Literary Listings: 4 Library Borrows by East Asian Authors


4 Library Borrows by East Asian Authors

Real World by Natsuo Kirino, Philip Gabriel (Translator)

I read Out by Kirino and I absolutely loved it! I was so happy when I realised my library had this I had to run down and get it at once. This one seems to be a bit different from Out in that it isn’t the young women doing the crime, but I can’t wait to sink my teeth into because Kirino writes with such a feminist flair, it always makes me smile.

Genres: Mystery, thriller, culture, Japan
Summary: In a crowded residential suburb on the outskirts of Tokyo, four teenage girls indifferently wade their way through a hot, smoggy summer and endless “cram school” sessions meant to ensure entry into good colleges. There’s Toshi, the dependable one; Terauchi, the great student; Yuzan, the sad one, grieving over the death of her mother—and trying to hide her sexual orientation from her friends; and Kirarin, the sweet one, whose late nights and reckless behavior remain a secret from those around her. When Toshi’s next-door neighbor is found brutally murdered, the girls suspect the killer is the neighbor’s son, a high school boy they nickname Worm. But when he flees, taking Toshi’s bike and cell phone with him, the four girls get caught up in a tempest of dangers—dangers they never could have even imagined—that rises from within them as well as from the world around them.

The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara

I was actually ay my local library looking for Ghost Bride when I ran into this. What I was attracted to was the problematic anthropologist, which is what I studied, so I thought why not? I really liked the cover as well and we all know I’m a sucker for a good cover… It wasn’t till after I got home that I realised that it has a fantasy element to it I think!

Genres: Fantasy, historical fiction
Summary: In 1950, a young doctor called Norton Perina signs on with the anthropologist Paul Tallent for an expedition to the remote Micronesian island of Ivu’ivu in search of a rumored lost tribe. They succeed, finding not only that tribe but also a group of forest dwellers they dub “The Dreamers,” who turn out to be fantastically long-lived but progressively more senile. Perina suspects the source of their longevity is a hard-to-find turtle; unable to resist the possibility of eternal life, he kills one and smuggles some meat back to the States. He scientifically proves his thesis, earning worldwide fame and the Nobel Prize, but he soon discovers that its miraculous property comes at a terrible price. As things quickly spiral out of his control, his own demons take hold, with devastating personal consequences.

Big Breasts and Wide Hips (丰乳肥臀 [Fēng rǔ féi tún] #1) by Mo Yan, Howard Goldblatt (translator)

This is also a pick-up from the same time as The People In The Trees and so it’s a bit of a whim read. I’m a bit hesitant to get at it, it seems super heavy and I’m not 100% convinced that I’m going to enjoy it but I really want to try and branch out in baby steps, so I’ll give it a shot.

Genres: Historical Fiction, international, China
Summary: In a country where men dominate, this epic novel is first and foremost about women. As the title implies, the female body serves as the book’s most important image and metaphor. The protagonist, Mother, is born in 1900. Married at 17 into the Shangguan family, she has nine children, only one of whom is a boy, the narrator of the book, a spoiled and ineffectual child who stands in stark contrast to his eight strong and forceful female siblings. Mother, a survivor, is the quintessential strong woman, who risks her life to save the lives of several of her children and grandchildren. The writing is full of life-picturesque, bawdy, shocking, imaginative. Each of the seven chapters represents a different time period, from the end of the Qing dynasty up through the Japanese invasion in the 1930s, the civil war, the Cultural Revolution, and the post-Mao years. In sum, this stunning novel is Mo Yan’s searing vision of 20th-century China.

Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

I’ve wanted to read this for forever. I’ve read great reviews for it on fantasy and YA blogs so I’m super happy to be able to get my hands on it. I quite like the cover but I will also admit that I’m a bit hesitant for the romance. Not a huge romance fan but it seems like a worthwhile read, so I’ll give it a shot.

