thinking out loud

thinking out loud / august 26th

7295566I’m been going back and forth about restarting this blog. First, every time I move out from blogger, I tend to go back, and well, that’s kind of annoying. But using blogger is difficult on all the current computers and devices I’m currently using, so for now, it seems like I’m sticking with Weebly. And then there’s the whole Actually Doing Reviews thing. If you see my previous entries, what I really do is rant. This is because I have to write a LOT of capsules for work on a monthly basis now, and there’s just somuch going on – not just with work, but also various side projects – that I don’t think I can do “proper” reviews, if I’ve ever done any. What are those, anyway? But I did decide that I would try to blog actively again, in any way that I can, because ranting does help me keep sane somewhat.

On to the updates!

TBR.
The picture above? That’s my TBR stack. And I have two more stacks on my office desk right now. Yes, I’m aware that some people have taller/bigger TBR stacks, but the point is it’s all starting to get overwhelming. I WILL GET TO THEM. Eventually.

But I also have a great desire to re-read every single Diana Wynne Jones title I could get my hands on, and all the Tam Lin retellings I have for a zine I’m working on, and there are a whole bunch of new titles I’d like to get my hands on, so basically every single book I’m reading makes me feel guilty that I’m not reading something else.

Work.
Going through my blogger, I realised that I’ve been inactive (or rather, sporadically active?) for a LONG time. The last time I talked about work at all, I was either still a part-timer in the trenches of Kinokuniya, or had just gone on to work full-time as a buyer. I haven’t really talked about work since. Recently, I added Children’s Toys (non-books) and Light Novels to my portfolio, and will temporarily be doing YA/Children’s Audiobooks and YA/Children’s Comics while my colleague is on maternity leave. And of course, I’m still doing Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Poetry, Board/Tabletop Games, Middle-Grade Fiction, and Young Adult Fiction. There, now you know πŸ˜€

Other Bookish Stuff.
Daphne (of The Places You Will Go) is starting a local reading group for Malaysian literature, and the first book will be Chua Guat Eng’s Echoes of Silence. Honestly, this will be a challenge for me because most Malaysian lit (that I know of) aren’t in genres that I particularly like. Or edited as well as I’d prefer. I do want to read more local works, though, so I think the reading group’s an awesome idea.

Speaking of reading more local works… Daphne also started Local, a site focusing on Malaysian and Southeast Asian literature.

Also. Mini-zines! This was kind of a spur-of-the-moment thing that dragged on, when we were so excited about The Islands of Chaldea coming out earlier in the year. Daphne, Kit and I decided to do 3 mini-zines (1 by each of us) on 5 Diana Wynne Jones books and what they mean to us. Volume I was by Daphne, who wrote about The Time of the Ghost, Howl’s Moving Castle, Dark Lord of Derkholm, Hexwood and Deep Secret. Volume II was by me; I wrote about Fire and Hemlock, Eight Days of Luke, Archer’s Goon, Power of Three, and Charmed Life. Kit will be doing Volume III, but she hasn’t chosen her books yet.

BookLust is hosting the challenge A More Diverse Universe 2014, which I just signed up for. Growing up in Malaysia, and reading mostly Western books with white protagonists, this is a topic I care about. As a reader, I’m always happy to find books written by POC authors, especially when they include POC protagonists. As a bookseller, this is a topic that might be boring some of my colleagues because I stress on it a lot. Even though I’m living in Malaysia, and the majority of the readers here are POC, books by POC authors or with POC characters are pretty hard to sell… or so I’ve been told ever since I started out as a part-timer here. It’s certainly true that covers with obviously POC characters move slower, if at all – unless they’re shelved under Asian Literature, where the books do sell, mostly to the same group of readers, and to ex-pats. So we’ve been taught that these books are harder to sell. But ever since I became a buyer I’ve been promoting POC authors I love, like Ted Chiang, NK Jemisin, and Nnedi Okorafor. I included books like Aristotle & Dante Discovers the Secrets of the Universe in our Christmas catalog, and did a Multicultural Fantasy table for our monthly Navigating Children’s Fantasy themed recommendations. Doing these, I found that I COULD sell these books, after all. And I’m going to keep trying to sell more!

~ originally posted on Weebly

Edit 2015: Obviously, I ended up leaving Weebly for WordPress. Hopefully for good.

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