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Haven't posted in a while. Here's a series of mini-reviews with some spoilers. Also, some of the books contain potentially triggering content.

6. Un-Nappily in Love by Trisha R. Thomas
7. Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat
8. Tracks by Louise Erdrich
9. The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
10. Umbrella by Taro Yashima
11. Little Joy by Ruowen Wang
12. Why War is Never a Good Idea by Alice Walker
13. Erika-san by Allen Say
14. Dahanu Road by Anosh Irani
15. What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell
16. The Automatic Detective by A. Lee Martinez
17. In the Company of Ogres by A. Lee Martinez
18. Gil's All Fright Diner by A. Lee Martinez
19. Divine Misfortune by A. Lee Martinez
20. Monster by A. Lee  Martinez
21. Certainty by Madeleine Thien
22. So Long Been Dreaming edited by Nalo Hopkinson and Uppinder Mehan
23. A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers by Xiaolu Guo
24. Too Many Curses by A. Lee Martinez
25. A Nameless Witch by A. Lee Martinez
26. A Person of Interest by Susan Choi
27. Apex Hides the Hurt by Colson Whitehead

Mention (not counted)
Josias, Hold the Book by Jennifer Riesmeyer Elvgren (white); illustrated by Nicole Tadgell (person of colour)

6. Un-Nappily in Love by Trisha R. Thomas
"Chick lit" from an African-American perspective. I wasn't super into the book but I liked that the female protagonist was a friend and business owner in addition to being a mother and wife. The antagonist's attempts to lure her ex (the protag's husband) with her semi-abandoned child who knows her as his sister was not a selling point and was weird and soap-opera-y. I felt ambivalent about the messages about "going natural". Sometimes they were organic to the story but more often, they seemed either insincere or too earnest; however, I can't speak to it from a place of personal experience.

7. Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat
I liked that the story was mostly hopeful and that the protagonist was healing in a somewhat realistic way despite the trauma that had occurred in her life and her mother's. However, the ending caught me by surprise given the hopefulness but in retrospect, it made sense in the story.

8. Tracks by Louise Erdrich
This was compelling and sad. I was particularly moved by the main characters' strength, given the choices they had to make in the circumstances especially for their child.

9. The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
This was another compelling but uncomfortable book. There was an edge to it; I had a sense of foreboding while reading and was always wary of what would happen next. The story was written with second person narration, which I thought was done well mostly and I found the protagonist sympathetic though he made some decisions which I didn't agree with.

10. Umbrella by Taro Yashima
Children's book. Cute overall but I found some of the illustrations of the little girly kind of creepy.

11. Little Joy by Ruowen Wang
Children's book. Very simple story with repetition for young children. Adorable baby and variety of activities for child. From what I remember, it was interesting that though the text never referred to the fact that the child was an adoptee from China with white parents, the illustrations showed a lot of detail about the parents trying to include aspects of Chinese culture into the baby's environment.

12. Why War is Never a Good Idea by Alice Walker
Children's book. Message hits home with deliberate phrasing, very evocative illustrations.

13. Erika-san by Allen Say
Children's book. It felt kind of off that the white protagonist wants the traditional rural Japanese lifestyle but is dismissive of its modern urban areas.

14. Dahanu Road by Anosh Irani
I found this book hard to read because I found most of the characters highly unsympathetic and several of them misogynistic, violent and oppressive; also didn't like that the women were the tragic figures. I think the author was trying to write love stories but even one character alludes to the two men killing the women they love, almost like it's a pattern or meant to happen.

15. What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell
I like his articles and writing style. Some I'd read before but some were new to me and thought-provoking as usual, for example, the story of the invention of the birth control pill and its role with respect to "modern" female cancers.

16. The Automatic Detective by A. Lee Martinez
I picked this up thanks to[livejournal.com profile] seekingferret's post. It was enjoyable and had neat world-building. I also liked the happy/hopeful ending, though there were some loose ends. This felt like the author was having some fun with tropes, especially with the narration (from the POV of the robot protagonist). I appreciated Lucia Napier, the zany inventor but I wish there were more female characters.

17. In the Company of Ogres by A. Lee Martinez
18. Gil's All Fright Diner by A. Lee Martinez
19. Divine Misfortune by A. Lee Martinez
20. Monster by A. Lee  Martinez
24. Too Many Curses by A. Lee Martinez
25. A Nameless Witch by A. Lee Martinez

I read most of the author's books in a short period so I can definitely see the formula/themes but still finding the books enjoyable. Looking forward to his new one already out and the one coming out next year.

21. Certainty by Madeleine Thien
I think this would go in my list of great books I read this year. I found this book absolutely heart-breaking and was crying a lot. The imagery and the exploration of the nature of memory and grief and of knowing a person were very poignant. The part about giving up connections was alien to me but I could still understand.

22. So Long Been Dreaming: Postcolonial Science Fiction and Fantasy edited by Nalo Hopkinson and Uppinder Mehan
A collection of short stories from the perspective of the colonized through the lens of science fiction and fantasy. I think some were stronger than others and more subtle; sometimes the writers seemed to be trying too hard to incorporate a "theme".

Some that stood out:
'Griots of the Galaxy' by Andrea Hairston, about a race of aliens who jump into the last moments of life of Earth-analogue beings (humans, dogs, etc.) and then upload their experiences to add to a collective memory. The protagonist has to decide whether to leave once they're done or to stay.

'Delhi' by Vandana Singh, about a man who can see into and temporarily interact with people from possible pasts and futures and who is given the task of finding a certain person, a stranger.

'Native Aliens' by Greg van Eekhout, about two parallel stories, one in the 20th century about Dutch-Indonesians and one in the 24th century about a person who has to "return" to Earth where his people were originally from but of which he has no knowledge, having adapted to the local place.

'Panopte's Eye' by Tamai Kobayashi, an excerpt from a longer story about a guard in a fortress in a desert buying a slave.

'Lingua Franca' by Carole McDonnell, about a deaf society with the younger generation getting implants and starting to distance themselves from their elders now that they have hearing.

'Terminal Avenue' by Eden Robinsion, about an Aboriginal man whose father was killed by police and whose brother joins the police; he participates in an exclusive S&M club run by white people

'When Scarabs Multiply' by Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu, about a girl whose father tries to take over a village and is punished by the woman who originally built it up and made it successful

'The Blue Road: A Fairy Tale' by Wayde Compton, about a person dealing with and/or getting around the weird rules set by The Powers That Be

23. A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers by Xiaolu Guo
This was funny at times and I liked the personal journey of the protagonist.

26. A Person of Interest by Susan Choi
The thriller plot was weird and also predictable but I liked the character development. I especially sympathized with the protagonist even though he made decisions I didn't agree with, especially with the hurt they cause. I also really sympathized with the loneliness he must feel and liked the juxtaposition of another character's solitude.

27. Apex Hides the Hurt by Colson Whitehead
This was a thought-provoking book, which touched on race and reconciling the perspectives we have on our past and future but also satirized the corporate culture, e.g, "nomenclature consultants", team-building, branding, etc. The writing style of book was a mix of distance and intimacy that took some getting used to but I also found it funny. I especially enjoyed the descriptions of the protagonist's relationship and experience of words, names and naming.

Mention (not counted)
Josias, Hold the Book by Jennifer Riesmeyer Elvgren (white); illustrated by Nicole Tadgell (person of colour).
Gorgeous watercolours, not too fond of the story.
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