Posted in Books

CBC’s Canada Reads 2018 winner: ‘Forgiveness’ Mark Sakamoto

forgiveness-by-mark-sakamotoForgiveness: A Gift From My Grandparents by Mark Sakamoto won the 2018 edition of CBC’s Canada Reads. It’s autobiographical and documents experiences of the author’s Japanese grandparents in Canada during WWII.

This will be on my “to read” list.

Some links with more info about the book:
Globe and Mail
National Post

Canada Reads 2018 CBC finale video: Continue reading “CBC’s Canada Reads 2018 winner: ‘Forgiveness’ Mark Sakamoto”

Posted in Art & Animation, Books

ABC Disgusting, a children’s alphabet book by Greg Pak & Takeshi Miyazawa

Here’s a kickstarter for another book for kids called ABC Disgusting. It’s well known professionals Greg Pak and Takeshi Miyazawa who also recently completed a successful kickstarter for The Princess Who Saved Herself.

Check out their kickstarter campaign.

Posted in Books

Ru by Kim Thuy wins Canada Reads

The theme of this year’s Canada Reads contest was to choose a book to break barriers. After daily heated debates broadcasted on CBC, the last novel standing was Ru by Kim Thuy, a Vietnamese Canadian author who lives in Longueuil, a suburb of Montreal. Ru is originally a French novel, which won the Governer General’s Award for French Fiction in 2010 and was recently translated into English by Sheila Fischman. Two of the panelists also happen to be Asian Canadians, Kristin Kreuk and Elaine “Lainey” Lui who were arguing for other books, Intolerable and When Everything Feels Like the Movies, respectively. Lainey was one of two panelists arguing in the finale along with Cameron Bailey, who was arguing for Ru.

Posted in Art & Animation, Books

The Princess Who Saved Herself kickstarter

Greg Pak and Takeshi Miyazawa (who’s Japanese Canadian) already have a children’s book called The Princess Who Saved Herself written and drawn and have a kickstarter for funding the printing of physical copies. The book is based on the song of the same name by Johnathan Coulton.

It’s already way past its funding goal with 9 days left but it looks like a great book to get for one’s own little princess or as a gift.

Posted in Art & Animation, Books

Monstress by Marjorie Liu & Sana Takeda comic book to debut in summer 2015

I’ve heard of Marjorie Liu but have not read anything by her. Liu is a novelist (many paranormal romance novels) but has also written comics for Marvel. Sana Takeda is an artist and has done work for Marvel too. They both worked together on X-23 and they’ll be debuting a new creator owned series with Image Comics called Monstress.

I’m intrigued by the fantasy element and alternate Asia circa 1900s setting after reading about it in Liu’s interview and the art looks amazing. Summer seems so long from now. I will definitely buy and support this when it comes out.

Update: Apparently it will be released in November, 2015. Details can be found on the Tumblr website.

Posted in *Recommended, Art & Animation, Books

Couleur de peau: miel ; tome 1 (French graphic novel)

I randomly saw this graphic novel Couleur de peau: miel at the local library and decided to borrow it. I actually didn’t remember at the time that I had actually heard of this title before since there was an animated film adaptation. In any case, I’m glad I did borrow the graphic novel because it’s a compelling read. It is autobiographical, written and drawn by Jung (a pen name, his full name is Jung Sik Jun or Jung Henin) who writes about his upbringing as a Korean adoptee living in Belgium. It covers various childhood memories, both embarrassingly honest and painful. There are some introspective moments but also fun moments, in particular Jung seems to have been lucky to be so easily accepted by four siblings whom he plays with, particularly his brother. There are occasional “flash-forwards”, one that stands out in particular is how the author says he had no difficulty telling his sister about a rather embarrassing moment from his childhood that involved her. One of the later chapters has a bit of historical background on Korean adoption and what caused it to happen. It’s something I didn’t know about but never really researched it either.

There are two more volumes. The third and last one was released fairly recently in September 2013. I’m unaware of any English translations of the work but if you can read French, the first volume gets a recommendation from me. I’m looking forward to reading the next couple of volumes.

Posted in *Recommended, Art & Animation, Books

Escape to Gold Mountain: A Graphic History of the Chinese in North America by David Wong (graphic novel)

I recently read the graphic novel Escape to Gold Mountain: A Graphic History of the Chinese in North America by David Wong, a Chinese Canadian born in Vancouver. The book was released in 2012 and its title sums up its subject matter as succinctly as the story itself sums up the past history of Chinese in North America. It’s told through the stories of Wong’s family and spans both USA and Canada. The story starts off in the present with the grandmother visiting a museum that has a machine called the “Iron Chink” after which she goes into her story in the past. We see the racism and injustices experienced by the Chinese during the time they built the railroads and then the Chinese exclusion/immigration act and head tax. It’s a necessary and good starting point to read up on a part of Canadian history that is not taught in schools (at least not when I was in school).

Posted in *Recommended, Art & Animation, Books

Graphic Novels or Comic Books

Here are some prominent graphic novels (aka comic books) most of which I’ve read and enjoyed.

Meanwhile: Pick Any Path. 3,856 Story Possibilities by Jason Shiga
Available in book form or as an iPad app which seems ideally suited to this choose your adventure comic!

Vietnamerica by G.B. Tran

Runners (series) by Sean Wang – A fun sci-fi adventure which is absolutely free to read online. The premise is a cross between Serenity/Firefly and Star Wars. I really dig the artistic design of the world and characters that Sean Wang has created here. The first volume was in black and white but the second volume is in very lovely colour.

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang – The graphic novel contains three seemingly independent stories of a Chinese American kid, a Caucasian kid and the Monkey King which are gradually revealed to all be linked together.  I enjoyed this one a lot and found it very easy to relate to. The art is more cartoonish with much use of solid primary colours.

Jellaby (2 volumes) by Kean Soo – An excellent kid’s book about a friendly creature and the two kids who befriend it. It uses mainly black and purple in the colouring although there are tiny bits of orange and red used. The story is based in Toronto where Kean resides.

Same Difference and Other Stories by Derek Kirk Kim – This one was very amusing and at times funny. It has a few separate short stories which encompass the Korean American experience. The art is black and white.

Johnny Hiro by Fred Chao – A fun action adventure about a seemingly average guy who partakes in some superheroics occasionally. It’s black and white but still very kinetic.

Chinaman (series) by Serge LeTendre & Olivier Taduc (French) – A series of French language albums (a large format comic book) about a Chinese cowboy that started long before the idea was realized in the film, Shanghai Noon. The french-born artist Taduc is of Vietnamese descent. I like the art although the stories and characters are kind of generic and predictable.

Shortcomings by Adrian Tomine – Excellent black and white line art and very good character writing although the main character is an ass. I know it’s intentional but it made it a less enjoyable read for me but I will say that the story does touch on a lot of different race issues that could generate much discussion or arguments. Still I preferred Tomine’s various short stories in the “Summer Blonde” collection.

Skim by Mariko Tamaki & Jillian Tamaki – A coming of age lesbian story of a Japanese Canadian young girl who’s also into wicca. I personally didn’t like this one finding it to be dull but it has won awards so what do I know? The writer-artist team are cousins from Canada (Mariko from Toronto & Jillian from Calgary).

Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology by various creators comprised of a veritable who’s who of the mainstream comics industry. Haven’t read this one.  Volume 2 is apparently already in the works.