Genres: YA, historical fiction, international
Summary: Though ruled by British overlords, the Chinese of colonial Malaya still cling to ancient customs. And in the sleepy port town of Malacca, ghosts and superstitions abound. Li Lan, the daughter of a genteel but bankrupt family, has few prospects. But fate intervenes when she receives an unusual proposal from the wealthy and powerful Lim family. They want her to become a ghost bride for the family’s only son, who recently died under mysterious circumstances. Rarely practiced, a traditional ghost marriage is used to placate a restless spirit. Such a union would guarantee Li Lan a home for the rest of her days, but at a terrible price. After an ominous visit to the opulent Lim mansion, Li Lan finds herself haunted not only by her ghostly would-be suitor, but also by her desire for the Lim’s handsome new heir, Tian Bai. Night after night, she is drawn into the shadowy parallel world of the Chinese afterlife, with its ghost cities, paper funeral offerings, vengeful spirits and monstrous bureaucracy—including the mysterious Er Lang, a charming but unpredictable guardian spirit. Li Lan must uncover the Lim family’s darkest secrets—and the truth about her own family—before she is trapped in this ghostly world forever.


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Review: The Body Reader

Book: The Body Reader by Anne Frasier
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer, 2016
Genre: Murder mystery, thriller
Source + Date Read
: Kindle Unlimited, June 2016
Recommend: For quick read thriller lovers
Book Pro’s: Quick burn novel with tons of intrigue
Book Con’s: Some assault and graphic descriptions so be careful!

For three years, Detective Jude Fontaine was kept from the outside world. Held in an underground cell, her only contact was with her sadistic captor, and reading his face was her entire existence. Learning his every line, every movement, and every flicker of thought is what kept her alive. After her experience with isolation and torture, she is left with a fierce desire for justice—and a heightened ability to interpret the body language of both the living and the dead. Despite colleagues’ doubts about her mental state, she resumes her role at Homicide. Her new partner, Detective Uriah Ashby, doesn’t trust her sanity, and he has a story of his own he’d rather keep hidden. But a killer is on the loose, murdering young women, so the detectives have no choice: they must work together to catch the madman before he strikes again. And no one knows madmen like Jude Fontaine.
More Information: GoodReads

Why do I love this book? I find it easier to do reviews when I’m able to think about them in bullet points, so let us begin:

  1. It is super fast paced: I approached this book at a time when I wanted a quick read I could get into quickly and finish just as quickly. The Body Reader does that well because the intrigue built well, and it kept me on that wave the entire time
  2. Great characters: I must say that the characters here are well done for what really is a quick and cheap thriller! I thought the protagonist was well fleshed out (if flawed, oh so flawed) and had decent relationships with people, especially her new partner in the PD. However, her relationships with others were either jerky or left unexplained (especially when she had obvious hostility for them!)
  3. It’s great till half way then EVERYTHING HAPPENS: this book goes at a decent pace and then like half way the author realised that she hadn’t really advanced the plot and then WHAM, in the period of one chapter, everything changes and goes up into the air. As my mum said, “you’re up shit’s creek” (I think the phrase is ship but she say the other so… I go with that)
  4. You’re left asking WHY? Even when it ended I was left feeling very much WHY, which though irksome, wasn’t the end of the world. This isn’t the type of book to invest too much emotions into so it didn’t bother me that I didn’t have questions answered. It entertained me, heck yeah, so I think it did its job:)

So some recommendations before you approach this book?

  1. Prepare for an entertaining read
  2. Don’t emotionally invest too much, this ain’t that kind of party
  3. There are some graphic descriptions so those with triggers should avoid this

Gonna give it a shot?

Book read before this:The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchinson
Book read after this: Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama


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Review :: Jonathan Livingston Seagull

A review of Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull


This is a story for people who follow their hearts and make their own rules…people who get special pleasure out of doing something well, even if only for themselves…people who know there’s more to this living than meets the eye: they’ll be right there with Jonathan, flying higher and faster than ever they dreamed.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull is no ordinary bird. He believes it is every gull’s right to fly, to reach the ultimate freedom of challenge and discovery, finding his greatest reward in teaching younger gulls the joy of flight and the power of dreams.

