oyceter: Stack of books with text "mmm... books!" (mmm books)
[personal profile] oyceter
This is for books and Western comics only; manga and manhwa get a separate post.

Finally! My books read have been going down ever since I started to read manga in 2005, but for 2007, the numbers are up a bit from 2006. I feel like I read a lot of YA and non-fiction in 2007, or, at least, a lot of non-fiction relative to how much I usually read. I tried to read more by POC and about POC, but to be honest, from the numbers, I didn't try very hard. I read 13 books by POC authors and 33 books with POC protagonists or about POC (i.e. non-fiction books about Asian Americans). I counted "protagonists" as characters who narrated and were central to the plot. Some were a little fuzzier, given the large casts, but I put Runaways in as a POC protagonist book anyway. I don't usually focus on reading female authors or female protagonists, but just in case, I figured I'd run more numbers to see how I was doing on that front. I have read about 90 books by women and 82 with female protagonists, so I think I'm ok. My goal is to make it so that my reading of POC authors and characters is as automatic as it is for women.

I feel like I read a lot of good books in 2007, particularly when it came to non-fiction. I also started to read Terry Pratchett in earnest and devoured them when I was craving brain candy. 2007 also marked the end of Harry Potter, which was cool even though I'm not fannish about it, and a lot of YA. My impression is that I read more YA in 2007 than 2006, but I am too lazy to run numbers for this. I suspect a lot of this is because I started to read [livejournal.com profile] buymeaclue's LJ and because my library's new YA shelf is pretty good.

Amazingly, I managed to blog about every single book I read this year! I didn't link the full list, but you can always look in my tags or memories.

The below are my favorites out of all the books I read this year, not books published this year.

  1. Emily Bernard, Some of My Best Friends: Writings on Interracial Friendships: Although some of the essays in this collection are cringe-worthy, others (particularly David Mura's) were excellent. Bernard compiled essays about white-POC friendships and intra-POC friendships from all kinds of POVs. Many of the essays talk about more than race; they contextualize race within class and gender and nationality (though usually with the US as a focus), and they show how complex intra-race relationships can be. My reaction to this book was deeply personal, as I read it during a time I was re-evaluating my own friendships, social circles, and LJ, and it was a huge help in clarifying feelings about old friendships as well.

  2. Emma Donoghue, Kissing the Witch: I cheat! I read this and even wrote it up on LJ, but I did that before I had begun doing year-in-review posts. Since I reread it this year, it'd be a shame not to pimp it more! This is a book of retold fairy tales, each nested within the other: witches were once princesses, and evil stepmothers were once stepdaughters themselves. Donoghue's prose is gorgeous and beautifully weaves in the imagery from whichever tale she retells, but always from a fresh perspective, and all her stories are about women and deeply feminist. This isn't one of my favorite books of the year; this is one of my favorite books.

  3. Ursula K. LeGuin, Voices: I have a deep and abiding love for stories about peacemaking and post-colonialism, along with a deep and abiding love for stories about books. This book satisfies both. I loved Memer and her anger, and I loved reading about the people of Ansul not only overthrowing a colonizer, but having to work out what to do post-colonization. This is a book about violence and war and their aftereffects, but it's also a book about knowledge and healing and reclaiming lost pasts.

  4. Megan Lindholm, Harpy's Flight: I had been searching for this book for five years in used bookstores before randomly finding it at a library sale. Thankfully, the wait was worth it. While I like the other books in the Ki and Vandien series as well, Harpy's Flight is my favorite because it's all about Ki, about her grief and rage and hate. I love how creepy Ki's in-laws turn out to be, how Lindholm alternates Ki's present with her past, and how Vandien enters the story but never takes over. But most of all, I love sharp and brittle and strong and practical Ki. I feel I don't often get books about women and their rage and pain when it's unrelated to romance, but I do in this book, and it is great.

  5. Laurie J. Marks, Elemental Logic series (Fire Logic, Earth Logic, Water Logic, Air Logic not yet published): Much like Le Guin's Voices, the Elemental Logic series is about what happens after the war, and despite what the elemental magic may lead you to think, this is a very solid set of books about power and rebuilding and healing, both for individuals and for entire socieities. I did have a few qualms with the latest book, but I'm waiting for Air Logic to come out before deciding what I think. Even so, these three books are extremely good, and on top of that, Marks creates one of the most equal societies in terms of gender and sexuality that I've seen, and she does so by just putting it quietly in the background.

