For May: Afrofuturism and Asian Readathon 2021

Afrofuturism

Last August I read Octavia Butler’s Dawn, and for months the story of the Oankali stuck with me. As I was learning more about Butler and her work, the term Afrofuturism kept popping up. While new to me, this is a subgenre that has been growing for some time and gained traction with the booming success of Black Panther.

Personally I want to know more, because the handful of works I have read and seen under Afrofuturism (and Africanfuturism) made me very excited for the future of sci-fi and fantasy. 

On Friday I’ll get into the details with Afrofuturism: The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture by Ytasha L. Womack, as a jumping point. I do want to state that I am coming at this purely as a journey of learning and I don’t expect to be any kind of scholar or expert. If I’m out of the kiddie pool I’ll be happy. 

After the introduction I’ll be diving into three series this month:

Earthseed Duology – Octavia Butler  (The Parable of the Sower)

Broken Earth Series – N.K. Jemisin   (The Fifth Season)

Binti Series – Nnedi Okorafor

Also, as a white woman I know that while I can gain head knowledge my day-to-day reality and privilege create a barrier to full understanding. I believe that no matter how small or big your reach is, if you have an opportunity to highlight the wonderful work that is being written, especially in marginalized groups, then DO IT!

Asian Readathon 2021

A few weeks ago allergy season came for me and won. I ended up with a sinus infection and out of it for a week. While huddled inside, trying to hide from the scary pollen, I discovered booktuber WithCindy and ended up binging video after video. 

Over the past few years I’ve felt detached from Booktube, and Cindy’s channel reminded me of the joy of sharing books (whether good or bad) with others. I also enjoy the balance of sharp humor, sauciness, and insightful commentary, while highlighting a variety of genres and authors. 

As an Asian American Cindy does a wonderful job incorporating her own experiences when relevant and focusing on books from marginalized groups. With the booming growth of her channel, Cindy decided to use her popularity for good and created a readathon that focuses on Asian authors and stories. 

The readathon is just for the month of May and below are the five prompts. The one rule not listed is that the prompts can be stacked, but every book you read the author has to be a different nationality from the other authors. 

  1. Read any book written by an Asian author. 

The Buried Giant- Kazuo Ishiguro (Japanese)

  1. Read any book featuring an Asian protagonist.  

Against the Loveless World – Susan Abulhawa (Palestine)

  1. Read any book written by an Asian author in your favorite genre.  

Frankenstein in Baghdad – Ahmed Saadawi (Iraq) 

  1. Read any nonfiction book written by an Asian author.

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood – Marjane Satrapi (Iran)

  1. Read any book written by an Asian author that’s not US-centric.  

The Hole – Hye-Young Pyun (Korea)

I plan on reviewing all five books in June, probably for that month’s Quick Lit. With that, I’m so excited for this month and talking about books I love!

Edit: Date change.

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