• • •

This was a really great philosophical allegory about the unabashed desire to learn, understanding and unapologetically being oneself, appreciating and loving others despite the ways they might wrong you, and teaching others to do likewise. I really enjoyed it, short as it was, and the photographs helped set the tone well (except that one time when the double-page photo spread broke up a sentence…but it was only that one time).
It’s a great book for people frustrated with the restrictions of society, those who are ostracised because of their desire to know/experience/see/feel more, and those who want a little extra encouragement/reminder to explore their true selves despite push back from others. It’s not necessarily mind-blowing (though it could be if read at the right time). It’s more a simple reminder and should be approached that way.

You can also really tell that the author is a US Air Force pilot and he has clearly felt a lot of the frustrations (with society and pushing one’s own limits) as Jonathan Livingston Seagull as well as the desire to share with others what he’s learned. I actually read this book aloud to my boyfriend (who is a flight enthusiast) one day when we were walking in the woods and it’s become one of his favourite books. (I like to believe my enthusiastic narration and emotive characters has something to do with that too.)

I would recommend it to fans of The Little Prince, but I think most people would benefit from or be able to appreciate it.

Potential spoiler?? : I have described it to friends as “the last thing I really enjoyed was about a seagull who wanted to fly for fun instead of just to find food and by the end he had psychic flight powers to bend spacetime.”

rating: ★★★★☆
genre: fiction, novella, philosophy
publisher: Harper Element
source: gifted to my boyfriend from my dad :’)
date read: 29 May 2016
recommend for: philosophical fiction fans, fans of The Little Prince
pros: lots of social commentary in a relatively simple and short story
cons: some people might not get on with this style?


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Review :: Miss Pas Touche vol. 1

A review of Hubert & Kerascoët’s Miss Pas Touche tome 1


Paris in the thirties. The ‘Butcher of the Dances’ is on the prowl for young loose women. Blanche works as a maid along with the only family she knows, her sister, fun-loving Agatha. Suddenly, Blanche loses her to what she saw was murder but others only write off as suicide. She decides to take matters into her own hands. In her pursuit, she ends up a servant in a luxury house of call-girls. She even becomes quite good at certain lascivious practices while still remaining a virgin! But she also doesn’t lose sight of her goal: find the Butcher. A suspenseful spicy tale as only the French could so lightly get away with, yet deceptive in its depth and realism.”

(“Miss Don’t Touche Me” in English)
Writer: Hubert
Illustrators: Kerascoët
Translator (for English edition): Joe Johnson

• • •

Not as intimidating to read in the original French as I’d thought it would be, I really enjoyed this story! It was more engaging than I was expecting and I felt really involved when reading. Some parts were really funny, other parts were enjoyably unexpected and overall it was just a really fun reading experience. A lot happens in this book, but the pacing doesn’t feel rushed.
The story follows our frigid heroine, a “prudish” virgin, who is delves into the seedy world of prostitution to discover (and, presumably, turn in) her sister’s killers. The trail leads her to a brothel…

Screen Shot 2016-07-17 at 16.00.39
There are a lot of different types of odd and interesting characters (as one would expect in a classy Parisian brothel in the 1920s, I guess). I’ve seen some people say that Josephine Baker is featured as one of the women in the brothel, but that is not the case. She’s a black transwoman who goes by the name “Miss Josephine” and dresses like Joséphine Baker, but it is clearly not the same person. This could be seen as a homage to Baker, but I took it more as a representation of the different sexual tastes for which the brothel caters. The fact that she is in high demand could also be seen as commentary on how black women are often hyper-sexualised and seen as exotic and other things besides.. But I liked that she wasn’t an oddity amongst the other women in the brothel and, in fact, she was practically revered: “The jewel” of the brother, worth more than all the others.
le bordel
The illustrations are really lively and expressive with colours that give a lot of ambience to the scenes. Even though I needed to look up words sometimes, I had a lot of fun reading this comic in French and I’m really eager to read the second volume in French too!

• • •

I actually attempted to review it in French too:

Comme je l’ai lu en français (pour améliorer ma compétence de la lecture), je vais essayer d’écrire mon avis en français! Pardonnez mes erreurs…(sans doute il y aura beaucoup).

