#TopTenTuesday: Ten Signs You’re a Book Lover

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is:

Ten Signs You’re a Book Lover

 

 

  1. A reading retreat or a book festival sounds like the perfect vacation
  2. You know your library card number by heart
  3. You carry a book (print, digital, audio) wherever you go
  4. Your idea of a great date involves wandering around a bookstore – true story, this is what my husband and I did on our first date, after he took me out to a really nice lunch!
  5. You pack too many books with you on a vacation (or pack your e-reader full of ebooks)
  6. You check out the bookshelves when you’re at someone’s house
  7. You;re familiar with book hangovesrs
  8. You own a variety of literary paraphernalia
  9. Most of the blogs you read are book blogs, most of your Instagram feed is #bookstagram
  10. You despair at the number of books that are being published and that you’ve not read yet


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.

 

 

 

Spring TBR list #TopTenTuesday

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is:

Spring 2020 TBR

 

Well, I don’t know if I will be able to get my hands on all these books but these are the March and April releases that have caught my eye! In case you’re new to my blog, I tend towards books by women writers, translated literature, and/or Asian writers.

Have any of these books caught your eye too?

 

The City We Became (Great Cities #1) – NK Jemisin

Five New Yorkers must come together in order to defend their city in the first book of a stunning new series by Hugo award-winning and NYT bestselling author N. K. Jemisin.

Every city has a soul. Some are as ancient as myths, and others are as new and destructive as children. New York City? She’s got five.

But every city also has a dark side. A roiling, ancient evil stirs beneath the earth, threatening to destroy the city and her five protectors unless they can come together and stop it once and for all

The Beauty of Your Face – Sahar Mustafah

A Palestinian American woman wrestles with faith, loss, and identity before coming face-to-face with a school shooter in this searing debut.

A uniquely American story told in powerful, evocative prose, The Beauty of Your Face navigates a country growing ever more divided. Afaf Rahman, the daughter of Palestinian immigrants, is the principal of Nurrideen School for Girls, a Muslim school in the Chicago suburbs. One morning, a shooter—radicalized by the online alt-right—attacks the school.

As Afaf listens to his terrifying progress, we are swept back through her memories: the bigotry she faced as a child, her mother’s dreams of returning to Palestine, and the devastating disappearance of her older sister that tore her family apart. Still, there is the sweetness of the music from her father’s oud, and the hope and community Afaf finally finds in Islam.

The Beauty of Your Face is a profound and poignant exploration of one woman’s life in a nation at odds with its ideals.

The Night Watchman – Louise Erdrich

Based on the extraordinary life of National Book Award-winning author Louise Erdrich’s  grandfather who worked as a night watchman and carried the fight against Native dispossession from rural North Dakota all the way to Washington, D.C., this powerful novel explores themes of love and death with lightness and gravity and unfolds with the elegant prose, sly humor, and depth of feeling of a master craftsman.

Thomas Wazhashk is the night watchman at the jewel bearing plant, the first factory located near the Turtle Mountain Reservation in rural North Dakota. He is also a Chippewa Council member who is trying to understand the consequences of a new “emancipation” bill on its way to the floor of the United States Congress. It is 1953 and he and the other council members know the bill isn’t about freedom; Congress is fed up with Indians. The bill is a “termination” that threatens the rights of Native Americans to their land and their very identity. How can the government abandon treaties made in good faith with Native Americans “for as long as the grasses shall grow, and the rivers run”?

Since graduating high school, Pixie Paranteau has insisted that everyone call her Patrice. Unlike most of the girls on the reservation, Patrice, the class valedictorian, has no desire to wear herself down with a husband and kids. She makes jewel bearings at the plant, a job that barely pays her enough to support her mother and brother. Patrice’s shameful alcoholic father returns home sporadically to terrorize his wife and children and bully her for money. But Patrice needs every penny to follow her beloved older sister, Vera, who moved to the big city of Minneapolis. Vera may have disappeared; she hasn’t been in touch in months, and is rumored to have had a baby. Determined to find Vera and her child, Patrice makes a fateful trip to Minnesota that introduces her to unexpected forms of exploitation and violence, and endangers her life.

Thomas and Patrice live in this impoverished reservation community along with young Chippewa boxer Wood Mountain and his mother Juggie Blue, her niece and Patrice’s best friend Valentine, and Stack Barnes, the white high school math teacher and boxing coach who is hopelessly in love with Patrice.

