I felt like having some mushroom risotto! Luckily I also remembered that I had a half package of scallops (from Costco) in the freezer. I adore risotto. For a long time I had thought it was only a thing one could have in restaurants. Then I realised that it’s actually quite easy to cook. It’s a little like cooking rice porridge (which I cook quite often), except that it requires a bit more patience and stirring. And usually I cook rice porridge with just plain water, but with risotto, I use vegetable stock. Also the difference is in the adding of cheese, as that’s not something you eat with congee 😛

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We also had dim sum over the weekend.  Mine was full of halves – half a charsiubao, half a spring roll, half a prawn ball, half a daikon cake. Full of deliciousness!

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Last week’s bread making – honey walnut bread that somehow accidentally had a face on it.

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Again, we had our opossum visitor. Aren’t these guys supposed to be nocturnal? Later in the afternoon, I came across a raccoon in the front yard of my opposite neighbour – I’ve never seen a racoon in our neighbourhood before.

Currently…

Reading:

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The husband went to pick up some groceries from the Japanese supermarket in San Jose, and I asked him to grab some stuff for lunch. It was a busy morning for me as I wanted to wet vacuum our carpets. I was spring cleaning before the Lunar New Year, the first day of which is Friday.

Watching:

Still catching up on my rewatch of The Magicians.

Eating and drinking:

Toast and tea as usual for breakfast.

Cooking:

Thursday is Lunar New Year eve, which is 团圆饭 tuanyuanfan or reunion dinner. The only family we have here is the four of us, so we always have a simple hotpot, but with really excellent quality sliced beef from the Japanese store. The hotpot usually lasts us another meal. I might also make some noodles another day.

Last week:

I read:

How to Love a Jamaican – Alexia Arthurs

Luisa: Now and Then – Carole Maurel, Mariko Tamaki

I posted:

Latitudes of Longing by Shubhangi Swarup

Breasts and Eggs by Mieko Kawakami

Library Loot (February 3 to 9)

Books Written Before I Was Born #TopTenTuesday

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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

Latitudes of Longing by Shubhangi Swarup

I love it when reading challenges push me to try books I’ve not heard of before. This book was a finalist of the JCB Prize, a book prize celebrating Indian writers. Latitudes of Longing was shortlisted for the 2018 prize, which was awarded to Benyamin for Jasmine Days.

Latitudes of Longing opens on the Andaman Islands, which already for me perked my interest. It made the news a couple of years ago after an American missionary traveled there (illegally) to visit an uncontested tribe known as the Sentinelese. They are one of six native tribes that live on the islands and Survival International termed them the “most isolated tribe in the world”.

Well, at any rate, this book – or at least the first section (novella?) – takes place on the Andaman Islands. Girija Prasad is an Oxford-educated scientist and is newly married to Chanda Devi, who sees ghosts and talks to trees. His work takes him to the islands, which was a former British naval base and penal colony, then captured by the Japanese during the war, and now owned by the Indian government.

I enjoyed reading about their life on the islands, and their growing relationship. The author brings in the environment and nature into the story in a lyrical way.

Unfortunately, while the first section was well told and evocative, the rest of the book didn’t enchant me as much.

Mary is a Burmese woman who works for Chanda and Girija, and she is the main character of the second novella. Her son, whom she hasn’t seen since he was a baby, is a political prisoner in Burma. He has renamed himself Plato. The third section focuses on Thapa, who is Plato’s best friend, and was the one who located Mary in the Andaman Islands. Thapa is a smuggler in Nepal. And his travels lead us on to the final section in the book, which starts out by being set in the remote mountain village. I don’t know if it continues in this setting as I eventually gave it up.

How does a book start out well like that and then result in a book I ended up just skimming through? I’m not entirely sure. I wanted to like it and finish it, but I found myself being easily distracted and bored towards the end. Maybe this was just too ambitious a book? Could it have been improved with better editing? Maybe if it were a novella, just the first section on its own?

Breasts and Eggs by Mieko Kawakami

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Squeezed in one last read for #JanuaryinJapan, a reading challenge on Instagram. I had read Kawakami’s work before in 2018, Ms Ice Sandwich. Although apparently that was published in 2013 (then in English in 2017?). This book, Breasts and Eggs, was originally published in 2019, then in English in 2020.

Kawakami was known first as a musician, then a blogger. If I’m not wrong, this book was written originally as a blog. It tells the story of three women, the narrator, Natsuko, who is about 30 and unmarried. Then there’s her older sister Makiko, who works as a hostess at a bar, and Makiko’s preteen daughter, Midoriko. Makiko, who is about ten years older than Natsuko, had to work to support them when their grandmother died (their mother had died some years ago). 

