What a wonderful reading year 2021 has been so far!
It’s halfway through the year (already?!) and we are so excited to share with you all our most anticipated reads of the second half of 2021. Earlier this year, we shared our most anticipated reads releasing January to June 2021. Reflecting on the books we have read so far, we can certainly say that this year has been full of delights and surprises – both expected and unexpected
One of my favourite parts about these month-long celebratory events at the Pond is that I get to inundate all of you with book recommendations. And what better month than Pride Month?
For us at the Pond, Pride Month is an opportunity to spotlight and celebrate the incredible work done by queer authors. Moreover, it’s important to us that the work that we do when celebrating Pride Month is deserving of the intersectional Pride Month flag that we have proudly used in our banner. Therefore, the books that we recommend will include books by authors of colour and disabled authors – and we encourage all of our Pond friends to make their Pride reading intersectional and colourful. 🌈
What a month May has been for the Pond! We hosted 16 Asian and Pasifika authors this month, and I am so proud and happy with the awesome stuff that my co-bloggers and I did to uplift and share Asian and Pasifika literature this month. And of course, thank you to everyone who visited, shared and supported our work, and joined in our celebrations for Asian Pasifika Heritage Month. (Here is a full list of all the features we did this month!)
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.
To kick off the first day of Asian Pasifika Heritage Month at the Pond, we have a very exciting guest! A little over two months ago, I read a phenomenal book called She Who Became the Sun, a queer historical retelling of the founding emperor of the Ming dynasty. Within the book was a stunning yet absolutely brutal story about a girl who takes her brother’s fate and name, becomes a monk, and ascends through the ranks, fulfilling his destiny of greatness. She Who Became the Sun is a story about war, ambition, desire, and fighting fate – and I think about this story often.
In a famine-stricken village on a dusty yellow plain, two children are given two fates. A boy, greatness. A girl, nothingness…
In 1345, China lies under harsh Mongol rule. For the starving peasants of the Central Plains, greatness is something found only in stories. When the Zhu family’s eighth-born son, Zhu Chongba, is given a fate of greatness, everyone is mystified as to how it will come to pass. The fate of nothingness received by the family’s clever and capable second daughter, on the other hand, is only as expected.
When a bandit attack orphans the two children, though, it is Zhu Chongba who succumbs to despair and dies. Desperate to escape her own fated death, the girl uses her brother’s identity to enter a monastery as a young male novice. There, propelled by her burning desire to survive, Zhu learns she is capable of doing whatever it takes, no matter how callous, to stay hidden from her fate.
After her sanctuary is destroyed for supporting the rebellion against Mongol rule, Zhu takes the chance to claim another future altogether: her brother’s abandoned greatness.
I was given an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Upon finishing She Who Became the Sun, I gently placed my e-reader down, laid down on the ground, and just let gravity and the implications of the story’s ending bear its crushing weight upon me. What a book, She Who Became the Sun is. I cannot adequately express my pleasure over the fact that She Who Became the Sun was one of my most highly anticipated books of 2021 and, in its phenomenal storytelling and unforgettable characters, delivered, and more.