Le meurtre, le sexe, la violence…J’adore cette bande dessinée! Je ne me suis pas attendue à ce que l’histoire soit tellement captivante (et parfois marrante)! C’est un mystère qui se déroule dans un bordel sophistiqué pendant la majeure partie de l’histoire. Beaucoup de choses se passent mais le rythme des événements n’est pas trop rapide.

Notre héroïne froide, une vierge pleine de vertus, se plonge dans un monde sordide pour découvrir (et, je suppose, emmener à la justice) les meurtriers de sa sœur! La piste mène au bordel, caché sous nos yeux…

Il y a une gamme de personnages bizarres et intéressants (comme on s’attend d’un bordel luxueux parisien des années trente, je suppose). J’ai vu que certaines personnes qui ont lu cette bande dessinée ont pensé que Joséphine Baker est illustrée comme une des femmes du bordel, mais ce n’est pas le cas. C’est une transsexuelle noire qui s’appelle « Mademoiselle Joséphine » et qui s’habille comme elle. On peut dire que c’est un hommage, mais je pense que ça fonctionne un peu plus comme un commentaire de gamme des goûts sexuels que le bordel satisfait. Pourtant, ce n’est pas une bizarrerie parmi les autres femmes. En fait, elle est presque vénérée : « le fleuron » du bordel qui vaut plus que toutes les autres.

Les dessins sont vraiment vifs et expressifs avec des couleurs qui donnent beaucoup d’ambiance. Bien que j’aie eu besoin de chercher des mots parfois, je me suis amusée en lisant cette BD en français et j’ai hâte également de lire le prochain tome en français!


rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)
genre: graphic novel/bandes dessinée, mystery, crime, (a pinch of) humour
publisher: Poisson Pilote
source: Waterstones Marketplace
date read: 17 July 2016
recommend for: mystery fans, fans of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries and the like
pros: engaging story and style, very fun and fast-paced
cons: there are one or two slightly uncomfortable panels (re: sexual harassment) but nothing overly graphic despite the regular nudity, depictions of sexy and (very occasional) mildly bloody scenes


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Review: Six Four

Book: Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama
Publisher: Quercus, 2016
Genre: Murder mystery, thriller, Japanese
Source + Date Read
: Library, July 2016
Recommend: For fans of slow burn intrigue and mysteries
Book Pro’s: Such great intensity (though slow building) and characters
Book Con’s: It is reallllllllly slow building and what’s with that bit with the press?


For five days in January 1989, the parents of a seven-year-old Tokyo schoolgirl sat and listened to the demands of their daughter’s kidnapper. They would never learn his identity. They would never see their daughter again.
For the fourteen years that followed, the Japanese public listened to the police’s apologies. They would never forget the botched investigation that became known as ‘Six Four’. They would never forgive the authorities their failure.
For one week in late 2002, the press officer attached to the police department in question confronted an anomaly in the case. He could never imagine what he would uncover. He would never have looked if he’d known what he would find
More Information: GoodReads

Why do I love this book? I find it easier to do reviews when I’m able to think about them in bullet points, so let us begin:

  1. That cover is amazing: it’s so full of intrigue and just well done in general! I first heard about this book in Foyles when I noticed it in the windows and I was interested in it enough to go in, pick it up, flip through it and add it to me To Buy list. I didn’t end up buying it but I successfully got my hands on it last week at the library:)
  2. It’s a great slow burn: I’ve not read enough mysteries to know the different sub-genres to know whether it is a noir or murder thriller or anything like that. I will say that it is a slow burn crime novel, that takes us through a few days in the life of one Mikami as he deals with pressures from his work, his personal life (ie, daughter) and the growing intrigue of a past case, Six For
  3. Great cultural insight: I know for some this was a bit of a pain point, some parts that are a big deal in the book come off as weak or being blown out of proportion from a Western perspective- but I loved that part! It makes you think and take a few moments to just understand that people think differently or approach situations differently due to culture. I loved that aspect and I think the book would have been “lesser” if it had removed any of those elements
  4. Gender dynamics are “interesting”: in that, I’m not sure I terribly loved how women were portrayed here, but it was interesting to read a different perspective on gender and female cops (from a male point of view I guess). I will say that Natsuo Kirino is so far the best at portraying women in translated Japanese literature

So some recommendations before you approach this book?

