Year in review 2019: Books

Total books read: 48
🎧 Percentage that were audiobooks: 10% (5)
🍚 Percentage that were “Asian-American”: 35% (17)
💒 Percentage chick-lit: 21% (10)
💯 Percentage non-fiction: 40% (19)
🔎Percentage not “Available Now”: 56% (27)
🇨🇦 Percentage Can Con: 23% (11)

Book that “wins” with the most emoji preceding it: four-way tie between Forgiveness, I’m Afraid of Men, The Woo-Woo and Chop Suey Nation – they have the same categories: 🍚🔎🇨🇦💯
Book that “loses” with fewest emoji preceding it (lol): Sue Townsend’s Adrian Mole and the Weapons of Mass Destruction, Amber Tamblyn’s Any Man: A Novel, Christina Dalcher’s Vox.


💯🇨🇦 Bif Naked’s I Bificus (2016) – as with most memoirs, why the F do I care when I’m reading the earlier years about her ho-hum high school years? The memoir was less emotional, less “artistic” than I expected it to be. There was a lot of material to go through and at times it felt like a matter-of-fact listing of events that occurred. She survived her battle with cancer but it felt she was writing as if one removed from it – it was raw but could have been more raw? I expected more.

💯Amy Kaufman’s Bachelor Nation (Mar 2018) – this is what I characterize as non-fiction that is interesting and I wanted to read something in the non-fiction category that would carry me along. The details about The Bachelor (and Bachelorette) revealed were eye-opening if not totally shocking – basically, just about anything can happen. For a hot moment, I knew a few more D-list celebrities’ names and root for them (the Bachelors/Bachelorettes who did marry their fiancees/fiances) – but can’t say I remember them at the end of the year!

🎧💯🔎Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly (2000) – considering I read this memoir back in – I dunno – 2008 (per Flickr photos), but never finished it, does listening to the audiobook in its entirety count as reading?? Like so many people, I wanted to pay tribute or my interest was heightened to his story upon Bourdain’s death last year. I still haven’t seen the Hong Kong episode (the last one aired during his lifetime) and it’s cool this was narrated by the author.

🎧💯🔎Lisa Brennan-Jobs’ Small Fry (Sept 2018) – Through an interview with ItNYTBR and that it was on their 2018 list, I learned of this book.  From the interview, it seemed like a big deal but it comes down to the story about a girl who wants to have a family, whose father is sort of in the picture and always dangling hope. Her parents’ relationship is volatile in a different way wherein her mother is a former hippie who had to grow-up/conform to raise her child and her father is volatile, not really excusable even for a genius who is innovating the tech world and running a billion-dollar company. I bet Steve Jobs fans weren’t happy about this memoir exposing some of his bad behaviour as a person and father – but maybe it was well-known, this side of him?

💯Rosamund Young’s The Secret Life of Cows (June 2018)  – Found through looking for some non-fic after reading so much fiction. Did this have to do with veganism? I was open to it if it was. It seemed like a familiar sounding title, either recommended by vegans or because another same title exists (the latter). Before I got too far in, I saw it was panned on Good Reads but looks like a fast read – I was at 13% in no time! I’ll resist the anthropomorphization that garnered the negative reviews and just found it whimsical and not convincing overall.

💯🔎 Stephanie Land’s Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive (Jan 2019) – I heard Stephanie Land interviewed on ItNYTBR and it was compelling as you would imagine: the maid work and details could be interesting (unlike a white-collar office job) and there was the mother piece. I breeze through this one relative to the previous book (The Woo-Woo) – 6 days compared to 17 (what-a-slog!) – and appreciated how Land showed the intricacies of the American social assistance program and how perilous finances were for her. I got nervous there was going to be a disastrous blow to her or her daughter. A couple of reviews I read cited “white privilege” and that she whined but I hold that (1) she’s still female, uneducated, and single mother – some people on their high horses (2) it’s her memoir and she can have the brave tone that never cries or have a private breakdown – my sense wasn’t that she was going around telling everyone about her woes and trying to have a pity party every day.

