Hello! I wasn’t planning on participating in Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly bookish meme by The Broke and the Bookish, this week because I don’t read a lot of diverse books (I hope to change that though). But after grabbing some Chinese takeout and reading some other bloggers’ posts, I’m like why not?
I tweaked this week’s topic a bit. It was originally “Ten Books That Celebrate Diversity/Diverse Characters” (examples: features minority/religious minority, socioeconomic diversity, disabled MC, neurotypical character, LGBTQ, etc.) and I decided to make this a narrower focus by sharing some books that feature characters of Asian descent since I’m Vietnamese-American and find these characters’ perspectives interesting-especially if the author isn’t Asian himself/herself. (And I have to admit, there was some literal food for thought involved in this. Chinese food is always a good idea; it definitely helped with the inspiration for this post today!)
And I don’t own a bunch of the books I’m about to mention and I’m starting this post really late in the day, so using google images will have to suffice this time. Hope you guys don’t mind! Actually, for once, it may actually look uniform, haha. And I’m not going to go through each one explaining who the Asian characters and what their nationalities are… Instead I have all the titles linked to GR, so you can read these titles if they interest you!
Okay, let’s get to it!
Girl in Translation
by Jean Kwok
I’ve been wanting to read this title for years now because the majority of my GR friends have loved it and it’s won several awards as a debut novel. Really looking forward to it.
SPACE. Ugh I must have these in place sometimes for the format to work.
Crazy Rich Asians
by Kevin Kwan
A recent read I’ve discovered from Zezee @Zezee with Books. The overall title and synopsis is intriguing. However, I think Crazy Rich Asians hasn’t been received well by critics and it’s a complete mess for some readers. I’m still ogling it at bookstores though.
Memoirs of a Geisha
by Author Golden
So I admit, I’m one of those readers that occasionally opts for the movie option. And this was one of those titles in which I did choose that route. I really enjoyed the film and the soundtrack is beautiful (Yo-Yo Ma is in it-like how can it not be good?). But I am aware that this book has received some backlash because it’s a quasi-biography and apparently the original Chiyo/Sayori had some dissatisfaction with the way Geisha were represented in it (she ended up writing her own autobiography). However, to me, from what I know of the movie, this is much more like a historical fiction novel that’s been heavily inspired by a real Geisha. I guess I’ll see when I do pick the book up. (And yup, I used the movie poster because Zhang Ziyi is gorgeous
with blue contacts in general.)
A Tale for the Time Being
by Ruth Ozeki
The bright cover and the price sticker (it’s been on sale at my local bookstore for ages) of this one has caught my eye on multiple occasions when I’ve visited Books a Million. And every single time I pick it up and put it back after checking GR. I know, I know. I should just buy it if I’m interested and see if I like it for myself. /raises hand/ But I’m totally guilty of relying on reviews. Maybe I’ll buy it next time. Not sure yet.
The Joy Luck Club
by Amy Tan
Gosh, this is another title I’ve wanted to get my hands on for, well, forever (it was actually first published in the late 1980s). Amy Tan is a pretty popular adult historical fiction author and The Joy Luck Club follows 4 families and their immigrations stories. I’ve read books with multiple perspectives before but I’m curious on how Tan is going to interweave four families’ tales into a 288 page book.
by Kim Thúy
Okay, so I’ve had this book out from the library since April? May? And I have started it. I read to page 90 in a sitting, which isn’t hard to since the writing is fully composed of vignettes. But I’ve never sat down again to finish it… And probably will end up returning it to the library soon since I think I’m running out of renewals. (I’ve been periodically checking if there’s been any holds waiting for this-don’t want to make the line of readers backed up. But I guess it’s not so popular in the U.S. as in Canada.)
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan
by Lisa See
I received this as a gift from one of my friends. She loved it and we have pretty similar reading tastes in regards to historical fiction. Fingers crossed that I’ll get to read this (and a bunch of other titles) before the end of 2015.
by Marissa Meyer
The Lunar Chronicles has been receiving quite a lot of love in the blogosphere/booktube/reading community for it’s uniqueness. I actually read Cinder when it was first released and thought it was okay. But I’m hoping to continue this journey in the world of “New Beijing” now that I’ve purchased Scarlet.
by C.C. Hunter
This title is part of a vampire spin-off series I’ve been really enjoying this past year. I can’t wait until the third book comes out! You can read my reviews for the two first installments if you’d like to: Reborn and Eternal.
The Tiger’s Curse
by Colleen Huock
Alright, alright. So Ren and his brother are Indian, so technically South Asian. And I thought I’d include it just because there’s so few titles on this list that I’ve actually read. But I guess including this means I need to add some other books with South Asian characters-another time I suppose.
City of Bones
by Cassandra Clare
MAGNUS BANE. He’s one of my favorite characters in TMI and TID. And it just felt wrong leaving him off even if he’s a side character. I really need to read his adventures in The Bane Chronicles.
Update July 22, 2015: How could I forget JEM?? 😮
Hello, I Love You
by Katie M. Stout
Well, if you’ve read my review you know how I felt about this book and my spiel on Grace as a character. She’s not the Asian in this book, by the way. Everyone else aside from her is though.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
by Jenny Han
I often express my weird relationship with Jenny Han’s books in these T10T posts… The Summer trilogy just wasn’t my cup of tea. (Plus, I have high expectations when a title of a book/series has my name in it.) But I still want to read Lara Jean’s story in this book. And meet Peter Kavinsky.
Now and Zen
by Linda Gerber
A completely nostalgic read for me. I started reading the S.A.S.S. series in early middle school and enjoyed the books at the time. All of them are written by various authors and feature an American girl’s experience while studying abroad. Light and fun if you’re into those.
The Great Call of China
by Cynthia Lin
Another S.A.S.S. book and the better one in comparison to Now and Zen. It’s about a Chinese-American girl that travels to China hoping to discover her roots after being raised by an adopted family in the States.
Of Metal and Wishes
by Sarah Fine
Umm, well… I’ve had this book checked out from the library for so long and haven’t gotten to it yet, unlike Ru. There’s supposed to be some steampunk elements so I’m looking forward to seeing how that’ll be executed with the addition of ghosts. Hopefully I’ll start this after I complete The Kiss of Deception.
by Richelle Mead
Because this list would not be complete if I didn’t mention this being a Richelle Mead fan. (I am insanely jealous of those of you that got ARCs!)
See why I left out the “ten” in the actual title? This is way more than 10 books. But it was a fun list to share! I tried choosing books that featured Asian characters that had a bigger role in the novel instead of side ones like Cho Chang in Harry Potter. Plus, I always mention HP in my T10T posts. I mean is there even a Top Ten Tuesday topic where Harry Potter isn’t applicable/appropriate?
And I have to admit that I feel slightly uneasy when I go into reading books that have Asian characters, just because I’ve been disappointed before. Usually the cultural identities of the characters aren’t as pronounced as I’d expected them to be, but I’m happy that they make appearances anyway. And I appreciate authors that try to include all groups and create more diverse books!
That’s all, happy Tuesday (or almost Wednesday), everyone!