2021 Asian Readathon TBR

Having enjoyed this Readathon so immensely both last year and the year before (my 2019 TBR and Wrap Up; my 2020 TBR and Wrap Up), I look forward to participating again this year. If you haven’t heard of the Asian Readathon before, it’s a month long Readathon in May created by Cindy (from WithCindy) all about reading, enjoying, discovering, and appreciating Asian authors.

For more information about the Readathon, I suggest checking out their Twitter “@asianreadathon” or watch Cindy’s Announcement Video. This is also an easy way to find the Master List of Book Suggestions and Reading Goals/Prompts for the Readathon.


**For anyone who’s here for the first time, I’ve organized the books by Physical Books, eBooks, Audiobooks, Kindle Unlimited, and Library Books. **


Readathon Challenges:

  1. Read any book written by an Asian author.
  2. Read any book featuring an Asian protagonist.
  3. Read any book written by an Asian author in your favourite genre.
  4. Read any non-fiction book written by an Asian Author.
  5. Read any book written by an Asian author that’s not US centric.


While I expect to deviate from this selection of books slightly, and to add to it as the month progresses, here is my (current) TBR for the Readathon:

Total Books:

  1. The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee (GoodReads) 374 pages
  2. Not Your Backup by C.B. Lee (Sidekick Squad, Book 3) 320 pages
  3. Be Water, My Friend: The Teachings of Bruce Lee by Shannon Lee (GoodReads) 240 pages
  4. Ace: What Asexuality Reveals About Desire, Society, and the Meaning of Sex by Angela Chen (GoodReads) 210 pages
  5. The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi (The Gilded Wolves, Book 1) 388 pages
  6. The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani (The School for Good and Evil, Book 1) 544 pages



The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee:

By day, Jo Kuan works as a lady’s maid for the cruel daughter of one of the wealthiest men in Atlanta. By night, Jo moonlights as the pseudonymous author of a newspaper advice column for the genteel Southern lady. When her column becomes wildly popular, she uses the power of pen to address some of society’s ill. Yet she isn’t prepared for the backlash that follows her challenging of fixed ideas about race and gender.

Her opponents clamor to uncover her secret identity while a mysterious letter sets Jo on a search for her past and the parents that abandoned her as a baby. When her efforts put her in the crosshairs of Atlanta’s most notorious criminals, Jo must decide if she – a girl used to living in the shadows – is ready to step into the light.

This is a book I planned on reading last year for the Readathon (though it wasn’t on my original TBR because I found out about this read during the month of May) and never got around to. Now, I hope to pick it up and actually read this book. While historical fiction isn’t a genre I usually read, I’ve found myself enjoying it more and more.


Not Your Backup by C.B. Lee:

Emma Robledo has a few more responsibilities than your average high school senior. But then again, she and her friends have left school to lead a fractured Resistance movement against a corrupt Heroes League of Heroes. Emma is the only member of the supercharged team without powers, causing her to not always be taken seriously. But as a natural leader, Emma is determined to win the battle and get back the school.

I’ll be honest, I completely forgot about this series after I marathoned the first two books back in 2019 for the Readathon. Which is shocking because I absolutely enjoyed my time in this world. I loved getting to experience a world in which superpowers was the norm. I loved getting to see the cast come into their powers and discover themselves. Yet somehow the first two booksin this series – Not Your Sidekick and Not Your Villain – have been sitting in my Audible library for years now. It’s about time I pick up the third book – Not Your Backup – in this series and see what else this world has in store for our group of misfits.


Be Water, My Friend: The Teachings of Bruce Lee by Shannon Lee:

Bruce Lee’s daughter illuminates her father’s most powerful life philosophies–demonstrating how martial arts are a perfect metaphor for personal growth, and how we can practice those teachings every day.

Empty your mind; be formless, shapeless like water.

Bruce Lee is a cultural icon, renowned the world over for his martial arts and film legacy. But Lee was also a deeply philosophical thinker, learning at an early age that martial arts are more than just an exercise in physical discipline–they are an apt metaphor for living a fully realized life.

Now, in Be Water, My Friend, Lee’s daughter Shannon shares the concepts at the core of his philosophies, showing how they can serve as tools of personal growth and self-actualization. Each chapter brings a lesson from Bruce Lee’s teachings, expanding on the foundation of his iconic “be water” philosophy. Over the course of the book, we discover how being like water allows us to embody fluidity and naturalness in life, bringing us closer to our essential flowing nature and our ability to be powerful, self-expressed, and free.