  6. Susan Beth Pfeffer, Life as We Knew It: This book affected me more viscerally than anything else I read this year. By the time I was halfway through, I was convinced that I was freezing to death, near starvation, and that the entire planet was doomed. That said, this is the opposite of a thriller; Pfeffer builds suspense not by bigger and bigger sets of actions, but by scaling everything down and focusing on the details. By the end, she manages to paint a chilling picture of the entire world while only focusing on four people in a living room. This may not be a book to read if you don't want to feel like the world is ending right this second, but very few things grab me on this level.

  7. Joann Sfar, The Rabbi's Cat: I am not sure how I can adequately describe my love for this comic! The second half is a bit weaker than the first, but the cat is so cat-like and the rabbi and his daughter and the cat are all so wonderful, and... the cat! The theological debates between the cat and the rabbi! The cat's complete devotion to Zlabya, the rabbi's daughter! Exclamation point! I ran out of words again, so I will just make shoo-ing motions at you all to make you go to the nearest bookstore and read a few pages of this.

  8. Ronald Takaki, Strangers from a Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans: This was not a fun read, but for me, it was a necessary one. Like I said in my write up, it's a strange feeling to read a history of the US and actually see myself in it, and it's a wonderful feeling as well, even though the history is often painful and rage-provoking. Takaki thankfully covers all Asians in the US, not just the usual East Asian population, and I particularly appreciated the way he kept returning to different communities through time, providing context for how the communities evolved, often in response to generational changes and to political events like WWII. I only wish there were more of the book, particularly post-9/11, but this is an excellent history of Asian America that combines political history, personal narratives, and literature while encompassing the diversity of Asian America.

  9. Alice Walker, In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens: Coming back to this book is particularly interesting in light of the current media framing of Obama vs. Clinton as race vs. gender, and it's a welcome return, as the entire book is a huge "No" to the question "race or gender?" Actually, to be more accurate, it's a "no" to people asking the question, but for the question itself, the answer is "yes" and "yes" and "always." I haven't had time to reread this yet, but I suspect I will be rereading it for quite some time.

  10. Elizabeth E. Wein, The Sunbird: This book isn't quite as intensely angsty as The Winter Prince, but it has the same wonderful attention to relationships and politics and how the two intertwine. I love Wein's Aksum, being able to see Goewin take charge, and all the great intrigue, but I love Telemakos best in all his cleverness, his youth, his innocence, his ingenuity and his strength.


Also recommended: Carl Chu, Chinese Food Finder: The Bay Area and San Francisco; Brenda Dixon Gottschild, The Black Dancing Body: A Geography from Coon to Cool and Waltzing in the Dark: African American Vaudeville and Race Politics in the Swing Era; Theodora Goss, In the Forest of Forgetting; Margo Rabb, Cures for Heartbreak; Madeleine E. Robins, Point of Honour; Joanna Russ, What Are We Fighting For?: Sex, Race, Class, and the Future of Feminism; Sarah Smith, The Vanished Child; Beverly Daniel Tatum, Can We Talk about Race?: And Other Conversations in an Era of School Resegregation; Lawrence Weschler, Mr. Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder: Pronged Ants, Horned Humans, Mice on Toast, and Other Marvels of Jurassic Technology; Ysabeau S. Wilce, Flora Segunda; Helen Zia, Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People

Total read: 131 (6 rereads)

