Our Friend is Here! An Interview with Clarissa Goenawan, Author of In The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida – On Trusting the Writing Process, Grief, and Mental Health

Our Friend is Here! is a guest feature at The Quiet Pond, where authors, creatives, and fellow readers, are invited to ‘visit’ the Pond! In Our Friend is Here! guest posts, our visitors (as their very own unique character!) have a friendly conversation about anything related to books or being a reader — and become friends with Xiaolong and friends.

Our Friend is Here: Asian and Pasifika Heritage Month Edition is a month-long event at The Quiet Pond during the month of May, where Asian and Pasifika authors are invited to celebrate being Asian and Pasifika work and literature! Find the introduction post for Asian and Pasifika Heritage Month here.

The minute I heard about Clarissa Goenawan’s Rainbirds, it went on my TBR as one of my most anticipated books of 2018. The relationship between mental health, mystery, and a quiet slice of life intrigued me immediately. Rainbirds and her next release, The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida, exist within the same community of people, and give a sense of closeness, but also vastness, considering the tone and subject matter. While reading both, I loved the feeling of intimacy gazing upon these characters’ lives, but also the broad philosophical questions woven into the story.

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Book Review: Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé – A Stunning and Thrilling Descent into Dark Academia, Race, and Class

Ace of Spades by Faridah Abike-Iyimide. A badge at the bottom-left that says, 'Reviewed by CW, The Quiet Pond'. In the centre is a image of Xiaolong, the pink axolotl wearing a flower hat, waving at you.
Synopsis:

When two Niveus Private Academy students, Devon Richards and Chiamaka Adebayo, are selected to be part of the elite school’s senior class prefects, it looks like their year is off to an amazing start. After all, not only does it look great on college applications, but it officially puts each of them in the running for valedictorian, too.

Shortly after the announcement is made, though, someone who goes by Aces begins using anonymous text messages to reveal secrets about the two of them that turn their lives upside down and threaten every aspect of their carefully planned futures.

As Aces shows no sign of stopping, what seemed like a sick prank quickly turns into a dangerous game, with all the cards stacked against them. Can Devon and Chiamaka stop Aces before things become incredibly deadly?

I was provided an eARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

When I finished reading Ace of Spades, I was overcome with a very unfamiliar feeling: I wanted to go back to the very first page and read it cover to cover again. I wanted to relive the descension of horror this book takes you through. I wanted to experience the terror and fear that this book instils with its incredible twist and turns. And, knowing what I know now, I wanted to feel that absolute dread of knowing what was coming, because how this story devolves and leads to was thrilling and so satisfyingly brilliant. I am in awe of Ace of Spades, and it is one of the most phenomenal debuts that I have ever read.

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Black History Month – Interview with Nekesa Afia, Author of Dead Dead Girls; On Writing a Historical Mystery & Centering Queer Black Women

Black History Month - Interview with Nekesa Afia, Author of Dead Dead Girls; On Writing a Historical Mystery & Centering Queer Black Women

One of my favourite things about historical fiction is that I get pulled into a world close to what someone in the past lived through. Though I don’t depend on historical fiction to educate me, it is also a pretty cool opportunity to learn about periods in time that existed and shaped lives and history, and to also get a perspective into the past and how it led to society today. Books like Homegoing, that explore Black and African-American history are phenomenal, and I always want more.

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Our Friend is Here! Asian Heritage Month Edition – An Interview with Naomi Hirahara, Author of Iced in Paradise; On Being a WOC Mystery Author, Lovable Curmudgeons, and Mystery Recs by PoC!

Our Friend is Here: Asian Heritage Month Edition. Author interview with Naomi Hirahara, author of iced in paradise, on being a woman of colour mystery author, lovable curmudgeons, and mystery recs by people of colour! Illustration of Cuddle the otter, her arms stretched out wide, showing off Naomi as a beaver wearing grey running shoes.

Our Friend is Hereis a guest feature at The Quiet Pond, where authors, creatives, and fellow readers, are invited to ‘visit’ the Pond! In Our Friend is Here! guest posts, our visitors (as their very own unique character!) have a friendly conversation about anything related to books or being a reader — and become friends with Xiaolong and friends.

Asian Heritage Month Edition is a month-long event at The Quiet Pond, where Asian authors and bookish content creators are invited to celebrate being Asian, Asian books, and the experiences of being an Asian reader. (Note: Here is an explanation of why we are calling this guest series ‘Asian Heritage Month’.)

I have always been a reader of mysteries and thrillers. It was the first genre I fell in love with for its page-turning, edge of your seat, nail-biting qualities and rhythms. I was a regular ol’ Nancy Drew. However, over time I realized that the genre as a whole didn’t showcase people of color, let alone Asian-American women. It is not an exaggeration when I say that I have been searching my whole life for mysteries that reflect my experience.

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Five Reasons To Read: An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon – A Brilliant and Unforgiving SFF Portrayal of Systemic Oppression Aboard a Generation Ship

An Unkindness of Ghosts, River Solomon.

I’m going to be frank with you. An Unkindness of Ghosts is stellar, hard-hitting, but absolutely brutal, honest in its depictions of systemic oppression and its machinations. Second, despite the importance of what this book explores and its insightful storytelling and worldbuilding, this book is not for everyone – or, requires some emotional and mental preparation before delving into this rich and dark story.

The story follows Aster, a lower-class healer that lives abroad the HSS Matilda, a colossal generation ship that is carrying the remnants of humanity to the ‘Promised Land’ after Earth’s decimations centuries ago. Following the mysterious death of their leader, Aster finds herself the key to this mystery – and may be the tinder that will ignite revolution within the spacecraft.

Before I tell you all why you should read this book, I also think it’s important for me to start with the caveats. Read More »