Year of the Asian Reading Challenge – Book Recommendations for April’s Prompt: Power!

Varian the green toad wearing armour, holding a sword in front of them. Text underneath: BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS: Year of the Asian reading challenge; April Prompt: Power!

It’s a new month today, and you feel like checking up with Varian today. The last time you had tea with them, they showed you some books to read for the Year of the Asian reading challenge, and they were wearing a cute panda costume! It’s been awhile since, but Varian did briefly mention in your last visit that they were working on something super big and cool.

When you find Varian at their side of the pond, they’re wearing something super cool – a shining suit of armour! They look great in their costume, and are holding a big broadsword in their webbed hands.

varian - yarc2019apr“Hello friend!” Varian greets, walking up to you. “I’ve been so eager to show you. What do you think? My previous costumes have all used soft material, but I thought I’d try my hand in using harder materials and something more exciting.” They hold the sword out in front of you, and strike a pose like a warrior ready for battle!

You tell them what you think of their costume, and Varian beams at you. “I appreciate your honesty, friend. I think I still need to work on my colour choices. I didn’t want it all to be the same shade of red. I’ll improve for next time!

“What I wanted to share with you was my inspiration for this suit of armour. For the Year of the Asian reading challenge, it’s all about power!” Varian pauses for a moment. “But in saying that, power isn’t only expressed and embodied in physical strength, and that power can sometimes be invisible, insidious, or empowering.”

You nod. Indeed! And so you settle down by their spot by the pond, and listen to what book recommendations Varian has for today.

Hello friends! Welcome to April and our fourth month of the Year of the Asian reading challenge!

I hope all of you are going well with your reading challenges so far (be sure to let me know your progress in the comments below)! In case you haven’t heard, myself and three brilliant book bloggers (Lily, Shealea, and Vicky) are hosting the Year of the Asian Reading Challenge (or YARC!), a year-long reading challenge dedicated to reading Asian literature by Asian authors.

This month’s prompts, to help you find some neat reads, is POWER! Power is such a fun prompt, so I’m super excited to recommend some books all about power to you all today.Read More »

Is It Just Me Or Do Your Pond Friends… Look A Little Different? [April Fools!]

It’s the first of April, the beginning of a new and exciting month of books, but the Pond looks a little strange. Everything seems a little more crisp. And sharper. It’s like you suddenly have a magical pair of goggles and you are seeing the Pond with a new lens. The magic is still in the air, you can feel it, but you have a sneaking suspicion that something is very… off about the Pond.

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Cover Reveal: Daughters of Nri by Reni K. Amayo – A New Nigerian Fantasy About Old Gods and Extraordinary Sisters

Text: Cover Reveal at the Quiet Pond, Daughters of Nri by Reni K Amayo.

When Reni K. Amayo reached out to me and asked whether I would want to host a cover reveal of her debut book, Daughters of Nri, you can imagine how excited I was.

I crossed paths with this story earlier this year, and loved Amayo’s pitch. I mean, listen: Nigerian fantasy! Has Old Gods! About two sisters! A reimagining of Nigeria untouched by colonialism, but instead rich with magic!

And now that I’ve seen the book cover? I’m beyond excited. I literally gasped when I saw the cover because it was that gorgeous. And it is with immense pleasure that I get the opportunity to show you all the book cover and official blurb today!

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Exit West by Mohsim Hamid – A Profound Story about the Refugee Experience, Displacement, and Fabulistic Doors

Text: EXIT WEST by Mohsin Hamid. Image: Yellow, stained, and fraying wallpaper on a wall, with a door into a European street with blue skies.
Blurb:

In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet—sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair and are soon cloistered in a premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors—doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As the violence escalates, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. Leaving their homeland and their old lives behind, they find a door and step through.

My review:

I had heard so much about Exit West; heard about how brilliant it was, how thoughtful, and how deep, and I have to say — I absolutely agree with all its praises. It follows Nadia and Saeed, two characters who live in an unnamed Middle-Eastern country (though the author has alluded that the city is based on his home in Pakistan), and how they escape the violence and instability of their country by escaping through a mysterious door that has appeared across the world. Transported to a new place, Nadia and Saeed grapple with losing their home and trying to make a new one. And thus, Hamid has elegantly written a profound and moving story about emigration, the refugee experience, and the relationships we have with others.

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Sadie by Courtney Summers – An Unforgettable and Discursive Mystery About Lost Girls, Stolen Innocence, and Privilege

Text: Sadie by Courtney Summers. Background image is of a girl wearing a red hoodie, her hair wind-swept and covering her face.
Blurb:

Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

When West McCray―a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America―overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.

My review:

I remember when this book first came out, and everyone gave it so much love and praise. And now having – finally – read Sadie, I can absolutely see why. Sadie follows the eponymous teen who is searching for her sister’s killer, with every intent to kill him herself, and a podcast reporter trying to uncover the mystery behind Sadie’s disappearance and her journey. Perhaps one of the most compelling books I have read in a long time, Sadie is the sort of book that sears its story into your memory and will stay with you for many days after.

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