Ace: What Asexuality Reveals About Desire, Society, and the Meaning of Sex by Angela Chen:

An engaging exploration of what it means to be asexual in a world that’s obsessed with sexual attraction, and what we can all learn about desire and identity by using an ace lens to see the world

What exactly is sexual attraction and what is it like to go through the world not experiencing it? What does asexuality reveal about consent, about compromise, about the structures of society? This exceedingly accessible guide to asexuality shows that the issues that aces face—confusion around sexual activity, the intersection of sexuality and identity, navigating different needs in relationships—are conflicts that all of us need to address as we move through the world.

Through interviews, cultural criticism, and memoir, ACE invites all readers to consider big-picture issues through the lens of asexuality, because every place that sexuality touches our world, asexuality does too.

Journalist Angela Chen uses her own journey of self-discovery as an asexual person to unpretentiously educate and vulnerably connect with readers, effortlessly weaving analysis of sexuality and societally imposed norms with interviews of ace people. Among those included are the woman who had blood tests done because she was convinced that “not wanting sex” was a sign of serious illness, and the man who grew up in an evangelical household and did everything “right,” only to realize after marriage that his experience of sexuality had never been the same as that of others. Also represented are disabled aces, aces of color, non-gender-conforming aces questioning whether their asexuality is a reaction against stereotypes, and aces who don’t want romantic relationships asking how our society can make room for them. 


The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi:

It’s 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance.

To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood.

Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history–but only if they can stay alive. 

I’ll be honest, I’ve owned a copy of this book for a while now. I’m pretty sure I bought it with the goal of reading it for last year’s Asian Readathon, but then completely forgot about that plan when the time came around. So, I hope I’m able to pick the book up this year. This truly is a story that I was excited to pick up as soon as I’d heard about it.


The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani:

The first kidnappings happened two hundred years before. Some years it was two boys taken, some years two girls, sometimes one of each. But if at first the choices seemed random, soon the pattern became clear. One was always beautiful and good, the child every parent wanted as their own. The other was homely and odd, an outcast from birth. An opposing pair, plucked from youth and spirited away.

This year, best friends Sophie and Agatha are about to discover where all the lost children go: the fabled School for Good & Evil, where ordinary boys and girls are trained to be fairy tale heroes and villains. As the most beautiful girl in Gavaldon, Sophie has dreamed of being kidnapped into an enchanted world her whole life. With her pink dresses, glass slippers, and devotion to good deeds, she knows she’ll earn top marks at the School for Good and graduate a storybook princess. Meanwhile Agatha, with her shapeless black frocks, wicked pet cat, and dislike of nearly everyone, seems a natural fit for the School for Evil.

But when the two girls are swept into the Endless Woods, they find their fortunes reversed—Sophie’s dumped in the School for Evil to take Uglification, Death Curses, and Henchmen Training, while Agatha finds herself in the School For Good, thrust amongst handsome princes and fair maidens for classes in Princess Etiquette and Animal Communication.. But what if the mistake is actually the first clue to discovering who Sophie and Agatha really are…? 

I first read this story years ago. I know for sure I own the first four books in the series, but I can’t remember if I picked up anything after that. I hadn’t thought about these books in a while until one of my good friends posted a picture of this very book on her BookStagram account (@tiny.bibliophile). Since she posted that picture, I realized that I never finished this series. So, what better reason is there to pick up a series you haven’t read in a while and start over from the very beginning?



While this isn’t a huge list of books, it’s more of a starting point than anything. If I’m being honest, May snuck up on me this year and I didn’t give myself a lot of time to collect books for this Readathon. I plan on reading quite a few books in the month of May (my non-Readathon TBR here), but I plan on carving out time specifically to read for this Readathon. It’s the only Readathon that I participate in yearly and I believe it’s worth the effort.

I know I’ll be adding to this list and changing it up as the month goes on. Who knows, maybe now that I’m commuting between towns on the days that I go into the office I’ll get more AudioBooks read. I certainly haven’t been listening to a lot of books lately, so it would be a nice change of pace. AudioBooks would be a great way to continue to add to the list of books I hope to read for this Readathon and make good use of my time commuting.

What books do you plan on reading for this Readathon?

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