💯Andrew Morton’s Meghan: A Hollywood Princess (2018) – Have continually seen this in Available Now and shortly after Archie, Earl of Dumbarton was born on May 7 and with nothing else to read, I started reading this memoir. I had stopped reading Unfu*k Yourself because I can shout that to myself and I’d Rather Be Be Reading: The Delights and and Dilemmas of the Reading Life because it felt too meta. This memoir took you back to her childhood to reveal the kind of privilege that she grew up with. Her father who is depicted by tabloids as white trash, did raise her rather than be the deadbeat dad you might think he was. Morton had some very positive comments about Meghan but his speculation inserted in the text was annoying, emphasizing that the memoir was based on research and not interviews he had with her. Funny enough, as an avid British Royal Family follower, it felt like I knew most things about Meghan, but the biographer’s sympathy for the father was palpable.

💯 Elizabeth Willard Thames’ Meet the Frugalwoods: Achieving Financial Independence Through Simple Living (Mar 2018)  – I found this title via Available Now and it sounded cute and practical, knowing it would have a minimalist bent (Conscious Living) but also a financial perspective. Thames’ prologue mentioning the reality of poverty and acknowledging her privilege reminded me of Maid. Their methods are so admirable it’s like a full-blown “novel” version of those articles about retiring early that make me want to a do-over!

💯 Samantha Irby We Are Never Meeting in Real Life.: Essays (2017) – I put a request with the library to read this because I saw a colleague was reading it. I didn’t find it particularly funny or insightful and don’t see the big deal – needless to say, I didn’t know about Samantha Irby otherwise, before reading this.

💯Tami Oldham Ashcroft’s Adrift: A True Story of Love, Loss, and Survival at Sea (1998) – Initially published in 1998 under the title Red Sky in Morning with the same subtitle but redone in 2018 with a gloriously ominous looking cover (the movie tie-in version, whatever that means), re-published under a new name for the 2018 movie starring Shailene Woodley and Sam Clafin. It was the first novel I read since deciding to participate in VPL Book Bingo and I wasn’t being stategic about it. Is Tami a writer? No? She’s a normal woman to whom an incredible thing happened and she survived, which is good enough in my books to read about. There was a bit of sailing jargon that I largely gloss over, however it deepened (from nothing) my appreciation of the rigours of sailing and that everyone on the vessel needs to know how to do it. I also appreciated the stories that constellations tell (not random) and found it pretty good and guessing it was better than the movie, lol.

💯🔎 Tara Westover’s Educated (Feb 2018) – Despite all the hoopla, I initially passed this memoir over with my snobbery, “What can someone tell me about the value of education!?” However, it was a book club pick and the most promising sounding of the three books we would be reading in the fall. It was “thrilling” since her family essentially acted like rednecks – avoiding/eschewing technology, medicine, education to be off the grid – and had their fundamentalist beliefs. What kind of trouble will they next land in? While I was reading this, I ran into my cousin Megan and she mentioned wanting to read it (like many others) while I was reading it only because I had to. We talked about reading memoirs of fairly ordinary people (i.e., not celebrities) that will teach us about life that we would otherwise never knew about. Westover doing what it takes to complete her schooling reminds me not just a little of my mother and now I know about BYU (its existence).

💯Piper Kerman’s Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison (2011) – At some point, I wanted to watch this show but at this point, I won’t get around to it if I’m to be realistic. I saw the title in “Available Now” and it was an easy decision as obviously it would be one of those memoirs that almost reads like fiction – knowing that Kerman becomes an advocate for prison reform, I’m sympathetic to her descriptions and underscoring the problems in the prison system.


💒Lynda Cohen Loigman’s The Two-Family House (2017)-  I found this title under Available Now and the blurb mentioned Brooklyn and I thought of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. It is not at all like the older novel although Cohen Loigman happens to mention it as reading material and how much it meant to her. The characters and the story that unfolds were really engaging (am I cold Rose?) and when I recommended it to Auntie Joan, she devoured it and immediately read more by the author.

💒Laurie Gelman’s Class Mom (2017) – I ALWAYS see this title in Available Now and so I finally read it because it’s the only one that caught my eye one evening (or late night) when I was browsing and because it had become so familiar on that account. It was blah, as could be expected – my friend Brenda ended up reading it, too, independently, so we could chat about it. Her bio keeps saying she’s from the Great White North until recently.

