Our Friend is Here! Pride Month Edition – An Interview with Michelle Kan, Author of the Tales of the Thread Series; On Writing Aromantic Stories, Chinese Fairytales, and Subverting Popular Tropes

Our Friend is Here! Pride Month Edition - An Interview with Michelle Kan, Author of the Tales of the Thread Series; On Writing Aromantic Stories, Chinese Fairytales, and Subverting Popular Tropes. An illustration of Xiaolong the axolotl, with her arms spread out wide like she is showing off someone, with Michelle as a welcome swallow with a scroll attached to their leg.

An illustration of Xiaolong the axolotl, waving her hand and winking at you while holding up a flag with the inclusive Pride flag - horizontal stripes of black, brown, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. 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.

Pride Month is a month-long event at The Quiet Pond, where during the month of June, queer authors and bookish content creators are invited to celebrate being queer, queer books, and their experiences of being a queer reader. Find the introduction post for Pride Month at The Quiet Pond here.

All of you know how much I love queer stories. In particular, I love stories that take classic stories or common tropes and subvert them with a queer retelling. I love the idea that beloved stories and tropes can be told in a new way – from a fresher perspective, new lens, and introduce readers to a new kind of home.
Read More »

Our Friend is Here! Asian Heritage Month Edition – An Interview with Henry Lien, Author of Peasprout Chen; On Immigrant Stories, Asian Speculative Fiction, and Celebrating Enthusiasm

Our Friend is Here, Asian Heritage edition. author interview with Henry Lien, author of the peasprout chen series, on immigrant stories, asian speculative fiction, and celebrating enthusiasm. illustration of cuddle the otter, holding her arms out wide like she is showing off something, with henry lien as an unimpressed monkey, pointing at the reader while holding a cleaver.

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’.)

With the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics, I have been leaning on my love for figure skating and gymnastics to fill the void. I realized that both of these sports celebrate (as Henry says later on) girl power and kid power, in that they favor skill sets and centers of gravity more privy to both. They also both emphasize an artistic quality, which is the perfect backdrop on which to craft an Asian speculative fiction story based on figure skating and martial arts.

Read More »

Our Friend is Here! Asian Heritage Month Edition – An Interview with Xiran Jay Zhao, Author of Iron Widow; On Feminist Fantasy, Giant Robots, & Diaspora Worldbuilding

Our Friend is Here! Asian Heritage Month Edition: Author Interview with Xiran Jay Zhao, author of Iron Widow, on feminist fantasy, giant robots, and diaspora worldbuilding. illustration is of sprout the sparrow, their wings wide like they are showing off something, with xiran as a yellow cat, wearing a black dress with red lace, and wearing a cow hoodie.

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’.)

When I saw the pitch for Xiran Jay Zhao’s upcoming book Iron Widow, I was immediately taken aback by how unabashedly anime-inspired it felt, from its fundamental premise (hello, giant mechas) to its hints at deeper underlying themes—themes like teenage angst, sexuality, and the messy reality of coming of age. I think some of the most moving stories today are best told through—have been told through—the medium of animation, and I’m beyond excited to be able to talk to a writer today on the blog who also harbors the same fondness I do for stories that use grand worldbuilding to tell stories that hit close to the heart.

Read More »

Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune by Roselle Lim – A Love Letter To Food, Family and Culture but Unfortunately Let Down By Its Tedious Writing

book review natalie tan book luck fortune the quiet pond

Summary:

At the news of her mother’s death, Natalie Tan returns home. The two women hadn’t spoken since Natalie left in anger seven years ago, when her mother refused to support her chosen career as a chef. Natalie is shocked to discover the vibrant neighborhood of San Francisco’s Chinatown that she remembers from her childhood is fading, with businesses failing and families moving out. She’s even more surprised to learn she has inherited her grandmother’s restaurant.

The neighborhood seer reads the restaurant’s fortune in the leaves: Natalie must cook three recipes from her grandmother’s cookbook to aid her struggling neighbors before the restaurant will succeed. Unfortunately, Natalie has no desire to help them try to turn things around–she resents the local shopkeepers for leaving her alone to take care of her agoraphobic mother when she was growing up. But with the support of a surprising new friend and a budding romance, Natalie starts to realize that maybe her neighbors really have been there for her all along.

CW’s Review:

Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune seemed like it had the recipe of an instant favourite: A story about a Chinese-American woman who returns home to face her demons, explores and celebrates the importance and power of food, and has themes of family, specifically generations of strong and fierce Chinese woman. To my immense disappointment, Natalie Tan has its heart in the right place but was, unfortunately and ultimately, an incredibly frustrating book to read.

Read More »

The Iron Will of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee – Perhaps The Most Satisfying Ending of a Series I Have Read – Ever

The Iron Will of Genie Lo. F.C. Yee.

Blurb:

Genie Lo thought she was busy last year, juggling her academic career with protecting the Bay Area from demons. But now, as the Heaven-appointed Guardian of California, she’s responsible for the well-being of all yaoguai and spirits on Earth. Even the ones who interrupt her long-weekend visit to a prestigious college, bearing terrible news about a cosmos-threatening force of destruction in a nearby alternate dimension.

The goddess Guanyin and Genie’s boyfriend, Quentin Sun Wukong, do their best to help, but it’s really the Jade Emperor who’s supposed to handle crises of this magnitude. Unfortunately for Genie and the rest of existence, he’s gone AWOL. Fed up with the Jade Emperor’s negligence, Genie spots an opportunity to change the system for the better by undertaking a quest that spans multiple planes of reality along with an adventuring party of quarrelsome Chinese gods. But when faced with true danger, Genie and her friends realize that what will save the universe this time isn’t strength, but sacrifice.

CW’s review:

In case you don’t know, The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee is an incredible book about a girl named Genie Lo, who discovers that she’s the reincarnation of a powerful celestial weapon. This book, after so many years, remains to be one of my favourite books of all time.

Read More »