snowynight: An Asian doctor who's also Captain America (Default)
[personal profile] snowynight
Title: 最終流放|Zhei Jung Liu Fang!Utmost Exile
Author: 河漢He Hang
Author Nationality and race: Chinese
Language: Chinese
Genre: Fiction
Length: novel
Subject: Military fiction
Summary: Who's Liang Shang Juen? The pride of Norhwest Army, the lieutenant of the new Jia Nan new force. Who is Ji Che? The spine of Jia Nan, the ultimate military instructor. When these two men meets, what'll happen?
Review: The characterization is superb, the insight of the war good, and the pace is fast. Contains M/M romance. Warning: Contains brainwashing at the end

Link: Original site
snowynight: Ultimate Jan in her Wasp form (Ultimate Jan)
[personal profile] snowynight
Book 4
Title: 失落大陸|The Lost Continent| Si Luo Da Lu
Author: 多木木多|Duo Mu Mu Duo
Author Nationality and race: Chinese
Language: Chinese
Genre: Fiction
Length: novel
Subject: Fantasy

Scifi Post-colonial version of Robinson Crusoe )

Book 5
Title: 麒麟!Qi lin
Author: 桔子樹|Ji je Shu
Author Nationality and race: Chinese
Language: Chinese
Genre: Fiction
Length: novel
Subject: Military

Chiniese military fiction about men and mission )

Book 6
Title: 诺亚动物诊所病历记录簿(第一季)| Nuo Ya Dung Wu Zhen Suo Bing Li Ji Lu Bu (Di yi gui) | Noah Animal Clinic medical record
Author: live
Author Nationality and race: Chinese
Language: Chinese
Genre: Fiction
Length: novel
Subject: Fantasy

An animal clinic for mythological creatures )
ext_48823: 42, the answer to life, the universe and everything (Default)
[identity profile] sumofparts.livejournal.com
Haven't posted in a while. Here's a series of mini-reviews with some spoilers. Also, some of the books contain potentially triggering content.

6. Un-Nappily in Love by Trisha R. Thomas
7. Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat
8. Tracks by Louise Erdrich
9. The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
10. Umbrella by Taro Yashima
11. Little Joy by Ruowen Wang
12. Why War is Never a Good Idea by Alice Walker
13. Erika-san by Allen Say
14. Dahanu Road by Anosh Irani
15. What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell
16. The Automatic Detective by A. Lee Martinez
17. In the Company of Ogres by A. Lee Martinez
18. Gil's All Fright Diner by A. Lee Martinez
19. Divine Misfortune by A. Lee Martinez
20. Monster by A. Lee  Martinez
21. Certainty by Madeleine Thien
22. So Long Been Dreaming edited by Nalo Hopkinson and Uppinder Mehan
23. A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers by Xiaolu Guo
24. Too Many Curses by A. Lee Martinez
25. A Nameless Witch by A. Lee Martinez
26. A Person of Interest by Susan Choi
27. Apex Hides the Hurt by Colson Whitehead

Mention (not counted)
Josias, Hold the Book by Jennifer Riesmeyer Elvgren (white); illustrated by Nicole Tadgell (person of colour)

Read more... )
ext_48823: 42, the answer to life, the universe and everything (Default)
[identity profile] sumofparts.livejournal.com
1. Swimming in the Monsoon Sea by Shyam Selvadurai
2. Mr. Muo's Traveling Couch by Dai Sijie (translated by Ina Rilke; white)
3. Six Suspects by Vikas Swarup
4. Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life by Bryan Lee O'Malley
5. The Circle of Reason by Amitav Ghosh

Read more... )

tags: a: selvadurai shyam, a: dai sijie, w-t: rilke ina, a: swarup vikas, a: o'malley bryan lee, a: ghosh amitav, chinese, french, indian, canadian, sri lankan, novel, fiction, graphic novel, young adult, china, india, toronto, sri lanka, glbt, mysteryr
[identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com
This, Lo’s Ash, and Tamora Pierce’s The Will Of The Empress are, to my knowledge, the only YA fantasies with lesbian protagonists ever put out by a mainstream (not small press or specialty) US publishing house. Not only that, but Huntress has an Asian girl pictured on the cover, which is nearly as vanishingly rare in American YA fantasy.