  1. Prepare to take a long time to read this: It took me two nights to get through this but that was at 4 to 5 hours each night. This is a long book and if you don’t set time aside to power through it, you just won’t
  2. Prepare to be confused by all the M’s: SO MANY M’s! Minako, Mikami, Mikumo, Mizuki! Some are important to the plot and others aren’t, try your best to remember them all though
  3. Prepare for a few “….really” moments: there were a few times when I thought that someone’s reactions (a specific character)

So what do you think, will you read it?

Book read before this: The Body Reader by Anne Frasier
Book read after this: Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling (audiobook)


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Intimidating TBR Tag

OK, let me be real, I don’t think my TBR is really that intimidating? It’s got between 30 and 40 books (including about 5 ebooks and audiobooks and including about 5 books that actually belong to my boyfriend and not me…but that I want to pinch) and most books are short. Many at well below 200 pages. BUT I think the act of actually tackling them is the intimidating part? That said, I’m doin’ this tag:) YOLO!

1. What book have you been unable to finish?

Ummm….a lot of them I guess. I mean my “Currently Reading” list is 10 books long (9th & 10th book not shown) at the moment. And, yes. Two of those books I have been reading since 2014…one from Feb 2015. :’)Screen Shot 2016-07-09 at 17.33.18
But I’m slowly getting through. This has never been something that bothered me.:) haha

2. What book you have yet to read because…you just haven’t had the time?


Except that I feel that’s not really true… I’m sure I could have made time at some point? (To be fair, I have started it and am just in the foreword bit explaining the context in which the book was written, but never bothered to add that to GoodReads. It is the 9th book I’m “currently reading”.)

3. What book you have yet to read because…it’s a sequel?


loved Leave it to Psmith and I quite enjoyed Psmith in the City, but I just haven’t got around to Psmith, Journalist yet. I think my mum gifted it to me four birthdays ago? And it’s not even very long.

4. What book you have yet to read because…it’s brand new?


Not brand new as a book, but brand new to me since I finally ordered it secondhand from the Waterstones Marketplace. Fantastic illustration, I am actually really excited to get to this comic! I bought the French edition to further encourage my language learning but, despite it’s slim size and my intermediate French level, it can feel a little intimidating/exhausting to pick up at times.

5. What book you have yet to read because…you read a book by the same author and didn’t enjoy it?

I don’t think I own any books by authors whose work I read and disliked? Not on purpose, though. I’m happy to give authors a second try. I guess I just happen not to own any books at the moment by authors who have failed me previously. ;)

6. What book you have yet to read because…you’re just not int he mood for it?

I just picked these three at random, but this could really apply to any book on my TBR that I’m not currently reading because, as you’ve seen, I have no problem “currently reading” a butt-load of books all at once. The ones I’m not reading at the moment, are the ones I’m not in the mood for :’)

7. What book you have yet to read because…it’s humongous?

Screen Shot 2016-07-09 at 18.25.08

At 714 pages, this was intimidating for me to even look at. But I’ve actually begun to remedy this as of earlier this month when I finally picked it up (trying to stick with my plan of finishing it by the end of the year)! Also, can we take a minute to appreciate this lovely edition by Jim Stoddart?

8. What book you have yet to read because…it was a cover buy that turned out to have poor reviews?

I don’t really pay that much attention to reviews before I read a book usually. I’m starting to just now realise that I actually really like the element of mystery in my reading. I like to know just enough to have a taste if I might like it or not. (This is possibly why I also don’t tend to watch movie trailers if I already know I might be interested in a film.)


That said, I bought this book some time last year (partly because I had a sense in the air that people thought it was good) and the premise (and cover) were pretty cool. However, a fair few people seem to come away from it less impressed than they’d hoped. I don’t want to find out anything more than I already know about it (so please don’t tell me anything!) in case it makes me not pick it up at all, but that feeling has stalled me a little.

