ASIAN BOOKS WHICH CHANGED YOUR LIFE || EIGHT BLOGGERS SHARE THEIR STORIES

 

In my past year as a blogger, the blogging community has taught me so much about diversity, and the importance of representation in literature. It’s been amazing to witness the rise of POC authors, to read discussions on the importance of representation, and gain some insight into publishing for POC authors.

When I was young it hadn’t occurred to me to actively seek out books by Asian authors. I was happy enough to read whatever books that came my way and while now I see how I could have benefited from more Asian novels, I am glad that I am presently able to have this opportunity. Today I want to take you on a nostalgic trip; I have eight bloggers sharing the first Asian novel they read and how it impacted them.

wedding3

NANDINI FROM UNPUTDOWNABLE BOOKS

What was the first book you read which was written by an Asian author or featured characters of Asian descent?

There were quite a few by Indian authors in my childhood but the one that sticks out to me the most in recent times is When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon that I read in 2017. That’s because I was actively seeking Indian rep in books at the time and found this amazing rom-com.
 
What did you love about the book? How did it impact you as a reader? 
 
The small details that’s quintessentially Indian is what I loved the most. Parle G biscuits, annoying aunties, overprotective parents all felt like I was reading my own experiences in a book. It made me emotional and I felt a soul-deep connection with the book even though I don’t enjoy romance very much as a genre. 

In what way do you believe the publishing industry can do better with diverse books?

I think more diverse books are getting into the market but the hype around them is very limited and small. Getting them into the hands of Own Voices reviewers who will love and champion these stories as if they have a personal stake in it will help more than giving it to popular readers who may never give it a second glance. Organising blog tours, street teams, etc will definitely help in making people more aware of diverse books.
 
Read Nandini’s Recent Posts

Visit their blog, twitter, and instagram

CHARVI FROM NOT JUST FICTION

What was the first book you read which was written by an Asian author or featured characters of Asian descent?

If we’re talking about authors living outside India it would be ‘Love Hate and Other Filters’ by Samira Ahmed. 
 
What did you love about the book? How did it impact you as a reader?
 
For the first time I read about a character like me and absolutely loved the references to Indian culture. I had never imagined Indian characters would be portrayed with such accuracy in books published outside India. As a reader it made ne seek mote Indian books by Indian origin writers living in USA and as a whole be proud of my culture and the fact that other cultures are being exposed to it too.
 
In what way do you believe the publishing industry can do better with diverse books?
 
I feel that such diverse books lack the proper promotion and few readers are able to find them. Now with bloggers getting more and more aware and making lists of Asian books and Filipino books and so on, it is slightly better. But in the end I feel like there us a NYT Bestseller List there should be a different sort of list for diverse books so that they can be properly highlighted and made more available for the readers to read.
 
Read Charvi’s Recent Posts

Visit their blog, twitter, and instagram

LAUREN FROM READING, WRITING, AND ME

What was the first book you read which was written by an Asian author or featured characters of Asian descent?

This wasn’t the first but America Panda was the first that made me actively seek out books by Asian authors. (But Emergency Contact and The Way You Make Me Feel are AMAZING!). 
 
What did you love about the book? How did it impact you as a reader?
I absolutely loved how Gloria Chao combined family, culture, and college life. I felt super connected to Mei because I’m starting college early as well, and Chao made elements of Mei’s culture both accessible as well as detailed and personal. I loved having a window into Tiwanese culture to grow my understanding of it. It made me want to read more about cultures that I didn’t know much about.
 
In what way do you believe the publishing industry can do better with diverse books?
 
I think that the industry should look for books that cover a wide range of different backgrounds as well as authors with different angles on the same culture. They should get rid of the notion that people won’t want to read about characters that are a different ethnicity than them. It’s rediculous and not true at all. Even if you can’t identify with every aspect of the book, you can learn and grow your empathy.
 
Read Lauren’s Recent Posts

Visit their blog, twitter, and instagram

KRYZIA FROM ACCIO! BLOG

What was the first book you read which was written by an Asian author or featured characters of Asian descent? 
 
Yang the Youngest and His Terrible Ear by Lensey Namioka
 
What did you love about the book? How did it impact you as a reader?
 
I read the book when I was in my first or second year in high school and I genuinely enjoyed it because it showed the struggles of a kid going to a new school but also to a new country. At the time, I knew that American culture was completely different from Asian culture but Yang the Youngest really made me see how great the contrast was and also how difficult it must be to adapt to a wholly foreign world.
 
In what way do you believe the publishing industry can do better with diverse books?
 
More open discussions about diversity.
 
 

 SHRUTI FROM THIS IS LIT

What was the first book you read which was written by an Asian author or featured characters of Asian descent?
 
Though not the first Asian book, One Part Woman by Perumal Murugan was the first book I’d read written by a man who is from my very own state in India.
 
What did you love about the book? How did it impact you as a reader?
 
