Books of 2022

It’s only a few more days until the new year so I figured I’d actually post my reading list of 2022 early this year. But that also means that I may have cheated just a tiny bit with my last book (50!!!) because I’m not finished reading it yet, but I plan to finish before the 1st. Two standouts were Kelly Link’s newest collection, White Cat, Black Dog, (she never ceases to amaze me!) and Quan Barry’s When I’m Gone, Look for Me in the East (it was exactly what I needed to read and it’s quiet and philosophical and enthralling). A few of these books were for work, many for fun, and I’m happy to talk about my opinions on any of them. Time loop stories seem to be a trend, judging from some of my work reading. My last dozen or so books read were definitely helped by a lack of wifi in the apartment this last month, so I’d recommend no wifi if you want to slow down and get a lot of reading done! Anyway, happy new year!

  1. Eat Up!– Ruby Tandoh (NF)
  2. Isaiah Dunn Saves the Day– Kelly J. Baptist (MG)
  3. Tales from the Inner City– Shaun Tan
  4. Objects of Desire– Clare Sestanovich
  5. A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Hunting– Sophie Irwin
  6. Chasing the Thrill: Obsession, Death, and Glory in America’s Most Extraordinary Treasure Hunt– Daniel Barbarisi (NF)
  7. Creature– Shaun Tan (NF)
  8. Ali Cross: The Secret Detective– James Patterson (MG)
  9. Crying in H Mart– Michelle Zauner (NF)
  10. Ghosts– Dolly Alderton
  11. The Verifiers– Jane Pek
  12. My First Popsicle– edited by Zosia Mamet (NF)
  13. Defenestrate– Renée Branum
  14. The Measure– Nikki Erlick
  15. Monarch– Candice Wuehle
  16. The Book of Delights– Ross Gay (NF)
  17. The Night Ocean– Paul La Farge
  18. Midnight Strikes– Zeba Shahnaz (YA)
  19. White Cat, Black Dog– Kelly Link
  20. Southern Lady Code– Helen Ellis (NF)
  21. Several People Are Typing– Calvin Kasulke
  22. Brood– Jackie Polzin
  23. My Sister, the Serial Killer– Oyinkan Braithwaite
  24. Thank You, Mr. Nixon– Gish Jen
  25. When I’m Gone, Look for Me in the East– Quan Barry
  26. Fiona & Jane– Jean Chen Ho
  27. Lessons in Chemistry– Bonnie Garmus
  28. We Ride Upon Sticks– Quan Barry
  29. Foster– Claire Keegan
  30. The Possibilities– Yael Goldstein-Love
  31. Disappearing Earth– Julia Phillips
  32. Groundskeeping– Lee Cole
  33. To the Lighthouse– Virginia Woolf
  34. The Lives of Christopher Chant– Diana Wynne Jones (reread)
  35. God’s Trombones– James Weldon Johnson
  36. A Ring of Endless Light– Madeleine L’Engle (reread)
  37. She Weeps Each Time You’re Born– Quan Barry
  38. The Golden Screen: The Movies that Made Asian America– Jeff Yang (NF)
  39. The Hearing Trumpet– Leonora Carrington
  40. Intimacies– Katie Kitamura
  41. Little Eyes– Samanta Schweblin, tr. Megan McDowell
  42. People From My Neighborhood– Hiromi Kawakami, tr. Ted Goossen
  43. The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit– Michael Finkel (NF)
  44. Exit West– Mohsin Hamid
  45. Girl, Interrupted– Susanna Kaysen (NF)
  46. The Nursery– Szilvia Molnar
  47. River of the Gods: Genius, Courage, and Betrayal in the Search for the Source of the Nile– Candice Millard (NF)
  48. Educated: A Memoir– Tara Westover (NF)
  49. Lorna Mott Comes Home– Diane Johnson
  50. Stay True: A Memoir– Hua Hsu (NF)

Monson Arts Open Studio

Just popping in last minute to let everyone know about Monson Arts’ Open Studios tomorrow! I’ve been here in Monson, Maine, for the month, reorganizing my novel, taking long hikes to various slate quarries and the Appalachian trail, drawing lichen, spying on pileated woodpeckers (!), and enjoying the snow and the views of Lake Hebron with nine other artists and writers. They’re an incredibly talented group so come check out their work (and mine!) if you’re in the vicinity of Monson tomorrow. Open Studios are from 3 to 5pm with a reading at 5pm at the Moore house. Here’s the Facebook link.

2022 awards eligibility!