💒Caitlin Macy’s Mrs. (Feb 2018) – So-called the “next Big Little Lies“, i.e., what are the events that lead to the mystery incident which isn’t revealed until like 65% the way through – all along, you thought something happened to mysterious Phillippa. The characters (troubled Phillippa, ever-practical Gwen and newly riche Minnie) were pretty interesting, as were the men (farmer Jed – that’s a nursery song, too – lawyer Dan, scumbag John D. Curtis).

💒🔎Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine (2017) – A lot of hype surrounded this book and after reading The Kiss Quotient (fluff), I thought I would read the OG (or not) of better quality by Gail Honeyman. The Britishisms kept me hopping, making me look up words like parrot plant, jerkin and zetabetical (not a real word). As half-expected, the novel was far grittier than Kiss Quotient (keepin’ it real), I thought autism would be mentioned but maybe it’s not kosher in these books and it leaves it open to the possibility that Eleanor’s strict behaviours were a result of her bad history.

🔎🎧Bill Clinton and James Patterson’s The President is Missing (June 2018)  – In late 2018, I borrowed this from the library for NPY and he impressively got through about a third of it before it had to be returned (Kiddo and I were away at the time, so he was free as a bird). I knew there wasn’t a chance I was getting through a novel of this genre, even as an e-book so it was mindless background sound. It was cool it was narrated by Dennis Quaid, but can’t say I caught all details. It seemed to be an average story that someone else could have imagined about a president and I couldn’t tell (wasn’t look particularly for) the hand of a former president in the story.

Sue Townsend’s Adrian Mole and the Weapons of Mass Destruction (2004) – I saw this title a couple of times in Available Now and succumbed as I never read Adrian Mole as a kid, so why not now? He’s horrible! And so neurotic! I wasn’t missing out and now I definitely know!

🔎Mitch Albom’s The Next Person You Meet in Heaven: The Sequel to The Five People You Meet in Heaven (Oct 2018) – After seeing this on a recos list, I requested it from the library. I breezed through this one. I didn’t off-hand remember the first volume, but it was recapped enough. There is a small and poignant twist at the end and it’s a lovely complement novel/sequel.

💒Rumaan Alam’s That Kind of Mother (May 2018) – Saw this in Available Now and thought it might be interesting because of race relations and that it was written by a male author, and the title chosen! But the protagonist was so aggravatingly in denial about being post-partum and so self-absorbed, so it was quite a slog to read.

Amber Tamblyn’s Any Man: A Novel (June 2018) – I watched Joan of Arcadia way back when and sort of heard that Tamblyn can write. It’s a super unsafe and crazy topic and Goodreads had some people saying that reading Any Man really f-ed them up to read it. I was on alert for the really sad/graphic stories and wouldn’t read it too late at night! It’s not a title I’d want to own or have displayed on my bookshelf! Is she allowed to fictionalize tweets by celebrities? It didn’t f* me up but there was certainly some disturbing imagery there.

🔎 Val Emmich’s Dear Evan Hansen (Oct 2018) – I was first aware of this title from recos lists and because of the name (natch) and (whew) it’s a success – best-seller, smash Broadway play, etc. Then I decided it’s worth looking into. It really isn’t my kind of story because of the juvenile protagonist’s point of view and I was confused if it’s a tween novel or adult novel (possibly both). As much as I tried – for questionable reasons – to be sympathetic, I couldn’t say I was, truly.

💒 Linda Sykes & Jo Piazza’s Fitness Junkie (2017)  – I had seen this title a couple times in Available Now and one evening while Game Night (movie) was playing in the background, I scrolled through like 60 pages of Available Now books, so why not? I wasn’t in the mood for hyperbole chick lit comedy but there was nothing to read … I know how ridiculous the fitness industry marketing can be but it’s another thing to read hyperbole and it was such a crappy story premise.

Christina Dalcher’s Vox (Aug 2018) – Between the minimalist name, comparisons with legendary The Handmaid’s Tale, and wanting to read something with oomph, I read this. I just couldn’t suspend my disbelief how their right to speak could get stripped like that and the story felt a bit tired, stretching too much to pay homage or something.

🔎Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Daisy Jones & The Six (Mar 2019)  – I really enjoyed her Maybe Some Other Life so I noticed when I saw TJR’s name again on this best-seller and noticing this book because it kept showed up on every recos lists. I had this and The Circe at the same time and Auntie Joan advised me to read the easier one first, since I was afraid to lose these I waited so long on hold for. I read the first 25% in a day! Regarding the name of the band, NPY said his usual, “it sounds familiar” but it was just really good fiction!