Complete list of books read in 2007
1. Alma Alexander, The Secrets of Jin-Shei, Jan 8
2. Lindsey Davis, Shadows in Bronze, Jan 12
3. Alice Walker, In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens, Jan 13
4. Clare Dunkle, The Hollow Kingdom, Jan 22
5. Ronald Takaki, Strangers from a Different Shore: A History of Asian Americans, Jan 22
6. Teresa Edgerton, The Queen's Necklace, Jan 25
7. Dia Calhoun, White Midnight, Jan 27
8. Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona, Runaways: Pride and Joy, Jan 30
9. Theodora Goss, In the Forest of Forgetting, Jan 31
10. Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona, Runaways: Teenage Wasteland, Feb 3
11. Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona, Runaways: The Good Die Young, Feb 3
12. Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona, Runaways: True Believers, Feb 3
13. Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona, Runaways: Escape to New York, Feb 3
14. Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona, Runaways: Parental Guidance, Feb 3
15. Libba Bray, Rebel Angels, Feb 5
16. Justine Larbalestier, The Battle of the Sexes in Science Fiction, Feb 8
17. Jonathan D. Spence, God's Chinese Son: The Taiping Heavenly Kingdom of Hong Xiuquan, Feb 10
18. Bill Willingham, Fables: Homelands, Feb 10
19. Patricia A. McKillip, Solstice Wood, Feb 11
20. Madeleine E. Robins, Point of Honour, Feb 13
21. Homer H. Hickam Jr., Rocket Boys, Feb 18
22. Madeleine E. Robins, Petty Treason, Feb 22
23. Dorothy Dunnett, Niccolo Rising, Feb 25
24. Bryan Lee O'Malley, Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life, Mar 3
25. Bryan Lee O'Malley, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Mar 3
26. Dorothy Dunnett, The Spring of the Ram, Mar 5
27. Ursula K. Le Guin, Voices, Mar 12
28. Sarah Monette, Melusine, Mar 15
29. Diana Wynne Jones, The Merlin Conspiracy, Mar 19
30. Patricia A. McKillip, Harrowing the Dragon, Mar 21
31. Shana Abe, The Dream Thief, Mar 22
32. PC Hodgell, God Stalk, Mar 22
33. Steven Brust, Yendi, Mar 27
34. Diane Duane, So You Want to Be a Wizard, Mar 29
35. Sarah Monette, The Virtu, Mar 31
36. Shana Abe, The Smoke Thief, Apr 1
37. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, Yarn Harlot: The Secret Life of a Knitter, Apr 1
38. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, Knitting Rules!: The Yarn Harlot's Bag of Knitting Tricks, Apr 3 (reread)
39. Lois McMaster Bujold, Paladin of Souls, Apr 6
40. Anne Bishop, Dreams Made Flesh, Apr 8
41. Claire Delacroix, Lynn Kurland, Sharon Shinn, and Sarah Monette, The Queen in Winter, Apr 8
42. Diane Duane, Deep Wizardry, Apr 10
43. Diane Duane, High Wizardry, Apr 17
44. Doris Egan, The Gate of Ivory, Apr 17
45. Sarah Smith, The Vanished Child, Apr 21
46. Ruth Reichl, Tender at the Bone: Growing Up at the Table, May 2
47. Juliet Marillier, Wildwood Dancing, May 3
48. Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, Casts Off: The Yarn Harlot's Guide to the Land of Knitting, May 4
49. Iizuka Hiroyuki, et al., Shojo Beat's Manga Artist Academy, May 8
50. Joanna Russ, What Are We Fighting For?: Sex, Race, Class, and the Future of Feminism, May 12
51. Loretta Chase, Not Quite a Lady, May 14
52. John Thackara, In the Bubble: Designing for a Complex World, May 18
53. Scott McCloud, Reinventing Comics, May 19
54. Carla Kelly, Beau Crusoe, May 21
55. Bruce Sterling, Shaping Things, May 29
56. Madeleine E. Robins, The Stone War, Jun 2
57. Joseph Bruchac, Code Talkers, Jun 5
58. Robin McKinley, ed., Imaginary Lands, Jun 7
59. Carole Wilkinson, Dragon Keeper, Jun 7
60. Susan Palwick, The Necessary Beggar, Jun 8
61. Joanna Russ, To Write Like a Woman: Essays in Feminism and Science Fiction, Jun 10
62. Laurie J. Marks, Fire Logic, Jun 13
63. Anne L. MacDonald, No Idle Hands: A Social History of American Knitting , Jun 23
64. Laurie J. Marks, Earth Logic, Jun 24
65. Beverly Daniel Tatum, Can We Talk about Race?: And Other Conversations in an Era of School Resegregation, Jun 24
66. Nalo Hopkinson, Brown Girl in the Ring, Jun 26
67. Maureen Johnson, Devilish, Jun 27
68. Emma Donoghue, Kissing the Witch, Jul 1 (reread)
69. Melissa Nathan, The Waitress, Jul 8
70. Stephenie Meyer, Twilight, Jul 9
71. Terry Pratchett, Mort, Jul 10
72. Emily Bernard, ed., Some of My Best Friends: Writings on Interracial Friendships, Jul 14
73. Melissa De la Cruz, Fresh Off the Boat, Jul 14
74. Bill Willingham, Fables: Arabian Nights (and Days), Jul 15
75. Terry Pratchett, Wyrd Sisters, Jul 17
76. Margo Rabb, Cures for Heartbreak, Jul 17
77. J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, Jul 24 (reread)