Makiko has come to Tokyo with Midoriko to get breast enhancement surgery. They still live in Osaka while Natsuko lives in Tokyo. Midoriko is worried about getting her first period. Natsuko wants to have a baby, but without a partner.

I was confused at first, as I had thought I was reading a novella. It turns out that the first part is originally a novella. The second part is about twice that length, and continues the story some 8 years or so later. It thus felt a bit uneven, the way the two parts were slapped together in one book. Sure, the same characters are there, but it just felt off balance somehow. Maybe because it’s mostly Natsuko’s story in the second part? We hardly see Makiko and Midoriko.

My interest in this title was because of the buzz, the startling title (especially for a Japanese novel), and I liked the exploration of topics such as single motherhood in Japan, as well as artificial insemination. Coming from Singapore, a country which still holds strong to its conservative Asian values, I understand how topics like fertility and artificial insemination are still difficult to talk about. And in both countries, the decrease in the number of births are concerning to its governments. Yet in Singapore, IVF isn’t available for single women, or for women over the age of 45. If I’m not wrong, even egg freezing has its restrictions in Singapore, such as requiring a valid medical condition. The result is some women have gone overseas to freeze their eggs.  

Out of all the Japanese novels I’ve read in January, this was the least strange, despite its title. Perhaps the others have been a bit too out there, and maybe I was expecting that bizarreness that didn’t happen. So it was interesting to finish up January in Japan with all the relative normalcy that happens in this book (other than weasels falling from ceilings). 

So Haruki Murakami praised her writing, but when they met in 2017, she discussed the sexism that she saw in his books. (The interview transcript is available here but here is one quote from the interview: 

“On the one hand, your work is boundlessly imaginative when it comes to plots, to wells, and to men, but the same can’t be said for their relationships with women. It’s not possible for these women to exist on their own. And while female protagonists, or even supporting characters, may enjoy a moderate degree of self-expression, thanks to their relative independence, there’s a persistent tendency for women to be sacrificed for the sake of the male leads. So the question is, why is it that women are so often called upon to play this role in Murakami novels?”

It is curious though that the translators (two names are listed on the book) for Breasts and Eggs are male. Would it have been translated differently if they were female? Random thought I know, but it does make me wonder. 

I read this for the Japanese Literature Challenge and the Books in Translation challenge.

Library Loot (February 3 to 9)

badge-4Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

Happy Wednesday! And happy February to you! A new month means that I can borrow more comics on Hoopla. Hooray!

I just discovered that the Libby app has a whole lot of Noel Streatfeild ebooks, many of which I haven’t read. 

Judith by Noel Streatfeild

Passionately, as other children collect shells, stamps or bus tickets, Judith collected kind words and kind looks dropped by Mother.

Twelve-year-old Judith has been brought up in Europe by her mother, governess and highbrow uncles and aunts. She’s had her hand held all the way through life – even though that hand has often been cold and distant. Now she’s about to board a plane to England all alone to visit the father who abandoned her . . .

Although instead of despising her distant father, Judith finds she really likes him. He treats her as an adult, his side of the family seem to enjoy her company and she finally receives the appreciation she’s always craved from her mother. But is he really as wonderful as he seems?

Carnegie Medal winning author Noel Streatfield navigates through complicated family issues in this perceptive coming of age novel, Judith.

I’m reading this for the Read Harder challenge – read an LGBTQ+ history book

Queer: A Graphic History by Meg-John Barker

Activist-academic Meg-John Barker and cartoonist Julia Scheele illuminate the histories of queer thought and LGBTQ+ action in this groundbreaking non-fiction graphic novel.

From identity politics and gender roles to privilege and exclusion, Queer explores how we came to view sex, gender and sexuality in the ways that we do; how these ideas get tangled up with our culture and our understanding of biology, psychology and sexology; and how these views have been disputed and challenged.

Along the way we look at key landmarks which shift our perspective of what’s ‘normal’ – Alfred Kinsey’s view of sexuality as a spectrum, Judith Butler’s view of gendered behaviour as a performance, the play Wicked, or moments in Casino Royale when we’re invited to view James Bond with the kind of desiring gaze usually directed at female bodies in mainstream media.

Presented in a brilliantly engaging and witty style, this is a unique portrait of the universe of queer thinking.