🔎Madeline Miller’s Circe (Apr 2018) – I added this to my reading list based on a recommended by blogger Karen Cheng and since I have zero mythology education from high school and uni. I hadn’t before thought about or knew what it means to be immortal, how life plays out and in relation to mortals they know (despite watching Thor which does not dwell on the immortal life aspect). So you saw her being a bit of a self-righteous brat (who was bullied) growing into to a powerful woman and her own. In a way, Miller couldn’t mess with the narrative and it’s cool how Circe’s story dovetails with Odysseus (which I also never read). I became more sympathetic to her and she became a more sympathetic character when she had a child and her subsequent maturing and fierce protectiveness.

🔎 Karen Thompson Walker’s The Dreamers (Jan 2019) – I saw this on some recos lists and it’s sci-fi, so I requested it and waited a while for it. It’s sci-fi, but not really the kind I enjoy, as it’s more just a thriller, I was super-sympathetic to the parents of a newborn when the sickness hits. It was thrilling and freaky to read in the middle of the night when everyone else was sleeping!

🇨🇦Andre Alexis’ Fifteen Dogs (2015) – My cousin Alain mentioned reading this and the Toronto setting and how it’s very different – Hermes and Apollo making a bet to start it off and that is neat because I did see Hermes a lot in Circe. Otherwise, it was just a nifty story from a way different point of view to me and I couldn’t really keep in mind the point of the bet: “if dogs are given human intelligence, will they die happy or unhappy?” I knew about this novel previously from having listened to the Canada Reads debates but would not have read it.

💒🔎Sarah Haywood’s The Cactus (2018) – On some recos list, this was compared to Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and the hapless protagonist is pregnant and so was I in 2019 so … It just wasn’t as good and I wasn’t sympathetic to Susan’s near revenge warpath against her brother but it’s in-line with her personality. I figured correctly that her reactions to the medical condition of being pregnant would be somewhat funny but I really don’t need to read any more novels with similar heroines.

🇨🇦🔎🎧Terry Fallis’ Albatross (Aug 2019) – For all of this novels before Albatross, Fallis published the chapters as MP3s from his website although he has a book deal, It started with the success he had giving away the audio version of his first novel, recording the audiobook himself. I learned from his blog (which I check to see when the next novel is coming), his publisher wouldn’t allow him to do that any longer so I was glad to see VPL bought the audiobook (Can Lit love). This time, the protagonist is the most incredible yet, perfectly proportioned to be a golfer and reaps the monetary rewards but aspires to be a writer. This character and his friends gave Fallis a chance to put himself in the character, I believe but I was tired of the nerdy alliteration, juvenile strings of synonyms and having the protagonist draft out a novel the same way he does. I think he knew what he was doing and even made fun of himself in a dialague during writing critique seminar, someone’s critique is that all the characters have the same voice. Maybe it’s more apparent to me because I listen to the audiobook?


🍚Rachel Heng’s Suicide Club (July 2018) – Was this book teen lit, I started to wonder as I read it. If so, ugh! Some of these more “overt” (read: less sophisticated, clumsy) sci-fi, dystopic fiction is too young for me. Or maybe it’s the pursuit of youth of the characters that I have given up on haha. I felt way above the intelligence of these enlightened individuals and was bored.

🔎🎧🍚Jimmy O. Yang How to American: An Immigrant’s Guide to Disappointing Your Parents (Mar 2018) – My introduction to Jimmy O. Yang is not Silicon Valley, which I watched part of an episode, but as Bernard Tai in Crazy Rich Asians. Well, then, I’ll listen to his audiobook, narrated by the author himself. Whoa, that he learned English from watching BET is pretty obvious. It was an entertaining 7 hours and one thing that rang true for me, “I couldn’t imagine the torment I put my dad through those years. It was probably like having a son hooked on heroin.”

🍚💒🔎Jenny Han’s Always and Forever, Lara Jean (2017)  – Since I received the Albom novel at the same time, I breezed through that first. I read the first in this trilogy a wihle ago, then watched adorable movie on Netflix. I listened to the second in the series as an audiobook, so it really feels as if I haven’t read Jenny Han in a while. The actors were great in the Netflix movie and they were who I had in mind when I was reading this installment to finish off the trilogy!