I still feel new to this but it seems like now is a good time for an eligibility post for any awards for work published this year! (I’m looking at you, Hugo Awards and Nebula Awards, since those are nominated by members and not publishers.) Anyway, I had two short stories published this year, only one of which is blatantly in the SFF category:
The Pigeon Keeper|’s Daughter in Strange Horizons (a story that I love love love ❤ It’s about Taiwan and power and magic and pigeons!)
Some Humanity Still in Quarterly West (menacing! short!)

Honestly, it’d be a dream to be a finalist for one of these awards that I’ve been following for decades. I would so love to be nominated, especially because I’m not sure other folks think of me as a speculative fiction writer? My earliest published work was in SFF magazines and there’s a special place in my heart for the genre. Also, I’m totally manifesting going to Worldcon in Chengdu next year!

Anyway, I’m back east from my dreamy residency at Storyknife where I wrote poems and journal entries and short stories and organized my novel a bit. I saw the northern lights and the first snow and the lawn has my steps etched into it from my restless walking when I couldn’t go on the roads due to ice the last couple of days. I ran on Homer Spit a few times and hiked to the beach from Diamond Creek and saw a sea otter. The sunsets were beautiful and the neighborhood dogs wanted to be my best friend. Maura’s food was spectacular, as was the company of everyone involved. What a shock to come back to 60-degree weather (but not a bad shock, I’ll say!) after about 24 hours of travel.

In more news, I’m shortlisted for the Granum Prize!!! The winner and finalists will be announced next week—regardless of the outcome, I’m thankful to be on this shortlist with these amazing writers and have this validation of my work. Congrats to everyone!

Storyknife reading next week!

I’m currently on an amazing residency at Storyknife, a retreat in Homer, Alaska, specifically for women writers, and we’re doing a virtual reading next Tuesday, October 18, 6-7pm Alaska time, hosted by 49 Writers. Event info is here!

Before this month, I’d never seen a real wild moose before and now that I’ve been here two weeks, I’ve seen several of these giant creatures, and it’s magical (but sometimes scary!) every time. There’s fireweed gone to seed, pheasants running down the trail, bald eagles perched on trees, sea otters and seals along the shore, volcanoes in the distance (when they’re not covered by clouds), and my very own cabin. What a gift. I’ve been working on the novel/maybe a short story and also several poems when I’m not exploring the environs. It’s cold but not unbearable and the gloomy, cloudy days make me appreciate the sunny days even more.

“Some Humanity Still” in Quarterly West!

I am so excited to share that A) my story, “Some Humanity Still,” won the Quarterly West Prose contest and B) you can now read it online in Quarterly West‘s latest issue!

I’m still in disbelief (in a good way!) that Cristina Rivera Garza had this to say about the story: “Uniquely voiced, menacing, contained. Do we get to choose who we become or are we destined to match our landscapes? In this haunting tale set in sparsely populated regions of Wyoming as the cold season approaches, a boyfriend puts on a wolf costume, leaving behind traces that are not fully wolf like but are no longer human either. Everything is against the interloper narrator, who refuses to use the possessive to refer to the “predator” or the “prankster:” the town folk, the neighbors, and the set of invisible yet fiercely enforced rules that tie her hands up. Or do they?”

Thank you so much to Quarterly West for seeing and understanding and believing in this story straight from the get-go! Also, huge thanks to the Jentel Foundation in Wyoming where I was given the space and time and inspiration for this story—my gosh, how amazing and beautiful and surprising the West is, truly.

The Pigeon Keeper|’s Daughter

Remember how I lived in Taipei in 2017–2018 and had a pigeon-keeper neighbor? Did I agonize over befriending said neighbor? Did I start researching pigeon-keeping and pigeon racing? Did I even write a presentation in Chinese about pigeons and pigeon racing? I think the answer to all these has to be…yes…

Well, I wrote a weird, magical story about living in wet, tropical, green Taipei and pigeon racing and China-Taiwan relations and power and letters and night herons and some magic and…I could go on and on, but I’d just love it if you read it! My story is now up at Strange Horizons and it’s called “The Pigeon Keeper|’s Daughter”! This was a story I fell in love with as I was writing it and I hope it brings readers as much joy as it brought me to write it. I was also reminded by facebook that I actually posted about being in Taiwan (for the first time) nine years ago today!

2021 books

Happy new year! It’s the first snow of the season for me today and everything looked beautiful early this morning but quickly turned slushy here in NYC. As is my tradition, here’s the list of 40 (!) books I read in 2021 (I managed to squeeze the last two in due to the amazing number of Little Free Libraries in Berkeley, CA, where I was visiting). Some old favorites, and plenty of books ranging from poetry to nonfiction to middle grade and young adult fiction, some of which I read for work. A few particular favorites this year were Barbarian Days, Mouthful of Birds, and Memorial.

