#AsianLitBingo: A May 2017 Reading Challenge

I’m really happy to announce that I will be co-hosting and participating in the Asian Lit Bingo Reading Challenge in the month of May. #AsianLitBingo was created by Shenwei over at READING (AS)(I)AM (AM)ERICA. Check out the master post to read the guidelines and find the link-ups.

In this post, you can find the bingo sheet and my TBR. I’m a fan of buddy reading, so if any of you are going to be reading the same book as me, you’re welcome to drop me a comment here or on Twitter, and we could plan a buddy reading session.

Bingo sheet

You can click on it to see the larger version.


Multiracial multiethnic Asian MC: The Astrologer’s Daughter – Rebecca Lim

The Astrologer's Daughter

Avicenna Crowe’s mother, Joanne, is an astrologer with uncanny predictive powers and a history of being stalked. Now she is missing.

The police are called, but they’re not asking the right questions. Like why Joanne lied about her past, and what she saw in her stars that made her so afraid.

But Avicenna has inherited her mother’s gift. Finding an unlikely ally in the brooding Simon Thorn, she begins to piece together the mystery. And when she uncovers a link between Joanne’s disappearance and a cold-case murder, Avicenna is led deep into the city’s dark and seedy underbelly, unaware how far she is placing her own life in danger.

Pulse-racing and terrifyingly real, The Astrologer’s Daughter is a stunning, original novel. It will test your belief in destiny and the endurance of love.

I can count the books that I’ve read with multiracial MCs on one hand, maybe two, if I took some time to remember them all. It’s kind of sad considering that I am multiracial and I would adore a book with good rep. I love the idea of combining a mystery with astrology, so I’m really excited about this book. The blurb has a kind of Nancy Drew vibe.

Religious Asian MC: In the Shadow of the Banyan – Vaddey Ratner (Buddhism)

In the Shadow of the Banyan

For seven-year-old Raami, the shattering end of childhood begins with the footsteps of her father returning home in the early dawn hours bringing details of the civil war that has overwhelmed the streets of Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s capital. Soon the family’s world of carefully guarded royal privilege is swept up in the chaos of revolution and forced exodus.

Over the next four years, as she endures the deaths of family members, starvation, and brutal forced labor, Raami clings to the only remaining vestige of childhood—the mythical legends and poems told to her by her father. In a climate of systematic violence where memory is sickness and justification for execution, Raami fights for her improbable survival.

Displaying the author’s extraordinary gift for language, In the Shadow of the Banyan is testament to the transcendent power of narrative and a brilliantly wrought tale of human resilience.

I’ve been meaning to find out more about Buddhism, since some people in my family were Buddhists, mainly those from Sri Lanka. I want to learn more about my roots. This book is not set in Sri Lanka though, it takes place in Cambodia. However, the blurb sounds interesting, and I think I will get to learn something about the civil war in Cambodia and about Buddhism.

Free space: Written in the Stars – Aisha Saeed

Written in the Stars

This heart-wrenching novel explores what it is like to be thrust into an unwanted marriage. Has Naila’s fate been written in the stars? Or can she still make her own destiny?
Naila’s conservative immigrant parents have always said the same thing: She may choose what to study, how to wear her hair, and what to be when she grows up—but they will choose her husband. Following their cultural tradition, they will plan an arranged marriage for her. And until then, dating—even friendship with a boy—is forbidden. When Naila breaks their rule by falling in love with Saif, her parents are livid. Convinced she has forgotten who she truly is, they travel to Pakistan to visit relatives and explore their roots. But Naila’s vacation turns into a nightmare when she learns that plans have changed—her parents have found her a husband and they want her to marry him, now! Despite her greatest efforts, Naila is aghast to find herself cut off from everything and everyone she once knew. Her only hope of escape is Saif . . . if he can find her before it’s too late.

I’ve had this on my Kindle for a few days. I chose it because I’ve been meaning to read a contemporary, young adult novel about arranged marriage and this looked like an interesting story.

Queer romance with Asian MC: The Hungry Ghosts – Shyam Selvadurai

The Hungry Ghosts

In Buddhist myth, the dead may be reborn as “hungry ghosts”—spirits with stomach so large they can never be full—if they have desired too much during their lives. It is the duty of the living relatives to free those doomed to this fate by doing kind deeds and creating good karma. In Shyam Selvadurai’s sweeping new novel, his first in more than a decade, he creates an unforgettable ghost, a powerful Sri Lankan matriarch whose wily ways, insatiable longing for land, houses, money and control, and tragic blindness to the human needs of those around her parallels the volatile political situation of her war-torn country.
The novel centres around Shivan Rassiah, the beloved grandson, who is of mixed Tamil and Sinhalese lineage, and who also—to his grandmother’s dismay—grows from beautiful boy to striking gay man. As the novel opens in the present day, Shivan, now living in Canada, is preparing to travel back to Colombo, Sri Lanka, to rescue his elderly and ailing grandmother, to remove her from the home—now fallen into disrepair—that is her pride, and bring her to Toronto to live our her final days. But throughout the night and into the early morning hours of his departure, Shivan grapples with his own insatiable hunger and is haunted by unrelenting ghosts of his own creation.
The Hungry Ghosts is a beautifully written, dazzling story of family, wealth and the long reach of the past. It shows how racial, political and sexual differences can tear apart both a country and the human heart—not just once, but many times, until the ghosts are fed and freed.

This book may also have something to do with Buddhism, at least that’s what I’d assume after reading the blurb. I’m certainly excited about it. I’ve read Funny Boy by the same author, you can find my review here. I loved the writing, however I found it a bit problematic. Shyam Sylvadurai is known for writing homosexual Sri Lankan men and I’m really hoping that this book will be amazing. I love the cover, as it looks like the male figure is wearing a sarong.