🍚🔎Kathy Wang’s Family Trust (Oct 2018) – I first saw this title at Costco – with that cover, you know from a mile away it’s a “Chinese” novel! However, it was a bit of a slog (I saw the size of the book at Costco) because the brash tone just wasn’t my style. The children and ex-wife were interesting and the great mystery of how much the father actually had was engaging. But then reading about the end of life was very disheartening, which in a way means Wang was effective.

🍚🔎🇨🇦💯 Mark Sakamoto’s Forgiveness (2015) – I knew about this memoir because of Canada Reads (2018) and although it won, I hadn’t planned on reading it. Then I saw my BIL had a copy and I hadn’t really pegged it as his interest except he is half-Japanese and the copy he had happened to be signed by the author. Just that, and finding I had a non-reason to not read it, I requested it from the library. Originally, I thought that Mark’s grandmother, Mitsue, who was interned during WWII and his grandfather, Ralph, who went to war for Canada and was a POW for years, were the ones who found the ultimate forgiveness and fell in love and married but it was their children. Still, it was eye-opening to read about the conditions of internment of Japanese-Canadians.

🍚🔎🇨🇦 Ian Hamilton’s The Goddess of Yantai (Dec 2018) – This Ava Lee installment contained less violence and had a juicy story of trade-for-trade: blackmailing that Mo keeps quiet about Pang Fai’s lesbian sex tape if Ava & co. keep quiet about Mo’s son’s sexuality and evidence thereof. On the sidelines, there was a big business deal brewing and I kept thinking it would blow up. The next novel is back to gangs, however.

🍚🇨🇦 Sharon Bala’s The Boat People (2018) – I felt like this title was on Canada Reads longer ago than last year (2018) but it wasn’t! Having just read Forgiveness and previously reading Precious Cargo and The Marrow Thieves, the only one left to read from that year is American War. Uh… no. One of the comments made about The Boat People was how the resolution was left ambiguous. So it’s about the process, or what comes before. I was pretty frustrated that the newcomers just couldn’t tell the truth and the suspicion that they thus drew upon themselves.

🔎🇨🇦 Ian Hamilton’s Fate: The Lost Decades of Uncle Chow Tung (Jan 2019) – Another Ian Hamilton novel! Already! (Two books released within a month of each other.) But I needed a reprieve from the intensity of Any Man while reading Any Man. While Goodreads says it’s an “Uncle Tung novel #1”, at first, I hoped it’s a standalone. It turns out not to be a standalone but that’s okay. It’s interesting after so many Ava Lee novels. I wonder at the lack of romance in Chow Tung’s life and then get annoyed with Ava’s hyperbolic current romance. It’s nice to get a turn with a different character for whom so much could be fleshed out. So far, so good and the next novel’s first chapter – as is Hamilton’s habit – was already provided.

🍚🔎🇨🇦💯 Lindsay Wong’s The Woo-Woo: How I Survived Ice Hockey, Drug Raids, Demons, and My Crazy Chinese Family (Oct 2018)  – I did  read a blurb about this book, of course, last year but passed on it. It looked way too loud/brash for my liking. But then (1) my Asian-lit-loving aunt-in-law told me she was requesting it from the library and I felt like I wanted to join her (2) it was amongst the finalists for the 2019 Canada Reads. It didn’t last an hour (the first episode) but it’s recognition enough. I feel like if it’s about mental illness, I shouldn’t shut it out and it was the promise of ghosts and spooks – you know how I hate those – that turned me off at first. I struggled through this one big-time, completely incredulous that this could be real, skeptical that maybe it was exaggerated for effect, and completely unsympathetic to the characters because there’s denial and there’s delusional and I felt like the cast of characters were the latter.

🍚💯 Heng Ou’s The First Forty Days: The Essential Art of Nourishing the New Mother (2016) – MIL blustered about being “too busy with four grandchildren” to give me (as many) post-partum meals as the last time, on the arrival of her first grandchild. She is the only grandmother in town for two children’s kids but I quibble about the accuracy of her raising four grandchildren if I have anything to do with it. She pointed me to some meal services – you know like Hello Fresh but prepared meals and run by local Chinese ladies. But I’d rather provide for myself by stockpiling and this volume provided me with great recipes to follow. The author is Chinese and I hope she would be more than just about Chinese (which I’m afraid is laced with superstition amidst the recommendations) but it really was Chinese-food heavy and I wasn’t too sure about the legitimacy of the non-Asian recipes anyhow.

