Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Q & A: Rena Pederson / The Burma Spring

The Burma Spring, by award-winning journalist and former US State Department speechwriter Rena Pederson, is a biography of Aung San Suu Kyi.  It offers a portrait of the woman herself, and also portraits of Burma, and of the Burmese people. (Burma was renamed Myanmar by the military government, but since this was not democratically elected, Western policy has often been to refer to the country as Burma. Rena adopts this policy too.)

Quick Notice / The Vegetarian, by Han Kang, translated by Deborah Smith

About the Book

Yeong-hye and her husband are ordinary people. He is an office worker with moderate ambitions and mild manners; she is an uninspired but dutiful wife. The acceptable flatline of their marriage is interrupted when Yeong-hye, seeking a more 'plant-like' existence, decides to become a vegetarian, prompted by grotesque recurring nightmares. 

Quick Notice / A Kim Jong-Il Production, by Paul Fischer

About the Book

We’ve all heard the phrase the truth is stranger than fiction.  Never has that been truer than in the real life story that unfolds in Paul Fischer’s A Kim Jong-Il Production: The Extraordinary True Story of a Kidnapped Filmmaker, His Star Actress, and a Young Dictator's Rise to Power.

This Week in Asian Review of Books

Asian Books Blog is not a review site. If you want reviews, see the Asian Review of Books. Here is a list of its newest reviews:

Shanghai Homes: Palimpsests of Private Life by Jie Li reviewed by SY Koh
Green Shoots Under Soot-Stained Skies by Mark L. Clifford (excerpt)
Ouside reading: essays on Asian writing selected by the ARB editorial team
Sophia: Princess, Suffragette, Revolutionary by Anita Anand reviewed by Nigel Collett

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Irrawaddy Literary Festival Starts Today

The 3rd Irrawaddy Literary Festival starts today.

Check out the website here.

Check out the Facebook page here.

If you happen to be visiting the Festival, and you'd like to write about it for the blog, then let me know!  (Email: asianbooksblog@gmail.com)

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Guest Post: Dominique Wilson / Researching The Yellow Papers

Dominique Wilson is an Australian historical novelist. She here gives an in-depth account of how she researched her novel The Yellow Papers, and also offers advice to others on how to research historical novels set, or partly set, in Asia.

The story
The Yellow Papers is a novel set between Australia and China, from just after the two Opium Wars to the time of the Cultural Revolution. It is a story of love, obsession and friendship set against a backdrop of war and racial prejudice. 

It begins in 1872 when China – still bruised from its defeat in the two Opium Wars – sends a group of boys, including seven-year-old Chen Mu, to America to study and bring back the secrets of the West. But nine years on Chen Mu becomes a fugitive and flees to Umberumberka, a mining town in outback Australia. He eventually finds peace working for Matthew Dawson, a rich pastoralist. 

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Indie Spotlight: Juan Rader Bas

For this month’s Indie Spotlight, Raelee Chapman chats with Juan Rader Bas, who describes himself as a Fil-Am Kicking Scribe (Filipino-American, martial arts devotee & writer). Juan Rader Bas’s debut novel, Back Kicks and Broken Promises, was self-published with Abbott Press.  It is a coming of age novel about an adopted 17-year-old Filipino who finds self-expression and fulfilment through martial arts after moving from Singapore to New Jersey. Juan took time out from his busy schedule as a public school teacher, parent, martial artist and writer to discuss the indie process and his new writing projects.