Boxers and Saints, by Gene Luen Yang

Four stars, read in December 2015. How can I use a word like “good” to describe these books, when everything inside them is so horrifying? And when I can feel elements of sympathy for all the different viewpoints represented, but there are none that aren’t also responsible for committing terrible atrocities? I feel like the…

Bird, by Crystal Chan

Five stars, read in June 2015. I immediately loved everything about this book, especially the protagonist. It’s not an easy book to read, in the sense that it’s full of sharp and overwhelming pain. But in the sense that I read the whole thing in less than 24 hours, and would gladly read hundreds more…

The Age of Dreaming, by Nina Revoyr

Four stars, read in October 2015. This book was so different from anything I’ve read, I don’t think I could possibly have predicted anything that happened. Jun is a fascinating character: definitely a product of the 1910s with his formal, proper use of language; increasingly unreliable as you realize how self-absorbed he is/was, and how…

China Dolls, by Lisa See

One star, read in June 2014. I tried to give this two stars, but the more I thought about it, the worse it seemed, and I just don’t think it deserves the second one. I’m a devoted Lisa See fan, and the premise was so intriguing, so I don’t do this lightly. But I really did…

Norwegian Wood, by Haruki Murakami

Five stars, read in April 2011. It’s hard to say, but I think I love this book even more than I loved After Dark. Haruki Murakami’s writing is like music to me, and I loved the characters and the setting and the feel of Norwegian Wood so much that I just wanted to stay in the book forever….

Song of the Silk Road, by Mingmei Yip

One star, read in August 2011. I saw this book at local bookstore a few months ago and fell in love with the cover, and I’ve been dying to read it since then. Now that I have, I regret to inform you that this book is absurdly, laughably, painfully bad. At first I wondered if it was…

After Dark, by Haruki Murakami

Four stars, read in October 2010. This book was unbelievably refreshing after reading On the Road, which I finished just before starting. On the Road took me two or three weeks to read and felt like a slog through the mud; After Dark took me less than three hours. (Granted, After Dark is 100 pages shorter—but still.) Both…

Dreams of Joy, by Lisa See

Five stars, read in June 2011. It appears that my love affair with Asian historical fiction continues, although now we are back to China after having been in Japan for a while. This book is incredible. Dreams of Joy is the sequel to Shanghai Girls, and although it does a fairly good job of filling…