All these are Hoopla titles

The Heart of the Beast – Dean Motter, Judith Dupre

Dynamite Entertainment celebrates the 20th Anniversary of this hauntingly evocative graphic novel, written by Dean Motter and Judith Dupre, and featuring lavishly painted artwork by superstar Sean Phillips (Fatale, Criminal). “Science transformed his body, artistry inspired his soul.” The Heart of the Beast explores the timeless themes of classic horror literature, set against the backdrop of New York City’s decadent art world in the Nineties. Sandra, a beautiful and young bartender, meets the enigmatic Victor, a man with strange scars and stranger secrets. A critically acclaimed tale of gothic love and modern horror, this digitally remastered hardcover edition features additional scrapbook material and commentary by the creators.

 

 

Luisa: Now and Then – Carole Maurel

At 32, Luisa encounters her 15-year-old self in this sensitive, bold story about self-acceptance and sexuality. Single, and having left behind her dream to become a renowned photographer, she is struggling to find out who she is and what she wants. In order to help and guide her younger self, she must finally face herself and her past. When Luisa finds herself attracted to a female neighbor, things become even more complicated… Insightful and funny, this is a feel-good coming-of-age story.

Rascal – Jean-Luc Deglin

Rascal is a cat. My cat. I didn’t ask for him, he just sort of… happened to me. But that’s just how it works sometimes, isn’t it?

When a mysterious mewling package arrives in the mail, one busy young woman’s life changes forever. Rascal lives up to his name, filling every day with wild adventures and long naps: brave expeditions into closets, fierce battles with curtains, and wrestling with slumbering giants… Sometimes she’s tempted to throw him out the window. He’s lucky he’s cute.

Over 128 pages, Jean-Luc Deglin paints a purring portrait of one unforgettable black cat, an elegant inky swirl in a world of striking blue tones. Hilarious and heartwarming, exasperating and enchanting, Rascal captures the full range of emotions that come with keeping God’s cutest killing machine as a pet.

If you love cats, or dream of having one, this book is dedicated to you. Once you bring Rascal into your life, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without him.

Billie Holiday – Carlos Sampayo

Born in Philadelphua in 1915, and dead too early in New York in 1959, Billie Holiday became a legendary jazz singer, even mythical. With her voice even now managing to touch so many people, we follow a reporter on the trail of the artist on behalf of a New York daily. Beyond the public scandals that marred the life of the star (alcohol, drugs, violence…), he seeks to restore the truth, revisiting the memory of Billie. Through this investigation, Muñoz and Sampayo trace, through the undertones of racism, and in the wake of the blues, the slow drift of a singer who expressed the deepest emotions in jazz. By internationally renowned Argentine artists, featuring Muñoz’ strikingly raw heavy blacks, this is not just a biography but a spell-binding art book tribute.

A Gift for a Ghost – Borja Gonzalez

In Borja González’s stunning graphic novel, two parallel stories reflect and intertwine in a tale of youthful dreams and desires. In 1856, Teresa, a young aristocrat, is more interested in writing avantgarde horror poetry than making a suitable marriage. In 2016, three teenage girls, Gloria, Laura, and Cristina, want to start a punk band called the Black Holes. They have everything they need: attitude, looks, instinct . . . and an alarming lack of musical talent. They’ve barely started rehearsing when strange things begin to happen. As their world and Teresa’s intersect, they’re haunted by the echo of something that happened 160 years ago.

 

The kids’ loot:

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What did you get from your library this week?

Books Written Before I Was Born #TopTenTuesday

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is:

Books Written Before I Was Born 

Well this is a great opportunity for me to think about books I want to read for the Back to the Classics challenge (here’s the link to the challenge page). Some books work for more than one category. And as part of the challenge, all these books are at least 50 years old (published no later than 1971).

1. A 19th century classic: any book first published from 1800 to 1899
Sylvia’s Lovers by Elizabeth Gaskell (1863)
 
2. A 20th century classic: any book first published from 1900 to 1971 – (I’ve already read The Stranger by Albert Camus)
 
3. A classic by a woman author.
Picnic at Hanging Rock – Joan Lindsay (1971)
Tomorrow Will be Better – Betty Smith (1948)
 
4. A classic in translation.
I Am a Cat by Natsume Sōseki (1905)
 
5. A classic by BIPOC author; that is, a non-white author.
I Am a Cat by Natsume Sōseki (1905)
The Home and the World by Rabindranath Tagore (1916)
 
6. A classic by a new-to-you author.
The Home and the World by Rabindranath Tagore (1916)
Foundation by Isaac Asimov (1951)
 
7. New-to-you classic by a favorite author. 
Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott (1874)
Judith by Noel Streatfeild (1956)
 
8. A classic about an animal, or with an animal in the title. The animal can be real or metaphorical. (i.e., To Kill a Mockingbird).
Frolic of the Beasts – Yukio Mishima (1961)
 
9. A children’s classic. 
Hans Brinker, or the Silver Skates by Mary Mapes Dodge (1865)
 
10. A humorous or satirical classic.
The World of Jeeves – PG Wodehouse (1967)
 
11. A travel or adventure classic (fiction or non-fiction)
The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss (1812)
 
12. A classic play. 
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? – Edward Albee

 

 

 


Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018.

