Year of the Asian Reading Challenge – Book Recommendations for October’s Prompt: Folklore, Fairy Tales & Myths!

Book Recommendations with Varian: Inspired by Asian Folktales and Myths. Illustration of Varian the toad, wearing a moon costume with clouds and stars around them.

Welcome back to the Pond, friends! This recommend post comes a little late, but it’s never too late to recommend some awesome books, right?

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.

We are currently in our tenth month of the Year of the Asian Reading Challenge! Since it is spooky season, we thought that we would recommend some Asian books influenced by folklore, fairytales, and myths! (And for those of you who aren’t a fan of spooky season, it’s always a good month to read stories inspired by tales of old.)

Therefore, our October prompt is one that I absolutely love and am excited to share with you all: folklore, fairytales, and myths!

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Year of the Asian Reading Challenge – Book Recommendations for September’s Prompt: Mental Illness Awareness!

book recommendations: asian books about mental illness

Hello friends, and welcome back to the Pond! It is the beginning of September, which means that we are now in our ninth month of the Year of the Asian Reading Challenge! (Where does time go?)

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.

Our September prompt is one that is both exciting and important: mental health awareness.

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Year of the Asian Reading Challenge – Book Recommendations for June’s Prompt: Pride!

Text: Book recommendations, queer Asian characters. Image: Varian the toad, wearing a rainbow skirt and holding a rainbow flag over their head, smiling.

Today is the first day of June! And you know what that means: it’s the first day of Pride! 🏳️‍🌈

You visit the Pond, feeling a lot of emotions today. You decide to visit Varian the Toadshifter – they’ll know exactly what you need.

An illustration of Varian the toad, wearing a rainbow skirt and holding a big rainbow flag about their head, smiling. They wear a sash that says, #YARC, with an aromantic and asexual pin.When you find Varian, they are wearing their rainbow skirt (the one that they wore a few months ago when you first met them!) and they’re holding a really big rainbow flag.

“Happy Pride, friend!” they greet, jumping over to you while waving their big rainbow flag. They sense how you are feeling, and they give you a smile in solidarity. “I understand, my friend. Pride can bring out a lot of feelings – some are positive and joyful, some may be feeling like they are not enough, and some may feel like they don’t belong. But the thing is, friend, you and the others who feel like they are not enough or feel like they don’t belong? They are enough. And they do belong.”

Image: Varian pointing to a pin attached to their sash; the pins are of the aromantic and asexual flag.They point to the pins stuck to their sash. “I’m wearing these pins in solidarity of my asexual and aromantic friends out there. Pride month is for all queer friends, and all I want is for my queer friends, especially asexual and aromantic friends, to feel joy and love.”

They settle down by the Pond, and gesture for you to join them by the water. “Today, I want to share with you some books that you can read! Xiaolong is still helping out with the Year of the Asian Reading Challenge, so she asked me to recommend some books with queer Asian characters to you!”

This sounds delightful! And you’re always looking for more books to read. You tuck in, set yourself down next to Varian, and listen to the books they have to recommend.

Hello friends! Welcome to June and our sixth month of the Year of the Asian reading challenge!

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.

Now that it’s June (I… can’t believe it’s June already?) it’s time for a new prompt to help you find some reads! This month’s prompt is PRIDE, just in time for Pride Month where we celebrate all our queer friends. Therefore, for June, our recommendations are centered around novels with queer and Asian main characters. This month, read a book in which the main character is queer, whether it is stated outright or mentioned more subtly.Read More »

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 »

My Year of the Asian Reading Challenge TBR, West & South Asian Book Recommendations — and An Apology

Text: YEAR OF THE ASIAN, A 2019 READING CHALLENGE. My very west and south asian tbr, and an apology. Image is of Xiaolong the pink axolotl wearing an upside down purple flower hat eating a bowl of rice, and holding chopsticks.

Hello friends. 💛

Welcome to my TBR for the Year of the Asian Reading Challenge! Yes, I know: it’s already February, I am one of the co-hosts, and why haven’t I made my TBR yet?! To be fair, I’ve been absolutely swamped with my Masters (only a week and a bit to go before hand in, good grief 😭), and have been writing up my blog posts in the dead of the night after a whole day of writing. Phew. I can’t wait for this Masters thesis to be over.

(Also, I apologise for the recycled graphic today! Unfortunately I’m a bit pressed for time and couldn’t draw something new, but look out for a special TBR illustration the next time I share books I plan to read.)

But, before I get onto my TBR, there’s something that needs to be said, which has shaped the TBR that I will be sharing with you all today.

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