9. What is the most intimidating book in your TBR pile?

Probably the aforementioned East of Eden or The Odyssey but, barring them (since they’ve already been mentioned), maybe this:


I actually already started reading it and, despite its already intimidating size, I was really getting into it. I love the writing. But then I heard some reviews that made me feel unsure and uncomfortable about continuing because of the apparently “too much” of the story later on.. I don’t know if I’ll finish it or not yet. It’s still on the cards for me. But the reasons for and against and the ensuing indecision make it the most intimidating book on my TBR.


10. Who do you tag?

This tage seems pretty old and never knowing who has done anything already is my forte. If you haven’t done it yet, consider yourself tagged and please comment below if you do it (or have already done it) so I can spy on your intimidating TBR business OwO

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Review :: The Regional Office Is Under Attack!

A review of Manuel Gonzales’ The Regional Office Is Under Attack!


I didn’t actually read ANY kind of summary on this before starting it and I feel like that made the experience that much more fun and interesting, but for those of you who prefer to read synopses:

“In a world beset by amassing forces of darkness, one organization—the Regional Office—and its coterie of super-powered female assassins protects the globe from annihilation.At its helm, the mysterious Oyemi and her oracles seek out new recruits and root out evil plots. Then a prophecy suggests that someone from inside might bring about its downfall. And now, the Regional Office is under attack.”

The following is the rest of GoodReads’ synopsis, but it gives a away a little bit more so if the above has already sold you on it and you still want a bit more mystery before reading, ignore this part:

“Recruited by a defector from within, Rose is a young assassin leading the attack, eager to stretch into her powers and prove herself on her first mission. Defending the Regional Office is Sarah—who may or may not have a mechanical arm—fiercely devoted to the organization that took her in as a young woman in the wake of her mother’s sudden disappearance. On the day that the Regional Office is attacked, Rose’s and Sarah’s stories will overlap, their lives will collide, and the world as they know it just might end.
Weaving in a brilliantly conceived mythology, fantastical magical powers, teenage crushes, and kinetic fight scenes, The Regional Office Is Under Attack! is a seismically entertaining debut novel about revenge and allegiance and love.”

• • •

This was a surprisingly really fun listen! I had no idea what it was about when I downloaded the audiobook from my library. It was just on the front page of my library’s website and I liked the cover and it just happened to be available and I had nothing else on my queue. So I borrowed it.

At first, I’ll be honest, I didn’t really know what was going on for a while. I think I struggled to figure out if it was serious or not (it is decidedly not) and if it was sci-fi or not (it decidedly is). The humour is often subtle and the sci-fi element is handled very matter-of-fact-ly for the most part and, in the end, I just let the story unfold and had a lot of fun along the way.

I loved all the characters. Pretty much all of the main (and almost all the secondary) characters are women except two male protagonists, and I enjoyed how Gonzales wrote them. They’re interesting and strong (literally and figuratively), they are unapologetically cold and practical and exactly the kind of messed up killers they were selected and trained to be. I really enjoyed reading about them. The characters really pulled me through my confusion about events in the beginning and made me not really care what was happening as long as I could spend time finding out more about them. But what was happening did turn out to be an interesting little adventure too.

I’ve seen a review from someone saying all the female characters are controlled by the two male protagonists in the story and I completely disagree. I actually felt like there was a very light, possibly feminist touch to this story. The female characters have a lot of agency and despite the novel’s style, they are not two dimensional. By contrast, not a lot of attention is put into rounding out the male characters that much, but that doesn’t affect the story. The two men in the story (and all the other characters) are completely at the whims of the women…two women in particular who we don’t really spend much time with and who sort of just stay very mysterious for the whole story. The same review wasn’t a fan of the way the characters are written, but I think it’s important to note that it is all rather satirical and taking anything too seriously is probably not the best way to take in the story. Although it isn’t really YA (I don’t think?*)…it sort of feels like a satire of certain kinds of YA stories.
*(It probably could just as easily be placed in the YA section as the general fiction section though?)

I was also very impressed with how the action and fight scenes were handled. I didn’t get lost in or feel bored by them (which often happens when I read action) and there was a good pacing throughout those scenes and tying them into the story.

One of my favourite segments and one of the funniest bits was the part with the hostages. Just thinking about some of it now makes me laugh. It reminds me (as does a lot of the book) about how you might create a strange scenario (especially panic situations) on an ordinary day in an ordinary place and wonder about how normal people (especially your own colleagues who you know a little bit about) would fare in those situations. And it juxtaposes that fantasy humorously with the probable outcome.