 

Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 – Cho Nam-Joo, translated from the Korean by Jamie Chang

In a small, tidy apartment on the outskirts of the frenzied metropolis of Seoul, Kim Jiyoung—a millennial “everywoman”—spends her days caring for her infant daughter. Her husband, however, worries over a strange symptom that has recently appeared: Jiyoung has begun to impersonate the voices of other women—dead and alive, both known and unknown to her. Truly, flawlessly, completely, she became that very person. As she plunges deeper into this psychosis, Jiyoung’s concerned husband sends her to a psychiatrist, who listens to her narrate her own life story—from her birth to a family who expected a son, to elementary school teachers who policed girls’ outfits, to male coworkers who installed hidden cameras in women’s restrooms and posted the photos online. But can her doctor cure her, or even discover what truly ails her? Rendered in eerie prose, Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982 announces the arrival of a major international writer.

The Glass Hotel – Emily St John Mandel 

From the award-winning author of Station Eleven, a captivating novel of money, beauty, white-collar crime, ghosts, and moral compromise in which a woman disappears from a container ship off the coast of Mauritania and a massive Ponzi scheme implodes in New York, dragging countless fortunes with it.

Vincent is a bartender at the Hotel Caiette, a five-star glass and cedar palace on an island in British Columbia. Jonathan Alkaitis works in finance and owns the hotel. When he passes Vincent his card with a tip, it’s the beginning of their life together. That same day, Vincent’s half-brother, Paul, scrawls a note on the windowed wall of the hotel: “Why don’t you swallow broken glass.” Leon Prevant, a shipping executive for a company called Neptune-Avramidis, sees the note from the hotel bar and is shaken to his core. Thirteen years later Vincent mysteriously disappears from the deck of a Neptune-Avramidis ship. Weaving together the lives of these characters, The Glass Hotel moves between the ship, the skyscrapers of Manhattan, and the wilderness of northern Vancouver Island, painting a breathtaking picture of greed and guilt, fantasy and delusion, art and the ghosts of our pasts.

How to Pronounce Knife – Souvankham Thammavongsa

In the title story of Souvankham Thammavongsa’s debut collection, a young girl brings a book home from school and asks her father to help her pronounce a tricky word, a simple exchange with unforgettable consequences. Thammavongsa is a master at homing in on moments like this — moments of exposure, dislocation, and messy feeling that push us right up against the limits of language.
The stories that make up How to Pronounce Knife focus on characters struggling to find their bearings in unfamiliar territory, or shuttling between idioms, cultures, and values. A failed boxer discovers what it truly means to be a champion when he starts painting nails at his sister’s salon. A young woman tries to discern the invisible but immutable social hierarchies at a chicken processing plant. A mother coaches her daughter in the challenging art of worm harvesting.
In a taut, visceral prose style that establishes her as one of the most striking and assured voices of her generation, Thammavongsa interrogates what it means to make a living, to work, and to create meaning.

Braised Pork – An Yu

One autumn morning, Jia Jia walks into the bathroom of her lavish Beijing apartment to find her husband dead. One minute she was breakfasting with him and packing for an upcoming trip, the next, she finds him motionless in their half-full bathtub. Like something out of a dream, next to the tub Jia Jia discovers a pencil sketch of a strange watery figure, an image that swims into Jia Jia’s mind and won’t leave.

The mysterious drawing launches Jia Jia on an odyssey across contemporary Beijing, from its high-rise apartments to its hidden bars, as her path crosses some of the people who call the city home, including a jaded bartender who may be able to offer her the kind of love she had long thought impossible. Unencumbered by a marriage that had constrained her, Jia Jia travels into her past to try to discover things that were left unsaid by the people closest to her. Her journey takes her to the high plains of Tibet, and even to a shadowy, watery otherworld, a place she both yearns and fears to go.

Exquisitely attuned to the complexities of human connection, and an atmospheric and cinematic evocation of middle-class urban China, An Yu’s Braised Pork explores the intimate strangeness of grief, the indelible mysteries of unseen worlds, and the energizing self-discovery of a newly empowered young woman.

 


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.

 

 

 

#TopTenTuesday: Single-word Titles

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is: 

Books With Single-Word Titles

 

Books have such long titles (and subtitles) these days, don’t they? So it’s kind of refreshing to figure out what books have single-word titles. These are books that I have read in 2019.

Pet by Akwaeke Emezi

A fascinating YA book about Jam, a young girl who meets Pet, a beast that emerges from her mother’s painting. Pet has come to hunt a monster, something that lurks in Jam’s friend’s house.

 

Cantoras by Carolina De Robertis

I loved this one that’s set in 1970s Uruguay, when a dictatorship has crushed the freedom of its people, and features five women who find a place to be themselves when they holiday in a remote seaside village.

