Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Thoughts on the Apocalypse

It's been one week since the apocalypse happened. People are protesting, fear is rampant among the citizens, and a dangerous new era has arrived. I can't help but dread every news update that I see, because in the past week, the reality has worsened, even as many try to normalize the truth of who our new president will be.

Sorry for the rather dramatic introduction, but while that may seem like a dystopian novel opening, I think these words may be even more unnerving.

"Welcome to the dawn of a new unified Republican government." 

These are actual words from the House Speaker, describing the current state of our government.

Compared to most, I'm lucky. I'm not a part of the specific marginalized groups that Trump and his campaign has targeted, although I would consider myself a second-generation immigrant. I have not been attacked or threatened by strangers based on who I am, and the worst I've encountered is some Twitter trolls. But I'm terrified. Asians have been harassed, being called slurs and I have no idea when/if that will happen to me. And while I want to think my peers are civilized, if there are vicious hate crimes occurring at even the most prestigious and well-educated schools (see the UPenn incident, an IVY LEAGUE SCHOOL), I'm terrified. I attend school in a red state, and while the district I am in voted blue, it's a sobering thought.

Last week, my friend and I were joking about Trump even being a candidate and how we couldn't wait for the news to stop focusing on him when the election effectively destroyed him. While I was aware of the legions of loyal followers I saw on the media, most people would surely be reasonable enough to see the true monster he is. Yet, this country failed me, especially those of white. Calling those who voted for him racist is too extreme, is an arugment that I've seen online. They had valid reasons and are not all ignorant, they say. Yet my question is, did sacrificing the safety and well-being and mental/physical health of the majority not factor into your decision? I'm supposed to understand why you thought letting someone who has no idea what he is doing into office was the smart, well-thought out decision. The fact that such people exist in the book community is disappointing but unsurprising, considering how many treat diversity, and the severity of the hurt racist/problematic books inflict on people.

What has kept me going is the tireless efforts of many authors that I see on Twitter, the authors that have been advocates of diversity and now in the face of a real crisis, have championed this cause with the same rigor that was applied to the problems in the book community. To take a moment, if you are vocal about the issues of diversity in books but have not cared enough to support the real issues so many Americans are facing because of the dark lord who has been elected, I don't trust you or your advocacy. You are indirectly telling me you don't care enough about my mental well-being or those of so many in the book community who are working so hard to call representatives and donate etc. This might sound harsh, but the fear and anger I've heard from friends is so much more important than your guilty conscience.

The one thing that has come out of this entire election that could even be positive, is that I've decided to seriously consider working in publishing. Literature is important more than ever, and I want to work somewhere where I can work to make a difference, and while it is a pipe dream, helping to have the publishing industry diversify and promote marginalized authors, who represent those who are going to have it the hardest in the coming years, is the least I can do to help. It's my way of working towards something I can do to help. It may not be much, but as Rudyard Kipling once said,"Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind."

I've also decided to pay even more attention to politics. I am slightly ashamed that I didn't know the name of my congresswoman until this morning. She is thankfully, very vocal about denouncing the terrifying figure up for a senior WH position as well as her opposition towards the interests of our president-elect that will destroy our country and I am grateful and proud. There are senators and House reps who are working to protect us, and I am thankful. I am still terrified because it may and very likely could not be enough because the fact stands that enough citizens believe that supporting a racist egomaniac who was fully equipped with a vice presidential candidate who is well known for being strongly anti-LGBTQ+ and appealed to the white supremacy and racism that is deeply rooted in our country, is the correct track for our country.

This ended up being filled with anger and fear and for that, I apologize but I felt this needed to be said. To my friends who are also scared and concerned, I am sending you love and hugs. I am uncertain and worried as well, but I have hope in the people that are fighting, and while so many in America are rotten from the core, I know there are those out there who know this is not okay. To those fighting, thank you and I love and respect you.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Books I'm Dying to Get My Hands On

This post is a part of the Top Ten Tuesday meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

1. Ferocious (Vicarious #2) by Paula Stokes

I adored Vicarious, the first book in this duology so much that I'm desperate for this sequel. I'm so glad I picked it up on a whim because Paula is a lovely person in real life, and the ending of Vicarious destroyed me so completely that I'm still recovering form the aftereffects.

2. How to Convince a Boy to Kiss You (Aurora Skye #2) by Tara Eglington

I really enjoyed this Aussie YA book series, and I am now dying to read the second book because Aurora and Hayden are such a charming couple and I most definitely need more of them. Also the synopsis had me laughing, and we all need a fun pick-me up sometimes and this would most assuredly fit the bill.