It’s Monday (February 1, 2020)

What? It’s February already? How did that happen?

How was your week? California finally moved out of lockdown last week and so outdoor dining, hair salons and the like are opening again (with restrictions that is). Of course that didn’t exactly mean much, the lockdown, it’s not like it’s strictly enforced – I’m comparing it to Singapore where people get fined for breaching quarantine, for having too many people over, where restaurants are forced to close for a couple of weeks if their customers don’t follow the rules (no more than 8 people to a table, no mixing between tables etc). In California, sure they say not to mix with others outside your household or go out unnecessarily, but I’m not sure that can be enforced in any way.

We didn’t do much this past weekend but here are a few things…

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There was a nice sunset yesterday.

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The second graders made Lunar New Year crafts (there’s a New Year saying, 年年有余 nián nián yǒu yú, which means to have abundance year after year).

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The 9yo made a flourless chocolate cake. Very rich very delicious!

Currently…

Reading:

Before the Ever After – Jacqueline Woodson

How to Love a Jamaican – Alexia Arthurs

Watching:

The Magicians on Netflix

Listening:

Still trying to listen to A Tale of Two Cities!

Eating:

Had a few slices of baguette for breakfast, as well as mozzarella cheese.

Drinking:

Tea earlier, might drink a coffee next.

Cooking:

Not so sure about what to cook yet. Maybe I’ll make a baked Mac and cheese. I do have some cauliflower and broccoli to cook up, so probably will roast them in the oven, maybe with some sausages and potatoes.

Last week:

I read:

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Breasts and Eggs – Mieko Kawakami

Fly on the Wall – Remy Lai

I Love You So Mochi – Sarah Kuhn

I posted:

Library Loot (January 27 to February 2)

New-to-me authors of 2020 #TopTenTuesday

Guess I didn’t post much last week!

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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

Library Loot (January 27 to February 2)

badge-4Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Sharlene from Real Life Reading that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries.

 

Happy Wednesday! Claire has the link-up this week

A mix of different types of reads this week, including some works that are not prose for a change!

Also on Instagram there’s a #readtheworld21 challenge, and in February the focus is on southern and Eastern Africa, and I’ve not read much African lit, so I want to try to read more. 

The First Wife – Paulina Chiziane

After twenty years of marriage, Rami discovers that her husband has been living a double–or rather, a quintuple–life. Tony, a senior police officer in Maputo, has apparently been supporting four other families for many years. Rami remains calm in the face of her husband’s duplicity and plots to make an honest man out of him. After Tony is forced to marry the four other women–as well as an additional lover–according to polygamist custom, the rival lovers join together to declare their voices and demand their rights. In this brilliantly funny and feverishly scathing critique, a major work from Mozambique’s first published female novelist, Paulina Chiziane explores her country’s traditional culture, its values and hypocrisy, and the subjection of women the world over.

 

Before the Ever After – Jacqueline Woodson

National Book Award winner Jacqueline Woodson’s stirring novel-in-verse explores how a family moves forward when their glory days have passed and the cost of professional sports on Black bodies.

For as long as ZJ can remember, his dad has been everyone’s hero. As a charming, talented pro football star, he’s as beloved to the neighborhood kids he plays with as he is to his millions of adoring sports fans. But lately life at ZJ’s house is anything but charming. His dad is having trouble remembering things and seems to be angry all the time. ZJ’s mom explains it’s because of all the head injuries his dad sustained during his career. ZJ can understand that–but it doesn’t make the sting any less real when his own father forgets his name. As ZJ contemplates his new reality, he has to figure out how to hold on tight to family traditions and recollections of the glory days, all the while wondering what their past amounts to if his father can’t remember it. And most importantly, can those happy feelings ever be reclaimed when they are all so busy aching for the past?

Rent a Boyfriend – Gloria Chao

Chloe Wang is nervous to introduce her parents to her boyfriend, because the truth is, she hasn’t met him yet either. She hired him from Rent for Your ’Rents, a company specializing in providing fake boyfriends trained to impress even the most traditional Asian parents.

Drew Chan’s passion is art, but after his parents cut him off for dropping out of college to pursue his dreams, he became a Rent for Your ’Rents employee to keep a roof over his head. Luckily, learning protocols like “Type C parents prefer quiet, kind, zero-PDA gestures” comes naturally to him.

