AAPI Heritage Month | South East Asian Recommendations

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For those who haven’t yet heard or managed to miss any of my previous posts on the topic, May is Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month! As part of my ongoing posts throughout the month, I will be recommending some books for AAPI Heritage Month. The first recommendation list focused on Pasifika authors, and this week is focused on South East Asian authors.

This list was particularly difficult to compose. Whilst some countries, such as Vietnam and Malaysia had a lot of authors to choose from, other countries like Laos and East Timor didn’t have many books which have been translated into English and/or aren’t written by Westerners. I have made every effort possible to include at least 1 book for each country and ensure that they are all #ownvoice authors as much as I can. Please do let me know if there are any errors or if you have any recommendations.

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Quiz | Sort Your Dog into a Hogwarts House

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I came across this quiz on Flavia’s blog and obviously I had to do it immediately for Achilles. Considering that he has a Gryffindor parent and a Slytherin Dad, there have been many debates in our household as to what house Achilles belongs in so I’m so excited to do this quiz. This quiz was created by AKBookworm, so please be sure to credit her and link to her blog if you decide to take / post this quiz as well!

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1. You take your dog to a brand new dog park. They:
a. Bravely bounce into the park, introducing themselves to all the dogs.
b. Stick right by your side, annoyed if another dog tries to approach you.
c. Are mostly interested in the agility toys (hoops, jumps) set up.
d. Quickly introduce themselves to the other humans present, figuring out how to get pets/scratches from each.

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2. You place a treat under one of three upside-down cups. They:
a. Wait for you to reveal where the treat is.
b. Sniff until they’ve found the right cup, and push it over to receive the treat.
c. Immediately go to the correct cup and treat, no sniffing required.
d. Knock over all three cups to find the treat.

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Top 10 Tuesday | Fave character names (aka how I came to be called Avery)

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Top 10 Tuesday is a weekly book tag that was run by The Broke and the Bookish but has now moved to That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week she provides a different bookish theme those deep-seated desires to list! Anyone is welcome to join in on their blog, in the comments or any other way. 

– Top 10 Fave Character Names – 

I initially wasn’t going to participate in this weeks Top 10 Tuesday but thought it would be fun to do a little favourite name countdown ending in a little story about how I actually came to be called Avery (Spoiler: I chose my name and it was literature themed).

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Dorian 

Dorian Pavus (DA: Inquisition) / Dorian Gray

 

Padme

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Star Wars Episodes 1-3

 

Aristotle

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Aristotle from Ari & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

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Mailbox Monday | Catch Up

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Hey everybody! I didn’t have a post planned for today but wanted to see how everyone is and share some positive things with you ❤

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WORK 

For those who’ve missed my last few Mailboxes, things haven’t been going great for me at work lately. I had a pretty good weekend at work though, which has really improved my mood and I’m looking into some other employment options to either supplement my weekend hours or possible graduate development programmes to apply for. So I’m feeling a lot more positive today and much less depressed!

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Ramadan Readathon TBR

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Ramadan Mubarak! 

The month of Ramadan is upon us and this year I’m delighted to actually be organized enough to participate in the Ramadan Readathon. For those who don’t know, the Ramadan Readathon is run by the wonderful Nadia @ Headscarves and Hardbacks and is a time dedicated to reading Muslim authors throughout Ramadan.

My partner is Muslim so our household has been very busy over the past couple of weeks getting ready for Ramadan as lots of planning needs to go into preparing meals around fasting. I’m not Muslim and I don’t fast during Ramadan, so I’ve been really looking forward to the Readathon as it’s something that me and my partner can do together throughout Ramadan ❤

As the Readathon takes place from the 17th May – 15th June, I’ve planned to read the majority of these books at the end of May and beginning of June as I want to focus on my Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month reads for May. This TBR is also super flexible as I want to have the space to discover new books by Muslim authors.

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25996434Laughing all the Way to Mosque by Zarqa Nawaz


Being a practicing Muslim in a Western society is sometimes challenging, sometimes rewarding and sometimes downright absurd. How do you explain why Eid never falls on the same date each year; why is it that Halal butchers also sell teapots and alarm clocks? How do you make clear to the plumber that it’s essential the toilet is installed within sitting-arm’s reach of the tap? Zarqa Nawaz has seen and done it all, and in Laughing all the way to Mosque Zarqa paints a hilarious portrait of growing up in a household where, according to her father, the Quran says it’s okay to eat at McDonald’s-but only if you order the McFish.