I am really, really hoping it succeeds. It is genuinely groundbreaking and if it does well, it may encourage other publishers to put out and not whitewash similar titles. Even if it doesn't sound like your cup of tea, consider whether you have any friends or relatives who might enjoy it as a gift. I’d say it’s appropriate for good readers of about eleven and up. (It contains kissing but no on-page sex, and some adventure-type violence which is treated with more seriousness than is common. But there’s no graphic details.)

Though Huntress has a somewhat wider scope than Ash, more varied cultural influences, and is not based on a specific fairy-tale, it has most of the same virtues and flaws that Ash did: a strong romance, some very beautiful passages, sketchy worldbuilding, and awkward plotting and pacing. You can probably predict with good accuracy how much you'd like one by how much you like the other, even though the stories are quite different.

In many ways, Huntress is an old-school quest fantasy. Weird and bad stuff is happening in the world, a message unexpectedly arrives from the Fairy Queen, and a party is sent forth to travel to her city and hopefully get her help fixing things. The fellowship includes several adult warriors and guards, the crown prince, and the two teenage heroines. Taisin, a sage-in-training, wields magic and has visions… and will be sworn to celibacy once she officially becomes a sage. Because Taisin had a vision of Kaede, another girl at the sage school, Kaede comes along too, even though she’s about to leave school because she has no gift for magic, and has no obvious gifts at all other than a knack for throwing knives.

En route to the fairy city, Taisin and Kaede get to know each other, fight off magical opposition, and slowly fall in love. Lo excels at depicting the slow budding of their relationship, and all their hesitant, conflicted feelings. I could have happily read a story about nothing but Taisin and Kaede going to sage school and falling in love, because the romance aspects of the story are really well-done.

Other than the romance, the book was oddly structured and paced. Most of the story takes place on the road, which is fine but a little slow-paced, but once they arrive in the fairy city, events happen extremely fast. There’s a rushed-feeling second quest, in which the Big Bad goes down with disappointing ease, followed by an even more rushed third quest, which takes all of five pages to begin and complete. The final quest made sense thematically, but it was oddly placed and jarringly fast.

The world is Chinese/Celtic, and those very different cultures didn’t mesh coherently. The omniscient POV also didn’t quite gel for me – it was mostly Kaede and Taisin, but with brief peeks into other characters. I would have liked it better if the chapters had alternated between Kaede and Taisin’s POVs.

That being said, I did like the romance very much, and I enjoyed reading the book. If I knew any teenagers who were interested in non-urban fantasy, I would definitely press it upon them.

Huntress
zeborah: Zebra against a barcode background, walking on the word READ (read)
[personal profile] zeborah
(A lightly-edited dump of my Goodreads reviews.)

Suckerpunch by Hernandez, David
Hooked me in at the start but the way events followed each other more realistically than determined by a story shape didn't quite work for me. (There was a story shape, it was just more in the gaps between the events.

Dawn (Xenogenesis, #1) by Butler, Octavia E.
So many consent issues... Very good: it's got the claustrophobia, the every-exit-is-a-deadend feel, that I'd normally associate with horror, but manages to retain an optimism about it. The aliens are convincinly alien, and the frustration of their refusal to listen is steadfast without becoming unbelievable.

Straight - A novel in the Irish-Maori tradition by O'Leary, Michael
Straight is the second book in the trilogy; I came to it without having read the first, but felt it stood alone well enough that I had no trouble following the plot. Unfortunately that plot -- the protagonist discovering his father may have been a Nazi, then getting blackmailed and kidnapped by Nazis -- was way too melodramatic for me to take seriously. The prose (especially the dialogue) clunked badly for me, too. I did like the motif of dreamland vs reality vs realism though: that played out well.

