Happy lunar new year, friends! 🏮
While my family doesn’t have traditions for December 31 and January 1st — or really any other holidays, to be honest — this one has always meant good food and related puns/idioms, calls to our extended family, and (at least while I was young) red envelopes. So I have lots of fond memories; it’s certainly one of my favorite holidays.
I was tagged by Kelly Brigid @ Another Book in the Wall (last year, but by definition New Year’s comes around every year, so I don’t feel too bad about hoarding this one).
- Answer the questions and share your zodiac animal (Only if you’re comfortable with it! If you don’t know, you can look it up online based on your birth year!)
- Pingback to the creator of the tag (hammockofbooks) and whoever tagged you so we can read your responses!
- Tag some of your friends! (But not four because that’s unlucky!)
As an added challenge to myself, I’m going to try to use only books by Asian authors and/or with Asian main characters for this tag!
My Zodiac Animal
I was born in January, after the Western new year but before the lunar new year — making me a Tiger. 🐯
Though I remember a elementary school teacher, who by the way was not Asian, trying to convince me that I was wrong: since all my classmates were Rabbits, I must be too.
A quick Google search indicates that Tigers are seen as competent and confident, which are both things I strive for. Also stubborn, which isn’t necessarily ideal but admittedly pretty accurate. (I’m working on it, but you know what they say about tigers and stripes.)
New Year: A book with a phenomenal beginning
My review for Descendant of the Crane by Joan He specifically mentions being hooked “from the very first page,” so it probably qualifies? At least I can vouch for it having a phenomenal middle and end, though honestly I’m not great at remembering opening scenes unless I love them so much that I’ve read them over and over and over.
That said, I loved DotC so much that I picked it as my prize for Asian Lit Bingo last year, because I wanted to be able to reread it in the future! And I am now the proud and grateful owner of a signed copy, thanks to the wonderful Shenwei @ READING (AS)(I)AN (AM)ERICA.
Chinese New Year: A book by an Asian author
There are so many good ones to choose from; I was tempted to use a random number generator or just close my eyes and point. (I’ve linked my YARC shelves, though of course there are even more that I haven’t read or even heard of!)
But not enough people are talking about Picture Us in the Light by Kelly Loy Gilbert, and as an Asian-American raised in Silicon Valley (just like the protagonists) I feel that it is my duty to remind you that this book exists and it is awesome.
Lunar New Year: A book that takes place in space
I’m going to plug Ignite the Stars by Maura Milan yet again, because too many of my friends still have not read it. *cough cough* The characters and worldbuilding are masterfully done, the plot is exciting, and the thoughtful exploration of sociopolitical themes and their small- and large-scale impacts were incorporated well. I may have teared up while reading certain scenes.
Zodiac / Year of the [Rat]: An animal sidekick
I was complaining to Soph that this prompt was ridiculously hard when you limit yourself to books with primary Asian rep. So although the bird in The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan isn’t exactly a sidekick, it’s the closest I could come up with. (Let me know if you think of any others!)
To be entirely honest I wasn’t the biggest fan of the writing style or characters, but the biracial Taiwanese-American and mental health rep is fantastic. And plenty of other reviewers seem to love it, so it’s still worth giving it a chance if you haven’t yet.
Lucky Color Red: A book with a red cover
While I can think of several just off the top of my head, I have to give this one to Jade War by Fonda Lee. It’s not just the cover that’s bold and eye-catching: the series has so many fantastic elements, and this is one of those books where I don’t feel like my review could possibly do it justice.
Though you can click on the book title to see my blog tour post if you’re interested in reading said review.
Firecrackers: A book exploding with action
It doesn’t get much more action-y than Not Your Sidekick, or any of the rest of the Sidekick Squad series by C.B. Lee! Not just another superhero/supervillain story, these books are incredibly fun reads featuring incredibly diverse characters. (Which reminds me, I still haven’t read Not Your Backup and I should really get on that ASAP.)
Red Envelope: A book you can’t wait to open
Although my priority-owned-TBR numbers almost 200 books, my mind immediately jumped to The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee. Soph @ Bookwyrming Thoughts has been hyping it for literally years; Clo @ Cuppa Clo bought me a copy for my birthday (thank you again, love!); also, I’m pretty sure the sequel will have come out by the time this post goes live.
So fingers crossed that I pull it from my TBR jar soon. Or maybe I’ll just disregard the jar and read it when/if the mood strikes.
Delicious Food: A book that made you so hungry
Would it be too obvious to put Hungry Hearts edited by Caroline Tung Richmond and Elsie Chapman for this prompt? For real though, there are so many mouthwatering descriptions of a wide variety of meals/snacks from a wide variety of cultures (including, but not limited to, parts of Asia). So in addition to fun storylines and wholesome family feels, this anthology made me want to devote the next few weekends to recreating as many of the dishes as possible.
But it’s not like there’s a scarcity of great books featuring great food, even great Asian food specifically — Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle Lim is pretty awesome and mouthwatering too. This one is specially Chinese-American rep, which for me was relatable rather than educational. (Both are good, of course; sometimes I’m just more in the mood for one or the other.) Also, it contains in-text recipes!
Gathering With Family: An amazing fictional family
I think plenty of people have read and loved Darius the Great Is Not Okay by Adib Khorram, and many more have TBR’d it. The mental health and multicultural rep is fantastic, of course, but I think its heartwarming depiction of family (and friends who can be considered extended family) is criminally underrated. While they don’t always manage to communicate it perfectly, it’s so clear throughout the book how deeply they care about each other.