I don’t participate in a lot of readathons nowadays (my reading experiments take over a lot of my reading). But there is one I took part in last year and loved, and I’m excited to be participating again this year. And that is the Asian Readathon. You can find out more here, on Read with Cindy’s announcement video. The readathon runs from May 1-31, and I am sharing my TBR early to hopefully give you time to participate if you would like to (and you should).
This year, I will be attempting to complete all of the challenges, including making sure all the books I am reading are from authors of different ethnicities. I chose not to include Japanese authors in my TBR because I recently read five Japanese books (about cats) for a reading experiment, and want to make sure to expose myself to more authors of different ethnicities.
All that said, here are the five books I am planning on reading for the Asian Readathon this year:
Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie
This book by a Pakistani author I am using to fulfill the first challenge of reading any book by an Asian author. It also fits the May prompt for the Buzzword readathon, which is to read a book with house or home in the title. I’m honestly a tiny bit skeptical going into this one, just because books about families sometimes don’t work for me. However, I do really want to give this one a shot because it seems like education for women is a theme in this novel. I don’t know how similar this is to A Woman is No Man, but I’m getting a similar vibe, and I’m really excited because I really loved that one.
Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu
I have had this audiobook for a while (I think I picked it up on sale or something), and I haven’t listened to it yet. But I’m really excited to read it for this readathon because it just sounds so fun and original. It is also a very short audiobook – just over four hours – so I think this will be a great afternoon read, especially since I am hoping work slows down a little bit next month. According to Goodreads (which isn’t always accurate), this book discusses race, and I’m looking forward to reading more about race as it relates to Asian Americans. Especially since May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage month. So that’s kind of exciting. Charles Yu is a Chinese American author, and I am eager to read from that point of view both because it is not something I’ve read a ton of and because the last book I read by a Chinese American author – How Much of These Hills is Gold – was an unexpected favorite this year.
Opium and Absinthe by Lydia Kang
I actually had a hard time picking a book for this challenge, which is to read a book by an asian author in your favorite genre, because I kind of don’t know what my favorite genre is. I read a lot of different things. But I decided to go with historical fiction, and am very excited to read another book by Lydia Kang, who is an amazing Korean American author. I honestly don’t really know what this is about, but I have really enjoyed two other historical fiction novels by Lydia Kang – my favorite being The Impossible Girl – so I think I’m just going to jump right in with this one.
World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments by Aimee Nezhukumatathil
This is a fairly recent release that has been on my radar since the end of last year. And I am honestly so excited to have this excuse to read more about interesting animals. I love learning about different animals, especially those that kind of weird. Like fireflies. This one was on my reading list either way, but when I saw this on a list of books by Asian authors, I jumped on it. It fits perfectly into the challenge to read a nonfiction book by an Asian author, the author is Filipino and Malaysian (so two different ethnicities in one go!), AND it’s kind of short. Which is perfect, because I am doing this readathon in addition to my May reading experiment, which involves two classics, one of which is almost five-hundred pages. I need all the short books I can get next month.
How to Pronounce Knife by Souvankham Thammavongsa
I heard about this fairly recently, and was definitely really interested. Short story collections are really not something I pick up often, but I do want to read more of them. Still, it’s rare that one catches my attention like this one does. And since the author is Cambodian and it’s set in Canada, it fits perfectly for the challenge to read a book by an Asian author that is not US-centric. And yes, I know Canada is super close to the US. However, I haven’t read a book by a Canadian author in a very, very long time. I don’t think they get as much exposure as a lot of US authors, so I want to highlight a Canadian author and discover how that experience is different from mine growing up in the US.
This is such a great readathon and I am so excited to participate again this year! I think it’s a really fun way to explore more diverse books and experience different cultures. And, in this case, learn about some really cool animals. I hope you’ll participate with me – if you do, I’d love to hear what books you’re planning on reading!