Armchair BEA 2016 Day 1: Introductions & Diversity in Books

Book bloggers unable to attend the BEA Bloggers Conference or Book Expo America (BEA) in Chicago, but would like to ‘meet’ other book bloggers and publishers to discuss books and book blogging can participate in this virtual event.

Introductions

1. What is the name you prefer to use?

I have been Ayanami Faerudo online ever since I have been online. It lends a bit of anonymity and a whole new identity where you could be anyone. Plus, and this is a huge plus, security. It’s the internet and the danger of identity theft and stalking is big.

That name, Ayanami Faerudo, is actually the surname of a fictional character of a story I had cultivated when I was in high school. The story itself isn’t written, hibernating in my brain for over ten years, but Ayanami Faerudo has been stuck with me ever since.

It wasn’t until recently that I associated my real first name with that of Ayanami Faerudo. Let’s be clear though that when it comes to official correspondence and transactions online, I use my real name. The individuals and the companies assure confidentiality after all.

The name by the way is Myrtle.

2. How long have you been a book blogger?

I have been officially blogging on Whatever You Can Still Betray since June 2010. Almost six years! Gosh.

3. Have you participated in ABEA before? 

Yes. This is my fourth or is it my fifth year? *checks past posts*

4. What is your favorite genre and why?

Fantasy and paranormal. I super love them and the subgenres within these broad genre categories. I read to escape reality and I go all the way.

Different dimensions. Alternative universes. New worlds. Far away kingdoms. Preternatural urban cities.

Magic.

5. If you could recommend one other book blogger, who would it be and why?

I have been following Paper Fury since just before The Notebook Sisters became Paper Fury. I love her snark, her fun posts and her overall fangirling.

6. How do you arrange your bookshelves? Is there a rhyme or reason? Or not at all?

Ooohhh, I just rearranged my bookshelves. Before, it used to be by genre with a separate shelf for my overall favorites. Now, favorites are still separate but the rest are arranged by color.

7. What book are you most excited for on your TBR? What are you most intimidated by?


See that? That’s my TBR. Most of them are books for review; but I keep on adding books that are purely for leisure. My review TBR is after me with clubs and pitchforks.

8. What is the most interesting thing that you have learned through your reading this year so far?

Quotable quotes time!
Worrying about something you can change is necessary, but worrying about the inevitable is a waste of time. –Gifted by J.A. George
I scoffed at myself. He was right. "When do we believe we're enough for the people who love us?"

His gave was direct and unflinching, "When are we enough for ourselves?” –Waging War by April White
Fear is the thing that shows a man who 'e really is. The 'ateful ones are pointin' fingers and layin' the blame because that's what they think it takes to survive. Those people 'ave always been there, but fear just shows the rest of us who they are, and because of that, they'll end up alone.” –Waging War by April White
Diversity in Books

This edition of Diversity in Books comes after the uproar of casting Scarlett Johansson in a role that was meant for a Japanese actress. I am talking about the character of Major Motoko Kusanagi in Ghost in the Shell, a manga series written and illustrated by Shirou Masamune. 

What has it got to do with diversity in books?

Nothing much... Only that it got me into thinking about Asians and how they are portrayed in books.

Asian characters in books, like their counterparts in movies, have been relegated to secondary roles usually as best friends, the new kid on the block from Hong Kong, the nerdy boy who’s a mathlete or the girl with a rich tycoon father. Nothing inherently wrong with the roles but like the Asian actors and actresses filling martial artists or femme fatale roles, it’s stereotyping. And most of them either have a Chinese heritage or an Indian one. But as I said, it doesn’t mean that they are not worthwhile. I just want to point out we are “not one monolithic culture or race”[1] existing under one banner. We Asians are diverse. 

Now, there have been more books published lately with an Asian protagonist without the stereotypes and I’m giving A for effort since I have enjoyed some them. However, there have been instances where I became confused. The problem is that the character can be substituted with any other typical YA character with an Anglo-American background and I wouldn’t know the difference. I want a book that captures the nuances of the ethnic culture. 

Some of you will say “Why don’t you just read a book that is written by an Asian author? They surely would know about all things Asian.” 

Then I would just shake my head and think that I’m not really great at explaining myself a problem I’ve always had when I wrote my school essays and term papers because I expect everyone to just get what I am trying to say. The point is chain-reading Wikipedia does not make a reliable research a fact my graduate professor chided our class and I later bombarded her with the original papers/abstracts/theses/scientific data of Wiki articles I started a research from *shrugs* resulting bibliography was five pages long. I am thorough, Professor. 

That said here are some blogs and websites which feature articles and recommended books not only about literature with Asian progatonists but which deals with diversity in books in general. 





Notes:
[1] Spotlight on Asian American YA. Trisha Murakami. Diversity in YA. May 2, 2011 http://www.diversityinya.com/2011/05/spotlightonasianamericanya/
Ayanami Faerudo

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