Abbott by Saladin Ahmed, Sami Kivelä (Illustrator)

Comics time! This one is set in 1970s Detroit and Abbott is a black female reporter investigating crimes that seem to be the work of supernatural forces.

Skim by Mariko Tamaki, Jillian Tamaki (Illustrator)

I am a big fan of the Tamaki cousins’ work! Skim is the nickname of a Japanese-Canadian schoolgirl at an all-girls school.

Edinburgh by Alexander Chee

Here’s my review of this book

 

Internment by Samira Ahmed

Ugh. Well my ugh is for the premise of this book, as it is set in the near-future, where Muslim Americans are forced into an internment camp.

 

 

Lu (Track #4) by Jason Reynolds

Oh I love this YA series that revolves around members of a track team. Reynolds is a master storyteller and I want to read everything he writes. Actually, all the titles in the series are one-word titles: Ghost; Patina; Sunny but this was the latest one of this I had read.

 

Becoming by Michelle Obama

It was an absolute delight listening to her narrate the audiobook!

 


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.

 

 

 

Diverse romances #TopTenTuesday

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is….

It’s a Love Freebie!

 

 

Ok it has been far too long since I’ve done one of these. And here I am, on a “freebie” week, talking love. Because for far too long I was the kind who turned up my nose at romance novels. And recently I have grown to love them.

Here are some amazing ones I’ve devoured recently:

Jasmine Guillory’s books

The Wedding Date

The Proposal

The Wedding Party (oops actually I missed out on this one! Off to amend that)

Royal Holiday

Her books are lots of fun, I like how they are connected through a group of friends, for eg in The Wedding Date, Carlos is a secondary character, but he’s the main character in The Proposal. Also the books somehow manage to make me hungry (I wrote a post about how reading Royal Holiday made me crave scones, and so I made some). And that’s always a plus for me.

Helen Hoang’s books

The Kiss Quotient

The Bride Test

The Kiss Quotient was a book that made me sit up as it was probably one of the first steamy romance novels with Asian characters that I had come across. And it was hot! I have to admit that I didn’t like The Bride Test as much but I am still looking forward to more from Hoang.

 

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

Such a cute read by this British author. Hibbert has written a few other books but this was the first of hers I’ve read. And especially unique as its main character has a chronic illness. It was one of those bumbling, fumbling types of romances. Really cute.

Emergency Contact by S.K. Choi

This is a YA book but hey, it’s still a romance, isn’t it? I’m putting it in here as the female character is Korean, and I really liked this one although I’m not its target audience. You can read my thoughts on this book here. 

Ayesha At Last – Uzma Jalaluddin

This is a modern version of Pride and Prejudice which I was a bit hesitant to read because I had read another re-imagining of P&P before this one, and it did not stand up. Also, P&P was one of the books I studied for my English Lit A Levels and so I do know it  (and love it) quite well. But Ayesha At Last was quite satisfying!

 

What are some diverse romances you’ve enjoyed?


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.

 

 

 

Top Books From My Favorite Genre #toptentuesday

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is:

 

Books From My Favorite Genre

Favourite genre is a tricky one! Is there any genre I don’t really read?

I ended up going with speculative fiction which is kind of an umbrella genre encompassing a variety like science fiction, fantasy, supernatural, dystopian and more.

So here are my favourites!

 

The Earthsea series – Ursula K Le Guin

One of the first more serious fantasy books I ever read. It’s such an important book to me that I brought it with me from Singapore to the US. When I was a kid, someone (I wish I knew who!) bought me a copy of The Wizard of Earthsea, the first book in the series. And I read it over and over, not realizing that it was a series. So it was only when I was in…maybe my late teens or so that I read the rest of the books. In fact, because the book I bought was just the first four books, I didn’t read The Other Wind until maybe about 7 years ago.

 

  • The Wizard of Earthsea
  • The Tombs of Atuan
  • The Farthest Shore
  • Tehanu
  • The Other Wind

The Chronicles of Prydain – Lloyd Alexander

Another series I loved as a kid! But this one is more of a children’s book so I never saw it as more serious ‘fantasy’.

 

 

Temeraire series – Naomi Novik

Novik may have become more well-known thanks to her latest books Uprooted and Spinning Silver, but my favourite of hers is still the Temeraire series which I am still very slowly making my way through. There are 9 books in total (I think?) and I’ve read 5 so far. It’s a great setting – the Napoleonic wars but fought with dragons!