My Name Is Number 4 by Ye, Ting-xing
Most disasters bring people and communities together; it seems as if the Cultural Revolution was designed to tear them apart. But this book shows that the struggle to survive and to keep relationships alive is always worth making. --Excuse shallow triteness; reading this book in the aftermath of earthquake I have deeper thoughts on disasters and communities but verbalising is harder especially for fear of simplifying. It was a good book anyway.

People-faces, The by Cherrington, Lisa
This is mostly Nikki's story, of how she's affected by her brother's mental illness and her journey in understanding it - caught between Māori and Pākehā models of understanding - and her journey alongside that of getting to know herself and her strengths. Her grandmother tells her that the dolphin Tepuhi is her guardian, but her grandmother is demonstrably not infallible and with the repeated point that Joshua is of the sea while Nikki is of the land, I think the book bears out that the real/more effective guardian for her is the pīwaiwaka.

Her brother's story is told in the gaps between, and completes the book.

Despite the focus on Nikki and Joshua, we get to see various other points of view, showing the further impact on the rest of their family and their motivations. Some of the point of view shifts are a bit clunky, for example when we get a single scene from the Pākehā doctor's point of view, or just a couple from Nikki's boyfriend.

But this is well-told; the author (of Ngāti Hine) is a clinical psychologist and has worked in Māori mental health services, and the emotions of the story ring very true to me.

Cereus Blooms at Night: A Novel by Mootoo, Shani
This was a fantastic read but at times a very hard one; serious trigger warnings for child abuse (verbal, physical, sexual).

It begins as a beautifully sweet story about racial and sexual and gender identity; about family separations made by force or by choice, and about forbidden liaisons both healthy and unhealthy. Set in the country of Lantanacamara, colonised by the Shivering Northern Wetlands -- more an open code than fantasy countries -- the story focuses on three generations of locals, straight and gay, cis and trans, more and less inculturated by Wetlandish education. The narrator begins by disclaiming any significant role in the story; instantly I want to know more about him, and (though he was right that this is more Mala's story) I was not disappointed.

The main story, switching among its several timelines, grows darker and winds tighter with perfect pacing. Revelations are neither too delayed nor too forced. And as it heads towards the catastrophe we've foreseen, through horror worse than we could have imagined at the start, so it brings us towards its equally inevitable -- and no less satisfying -- eucatastrophe.
[identity profile] icecreamempress.livejournal.com
The full title of this book is Charlie Chan: The Untold Story of the Honorable Detective and His Rendezvous with American History, by Yunte Huang.

It's a fascinating read. )
pauraque: bird flying (Default)
[personal profile] pauraque
This was a book I picked at random off the Asian History shelf at the library, and as soon as I started reading I felt like I had waded in over my head. I had to stop and do some background reading to figure out exactly what the Cultural Revolution *was*. If you don't know, this book won't tell you -- it was written in Chinese for a Chinese audience, and it assumes that you know what the political situation was and who the major government players were. I did not, and I doubt a read-through of a few Wikipedia articles gave me the knowledge that a person should have to fully understand and assess this book.

That said, I read the book anyway. It was a disturbing and puzzling experience on several levels.

Read more... )

To sum up, I don't think I can really recommend this. It has a few strong points and memorable scenes, and it may read better to someone more familiar with Chinese politics, but by the end I felt the author had painted himself as a cold-hearted bastard who never learns anything from his terrible experiences. I hope that isn't the truth, but it's what I got from his book.

(eta tags: a: ma bo, chinese, china, cultural revolution, memoir)
ext_48823: 42, the answer to life, the universe and everything (books)
[identity profile] sumofparts.livejournal.com
Here is a batch of mini-reviews and notes on books I read from May to October. I started including descriptions from other websites but didn't do that for all the books. Also, please note there are potentially triggering scenes and events in some of the books (e.g., rape, childhood abuse, incidents with dubious consent, violence). Please let me know if you need more detail.

