It's a hard time for everyone right now but Asians— 𝘞𝘦 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘨𝘰𝘪𝘯' 𝘵𝘩𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩 𝘪𝘵.
🎶 Music Intro 🎶 At first, I was gonna do an “April Fools'” video to announce Asian Readathon, like I did last year with the Scarlett Johansson Readathon.
But then I realized that this whole year has been one giant April Fools'.
And we don't need that 𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘰𝘱 𝘰𝘧 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘦𝘭𝘴𝘦.
So, I skipped out on April Fools' and I will get straight to the point in this video.
If you are new here, I started Asian Readathon last year.
It is basically a month-long readathon that encourages you to read books that feature Asian characters or are written by Asian authors — or both.
This takes place from May 1st — May 31st, which is Asian Heritage Month.
The conversation around Asians has been more topical— Especially now that hate crimes and discrimination have exponentially increased with this global pandemic.
So, for this year's Asian Readathon, I was tryna figure out: How can we get a community of readers to read more Asian books in support of them during this time? How can we do it in a way that is accessible to everyone since libraries and bookshops are now closed? And since people might have more financially limiting situations.
And also: How can the challenges be thoughtful, instead of just “Coronavirus-themed”? Not everyone wants to think about what's going on.
Not everyone wants to focus on it.
And sometimes, reading can just be for escapism.
All of those factors were swirling in my head.
I am now at a point where I finally have the challenges finalized for this year.
I will also go over details for an optional Read-along if you would like to participate in a group book.
And the last part that I want to talk about is how to join the committee.
Because something that I did last year was: I organized a giant Google Doc of recommendations of Asian books and Asian authors to read.
And this list was crowdsourced by the community.
They were organized by different genres, different cultural groups.
And it was a really helpful way to get people to figure out what books they want to read or how to read more diversely.
This list will still keep on being expanded every year.
The trouble is; I 𝘥𝘦𝘧𝘪𝘯𝘪𝘵𝘦𝘭𝘺 don't have enough time for that.
Which is why I will need your help if you are interested in volunteering.
So, we have a lot of information to go over.
Let's start with what the challenges are.
Once again, Asian Readathon is a month-long readathon that is hosted online.
You can participate on Twitter, on YouTube, on Instagram, in real-life — whatever you want.
My personal goal for this is to make it as accessible and easy as possible.
Last year, it was because I'm a lazy piece of shit.
This year, it's because we are now living in a very weird time where not everyone has access to books.
So, these challenges are meant to be customizable to you.
So, you can make it as easy or as complex as possible.
The first challenge is: Read a book by an Asian author.
It is really that simple as that.
𝘈𝘯𝘺 𝘈𝘴𝘪𝘢𝘯 𝘢𝘶𝘵𝘩𝘰𝘳 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘸𝘢𝘯𝘵 — that is the bare minimum that we are going here for Challenge 1.
The second challenge is: Read a book featuring an Asian character or written by an Asian author who you can relate to.
This is open to interpretation.
So, if you are a woman, you could easily read another female Asian author.
If you're an immigrant, you can read about another immigrant character.
If you are gay, you can read about a gay Asian character.
Whatever similarity that you have to this author or to this protagonist.
The reasoning for this is because: Again, we are in a very strange time where Asians are often ostracized.
I mean, that's been a thing even before this pandemic happened.
But it is even worse now because it just goes to show the biases that people have.
Especially in America, people kind of see Asians as “other” or as “foreign”, and not truly part of any other community.
So, I think it's important to humanize each other and see the similarities that we have with one another too.
Conversely, Challenge 3 says: Read a book featuring an Asian character or writen by an Asian author who is different from you.
So, for example, if you're straight, you can read about a gay character.
If you're Japanese, you can a book by a Vietnamese author.
If you are not Asian, just reading an Asian book would therefore qualify it.
When we find similarities with other people, that helps with empathy.
But then, there are times where someone might be totally different from you — and you should still be a decent human being and care about them.
And the whole point of reading is to expand your knowledge and perspectives of others' stories.
So, if you can read about someone 𝘸𝘩𝘰 𝘪𝘴 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦 𝘺𝘰𝘶, then that will fulfill this specific challenge.
The fourth challenge is to read a book recommended by an Asian.
Someone's favorite book, or someone's preferences in reading a certain type of book, speaks a lot about them as a person.
It's not just important to read Asian stories, but also read Asian stories that have resonated with an actual Asian person that you know in your life.
There are lots of ways that you can choose a book that's recommended by an Asian.
For example, you could watch an Asian BookTuber's recommendations video where they list off different books that they enjoy.
I have a playlist from last year where lots of people recommended books that they loved for this readathon.
So, you can easily go through those videos and pick a book from there.
Another way is you can ask your Asian friend what book they think best represents them.
Or maybe you are deciding between two different books that you wanna read for the Asian Readathon.
You can ask your friend or your favorite Asian BookTuber which one they would pick.
And have them choose that book for you.
It's just an excuse to get a little glimpse of what they are into.
And, in a way, you are learning a little bit more about them.