I picked this up completely at random when in my local library’s non-fiction section and couldn’t resist bringing it home to read to my partner. We started reading it last night and it is literally laugh out loud funny, a great read to kick Ramadan off with!

 

30753517The Djinn Falls in Love and Other Stories edited by Mahvesh Murad and Jared Shurin


A fascinating collection of new and classic tales of the fearsome Djinn, from bestselling, award-winning and breakthrough international writers.

Imagine a world filled with fierce, fiery beings, hiding in our shadows, in our dreams, under our skins. Eavesdropping and exploring; savaging our bodies, saving our souls. They are monsters, saviors, victims, childhood friends. 

Some have called them genies: these are the Djinn. And they are everywhere. On street corners, behind the wheel of a taxi, in the chorus, between the pages of books. Every language has a word for them. Every culture knows their traditions. Every religion, every history has them hiding in their dark places. There is no part of the world that does not know them.

They are the Djinn. They are among us.

I must have been living under a rock because I had never heard of this anthology until the @MuslimReadathon twitter retweeted someone else reading it for the readathon. I love the theme and have really gotten into anthologies recently so it’d be great to pick this one up!

 

25558608A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir


Elias and Laia are running for their lives. After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire.

Laia is determined to break into Kauf—the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison—to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars’ survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom.

But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene—Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike.

Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own—one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape…and kill them both.

I read An Ember in the Ashes last year and have been meaning to get round to reading the second book in the series but have just never found this time so it would be a perfect time to pick it up.

 

991197The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi 


Persepolis is the story of Satrapi’s unforgettable childhood and coming of age within a large and loving family in Tehran during the Islamic Revolution; of the contradictions between private life and public life in a country plagued by political upheaval; of her high school years in Vienna facing the trials of adolescence far from her family; of her homecoming–both sweet and terrible; and, finally, of her self-imposed exile from her beloved homeland. It is the chronicle of a girlhood and adolescence at once outrageous and familiar, a young life entwined with the history of her country yet filled with the universal trials and joys of growing up.

I started reading Persepolis a long time ago but never got round to finishing it, but found the complete edition when I was at the library yesterday so would love to finally finish it.

 

20898019Ms. Marvel Vol 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson


Kamala Khan is an ordinary girl from Jersey City — until she’s suddenly empowered with extraordinary gifts. But who truly is the new Ms. Marvel? Teenager? Muslim? Inhuman? Find out as she takes the Marvel Universe by storm! When Kamala discovers the dangers of her newfound powers, she unlocks a secret behind them, as well. Is Kamala ready to wield these immense new gifts? Or will the weight of the legacy before her be too much to bear? Kamala has no idea, either. But she’s comin’ for you, Jersey! 

I’ve wanted to read Ms. Marvel for years but apparently missed the memo about her being Muslim and I know that my library definitely has this so I can get it next time I go.

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Are you taking part in the Ramadan Readathon?
What’s on your TBR?
#RamadanReadathon


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AAPI Heritage Month | Pasifika Recommendations

aapihm

For those who haven’t yet heard or managed to miss any of my previous posts on the topic, May is Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month! As part of my ongoing posts throughout the month, I will be recommending some books for AAPI Heritage Month starting with books by Pasifika authors!

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Leaves of the Banyan Tree by Albert Wendt

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An epic spanning three generations, Leaves of the Banyan Tree tells the story of a family and community in Western Samoa, exploring on a grand scale such universal themes as greed, corruption, colonialism, exploitation, and revenge. Winner of the 1980 New Zealand Wattie Book of the Year Award, it is considered a classic work of Pacific literature.

 

 

Frangipani by Celeste Hitiura Vaite

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In Tahiti, it’s a well-known fact that women are wisest, mothers know best, and Materena Mahi knows best of all–or so everyone except for her own daughter thinks. Soon enough, mother and daughter are engaged in a tug-of-war that tests the bonds of their love.

 

 

Potiki by Patricia Grace

1108204A Maori community on the coast of New Zealand is threatened by a land developer who wants to purchase the community property, move the community meeting hall, and construct many new buildings, including an “underwater zoo.” The story is told in several chapters that switch narrators. Sometimes, it is Hemi, a man who was laid off from his job and realizes that this situation affords him the opportunity to reconnect with the land, his culture and his family. Other times, Toko is the narrator. Toko is Hemi’s adopted son and is physically handicapped. However, he also has a sixth sense and can see events before they occur. Mostly, though, the story is told by Roimata, Hemi’s wife and Toko’s adoptive mother. She relates the growing concern the Maori have about developers coming into their land, and their quiet, concerted efforts to rebel. She details their successes and many painful failures in a sparse, simple prose. Potiki does not really have a true resolution; instead, Patricia Grace outlines the cultural differences that exist in New Zealand, and the uses and abuses of power, and how it can affect a people.