List of Books Read
33. Burndive by Karin Lowachee
34. Cagebird by Karin Lowachee
35. Ocean of Words by Ha Jin
36. Changing My Mind by Zadie Smith
37. The Death of a Red Heroine by Qiu Xiaolong
38. Chinatown Beat by Henry Chang
39. The Calcutta Chromosome by Amitav Ghosh
40. Pulse by Lydia Kwa
41. Choose Me by Evelyn Lau
42. The Monkey King & Other Stories edited by Griffin Ondaatje
43. The Gaslight Dogs by Karin Lowachee
44. Can You Hear the Nightbird Call? by Anita Rau Badami

Reviews )
[identity profile] puritybrown.livejournal.com
31: Chinese Whispers: the true story behind Britain's hidden army of labour by Hsiao-Hung Pai

This is the kind of book to make you both sad and angry: sad at the terrible suffering it depicts, and angry that the suffering is allowed to continue, even tacitly encouraged, by the people who are in a position to stop it. Hsiao-Hung Pai came to live in Britain in the early 1990s. Although she was in the country legally, she was aware of the large number of undocumented Chinese workers living in Britain illegally and working in dangerous conditions for meagre pay; but it was only after the discovery of 58 dead Chinese immigrants in a shipping container in Dover that this awareness became acute enough to make her want to investigate further. Over a number of years, she built up contacts, gathered stories, and several times even went undercover with the low-paid undocumented workers, living and working alongside them and witnessing at first-hand the apalling conditions they are forced to endure.

And they are apalling: fourteen-hour days, weeks without a single day off, minimal pay that's withheld at no notice and with no explanation; and the work itself is hard, physically stressful, unhealthy, and dangerous. The people whose stories Pai tells here worked in electronics factories (breathing in fumes that induce asthma and high blood pressure), farms (picking vegetables on cold days with no tools and no protective gear), restaurants (on their feet for fourteen hours, paid a "basic wage" of £5 a day plus tips), brothels (constantly at risk of attacks from clients, and kept indoors in a state of virtual imprisonment), and private homes (as housekeepers and nannies, subject to the whims of employers who know all too well that they can't risk calling the police).

It's depressing reading, especially when I consider how entrenched the anti-immigration stance is in the political discourse, not just in the UK but all across Europe. Chinese and other undocumented workers play a vital role in keeping the economies of Europe going, working incredibly hard for very little, and yet every time the exploitation of their vulnerability creates a large-scale tragedy, the media story is not "how are we allowing these people to live like this?" but "why are they here?" And the government response is not "how can we make sure that people in this position have their rights defended?" but "how can we make sure that people like this aren't allowed in the country at all?" It makes me so angry, and the stories in this book just intensifies that; the individuality and humanity of these people (who have made great sacrifices to come to Britain and only want the opportunity to work and earn a little money to send home) is so clear, so obvious, and so totally ignored by the police and the government.

Shocking, horrifying, eye-opening, enraging -- essential reading.

(tags: chinese, british-chinese, immigration)
[identity profile] zara-capeverde.livejournal.com
The Final Passage by Caryl Phillips

Tells the story of Leila, a young woman from an unspecified Caribbean island, her doomed marriage and later migration to England.

Phillips' style is very poetic. There are some flat-out beautiful descriptions of the sea and the colours of the island, which are later contrasted strongly with the monotone grey of London. The connection between the environment and the state of Leila and Michael's marriage is cleverly intertwined the whole way through - as they cast off to sea it seems their relationship has a breath of futurity, but then the weather and poverty of life in England begin to make it claustrophobic again. Here for instance: The sky hung so low it covered the street like a dark coffin lid. The cars that passed by were just blurry colours, and the people rushed homeward, images of isolation, fighting umbrellas and winds that buffeted their bodies. . The book is much more focussed on tone than plot, however, and it ends quite abruptly. It is intentionally timeless, and it is a good exploration of the trials of emigration, but I think if it was less vague it would possibly have more authenticity and meaning. I enjoyed it though.