78. J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Jul 25
79. Vivian Vande Velde, Companions of the Night, Jul 28
80. Ysabeau S. Wilce, Flora Segunda, Jul 28
81. Donna Jo Napoli, Bound, Jul 31
82. Carl Chu, Chinese Food Finder: The Bay Area and San Francisco, Aug 9
83. Laurie J. Marks, Water Logic, Aug 12
84. Helen Zia, Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People, Aug 12
85. Sharyn November, ed., Firebirds Rising, Aug 18
86. Neil Gaiman, Stardust, Aug 20 (reread)
87. Joann Sfar, The Rabbi's Cat, Aug 23
88. Barbara Hambly, The Silent Tower, Aug 25
89. Barbara Hambly, The Silicon Mage, Aug 28
90. Terry Pratchett, The Wee Free Men, Aug 29
91. Jacqueline Carey, Kushiel's Scion, Sep 1
92. Terry Pratchett, A Hat Full of Sky, Sep 2
93. Terry Pratchett, Wintersmith, Sep 3
94. Terry Pratchett, The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, Sep 4 (reread)
95. Mary Rosenblum, Horizons, Sep 15
96. Diana Wynne Jones, Howl's Moving Castle, Sep 16 (reread)
97. Megan Chance, Candle in the Dark, Sep 17 (reread)
98. Terry Pratchett, Witches Abroad, Sep 25
99. Terry Pratchett, Lords and Ladies, Sep 27
100. Susan Beth Pfeffer, Life as We Knew It, Sep 30
101. Justine Larbalestier, Magic's Child, Oct 1
102. Julia Ross, Games of Pleasure, Oct 4
103. Terry Pratchett, Reaper Man, Oct 6
104. Terry Pratchett, Soul Music, Oct 7
105. Eleanor Updale, Montmorency: Thief Liar Gentleman?, Oct 8
106. Blair Underwood with Tananarive Due and Steven Barnes, Casanegra, Oct 9
107. Jacqueline Carey, Kushiel's Justice, Oct 13
108. Terry Pratchett, Hogfather, Oct 15
109. Terry Pratchett, The Truth, Oct 18
110. Sarah Monette, The Mirador, Oct 20
111. Terry Pratchett, Guards! Guards!, Oct 21
112. Terry Pratchett, Men at Arms, Oct 22
113. Brenda Dixon Gottschild, The Black Dancing Body: A Geography from Coon to Cool, Oct 23
114. Terry Pratchett, Maskerade, Oct 24
115. Ann Maxwell, Fire Dancer, Nov 4
116. Ann Maxwell, The Jaws of Menx, Nov 12
117. Megan Lindholm, Harpy's Flight, Nov 13
118. Megan Lindholm, The Windsingers, Nov 15
119. Brenda Dixon Gottschild, Waltzing in the Dark: African American Vaudeville and Race Politics in the Swing Era, Nov 19
120. Megan Lindholm, The Limbreth Gate, Nov 19
121. Megan Lindholm, Luck of the Wheels, Nov 20
122. Ursula K. Le Guin, Powers, Nov 29
123. Elizabeth Scott, Bloom, Nov 30
124. Lawrence Weschler, Mr. Wilson's Cabinet of Wonder: Pronged Ants, Horned Humans, Mice on Toast, and Other Marvels of Jurassic Technology, Dec 3
125. Laurie Colwin, More Home Cooking: A Writer Returns to the Kitchen, Dec 15
126. Mette Ivie Harrison, The Princess and the Hound, Dec 16
127. Sara Varon, Robot Dreams, Dec 20
128. Oliver Sacks, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat and Other Clinical Tales, Dec 22
129. Elizabeth E. Wein, The Sunbird, Dec 23
130. Elizabeth E. Wein, The Mark of Solomon: The Lion Hunter, Dec 24
131. Randa Abdel-Fattah, Does My Head Look Big in This?, Dec 31

Date: 2008-01-25 10:19 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] parallactic.livejournal.com
I took an Asian-American studies course a while back and read up on some stuff, so I have some general knowledge about the history of the immigration laws. I just didn't pay as much attention to the non-East Asians, or it could be that those groups aren't addressed as much. I keep meaning to make up for the lack, but never really get around to it. For instance, it keeps slipping my mind that the Filipinos had a U.S. presence since the 1700s.

Date: 2008-01-29 02:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] parallactic.livejournal.com
I have general knowledge of Asian Americans, and the only exposure I got to Asian Asian history was in college level Western-centric world history classes. I actually picked up more about Asian history via East Asian pop culture references like in manga and manhwa, but I'm wary over the accuracy of the history. With Asian American knowledge, what I notice is that the bulk of the references go to East Asians, sometimes stuff with South Asians, but I rarely run across SE Asian and Pacific Islander stuff. So sometimes I feel woefully ignorant.

I read the Fadiman book. I don't recall it being very sociopolitical, but it does go into why and how the Hmong migrated to the USA, and gives some basic rundown on Hmong-Americans. What I mostly recall was the different cultural attitudes and values towards health and illness, medical treatment, and children--and how things can get really messed up.

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