3. Ninth House (Alex Stern #2) by Leigh Bardugo

First of all, Leigh Bardugo has my money because I mean, Six of Crows was pretty great. Also because it's about occult stuff and mysterious benefactors and a heroine with a criminal past ought to be an intriguing protagonist.

4. A Place I Belong by Cynthia Kadohata

I might be a tad nervous about the premise of this one, just because I know it's going to make me cry and break just like all of her other books, but also because she does it so beautifully I won't mind anyway.

5. Barefoot on the Wind (The Moonlit Lands #2)

It's a Beauty and Beast retelling with a twist! and it's set in Japan. As mentioned before, I am drawn to all books about Japan, and fairy tale retellings are a huge weakness of mine.

6. The Boy is Back (Boy #4) by Meg Cabot

Meg Cabot is a queen when it comes to chick lit and I'm so bitter that I didn't even know this book existed until I read a review of it two weeks ago, so I'm stuck in a ridiculous hold line because I am going to die before I get to this book...

7. This is How It Happened by Paula Stokes

Yep, I do adore Paula, and this book will be devoured most assuredly.

8. Kissing Max Holden by Katy Upperman

The title says it all, but I have always adored contemporary YA romance books that have the friends to lovers dynamic.

9. Dare Mighty Things by Heather Kaczynski

I love that this book is grounded in the STEM field, and even though the only thing I know is that it's about a girl competing to win the last slot in a space mission, there's already such a fascinating potential, and I hope it'll be just as exciting as it seems.

10. Mirage (Mirage #1) by Somaiya Daud

This book sounds positively intriguing! I love the idea of body doubles and the political intrigue that comes with being in a royal palace. I also really need to know if there will be romance in this book because that would be the icing on the cake.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Cloudy Musings #3: Existential Crisis + New Ideas

I've finished round one of my midterms and am well into round two, which I feel much better about, though I've been going through an existential crisis recently, with the major STEM classes I've been taking. I'm not sure what I want to do yet, but I've been feeling pretty strongly lately that mechanical engineering may not be the right path for me. Working in STEM seemed like a natural progression since math has always been my strong suit, and the lingering idea that I should be in STEM just because I'm Asian. Trying to remove that label has been a little scary, but I'm opening up to the idea of quite possibly working in publishing, or with books. That is my ultimate dream career I think, and especially in the face of the troubling fact that publishing is still so non-inclusive. We'll see where the wind blows though, and who knows, I might be back to my engineering career goal in a few weeks again.

I'm still watching Shopping King Louis, which continues to exceed my expectations in how pure and fluffy the whole show is, and I want to hug the main characters so badly. I adore them and while I've dropped the majority of my current shows, I've managed to stick to this one. I saw the movie Storks in theaters mid-October, and it was adorably sweet, with a lovely and touching ending that made me melt inside. I'm apparently weak for any soft-hearted movie it seems hah. I've also returned to From Dusk til Dawn, though the gory scenes make me reluctant to watch more than one or two episodes; I will eventually catch up hopefully, since I find the main characters to be fascinating and intriguing despite these graphic aspects.
I didn't quite read as much as I wanted to the last month, due to the extended stretches of time I spent in my studying cave, but I wanted to note the few books I've read I consider, noteworthy. Heroine Complex, The Trouble with Mistletoe, How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You, The Hating Game, and Hold Me. First up, Heroine Complex is fun and zippy, a wild ride from start to finish. Bonus points for featuring a Japanese-American heroine. The Trouble with Mistletoe is a classic Jill Shalvis read, although this one is definitely ranking higher up of all the ones I've read by her and a total sweetheart romance. How to Keep a Boy from Kissing You was a delightfully charming YA romance, with a swoon-worthy boy to boot. The Hating Game was a true game-changer, and I am speechless with love for it, I am amazed at how much I heart this book. And Courtney Milan is a true talent with Hold Me, a book that not only features complex in-depth characters but also a dynamic that's riddled with flaws and strengths to really breathe life into the story.

If you haven't been around on the interwebs recently, you may have missed that I have a lovely project/blog I've started titled Asian YA. Exactly what the title says, it's a blog that both promotes Asian authors and books that are about Asian authors, with a focus on nuanced good representation. It's gotten a wonderful reception so far, and I'm so happy that it's been received so well. As an Asian-American, the way Asians are clumped together and treated very shoddily in books/media is quite upsetting and is the driving passion behind this project. I've been truly giddy with excitement as I plan future features for this blog and if you have the time, it would be lovely if you checked it out.

I hope you all have a lovely November, and cheers to those of you braving the cold weather setting in.