When Chloe rents Drew, the mission is simple: convince her parents fake Drew is worthy of their approval so they’ll stop pressuring her to accept a proposal from Hongbo, the wealthiest (and slimiest) young bachelor in their tight-knit Asian American community.

But when Chloe starts to fall for the real Drew—who, unlike his fake persona, is definitely not ’rent-worthy—her carefully curated life begins to unravel. Can she figure out what she wants before she loses everything?

 

I’m going to try reading this for the Back to the Classics challenge 

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – Ken Kesey

Boisterous, ribald, and ultimately shattering, this is the unforgettable story of a mental ward and its inhabitants, especially the tyrannical Big Nurse and Randle Patrick McMurphy, the brawling, life-loving new inmate who resolves to oppose her. We see the struggle through the eyes of Chief Bromden, the seemingly mute half-Indian patient, who witnesses and understands McMurphy’s heroic attempt to do battle with the awesome power of The Combine.

Citizen: an American Lyric – Claudia Rankine

Claudia Rankine’s bold new book recounts mounting racial aggressions in ongoing encounters in twenty-first-century daily life and in the media. Some of these encounters are slights, seeming slips of the tongue, and some are intentional offensives in the classroom, at the supermarket, at home, on the tennis court with Serena Williams and the soccer field with Zinedine Zidane, online, on TV-everywhere, all the time. The accumulative stresses come to bear on a person’s ability to speak, perform, and stay alive. Our addressability is tied to the state of our belonging, Rankine argues, as are our assumptions and expectations of citizenship. In essay, image, and poetry, Citizen is a powerful testament to the individual and collective effects of racism in our contemporary, often named “post-race” society.

I thought the first book by Lai, Pie in the Sky, was adorable!

Fly on the Wall – Remy Lai

Henry Khoo’s family treats him like a baby. He’s not allowed to go anywhere without his sister/chaperone/bodyguard. His (former) best friend knows to expect his family’s mafia-style interrogation when Henry’s actually allowed to hang out at her house. And he definitely CAN’T take a journey halfway around the world all by himself!

But that’s exactly his plan. After his family’s annual trip to visit his father in Singapore is cancelled, Henry decides he doesn’t want to be cooped up at home with his overprotective family and BFF turned NRFF (Not Really Friend Forever). Plus, he’s hiding a your-life-is-over-if-you’re-caught secret: he’s the creator of an anonymous gossip cartoon, and he’s on the verge of getting caught. Determined to prove his independence and avoid punishment for his crimes, Henry embarks on the greatest adventure everrr. . . hoping it won’t turn into the greatest disaster ever.

Remy Lai takes readers on an adventure filled with humor, heart, and hijinks that’s a sure bet for fans of Jerry Craft, Terri Libenson, and Shannon Hale!

This hold just came in! Hooray! I’ve been eyeing this ever since I spotted the cover. 

Grown – Tiffany D Jackson

Korey Fields is dead.

When Enchanted Jones wakes with blood on her hands and zero memory of the previous night, no one—the police and Korey’s fans included—has more questions than she does. All she really knows is that this isn’t how things are supposed to be. Korey was Enchanted’s ticket to stardom.

Before there was a dead body, Enchanted was an aspiring singer, struggling with her tight knit family’s recent move to the suburbs while trying to find her place as the lone Black girl in high school. But then legendary R&B artist Korey Fields spots her at an audition. And suddenly her dream of being a professional singer takes flight.

Enchanted is dazzled by Korey’s luxurious life but soon her dream turns into a nightmare. Behind Korey’s charm and star power hides a dark side, one that wants to control her every move, with rage and consequences. Except now he’s dead and the police are at the door. Who killed Korey Fields?

All signs point to Enchanted.

 

What did you get from your library this week?

New-to-me authors of 2020 #TopTenTuesday

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is:

New-to-Me Authors I Read in 2020

I read 106 new-to-me authors – out of a total of 206 books read.

So um, this post is going to just highlight a few. These are authors I would love to read more of their works.

Writers

Jerry Craft – New Kid

Charlie Jane Anders – All the Birds in the Sky

Bernardine Evaristo – Girl, Woman, Other

Tiffany D Jackson – Let Me Hear a Rhyme

Sarah Pinsker – A Song for a New Day

Ocean Vuong Night Sky with Exit Wounds

Tamsyn Muir – Gideon the Ninth and Harrow the Ninth

Cho Nam-Joo – Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982

Aiden Thomas – Cemetery Boys

Yamile Saied Mendez – Furia

Kiley Reid – Such a Fun Age

Kassia St Clair – The Golden Thread


Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018.