 

Night is a Sharkskin Drum by Huanani-Kay Trask

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Night Is a Sharkskin Drum is a lyrical evocation of Hawaii by a Native poet whose ancestral land has been scarred by tourism, the American military, and urbanization. Grounded in the ancient grandeur and beauty of Hawaii, this collection is a haunted and haunting love song for a beloved homeland under assault.

 

 

Once Were Warriors by Alan Duff

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Once Were Warriors is Alan Duff’s harrowing vision of his country’s indigenous people two hundred years after the English conquest. In prose that is both raw and compelling, it tells the story of Beth Heke, a Maori woman struggling to keep her family from falling apart, despite the squalor and violence of the housing projects in which they live. Conveying both the rich textures of Maori tradition and the wounds left by its absence, Once Were Warriors is a masterpiece of unblinking realism, irresistible energy, and great sorrow.

 

 

Islands Linked by Ocean by Lisa-Linn Kanae

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From the author of SISTA TONGUE come stories written with humor and compassion that give voice to characters who find themselves at crossroad moments where past informs present, young teach old, and love can mean holding on or letting go. The stories in this collection are familiar, like family. And like the father and daughter in the title story, the stories in ISLANDS LINKED BY OCEAN are “told and retold until the words swim through the listener’s veins and turn into blood.”

 

 

Attitude 13 by Tanya Taimanglo

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Attitude 13: A Daughter of Guam’s Collection of Short Stories offers a glimpse into the life of Chamorros across the spectrum of humanity. Taimanglo’s anthology includes a myriad of voices and points-of-view with strong Chamorro themes. The stories range from humorous to poignant and offer a mirror for fellow Chamorros and a passport for others to be introduced to the Pacific Islander culture. From the pride of a “Hafa Adai!” to the shackles of a culture scarred by colonialism, Attitude 13 is a literary expression of Taimanglo’s love for her island home of Guam.

 

The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaira

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Eight-year-old Kahu, a member of the Maori tribe of Whangara, New Zealand, fights to prove her love, her leadership, and her destiny. Her people claim descent from Kahutia Te Rangi, the legendary ‘whale rider.’ In every generation since Kahutia, a male heir has inherited the title of chief. But now there is no male heir, and the aging chief is desperate to find a successor. Kahu is his only great-grandchild — and Maori tradition has no use for a girl. But when hundreds of whales beach themselves and threaten the future of the Maori tribe, Kahu will do anything to save them – even the impossible.

 

 

The Bone People by Keri Hulme

460635In a tower on the New Zealand sea lives Kerewin Holmes, part Maori, part European, an artist estranged from her art, a woman in exile from her family. One night her solitude is disrupted by a visitor—a speechless, mercurial boy named Simon, who tries to steal from her and then repays her with his most precious possession. As Kerewin succumbs to Simon’s feral charm, she also falls under the spell of his Maori foster father Joe, who rescued the boy from a shipwreck and now treats him with an unsettling mixture of tenderness and brutality. Out of this unorthodox trinity Keri Hulme has created what is at once a mystery, a love story, and an ambitious exploration of the zone where Maori and European New Zealand meet, clash, and sometimes merge.

 

From a Native Daughter: Colonialism and Sovereignty in Hawai’i by Huanani-Kay Trask

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Since its publication in 1993, From a Native Daughter, a provocative, well-reasoned attack against the rampant abuse of Native Hawaiian rights, institutional racism, and gender discrimination has generated heated debates in Hawai’i and throughout the world. This 1999 revised work includes material that builds on issues and concerns raised in the first edition: Native Hawaiian student organizing at the University of Hawai’i; the master plan of the Native Hawaiian self-governing organization Ka Lahui Hawai’i and its platform on the four political arenas of sovereignty; the 1989 Hawai’i declaration of the Hawai’i ecumenical coalition on tourism; and a typology on racism and imperialism.

 

Song of the Exile by Kiana Davenport

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In this epic, original novel in which Hawaii’s fierce, sweeping past springs to life, Song of the Exile follows the fortunes of the Meahuna family–and the odyssey of one resilient man searching for his soul mate after she is torn from his side by the forces of war. From the turbulent years of World War II through Hawaii’s complex journey to statehood, this mesmerizing story presents a cast of richly imagined characters who rise up magnificent and forceful, redeemed by the spiritual power and the awesome beauty of their islands.