If you like silly stories that feign seriousness, with interesting characters (many cold, powerful, but still very human women), this might be the book for you. But it is a bit odd. I was sceptical, too, when I realised there were four different narrators in the audiobook (Sarah Scott, Natasha Soudek, Susan Hanfield, and Mike Chamberlain), but that actually worked out really well and I loved each of their performances.

If you like silly stories that pretend to be serious, that mix a smidgen of sci-fi in with normal life as if it’s normal and have a host of interesting characters who are fun to follow around, this might be for you.

rating: ★★★★☆ (4 stars)
genre: SFF, humour
publisher: Penguin Audio
source: library
date read: 8 July 2016
recommend for: action movie fans, fans of satire, YA fans
pros: engaging story and style, very fun and fast-paced
cons: the humour might not be everyone’s cup of tea


Posted in Book Reviews, SFF, YA | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Book Goal Conflict

It has come to my attention that two of my bookish goals for this year are at war:

  1. Read Your Own Damn Books (reading books I already own)
  2. Read more diversely (in terms of race, gender, sexual orientation, ability, etc)

I am really enjoying reading more diversely, but I also really want to reduce my physical TBR which, having accumulated before I got more “woke”, is filled with books from exactly the kind of authors I always read from over and over again. SO(!) how do I reconcile my desire to continue my diverse reading adventure and whittle down my TBR*?

*NB: when I say TBR in this post I mean the books I already own. My virtual TBR on GoodReads is filled with diverse reading options that I’m excited to get to, but it’s the reading of already-bought books that I wanted to try to do this year (Read Your Own Damn Books). It would save me some money too. I don’t really buy books new and I borrow from my library a lot, but prioritising reading books I’ve already bought instead of buying more (even if secondhand) could mean more money for Gü pots or other delicacies.😉

Also (I don’t think it bares mentioning really, but in case it does), it’s not that I don’t want to read the types of authors that are considered the ‘default’ any more. I just want to read from a wider pool of authors as well, but prioritising my current TBR would definitely overwhelm that goal and make it pretty…’monocultured’, shall we say?

SO what to do about this? Honestly, I’m not sure. I’m hoping my library gets more audiobooks by a diverse range of authors that I can listen to at work. I recently listened to The Regional Office Is Under Attack! by Manuel Gonzales and it really surprised me (in a good way). It cost nothing and, being an audiobook that I could read while working, didn’t cut into my ‘reading’ time at all…in fact, it turned work time into ‘reading’ time which is always nice ha!

The only problem with this library audiobooking tactic is that my library only updates their catalogue very occasionally (and usually more ebooks come in than audiobooks). The books aren’t always interesting (with fewer of them by women (unless romance which doesn’t often appeal to me) or POC or LGBT people) and there are usually a lot of self-help books by middle-class, middle-aged white dudes or hokey pseudo-psychology mysticism crap and I just…I’m not about that life. So that doesn’t really help me much.

Why is this important to me? Lots of reasons. You can interpolate the obvious motivations for why I want to keep on top of this balance that might seem to be only about statistics. But on a far less lofty level, I get bored of reading from the same perspective all the time. I am interested in (just about) all the books I have on my TBR or I at least have solid reasons for wanting to read them, but just as you sometimes need a break after reading the same genre day in and day out, I can’t just read basically they same point of view all the time without feeling a little unenthused about my reading.

I guess this is a bit of a brain spew, but “Just don’t pay attention to it and read whatever” is sort of hard for me since I think I’ll start to feel the lack of difference pretty quickly, but I do want to make a dent in the unread books on my shelf. Maybe I’ll go through my shelves and see what books I can donate so I don’t have to worry about feeling obliged to read them… Ugh ugh ugh. Someone give me £1million to buy audiobooks for the rest of my life (and also a house in which to put my physical books and myself…just…gonna sneak that in there too…fine print).

Have you come across a conflict of interests in your reading goals? What was it and what did you do to solve (or at least mitigate) it? Have any suggestions for me?

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