A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary For Lovers by Xiaolu Guo

Zhaung flies to the UK to learn English, then falls in love with an English man and discovers that the language of love is even harder to comprehend.

I absolutely loved this book. I loved Z. It's been a while since I read a female protagonist who is as smart, funny and bold as she is. I think this book might annoy some people because of the way it starts with deliberately broken English, but I am a word geek and I adored all the discussions about English vs Chinese words (there's a particularly moving section where Z and her English lover exchange the words for different plants). I am a sucker for romance, and I liked that it felt sort of clumsily natural and that there were problems and miscommunications, because that is real love. This book also had really great descriptions of London (like The Final Passage): The morning wind is washing my brain, and my small body. This is a city with something really heavy and serious in its soul. This is a city which had big wars in the history. And, I feel, this is a city made for mans, and politics, and disciplines. Like Beijing. Highly recommend this novel, I'll be checking out more of her writing asap.

Legacy by Larissa Behrendt

Simone is a young Aboriginal lawyer researching the legal arguments for Indigenous sovereignty. Her father is a prominent Aboriginal activist. The two have a troubled relationship due to his chronic infidelity. The novel explores the dynamics between all the people in Simone's life, as well as the legacy of Aboriginal dispossession. I have a heart that has been quick to fall in love with ideals ... but I’ve never been as willing to love realities

I struggled a little bit to get into this book because I thought some of the literary/historical references were forced in toward the beginning but by the middle, and certainly throughout all of the second part, the story really took off and I couldn't put it down. Again, Simone is a strong and sympathetic leading character, and it was great to see a female lead with such integrity. Behrendt is very talented at writing in more than one voice, she allows every character to have their say on the truth and to redeem themselves. I haven't read a book that was so good at heart for a long while. It is lighter than you might expect given some of the subject matter (not that it shies away from it or anything, just that it is the familial/romantic relationships that are the core of the plot not the political issues) and it is a great book if you just want something uplifting to read.
[identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com
A gorgeously illustrated and lively picture book retelling of the beginning of the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West. (One version of the latter here: The Monkey and the Monk: An Abridgment of The Journey to the West).

Given that it’s a picture book, it concludes once the companions are all assembled, with a note that the real story has only just begun. But it stands well on its own as a playful adventure with tons of action.

I shamefully confess that I haven’t yet read the original, though I have obtained the version I linked above, so I don’t know how accurate this version is. But it tells a good story and might be an easy introduction to the premise and the main characters.

Illustrated by L. K. Tay-Audouard.

Monkey: The Classic Chinese Adventure Tale
[identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com
This picture book briefly and simply tells the stories behind some Chinese idioms and references, like “Yu Gong Moves the Mountains” and “A Man From Zheng Buys Shoes.” The illustrations, in very different styles as they’re by different artists, are great. My favorites are the elegant and intricate work on “Yu Gong Moves the Mountains” and the bright, playful watercolors of “The Fox Borrows the Tiger’s Power and Prestige.”

The stories are interesting (some were familiar to me and some were not), about a fox who tricks a tiger, an old man who enlists his family to move mountains, two archers who learn lessons in concentration and skill, and a fool story. The language is flat, but maybe that’s the translation.

The stories had endings which felt a bit abrupt to me, as if they needed one or two more sentences. It’s not that they didn’t conclude, but that they ended the instant the story did, without further reflection or any call-back to the idiom itself. Perhaps this is my unfamiliarity with how the stories work in the culture, though, and other readers would feel that we are supposed to draw our own conclusions or would already be intimately familiar with the meaning, and so anything more would be being insultingly spoon-fed. If you get this for a child who isn’t already familiar with the sayings, it might require some explanation and discussion afterward.