 

 

Wild Meat and the Bully Burgers by Lois-Ann Yamanaka

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Her name is Lovey Nariyoshi, and her Hawai’i is not the one of leis, pineapple, and Magnum P.I. In the blue collar town of Hilo, on the Big Island, Lovey and her eccentric Japanese-American family are at the margins of poverty, in the midst of a tropical paradise. With her endearing, effeminate best friend Jerry, Lovey suffers schoolyard bullies, class warfare, Singer sewing classes, and the surprisingly painful work of picking on a macadamia nut plantation, all while trying to find an identity of her own. At once a bitingly funny satire of haole happiness and a moving meditation on what is real, if ugly at times, but true, Wild Meat and the Bully Burgers crackles with the language of pidgin–Hawai’i Creole English–distinguishing one of the most vibrant voices in contemporary culture.

 

This is Paradise: Stories by Kristiana Kahakauwila 

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Elegant, brutal, and profound, this magnificent debut captures the grit and glory of modern Hawai’i with breathtaking force and accuracy. In a stunning collection that announces the arrival of an incredible talent, Kristiana Kahakauwila travels the islands of Hawai’i, making the fabled place her own. Exploring the deep tensions between local and tourist, tradition and expectation, façade and authentic self, This Is Paradise provides an unforgettable portrait of life as it’s truly being lived on Maui, Oahu, Kaua’i and the Big Island.

 

 

Aloha betrayed: Native Hawaiian Resistance to American Colonialism by Noenoe K. Silva

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With few exceptions, histories of Hawai’i have been based exclusively on English-language sources. They have not taken into account the thousands of pages of newspapers, books, and letters written in the mother tongue of native Hawaiians. By rigorously analyzing many of these documents, Silva fills a crucial gap in the historical record. In so doing, she refutes the long-held idea that native Hawaiians passively accepted the erosion of their culture and loss of their nation, showing that they actively resisted political, economic, linguistic, and cultural domination. A powerful critique of colonial historiography, Aloha Betrayed provides a much-needed history of native Hawaiian resistance to American imperialism.

 

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There are SO many books out there by Pasifika authors that often don’t get the recognition that they deserve. AAPI Heritage Month is a great time to pick one of them up, read it, review it and recommend it to others in the book blogging community. Request them at your local libraries too to ensure that Pasifika authors are being represented on the shelves and include them in your book listsespecially recommendations/lists for AAPI Heritage Month which Pasifika authors are often glaringly absent from!


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Mailbox Monday | Writing with anxiety + catch up

MailboxMonday

Hey friends! Hope that everyone has been having a lovely time since the last Mailbox Monday a month ago. I haven’t been able to post Mailbox Monday as regularly as I would have liked so I wanted to bring you a little update to you all today as to what’s been going on and also talk about something that’s been bugging me for a while now – writing with anxiety!

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I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist :’)

 

  • WORK – Last month I spoke about not getting the full-time position for the job I currently do part-time and how it has really knocked my confidence. I had also applied for another similar job within my organization which I was interviewed for last week but was unfortunately told, yet again, that I a) don’t have enough experience and b) that I’m not concise enough in interviews. I’ve had really bad experiences with interview feedback which focuses on my communication difficulties as I already use strategies to help me in interviews and it honestly makes me feel like a pile of steaming poop when I’m basically told I’m not ‘neurotypical’ enough…

 

  • DEPRESSION – Since I graduated from university in August, I have been pretty much stuck at home day in, day out. I’m very lucky that I now have my weekend job but the disadvantage of this is that I’m still stuck at home for 5 days out of 7 every week, every month. Because of the nature of my depression, I have a tendency to become very isolated and am unable to maintain IRL friendships, and as we don’t have much money I can’t really afford to keep going out to do things. Being stuck at home for pretty much 80% of my life at the moment is really taking its toll on my depression and leading to a lot of deprecating/ self-destructive thoughts because I feel a bit like I’m just wasting my life and not achieving anything.

 

  • POSITIVES – On days when I’m not floored by depression & anxiety, I’m trying to invest my time in creative opportunities. Over the past 2 weeks, I have started a creative opportunities journal where I record different upcoming freelance jobs and what steps I’ve taken. So far, I have had a video game related pitch accepted for a fantastic online magazine which will be my first ever paid writing gig! I have also submitted a creative writing pitch for an anthology which I’m waiting to hear back from, and am also working towards submitting something for an online YA anthology for September!

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