1. What You Can See from Here- Mariana Leky, translated by Tess Lewis
2. Interior Chinatown- Charles Yu
3. The Vanishing Half- Brit Bennett
4. Virtue- Hermione Hoby
5. Dust & Grim- Chuck Wendig (MG)
6. Real Life- Brandon Taylor
7. Mexican Gothic- Silvia Moreno-Garcia
8. Songs in Ursa Major- Emma Brodie
9. Machinehood- S. B. Divya
10. Ruthie Fear- Maxim Luskotoff
11. Orwell’s Roses- Rebecca Solnit (NF)
12. City of a Thousand Gates- Rebecca Sacks
13. Miss Iceland- Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir
14. LaserWriter II- Tamara Shopsin
15. Peaces- Helen Oyeyemi
16. Barbarian Days- William Finnegan (NF)
17. Vagabonds!- Eloghosa Osunde
18. An Arrow to the Moon- Emily X.R. Pan (YA)
19. World of Wonders- Aimee Nezhukumatathil (NF)
20. The Unsinkable Greta James- Jennifer E. Smith
21. A Tip for the Hangman- Allison Epstein
22. Whereabouts- Jhumpa Lahiri
23. The Glass Hotel- Emily St. John Mandel
24. Time Is a Mother- Ocean Vuong (Poetry)
25. The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone- Jaclyn Moriarty (MG)
26. Disorientation- Elaine Hsieh Chou
27. Borges and Me- Jay Parini (NF)
28. Sea Wife- Amity Gaige
29. Tam Lin- Pamela Dean (reread)
30. The Edge of Summer- Erica George (YA)
31. Memorial- Brian Washington
32. Mouthful of Birds- Samanta Schweblin
33. Bitter Medicine- Mia Tsai
34. Forbidden City- Vanessa Hua
35. Golden Ax- Rio Cortez (Poetry)
36. Great Circle- Maggie Shipstead
37. Let Me Tell You What I Mean- Joan Didion (NF)
38. The Power of Fun: How to Feel Alive Again- Catherine Price (NF)
39. The Castle of Llyr- Lloyd Alexander (reread)
40. Taran Wanderer- Lloyd Alexander (reread)

NYFA Fellow!

I’m excited to announce I’ve been chosen as one of the 2021 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellows in Fiction! I’m so honored and grateful to be one of 16 fellows in fiction this year; there’s always a ton of talent among the fellows since it’s a statewide grant. After this incredibly hard year, it’s nice to get some good news and really makes me feel more inspired to keep writing. The press release is here: https://www.nyfa.org/blog/introducing-2021-nysca-nyfa-artist-fellows-finalists-and-panelists

2020 books

I won’t get into all that’s happened in 2020 (nevermind the chaos of 2021 already) so I’m just posting my book list here. It’s incomplete since my laptop died in April, towards the beginning of the pandemic (see first sentence), and took my records with it, so I definitely read more than 25 books! But here’s what I can remember and the books I read after April—a few childhood favorites, some nonfiction (Sanmao was a fave) and translated work, and a bunch of novels.

1. Our Colony Beyond the City of Ruins- Janalyn Guo
2. The Golden Compass- Philip Pullman (reread)
3. The Subtle Knife- Philip Pullman (reread)
4. The Amber Spyglass- Philip Pullman (reread)
5. The Nightworkers- Brian Selfon
6. And the Walls Come Crumbling Down- Tania De Rozario (NF)
7. Costalegre- Courtney Maum
8. Pee Wees- Rich Cohen (NF)
9. Desert Oracle- Ken Layne (NF)
10. Sabriel- Garth Nix (reread)
11. Crown/Court Duel- Sherwood Smith (reread)
12. More Miracle Than Bird- Alice Miller
13. The Book of M- Peng Shepherd
14. H Is For Hawk- Helen Macdonald (NF)
15. Flights- Olga Tokarczuk, translated by Jennifer Croft
16. How Much of These Hills Is Gold- C. Pam Zhang
17. Stories of the Sahara- Sanmao, translated by Mike Fu (NF)
18. Eat to Beat Disease- Dr. William Li (NF)
19. Monkey King: Journey to the West- Wu Cheng’en, translated by Julia Lovell
20. Painting TimeMaylis de Kerangal, translated by Jessica Moore
21. On Restless Waves- E. Lily Yu
22. Piranesi- Susanna Clarke
23. What We Lose- Zinzi Clemmons
24. Ulirát: Best Contemporary Stories in Translation from the Philippines
25. Mostly Dead Things- Kristen Arnett