Year of the Asian Readathon – halfway through progress check!
So, way back in January I signed up to this readathon for three reasons:
- I believe that we should all be reading more diverse books #weneeddiversebooks
- I have lived in several countries in East Asia (China, Japan, Vietnam) and speak the languages too. I want to read more books by Asian authors and have a number of unread books on my shelves. I also wanted to challenge myself to read more books by Asian authors outside of China, Japan, Korea and Vietnam, which tended to represent most of those I read.
- Finally, this readathon is taking place over the entire year of 2019! That means that I actually have a small chance of being able to complete it, unlike many readathons with shorter deadlines that I am just too busy/ disorganized to complete in time.
See my original sign-up post here, alongside a selection of books I was hoping to read. If you’re interested in joining, you can find all the details below:
Year Of The Asian is a year-long reading challenge dedicated to reading novels written by Asian authors, and hosted by CW @ The Quiet Pond, Lily @ Sprinkles Of Dreams, Shealea @ Shut Up, Shealea and Vicky @ Vicky Who Reads. You can visit the sign-up posts on their respective blogs for all the details, and follow @YearOfTheAsian on Twitter as well as #YARC2019 for announcements and updates throughout the year.
So, the big question, how am I doing, six months in?
I originally decided to aim for 31-40 books over the year, with a stretch aim of over 50.
The short answer is that I am doing both better and worse that I had expected!
I started off strongly, with books at the beginning of the year, as I madly requested every book I could find on my library catalogue with an Asian author.
I started to fizzle out slightly later in the year because I was focusing on reading library books before they were requested back and I still have yet to make much of a dent in the pile of unread books already on my shelves. Where I couldn’t get a book from the library, I have also acquired even more books by Asian authors which is, in itself, a good thing, but means that I have more books that I need to read!
January: 3 books
Sorcerer to the Crown
To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before
I enjoyed all of these a lot, especially how varied they all are. The Girl King follows Lu, a girl who is determined to be the next emperor. Sorcerer to the Crown is set in a Regency England where magic is slowly draining out of the world. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before probably needs no introduction, but it is a cute romantic comedy with the warmest family.
Out of the three, Sorcerer to the Crown was my favourite, but I would recommend them all.
February: 7 books
I Believe in a Thing Called Love
The Book of Sleep
Pot-san’s Tabletop Tales
P.S. I Still Love You
Always and Forever, Lara Jean
I love Il Sung Na’s illustrations in The Book of Sleep and think that it would make an adorable gift for any parents with young children. I also adored Summer Bird Blue and really liked I Believe in a Thing Called Love (I watched the Korean drama Healer because of this book!). I enjoyed finishing Lara Jean’s story and thought that Dragon Dancer was perfect for Chinese New Year. The Tabletop Tales were a little strange, lol.
March: 5 books
Empress of All Seasons
Shadow of the Fox
The Astonishing Colour of After
Forest of a Thousand Lanterns
The Dog Who Dared To Dream
I finally read some of those on my original to-be-read list and really enjoyed the variety of reading this month! I loved, loved, loved The Astonishing Colour of After but found it too tricky to put my feelings about this book into words. I enjoyed Empress of All Seasons a lot, perhaps partially because poor reviews had made me downgrade my expectations and I was pleasantly surprised. Shadow of the Fox was good, but felt a bit like a mash-up of lots of different anime and manga that I know which detracted from it slightly. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns was an exercise in how to create a faceted, disturbing character who manages to be both completely realistic and sympathetic, yet terrifying.
3 month total: 15 books!
Achieved the Phillipine Tarsier badge (1-10 books) and the Indian Cobra badge (11-20 books).
At a rate of 5 books per month, I was on track for getting the Bengal Tiger badge (50 books plus).
April: 4 books
Falling into Place
Asha and the Spirit Bird
Descendant of the Crane
Once again, these were all very different but excellent reads. Falling into Place followed the last week of a girl who has decided to commit suicide but has given herself one week in which to change her mind. Asha and the Spirit Bird is a family-driven adventure. Ayesha at Last is the hilarious, heart-warming Muslim retelling of Pride and Prejudice that you didn’t know you needed. Descendant of the Crane was a creative, Chinese-inspired fantasy full of palace politics and intrigue.
May: 3 books
Now or Never
House Without Walls is a beautiful book about the refugee experience, told in verse from the perspective of a young Vietnamese girl. Now or Never tells the story of an Indian boy who joins forces with the British Army in Dunkirk and Internment is a chilling vision of a future where Muslims are imprisoned because of media hyperbole.
June: 4 books
Convenience Store Woman
Strange Weather in Tokyo
Spin the Dawn is inspired by Mulan and is one that I was looking forward to for ages. I really enjoyed it so check out my full review if you want to know more! Convenience Store Woman was warm and full of wry humour which I really liked. Shadow Magic was a fun middle-grade adventure with giant bats and a creepy setting. Strange Weather in Tokyo was a thoughtful, beautiful look at the ties that bind us and how relationships between people can fracture, fray and weave tighter together.
Half-year total: 26 books! Just under where I was hoping to be at my planned rate of 5 books a month, but still on track for that coveted Bengal Tiger!
Achieved the Malayan Tapir badge (21 – 30 books read)
I have only read 5 of the proposed 16 in my initial post, but I will work on reading the rest! I have also read a majority of books from East Asian authors (19 out of 26) so will try to read more from other areas of Asia too.
There is still half a year left if you fancy joining the challenge. I have definitely enjoyed actively seeking out books by Asian authors (which I did already but this challenge has made me more aware of what I am choosing to pick up) and I have found some amazing read!
Are you taking part in the Year of the Asian Readathon? If so, how are you doing?
Are you taking part in any other readathons?
How do you normally choose which books to read next?
Do you make a special effort to read diversely?
Let me know in the comments!
Thanks for reading!