The Year of the Asian Reading Challenge – Completed!

year of the asian reading challenge

I am happy to inform my followers that I have completed my Year of the Asian Reading Challenge for 2019. My initial, very modest, goal was to read 12 books by Asian authors in 2019, and I managed to read 15 (coupled with time pressure and my other reading challenges). I know that there is still one month left before this challenge officially expires, but since I do not plan on reading Asian authors in December, I thought I would make an official concluding announcement. My mascot for this challenge was an Indian cobra (corresponding to the level of between 11 and 20 books), and, in 2019, I read authors from the following six countries: South Korea, Pakistan, Japan, China, India and Afghanistan. The books that impressed be the most during this challenge came from the Japanese writers Kobo Abe (The Woman in the Dunes/The Face of Another), Durian Sukegawa (Sweet Bean Paste), Akira Yoshimura (Shipwrecks) and Yoko Ogawa (The Memory Police), as well as from the Chinese-born author Eileen Chang (Half a Lifelong Romance). Below are all the books with the corresponding links to reviews. 

I. I Have the Right to Destroy Myself [1996] by Young-Ha Kim (South Korea) – ★★★★

II. Please Look After Mother [2008] by Kyung-sook Shin (South Korea) – ★★★★

III. Moth Smoke [2000] by Mohsin Hamid (Pakistan) – ★★★★1/2

IV. The Decagon House Murders [1989] by Yukito Ayatsuji (Japan) – ★★1/2 

V. Sweet Bean Paste [2013] by Durian Sukegawa (Japan)- ★★★★★

VI. Shipwrecks [1982] by Akira Yoshimura (Japan) – ★★★★★

VII. Malice [1996] by Keigo Higashino (Japan) – ★★★1/2

VIII. The Woman in the Dunes [1962] by Kobo Abe (Japan) – ★★★★★

IX. Miracle Creek [2019] by Angie Kim (South Korea/USA) – ★★★★

X. Half a Lifelong Romance [1950] by Eileen Chang (China) – ★★★★★

XI. The Far Field [2019] by Madhuri Vijay (India) – ★★★

XII. The Face of Another [1964] by Kobo Abe (Japan) – ★★★★★

XIII. The Memory Police [1994] by Yoko Ogawa (Japan) – ★★★★★

XIV. Convenience Store Woman [2016] by Sayaka Murata (Japan) – ★★★★

XV. A House Without Windows [2016] by Nadia Hashimi (Afghanistan/USA) – ★★★★

Are you participating/have participated in the Year of the Asian Reading Challenge? What have been your highlights from this challenge? What reading challenges are you planning to sign up for in 2020?


17 thoughts on “The Year of the Asian Reading Challenge – Completed!

    1. Thank you! I am grateful for this challenge, too, but I also realised how hectically these challenges can progress. I earmarked to read other authors from Malaysia, India and Thailand and then realised that one’s enormous reading ambition does always translate into action for various reasons. Perhaps it is important to have no premature unread books regrets 🙂

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  1. Congrats! What a great list, and it looks like you enjoyed so many of them! I’ve only read Miracle Creek and The Far Field from this list so far, but I’ve already got a few more of them on my TBR as well. I’m really looking forward to The Memory Police in particular!

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  2. Congratulations! 🙂
    I didn’t even know this challenge existed, this might be something I’ll try to attempt at some point. Next year is going to be very hectic, so my reading plans are going to be very low key, but maybe for 2021? 🙂

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  3. Well done – great challenge! I’ve enjoyed reading your reviews of these throughout the year – an area of the literary world I’m not very familiar with, so it’s been good to learn more about what’s available in translation. Will you be taking on a similar challenge next year?

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    1. Thanks and for the following through the year! I would love to take on some challenge for next year, but maybe having to do with other countries, such as the Latin American Reading Challenge or maybe some challenge to read more books by French authors (I have long TBR lists on both). The one I am also interested in is the Historical Fiction Reading Challenge. As for Asian authors, I am very tempted to join dolcebellezza’s Japanese reading challenge mentioned above, though it is unlikely I will manage more than one book per month. Are you interested in any?

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      1. I’ve still got several long-running challenges going on – the Classics Club, my Around the World in 80 Books and a vintage crime one, so I’m trying hard not to take on more till I finish at least one of them. But I’m probably going to do a mini challenge on the Spanish Civil War in fact and fiction – just six books or so, haven’t worked out the details yet!

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        1. The Spanish Civil War challenge does sound great, though, for me, apart from Orwell’s famous book nothing else comes to mind. That challenge must be great to broaden the horizons. You have an Around the World in 80 books challenge? That is great to know because I actually have my own personal challenge of “50 Books Around the World” – though I don’t advertise it much, and will just post the conclusion, not sure in what year it is going to be, though 🙂 From my challenge, I see that the Middle East has the least representation and I am making the best progress on books set in Europe.

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  4. I am not familiar with this challenge, but it sounds wonderful! You have read so many books which intrigue me, having a great passion for this “genre” in the first place. I had to return The Memory Police before I finished it, so I need to do that. And, I, too, loved The Woman In The Dunes. So glad to have you for the Japanese LitChallenge13.

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    1. And in turn, thank you for hosting such a great challenge and drawing attention to Japanese authors and books. Japanese literature is in a league of its own. I hope you get to finish The Memory Police and enjoy it. It is one of the most impressive books I read in 2019.


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