I’m at the airport – and I temporarily have wifi – so hopefully I’ll be able to fill in posts. Here we go with today’s originally scheduled programming. The badass superstar Courtney Milan. Really she needs no introduction. Although if you guys have any tips on how I might attempt to wow her (or at least not underwhelm her) I’d appreciate them – cuz I’m going to be seeing her!
So with that er >.> intro – here’s Courtney!
Hi everyone. I’m an author. I happen to be hapa (my mother is Chinese), but I don’t want to talk about me today. Or my books. I want to talk about what I’m reading.
This year, I’ve been making an effort to diversify my reading. The thing is, I thought I was trying to do that in the past. I really did. I told myself that I was open to reading anything that came my way. I made a conscious effort to try and buy books that I knew were written by an author of color. But I went back through my “read” list for 2013, and my attempt to be open meant that less than 10% of my books were written by authors of color.
I realized that I can’t wait for a book to jump in front of my face. If I want to read diverse books, I’m going to have to actively search out authors of color. So in 2014, I’m reading one author of color for every book I read by a white author.
So, today, in honor of APAHM, I want to talk about some of the awesome books I’ve read that were written by Asian authors so far this year.
* Alisha Rai’s Bedroom Games series, going from Play with Me to Risk and Reward and ending with Bet on Me. What I love about these books is that they take the same couple and see them through different stages of their relationship–from first love to tentative commitment through the happily ever after. But Alisha Rai does this without using emotional manipulation or cliffhanger endings. Every book is satisfying. Each book brings the hero and heroine closer together. There’s a lot of conflict in these books–but I never felt that the couple was “backsliding” into their old ways that you thought they’d fixed up.
* Zen Cho’s The Perilous Life of Jade Yeo. This is a wonderful historical romance between a Malaysian (but I believe ethnically Chinese) woman and an Indian man. It’s based on Jane Eyre–but a version of Jane Eyre where Jane doesn’t end up with Rochester, and when St. John offers to take her to India, it’s not to colonize and proselytize, it’s because it’s his home. I don’t know how to describe this book but it made me want to jump up and down and push this book into other people’s hands. Read it, read it, read it!
* Suleikha Snyder’s Bollywood and the Beast. Every good Beauty and the Beast tale features two people who are both outsiders in their own way, but react to their exclusion in ways that serve as a foil for each other. This book is a wonderful Beauty and the Beast story. I identified so much with Rocky/Rakhee–her hard work, which was so often dismissed by others, her feeling that she didn’t really fit any place. I just felt so protective of her.
* Did you know that Sherry Thomas has a new novella out? Claiming the Duchess is absolutely free, and it’s delightful. More than that, it’s an epistolary novella filled with her trademark wit. I can’t say much without giving out spoilers, but it was so, so lovely. So good that it made me reread her Fitzhugh Trilogy. Again.
* Amber Lin’s Giving it Up. When romances touch on sexual assault, they very often tend towards the stranger-danger sort of thing–some unknown, or barely known person assaulting the heroine. But statistically most rapes aren’t committed by strangers. I have a lot of thoughts about why romances tend to stranger-danger. I think, in part, it’s that the thought of rapes committed by dear friends make us (well, at least me) feel far more vulnerable. We want to believe that our friends would NEVER hurt us; if they do, it’s a double betrayal. This book has a raw honesty to it. If you are at all triggered by rape/sexual assault, this book WILL trigger you. This book has a difficult heroine, a very dark edge, and it delivers all the feels.
* I’m also super-excited about Sonali Dev’s upcoming A Bollywood Affair, a romance between a woman in an arranged marriage (she was married extremely young and she hasn’t seen her husband in 20 years–since she was four, so I assume the marriage hasn’t been consummated) and her husband’s brother who comes to serve her with divorce papers. Gah. That premise! I want to read it RIGHT NOW. But sadly, this is going to be out in October 2014.
For full disclosure, I should mention that I am friends with some of these authors–but I wouldn’t recommend a bad book to you.
I’m actively looking for more authors to read. Have someone to recommend? Let me know in the comments, and I will look them up.
So what recommendations do you have for Courtney? I’m curious too!