In May in the United States, it is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and in honour of that Cindy from WithCindy on YouTube created a readathon where the main aim is to read books by Asian authors. Her announcement video explains it all really well and she also has a Google Doc with extra info and resources and there’s a Twitter account for the readathon too.
This year’s challenge is loosely themed around the film Joy Ride and is meant to be easy, accessible, and open to interpretation. The reading challenges are:
– Read a book written by an Asian author.
– Read a book featuring a friendship between at least two Asian characters.
– Read a book written by an Asian author and/or featuring an Asian character that is focused on identity and self-discovery.
– Read a book written by an Asian author and/or featuring an Asian character that shows them going on an adventure.
– Read a book featuring an Asian character who is either a hot mess, famous, or eccentric.
These challenges can be combined if you want to make it even easier! There is a twist though. You can combine challenges and read in any order; however, each book you read should feature a character or author of a different Asian ethnicity. This is to encourage cultural diversity. I’ve had a look through my physical TBR and the holds I’ve got from my library to see what Asian authors I have there and I’ve made a note of each authors nationality/ethnicity as is available online. I’m not sure if/how any of these books will fit the prompts but I will try to read more from Asian authors in May regardless. So far this year I’ve read 27 books and of them four of them were by Asian authors – Constance Wu, Roshani Chokshi, Abigail Hing Wen, and Seishi Yokomizo.
The Woven Kingdom by Tahereh Mafi (Iranian American)
I’ve not read any of Tahereh Mafi’s books before but I got The Woven Kingdom in a subscription box last year. It’s the start of an epic Persian-inspired fantasy series and as I tend to be pretty bad at reading series, it’s not been a book I’ve been quick to reach for.
The Beast Player and The Beast Warrior by Nahoko Uehashi, translated by Cathy Hirano (Japanese)
I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, these two were total cover buys. I think these books would fit the prompt about a character going on an adventure.
The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang (Chinese-American)
The Poppy War has been on many of a TBR but there’s something about the hype and accolades but also the seriousness of this book and the entire trilogy that always makes me hesitant to read it. I’m pretty sure I’m going to really like it but I’m still a bit nervous it won’t live up to the hype.
Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata, translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori (Japanese)
I have a hold on this audiobook at my library and it should become available in May. It’s only three hours long so will be a quick read and while it’s a book I’ve heard of a lot, it’s not really one I know much about.
Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao (Chinese-Canadian)
Iron Widow was on my latest Magical Readathon TBR but I didn’t get to it in April so thought I might as well add it to another TBR! It’s a sci-fi story with giant robots and monsters and it gives me Pacific Rim vibes which can only be a good thing.
The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar (Bangladeshi-Irish)
Another library audiobook but this one just became available so will probably be one of my first reads of the month. It’s a contemporary YA story which I don’t tend to reach for nowadays but I believe it’s a sapphic one. I’ve heard good things about it and Adiba Jaigirdar’s other books are available at my library so if I like this one, I may try her other works.
Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner (Korean-American)
And the final audiobook I’ve recently got from my library. It’s another one where I’d heard the title but hadn’t really looked into it to see what it’s about but as it’s a memoir it’ll fit the prompt about identity well.
Are you taking part in the Asian Readathon or specifically going to read certain books for AAPI month?
The Poppy War and Iron Widow are excellent. Happy reading!