Illustrated by He Youzhi, Ding Xiofang, Wang Xiaoming, and Dai Dunbang.

Stories behind Chinese Idioms (II)
[identity profile] rachelmanija.livejournal.com
This illustrated history of Chinese emperors is rather hectic and hard to follow if you’re as ignorant of Chinese history as I am, as it’s a 180 page book which begins with the invention of fire and concludes with the Qing Dynasty. Nevertheless, it’s an entertaining introduction to a vast history.

Rather than attempting a summary, I will simply excerpt some of my favorite bits:

In particular, he [Shennong] is remembered for tasting hundreds of wild herbs in order to find remedies to treat his people’s illnesses. In the process, he suffered from poisoning, even to the extent of being poisoned 70 times on a particular day. Eventually, he tasted a lethal wild herb which tore his intestines apart, and it became known as duanchangcao*

*Herb that tears the intestines apart.



It may be said that the Qin Dynasty was destroyed by eunuch intervention.


This two-panel comic sequence should give you an idea of the “1000 years of history in 15 minutes” flavor of the book:

Panel 1: Emperor Gaozong (peeking into temple to meet Wu Zetian): “Dear, come back to the palace with me.”

Panel 2: Wu Zetian (with sheaf of papers): “I’ve drafted the 12 Guiding Principles for administrative, military, economic, social, and cultural affairs.”

Emperor Gaozong (holding hand over eyes): “I’m weak in health and have contracted an eye disease. You may decide any good policies.”

I note that there is a companion book, Infamous Chinese Emperors, which I sadly don’t own.

Compiled and Illustrated by Tian Hengyu. View on Amazon: Great Chinese Emperors - Tales of Wise and Benevolent Rule
[identity profile] wordsofastory.livejournal.com
34. Cindy Pon, Silver Phoenix

A YA fantasy novel set in a world based on Chinese legends and history, the plot concerns Ai Ling's search for her father, teaming up with some people she meets on her travels, and finding out about her special destiny. I really enjoyed the vast, vast number of monsters and other supernatural creatures Ai Ling has encounters with; there was always another legend or story popping up, and that felt very fun to me. I also agree with many other reviewers who have said that all the eating scenes in this book are fantastic, and make you hungry. Totally true! Although it made me realize that most fantasies a) don't show the characters eating very often, and b) when they are, it's usually "stew". Or occasionally "bread and cheese". A little description goes a long way, authors!

On the other hand, I felt like the writing was a little flat, and that really prevented me from getting into the story as much as I might have otherwise. Still, a very fun read overall, and I'm looking forward to more books by the author.
[identity profile] wordsofastory.livejournal.com
32. Geling Yan, The Lost Daughter of Happiness, translated by Cathy Silber

This novel is about a real historical figure, Fusang, a Chinese woman who was a prostitute in San Fransisco in the late 1800s. Although the narration focuses on Fusang and her relationship with others, particularly Chris- a young white boy from a German merchant family in love with Fusang- and Da Yong- a Chinese gangster who is influential in Fusang's life- Fusang herself ultimately remains a blank. She's never given motivations, inner dialogue, or even much emotion. And this is deliberate. The narrator- who, as a Chinese writer living in America in the modern day, may or may not be the voice of the author herself- often breaks into the story, explaining the impossibility of truly knowing another person, especially when that other person is a historical figure with only brief mentions in texts. At other times, the narrator speaks directly to Fusang, asking her to move a certain way or to reply to a question. I found this distancing effect to be really intriguing, but in other reviews people seem to have been annoyed by it, so your mileage may vary.

The language is beautiful and vivid; the plot is compelling. The novel explores racism, sexism, and violence, often explicitly linking events of the historical period depicted to the modern day. Highly recommended.
[identity profile] wordsofastory.livejournal.com
29. Shan Sa, Empress. Translated from French by Adriana Hunter.

