There always seem to be a myriad of reading challenges to participate in in the book blogging and reading world. And while I often enjoy following along with the journeys of other book bloggers as they seek to fulfill these reading challenges, I’m not often drawn to participate in them myself. Primarily because I feel like I have so many books I want to read, I don’t need the pressure of trying to fit in a challenge!
However, when Claire over at Claire’s Life announced her First Annual Asian-Canadian Literature Challenge, it felt like something right up my alley and I decided to participate. I’m not Asian but I was born in Hong Kong and I did grow up in Vancouver, which is a city filled with Asian influence. I would never claim this heritage as my own but it is one I deeply appreciate and that has affected many aspects of my own life and history.
Check out Claire’s post here to read about it in her own words but the challenge is basically to read books by Asian-Canadian writers. Claire has created five prompts (see above) to fulfill (seems doable, right?) throughout the year while overall working to prioritize reading Asian-Canadians in 2021.
Here are some of the books I’m hoping to read. Some were already on my TBR and others I searched out to fulfill the prompts.
A Book About Food:
There Has to be a Knife by Adnan Khan
Chef by Jaspreet Singh
Neither of these were on my TBR previously but Chef in particular sounds really fascinating to me and Khan’s book got some good buzz from the CBC when it came out in 2019. Food is a huge part of culture and Asian cultures especially. A Filipina friend once told me that she thought food should be the sixth love language!
A Short Story or Essay Collection
How to Pronounce Knife, the most recent Giller Prize winner was an obvious choice for this prompt and already on my TBR.
Published Before You Were Born
I had the hardest time finding a book to fit this prompt. At first this made me feel old but the harder I looked the more I realized that it was a sign of how much Asian-Canadians have struggled to be recognized and respected in Canada. I was born in 1985 and there are so few Asian-Canadian books published before then. Even classics like Michael Ondaatje and Wayson Choy are only from the 80s and 90s. (Claire has some great suggestions in her post but she’s younger than me!) In the end, I have settled on Obasan by Joy Kogawa which is a classic work I definitely should read and whatever poetry by Fred Wah I can get my hands on.
There’s lots for this prompt thankfully! Some of my choices are The Water Beetles by Michael Kaan and Floating City by Kerri Sakamoto and What the Body Remembers by Shauna Singh Baldwin.
Set in an Asian Country
Some of my choices for this prompt are Seven by Farzana Doctor, Chef by Jaspreet Sing, or What the Body Remembers. Hopefully some overlap between prompts is okay!
A few other titles on my TBR that didn’t obviously fit into any of the prompts but I hope to read this year are:
Forgiveness – Mark Sakamoto
26 Knots – Bindu Suresh
That Time I Loved You – Carianne Leung