I enjoyed this Readathon and if it is hosted again next year I plan on participating again. I discovered some great reads and authors that hadn’t been on my radar before. If they write anything else that peaks my interest, I’ll definitely pick them up. It’s not often that I pick up an author I’ve never heard of before and this Readathon introduced me to a lot of new authors. It also showed me that the amount of Asian authors I read was woefully lacking. I aim to fix that in the future.
Without further ado, here are the books I read for the Asian Readathon:
- As Miss Beelzebub Likes by Matuba (Vol 1)[3 stars]
- Not Your Sidekick by C.B. Lee (The Sidekick Squad, Book 1)[4 stars]
- Not Your Villain by C.B. Lee (The Sidekick Squad, Book 2)[3 stars]
- Reflection by Elizabeth Lim (Twisted Tales, Book 4)[4 stars]
- I’m Afraid of Men by Vivek Shraya [3 stars]
- Sorry to Disrupt the Peace by Patty Yumi Cottrell [2 stars]
- A Thousand Beginnings and Endings edited by Ellen Oh & Elsie Chapman [average of 3.8 stars]
I didn’t get around to finishing Descendant of the Crane like I’d originally planned but I do hope to read it in the hear future. As well, I didn’t read The Sun is Also a Star as I instead chose to read books written by Asian authors instead of just about them. Finally, I didn’t end up finishing Everything Here is Beautiful, even though I’ve started it. I hope to finish it shortly but I also have 2 other books on the go right now. Either way, I will be reading all 3 of these books before too long
All of the books I read throughout this Readathon have their own dedicated post. Here’s a very brief outline of my feelings on each book:
As Miss Beelzebub Likes:
Based on the synopsis, I was really looking forward to this story. However, it wasn’t really a cohesive plot. There was the tiniest hint of an overarching plot throughout the volume but the majority of the story was single page mini plots. If you’re into slapstick comedy then this manga might be for you.
Not Your Sidekick:
This story has a wide variety of LGBTQ+ representation and it covers them all wonderfully. The main characters of the story are fun to read and the plot was intriguing. In a world where super powers are normal, it must be hard to be normal. The main relationships and love interests were well written. As the main characters are in high school, they acted appropriately for the age they were supposed to be, something that a lot of books around high school aged characters have problems doing.
Not Your Villain:
While the LGBTQ+ representation found in this story remains great, I found the rest of the book to be lacking. The first third of this book was a rehashing of the events of Not Your Sidekick from a different character’s perspective and while I usually enjoy stories like this, I felt like it ruined the flow of the story. I personally believe that the first third would have done better as a companion novel than a part of this book as its presence here ruined the flow of the story for me. However, if you’re not reading the books back to back the way I did, this might be a good way to refresh yourself on what happened in the first book.
While this is the fourth book in the “series”, each book is a stand alone retelling. This book is a retelling of Disney’s version of the story of Mulan with a twist – Mulan has to go to the Underworld to save Li Shang. If you’re a fan of Disney movies and mythology, this book is probably for you. I enjoyed the twist to a story I’ve loved since I was a little girl and learning more about Chinese mythology surrounding the underworld. In my opinion, this book did a wonderful job in introducing me to Chinese mythological characters that I now want to read more about.
I’m Afraid of Men:
This is important read as it is an autobiographical account of Shraya’s experience of realizing she wasn’t the stereotypical norm and finally accepting herself as trans. It is important for all people to understand the struggles that a transgendered person has to face on a daily basis and learn what we can do to help ease these struggles.
Sorry to Disrupt the Peace:
This story is about a woman named Helen and her struggle of coming to terms with the death of her brother. It deals with the serious topics of grief and mental health in a unique way. While I did not enjoy this read, many reviews I’ve looked at show that my opinion is not the norm. If you do read this, please be aware that Helen herself is going through some mental health issues and DO NOT laugh at quirks that are brought up by this. It is never funny to make fun of someone whose mental health is suffering. Please be mindful of this.
A Thousand Beginnings and Endings:
This anthology was filled with short stories based on Asian mythologies. I enjoyed seeing some authors I already loved and being introduced to other authors I haven’t read before. I believe that Oh and Chapman made the right call by ensuring Asian authors were given the chance to tell their own cultures’ stories with twists rather than allowing outsiders (read: usually Europeans or other ethnically white peoples) to do research and reinterpret the stories. I am trying to make a conscious effort to read more diversely and from authors speaking about their own culture rather than from an outsider’s perspective and this anthology made it easy to do so. I love that this was the “5th reading challenge” and the group book of the Readathon as it allowed for a wide introduction of cultures and authors. I highly recommend this read.
Overall, I’m happy with the books that I read during this Readathon. It allowed me to discover new authors that I hadn’t heard of before but will definitely continue to read. As well, I was able to discover more about Asian cultures than I knew before. I look forward to reading more about these topics in the future and I highly recommend others do the same.