 

The Lady Astronaut series – Mary Robinette Kowal

You may have already read my review of The Calculating Stars but in case you haven’t, this is one fun series (just two books though!) that isn’t set in the future but in a slightly different past. The race to space takes on a different, more significant purpose.

The Inheritance series – NK Jemisin

The world building in this is exceptional. And it was also one of the first few speculative fiction series that was far more diverse than those I used to read. Loved the strong main character and the fascinating world of gods and mortals.

 

What are some of your favorite speculative fiction reads?

 


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.

 

 

 

Adaptations that are better than the books #TopTenTuesday

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is:

(Page to Screen Freebie)

And so I decided to go with.. Adaptations that are better than the books!

I know, quelle horreur!

But yes, there are some that I’ve felt were just better. Maybe the condensed storyline helped, or maybe it was just a story that was better told on the screen, whether it’s a TV series or movie.

The Magicians – Lev Grossman

I didn’t want to watch this TV series at first. Mostly because the books were just so-so reads to me, especially the first book which I did not like but somehow I continued on with the rest of the series. But I just watched one episode to give it a chance and Oh My, it was amazing. It took a while to get into, and the first few episodes were still only so-so but it seemed to find its footing not long after. And I absolutely loved it, especially High Queen Margo and Elliott. And I love how in some episodes they incorporate music and singing – the very best episode is the David Bowie tribute!

The Martian – Andy Weir

Ok I did not like this book at all. I mean the story idea was great but it just was so unnecessarily long and needed more editing. But the movie was pretty good.

 

How To Train Your Dragon series – Cressida Cowell

I loved the first movie, and the second was ok, and the third in the end, was a nice ending to the series (and hopefully that was the end, as I really hate when the studios try to squeeze yet another sequel in a bid to make more money). So I was really kind of surprised (not in a good way) by how different the books are, especially how different Toothless is, not just in terms of size but character.

Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien

Please don’t yell at me! The books were really long and I’ve watched these movies so many times and yet still never went back to the books. Also, I like that the movies actually had Arwen as a prominent character whereas she is more like a footnote in the books.

 

Ready Player One – Ernest Cline

Again, for me, this was a great story idea but I wasn’t wowed by the writing. And I felt like the movie really just opened it up so much, especially the part where they are in The Shining!

Do you agree? What are some adaptations that you felt worked better than the books?

 


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.

 

 

 

Rainy Day Reads #toptentuesday

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is:

 

 

Rainy Day Reads

 

The idea of a rainy day read is a bit puzzling to me. Maybe it’s because I grew up in Southeast Asia where it rains A LOT. And by rain, I mean a heavy storm, the dark clouds looming, the sky shattering with lightning bolts, the booms and cracks of heart-stopping thunder and then the immense heavy rain that pours down for ages and ages. Until it finally stops and it’s ridiculously hot again, just hot and humid and damp all around.

So it’s hard to really qualify a “rainy day” read when it rains so much and you just learn to ignore it and work around it.

I’m going to instead list some book quotes that make me think of rain and rainy days though!

Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë

“On an afternoon in October, or the beginning of November – a fresh watery afternoon, when the turf and paths were rustling with moist, withered leaves, and the cold blue sky was half hidden by clouds – dark grey streamers, rapidly mounting from the west, and boding abundant rain – I requested my young lady to forego her ramble, because I was certain of showers.”

Norwegian Wood – Haruki Murakami

“When it’s raining like this,” said Naoko, “it feels as if we’re the only ones in the world. I wish it would just keep raining so the three of us could stay together.”

The Fiery Cross – Diana Gabaldon

I’m sure there are many instances of rain in The Outlander series, but I’m currently reading this fifth book and there’s plenty of rain in this one!

It had come on to rain: the light spatter of drops on the canvas overhead turned to a regular thrum, and the air grew live with the rush of water. It was a winter storm; no lightning lit the sky, and the looming mountains were invisible.

 

The English Patient – Michael Ondaatje

He is halfway across when he smells the rain, and then it begins to fall all over his body, clinging to him, and suddenly there is the greater weight of his clothes.

She puts her cupped palms out of the window and combs the rain into her hair.

Soul Music – Terry Pratchett
It was raining in the small, mountainous country of Llamedos. It was always raining in Llamedos. Rain was the country’s main export. It had rain mines.

Ceremony – Leslie Marmon Silko

Jungle rain had no beginning or end; it grew like foliage from the sky, branching and arching to the earth, sometimes in solid thickets entangling the islands, and other times, in tendrils of blue mist curling out of coastal clouds.


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.