A novel based on the life of Wu Zetian (called Heavenlight in the novel), a woman born in China in 625 AD to a relatively obscure family, who rose to eventually become Empress of China- in her own right, not as a wife- and found her own dynasty. The novel, told in first person, covers every single event of Heavenlight's life, from before birth (this may be the only novel which includes a fetus's perspective I've ever read) until after her death. This comprehensiveness is my main complaint with the novel: there are only so many scandals, political power grabs, rebellions inside and outside of the court, and trouble with relatives I can read about before it all starts to sound the same and I stop caring about who is who. I think this would have been a much more interesting book if it had chosen one period and focused on it in detail, instead of trying to cover Heavenlight's entire life.

That said, I did enjoy this novel. The beginning especially had lots of beautiful descriptions and fascinating events. Heavenlight was raised at least partially as a boy, and her accounts of horseback riding were so evocative (Sa is a poet, which I'm sure accounted for the gorgeous language in some parts of the book). Her early days as a concubine in the court were also fascinating, particularly when she develops a relationship with one of the other women. Recommended, though I do warn that it is extremely similar in parts to Anchee Min's Empress Orchid (despite the books being based on two different historical figures).
[identity profile] sairaali.livejournal.com
I'm awful at doing writeups, so this list has just been sitting on my desktop for ages making me feel guilty for not doing writeups.

Soo, I will just put the list up with brief one-liners on whether I liked it or not, and I'd be happy to discuss more in comments.

5) Silver Pheonix by Cindy Pon
Fantasy, adventure, romance, dragons, goddesses, intrigue! What's not to love?

6) Bodies in Motion by Maryanne Mohanraj
This is more of a series of interrelated short stories than a novel. The stories follow three generations of two families who immigrate from Sri Lanka to the US. It portrays a mix of different immigrant experiences, although nearly all of the characters are solidly middle or upper-middle class. The style is very ethereal and dreamy.

7) The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
This has been reviewed here a million times. I enjoyed it, but found the casual sexism a bit grating.

8) My Life as a Rhombus by Varian Johnson
If I thought Oscar Wao had a few problematic scenes wrt to gender, holy wow, it was nothing compared to this. Neither the narrator nor any of the characters question the basic assumption that a woman needs a man to love her and that only a domineering man could possibly handle loving a strong independent woman. The story itself was well crafted and tightly written, but I couldn't get past the sexism.

9) Shadow Speaker by Nnedi Okorafor
Love! A young girl with the ability to speak to shadows struggles with her community's distrust and fear of female Shadow Speakers, a result of her estranged father's dictatorial and regressive policies. When her father is publicly beheaded, her world is turned inside out, and she embarks on a quest of self-discovery that takes her far away from home, during which she discovers a major military plot against her home.

Girls with cat eyes! Talking camels! Magic plants that grow into houses! A girl meets a strange orphan boy with his own powers and secrets on her quest without a queasy romance subplot being introduced! Again, what's not to love?

10)And the World Changed: Contemporary Stories by Pakistani Women Ed: Muneez Shamshie
Definitely would recommend this. Like any anthology, some of the stories are so-so, some are fantastic.


And I know this comm is focused on books by POC, but I know there are a bunch of SFF fans here and I'd like to make some anti-recs. I found the following books at the $1 ARC sale at Wiscon, and I suggest giving them all a miss for skeevy race issues.
Stone Voice Rising by C Lee Tocci - pseudo-Natives with magic powers just for being Native, and also misappropriational mishmash of at least six different tribes' religious beliefs, that I could recognize. Kokopelli become Popokelli, a demented fae creature who betrays his species and sells out to the (literal) Devil.
Kop and Ex-Kop by Warren Hammond - Locals on a backwater economically depressed planet are being murdered by a serial killer from the orbiting space station, which has technology centuries advanced of what is available planetside. Oh and incidentally, all the space dwellers have perfect milky white skin and the planet dwellers are all dark. Bleck.

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