Co.ntext is a collaborative effort to bring themed book recommendations to our Co.mmunity. With our favourite book reader, reviewer and part-time bookseller from Littered With Books across the street from us, we hope you'll find meaning, value and perhaps respite from these monthly themed reading lists.
To scatter, migrate and move elsewhere away from one’s birth origins.
1. Northern Girls by Sheng Keyi
Northern Girls explores the inner lives of a generation of young, rural Chinese women who embark on life-changing journeys in search of something better. This is a community of migrant girls who rely on each other as they grind for success, leaving their homelands in hopes of achieving big dreams and a stable career.
Migrants from China, set in late 90s.
Coming-of-age of 16 year old females.
Reason for migration: career opportunities.
2. Forgotten Country by Catherine Chung
Forgotten Country blends Korean folklore with a modern narrative. A family with two daughters were told that for generations they would lose a daughter. When Hannah, the younger of the two, went missing, Janie was desperate to reconnect with her sister and began to dig into their family history and the reason they moved to America.
Immigration from Korea to America.
On sisterhood, familial conflict, loss and identity.
Reason for migration: security and a better future (in career, education, life).
3. Ministry Of Moral Panic by Amanda Lee Koe
Ministry Of Moral Panic is a collection of short stories on migrant workers in Singapore and our grandparents’ time. The stories include forbidden love, inequality and desires. As you pick up each story, you will find it hard to put them down. Some leave you unnerved and uncomfortable whilst others give a warm fuzzy peek at 90s Singapore.
On moral relativism and human condition.
4. The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston
The Woman Warrior is an autobiography which follows Maxine Hong Kingston whose family immigrated to California and her mother’s mythical stories of China where she lives vicariously. This is a classic immigrant story with intersecting identities of Kingston as a female, Chinese, American and of course, as an Immigrant.
On inherited culture, family history, feminism and human condition.
An autobiography and memoir.
5. Trick Mirror by Jia Tolentino
Trick Mirror is a collection of essays that analyses self delusions that have been created and perpetuated in our current society. As a second generation immigrant with parents from the Philippines, she found herself being picked for a reality TV show as ‘the Asian girl’. From there she covers topics like pop culture, reality TV, the Internet and feminism.
On feminism, identity and reflection.
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Till the next one. x