I’ve always loved reading books that were historically challenged, and this one was as challenged as it can get in India. Caste-based groups claimed this book hurt “community sentiments [and] defamed women”. Reading banned books involves two kinds of processing for me–one’s the actual story that needs to be processed and the other is discovering why the book was banned in the first place. While One Part Woman is a great piece of literature, the impact of it being banned was more profound for me. My country seems to uphold religious sentiments more than literature and that’s very daunting to someone like me, who’d like to write her own book in the future.
 

In what way do you believe the publishing industry can do better with diverse books?

There needs to be more diverse children’s books. I believe this will have two good changes: a. It’ll help tackle prejudice. b. Kids need to see someone like themselves in literature. As a kid, I read more books about white boys than ones about my own people. The first story I ever wrote was about a white family. It took me a while to understand diversity and representation and I don’t want yet another Indian kid to go through what I did. Children need to hear stories of different cultures. Children need to see themselves represented in books. And that’s why we need more diverse children’s books too.
 

THE UNSEEN LIBRARY

What was the first book you read which was written by an Asian author or featured characters of Asian descent? 

The Wind-up Bird Chronicle

What did you love about the book? How did it impact you as a reader? 

It taught me that literature doesn’t need to have a hook to draw you in. The banality of a mundane life can, if told well, be as fascinating as the wildest imaginations.

In what way do you believe the publishing industry can do better with diverse books?

More promotion and exposure. Spend more time and resources looking for writers and manuscripts that promote a variety of contexts, characters, beliefs, and opinions.

 

RAIN FROM BOOKDRAGONISM

What was the first book you read which was written by an Asian author or featured characters of Asian descent?

Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi. 

What did you love about the book? How did it impact you as a reader?

I loved it because it was the first book I read in trad pub that featured a Filipino character who has a big role on a book. It felt good to read about someone like me. Being represented felt so important and it’s a feeling I won’t trade for anything else.

In what way do you believe the publishing industry can do better with diverse books?

I think the publishing industry should give importance to diverse authors and authors of color to make the voices of marginalized communities heard. They should publish more books by AoC and promote them so that more readers can be knowledgeable about them.

Read Rain’s Recent Posts

Visit their blogtwitter, and instagram
 

ALINE FROM FULLY BOOKED

What was the first book you read which was written by an Asian author or featured characters of Asian descent?

I can’t remember the very first book, but I do want to mention the first book I read with a Bangladeshi main character (and written by a Bangladeshi author), which is The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali by Sabina Khan!
 

What did you love about the book? How did it impact you as a reader?

It means the WORLD TO ME. Bangladeshi characters are virtually never in the spotlight in YA books, even as a secondary character? To see so much of my own culture in a mainstream YA novel is just so so incredibly validating and it just makes me so incredibly happy!! 😭❤️
 
In what way do you believe the publishing industry can do better with diverse books?
 
Publicize and boost diverse books as much as they do/did with non-diverse books, and PUBLISH MORE OF THEM. Although we’ve made huge progress in diversity compared to several years ago, there are still so many under-represented identities, not to mention representation of multiple identities (such as a queer POC, disabled POC, etc). If every marginalized person could find books that they saw themselves represented in, that would be the dream!! But to do that publishers need to do their part and publish books with more marginalized rep!! Because they CAN and WILL sell. And we need them 💕
 
Read Aline’s Recent Posts

I just want to say a huge thank you to the bloggers who helped me with this post! Thank you for sharing your experience with us.

What is the first Asian book you’ve read? How can bloggers help push diverse reads further?

Advertisements

18 thoughts on “ASIAN BOOKS WHICH CHANGED YOUR LIFE || EIGHT BLOGGERS SHARE THEIR STORIES

  1. Charvi says:

    Ooh I remember this now! This was so much fun ❤️ Thank you fir having me on your blog among some amazing book bloggers and kudos for taking the initiative ti assemble this post ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Marie says:

    This is such a great post and it warms my heart so, so, much to see that everyone found a book like that to connect with. I really wish this could happen for everyone, really, feeling represented is one of the most important things ever ❤ Thank you for sharing this! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. tiffany @ readbytiffany says:

    This is such a great post, and I Love seeing so many of my favorite bloggers sharing their favorite books ❤ I think it's so wonderful that you're spotlighting so many books and how it impacted each blogger as a reader. It means a lot to us to see Asian culture represented 🙂 I really enjoyed Emergency Contact like Lauren, and When Dimple Met Rishi was also a really cute read!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. thebookishskies says:

    It was fascinating to read everyone’s different experiences as they first encounter these stories and see themselves in them. It made me think how much I’d feel if I ever find a book from a South-American author in the YA mainstream too. So far, I can only think of The Way You Make Me Feel, by Maurene Goo, in which the protagonist’s father was born in Brazil, and even though a minor thing, it already made me super happy. If I had an entire book with a South-American protagonist, I’d probably cry, hahah.
    Thank you so much for hosting this, Cami! 😌

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.