South East Asian MC: The Terracotta Bride – Zen Cho

The Terracotta Bride

A tale of first love, bad theology and robot reincarnation in the Chinese afterlife.

In the tenth court of hell, spirits wealthy enough to bribe the bureaucrats of the underworld can avoid both the torments of hell and the irreversible change of reincarnation.

It’s a comfortable undeath … even for Siew Tsin. She didn’t choose to be married to the richest man in hell, but she’s reconciled. Until her husband brings home a new bride.

Yonghua is an artificial woman crafted from terracotta. What she is may change hell for good. Who she is will transform Siew Tsin. And as they grow closer, the mystery of Yonghua’s creation will draw Siew Tsin into a conspiracy where the stakes are eternal life – or a very final death.

This is one of the books that has been hibernating for quite a long time on my TBR, and I’m so glad that I finally have an excuse to read it. I’ve been meaning to read a novel written by a Malaysian author and featuring a Malaysian character for quite some time, and I’ve always wanted to start with The Terracotta Bride. I doubt that I’ll be able to relate that much because I’m Sinhalese Burgher Malaysian and Indian Malaysian, not Chinese Malaysian. The story itself is quite intriguing and I’m hoping it doesn’t get too creepy. I have a feeling that I’ll wish it’s longer after reading it!

I’m quite excited about this challenge and I hope that some of you will join me in trying to get a bingo. If I do succeed in getting five in a row, then I may find books for the other prompts and read those. If you’re going to be participating, do link your TBR post or tell me which books you’re planning to read in the comments.


30 thoughts on “#AsianLitBingo: A May 2017 Reading Challenge

  1. I can’t wait to be participating in this!! And OMG Hungry Ghosts sounds absolutely incredible! That is definitely being added to the TBR, though I don’t think I’ll have time to read it this month 😦


    1. Oooh! I’m happy you’re joining. I so love the sound of The Hungry Ghosts. I actually have a sarong here, so I might photograph it with the Kindle for Twitter.

      Do you already have a TBR? We could buddy read if you have one of the books that I do.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh wow, that is so cool! That’ll be a really good picture 🙂
        Unfortunately I don’t have any of these books – I’m trying to read ones that I already have because Mount TBR is piling up again. However, we should definitely do a buddy read at some point!!


  2. This challenge looks great. I just got two books from the library that will fit. It is a little tight to read and review five books within a month though, often I post about a month after getting a book – just reading is much faster for me.


    1. I also want post the reviews this month. I’ve got my reviews scheduled already. There are​ two contests, you can find them in the master post. I put a link in my post but​ if you don’t find it, I can send it tomorrow morning (it’s late​ here).

      For one of the contests, you only need to read three books and write a wrap-up post.


  3. Oh wow Astrologer’s Daughter – can’t wait to hear your thoughts on the book. I’ve been lucky to meet Bec Lim before as well, she’s an amazing champion for diversity in Australia 😃 Written in the Stars was very powerful!


  4. I liked The Astrologer’s Daughter (it doesn’t have a conventional mystery structure but it is a very atmospheric read). I’ve seen some of Selvadurai’s books recommended before but not Hungry Ghosts, which sounds fascinating – will see if I can read later in the year. Happy reading!


  5. Great picks! I loved Zen Cho’s Sorcerer to the Crown but haven’t read her other books. I’ll have to check out the Rebecca Lim book.
    Good luck!


  6. I’ve been dying to read WRITTEN THE STARS, because I follow the author on Twitter and she seems like a lovely person! Good luck with your month of reading and thanks so much for being a co-host 🙂


  7. The Astrologer’s Daughter has actually been on my TBR forever. I own a physical copy of it that I found at a used book store but just hadn’t gotten around to it, lol. I didn’t realize Shyam Selvadurai had another book, I only knew about Funny Boy and Swimming in the Monsoon Sea, oops. I’ve read both In the Shadow of the Banyan and Written in the Stars, really loved the former and enjoyed the latter. The Terracotta Bride has been on my TBR forever; Sorcerer to the Crown was great, and I’ve heard great things about Terracotta Bride, so I’m expecting I’ll like it. 🙂


    1. The Terracotta Bride was lovely. I really enjoyed it.

      I like The Hungry Ghosts better than Funny Boy because rape was erased in the latter. He has such a beautiful writing style and makes me think a lot! It fits a lot of squares. Biracial, LGBTQIAP+, contemporary, immigrant, S Asian (is Sri Lanka South Asia or South East Asia, it’s always confusing for me). It just doesn’t fit queer romance, which I should have known…

      The Astrologer’s Daughter was adorable but I didn’t like how spelling was held in such high regard.


      1. Sri Lanka is considered South Asia. I hadn’t heard about the problematic elements of Funny Boy until now, so thanks for the heads up.
        When I saw to comment about the spelling thing on Twitter I was kind of bewildered bc couldn’t understand why that would be an issue in a relationship .-.


  8. First off, I can’t believe I wasn’t following you!?! I’ve rectified it, but ahhh I’m so sorry!
    Secondly, great choices Sinead!! I haven’t heard of the books you’ve chosen except The Terracotta Bride, but I hope you have fun reading them. ❤


    1. Yay for the follow!

      I’ve enjoyed all of them except for Under The Banyan Tree which I’m reading at the end of the month with Wendy from What The Log Had To Say. The Hungry Ghosts is a great novel, some microaggressions but it didn’t erase a major problematic issue.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Awesome choices! The Astrologer’s Daughter and The Terracotta Bride have been on my TBR for aaages. The Terracotta Bride especially looks super interesting. I hope you enjoy them, as well as all the others. Happy reading 🙂


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