🍚🔎🇨🇦💯 Vivek Shraya’s I’m Afraid of Men (Aug 2018) – I saw this title promoted on Chapters’ IG. It is super short – less than 100 pages – and shines lights on issues, about the dominance of men, but it spoke loud and clear about how women can be enabling too.

🍚🔎💯 Yeonmi Park’s In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journal to Freedom (2015) – I saw this first at Chapters, and when I saw it second time on the shelves, I was convinced to read it. Park didn’t even have it the worst ever but it was quite hard to read about the helplessness of the women, how their fate was just in everyone else’s hands and the potential cruelty lurking. As usual, the peek into North Korea is fascinating.

🍚🔎 Lisa See’s The Island of Sea Women (Mar 2019)  – I don’t know why I keep reading Lisa See novels so I guess her marketing machinery works, even if it I find it to hardly be sophisticated. As usual, it seemed to be formulaic – the strong bond between two women and the secret that tears them apart. However, it seemed to be See’s most serious and historical novel to date. And I like how these two more recent novels have exposed such interesting inner realms.

🍚🔎💒 Nicola Yoon’s The Sun is Also a Star (2016)  – This was a YA read I allowed because of its recent release as a movie. (But am I going to watch that movie? Not in a long time!) Is Yoon an As-Am author? No! Hah, I fell for it. But the diversity of the characters is great for young readers to see. It was a terribly cute story and I dealt with the YA/romance okay for once. Is this Before Sunrise for the millennials? I still haven’t watch that cult classic. Is it applicable to other casual and super-brief encounters that all of us have and wonder “what if? What if we had the time/sense to explore it to the extent they did?”

🍚🔎🇨🇦💯 Ann Hui’s Chop Suey Nation: The Legion Cafe and Other Stories from Canada’s Chinese Restaurants (Feb 2019) – A glimpse of the TOC and I saw that the restaurants span from BC (Victoria) to the Atlantic. I wondered if she stopped by my parents’ restaurant but realized that her targets were small towns and so that precluded our restaurant. The entrepreneurs had unique stories for sure but it also just seems like the Canadian and not too different version of American books of the same topic.

🍚🇨🇦💯 Jan Wong’s Apron Strings: Navigating Food and Family in France, Italy, and China (2017) – I have long had Jan Wong on my purview since long ago picking up a free copy of Red China Blues and never reading it. I just never ended up reading anything of hers because they sound political but this memoir surely isn’t! I definitely owed it to myself to read such a prolific and productive Chinese-Canadian writer and I enjoyed her writing – it struck me as correct, or just sat with me well. Her adventures with her son in the first two countries were fun but it was China that I breezed through. It definitely impressed upon me about the son leaving her. I told my cousin who comes from Toronto (where Wong is based) and he doesn’t think she’s authentic, or speaks for him, or tries too hard to assert her Chinese-ness. For him, something doesn’t sit right, which is ironic given she has been writing about China for like thirty years!

🍚🔎💒Roselle Lim’s Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck & Fortune (June 2019) – The cutesy cover and the fact it has to do with the protagonist operating a restaurant had me requesting this novel from the library. Further, I read the newspaper/blog post where Lim talked about her summer as a waitress in a Chinese restaurant and how invisible she felt. She was earning funds for college and although she wanted to quit before the summer was out, she stuck it out. But then the book … ! The writing was super awkward and amateur-ish and the characters were as obvious as day. I resented all the magical elements from the effects of her (grandmother’s) cooking to the moving tattoo on the erhu player’s arms to her crystallizing tears and ability to will Daniel to come by cooking dumplings. It had nothing to do with the real grit required to operate a restaurant and the idea of needing to revitalize SF Chinatown seemed laughable to us in other cities.

🍚🔎Jean Kwok’s Searching for Sylvie Lee (June 2019) – From the secret revealed in Natalie Tan to another novel harbouring a secret. But this one was hauntingly beautiful with sisters you dearly wished stuck it out for each other and the frustrating but realistic nonsense that they could only see the other for who they were and not themselves. It turns out that Kwok lived in Holland and that would motivate setting her novel there and how rich the descriptions were.

On this day..