If, for whatever reason, you are 𝙥𝙡𝙖𝙜𝙪𝙚𝙙 by shyness— Or you don't know 𝙡𝙞𝙩𝙚𝙧𝙖𝙡𝙡𝙮 𝙖𝙣𝙮 𝘼𝙨𝙞𝙖𝙣 𝙥𝙚𝙧𝙨𝙤𝙣 𝙖𝙩 𝙖𝙡𝙡, and you just want a quick recommendation right away— I will go ahead and suggest two books for you to read, if you would like.
One of them is 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘉𝘰𝘢𝘵 (SBS) by Matt Huynh.
This is a webcomic that I am recommending because it is free and really, really quick to read.
I will have it linked in my description.
It is written and drawn by a Vietnamese author/artist.
The comic is beautifully designed.
And it gives insight for what a lot of Vietnamese people have gone through to come to America.
I am Vietnamese so, if you read it, maybe you'll get a little bit more insight about my intergenerational trauma.
Or, if you want to read a physical book, you can try 𝘚𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘦 by Ling Ma.
This is a pretty timely book at the moment because: It is a dystopian novel about an Asian woman who finds herself in the middle of an epidemic from a virus that was originated in China.
And this book was written a couple years ago, but it is very relevant to right now.
So, those are two books, already, that you can try out to fulfill this challenge, if you want.
And then the fifth challenge is something that is completely optional.
This is only for people who are able to access this book and are interested in participating in a group book.
And that is 𝘓𝘪𝘵𝘵𝘭𝘦 𝘍𝘪𝘳𝘦𝘴 𝘌𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 by Celeste Ng.
This is a topical book at the moment because her book was recently adapted into a Hulu show.
So, what we are doing is a fun, little companion-piece to Asian Readathon.
And that is the 𝘓𝘪𝘵𝘵𝘭𝘦 𝘍𝘪𝘳𝘦𝘴 Read-along and the 𝘓𝘪𝘵𝘵𝘭𝘦 𝘍𝘪𝘳𝘦𝘴 Watch-along.
I'll talk more about that in a minute, but let me just wrap-up the challenges here.
Basically, there are four challenges and one optional one.
Again, they can be personalized to you so you can make it as easy and as complex as you want.
𝙔𝙤𝙪 𝙘𝙖𝙣 𝙘𝙤𝙢𝙗𝙞𝙣𝙚 𝙘𝙝𝙖𝙡𝙡𝙚𝙣𝙜𝙚𝙨.
So that can make it even easier.
If you are really pressed for time— If you aren't able to get your hands on a lot of Asian books— You could literally read just one book, and I can guarantee you, that will fulfill all of the challenges, if you wanted to.
Let's say I wanted to have a really easy book to read, and I wanted to read a graphic novel.
A manga series that gets recommended a lot on BookTube is 𝘖𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘨𝘦 by Takano, Ichigo (Ichigo Takano).
It's recommended by Asian BookTubers and non-Asians as well.
Let's say I pick that book as my one book to read.
It would fulfill the challenge of having it be recommended to me.
It features a main character with depression, which is a similar quality that I have.
But it features Japanese characters which is different from me because I am not Japanese.
And, obviously, it is written and drawn by an Asian author.
So, it encompasses all of the challenges.
Another example is: Let's say I wanted to approach Asian Readathon by having two books to read.
I could pick 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘞𝘦𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘖𝘶𝘳 𝘚𝘬𝘺 by Hanna Alkaf.
The author is a woman, which is a similar quality to me.
I would be able to read another book by an Asian woman.
But the protagonist has OCD, which is something that I do not have.
So, I would be able to still see a new perspective.
That's just another way that you can combine those two challenges, even though they seem to be opposite from each other.
And then, I could choose my second book by tweeting out a poll that has options for, like, four different Asian books.
And then have my Asian followers vote for which ones they want me to read.
So, those are really simple and easy ways to choose what books you can read based on your availability.
But, obviously, if you want to make it more complex, you definitely can.
You can totally read so many different books for each challenge, if you want to.
Something that I did last year was I had a twist where: For every book you read, you have to make sure that each book represents a different Asian ethnicity.
So, for example, you can't just read all-Japanese books in one month, or all-Korean books.
You have to vary it up a little bit.
This twist will still apply for this year's readathon.
Only because I think it's doable because you can combine challenges.
Like in my example of reading two books for Asian Readathon: Hanna Alkaf is Malaysian.
I was able to combine challenges for reading a similar quality, reading a different quality, and reading by a different Asian author.
But I'm reading a separate book for that last challenge.
So, I would just have to make sure that that separate book—that fulfills that challenge—is by an author who's 𝙣𝙤𝙩 Malaysian.
Hopefully (???) that makes sense.
Basically, you 𝙘𝙖𝙣 combine challenges.
But for every book that you decide 𝙣𝙤𝙩 𝙩𝙤 𝙘𝙤𝙢𝙗𝙞𝙣𝙚, make sure to read a different Asian ethnicity.
𝙒𝙚 𝙖𝙧𝙚 𝙣𝙤𝙩 𝙖𝙡𝙡 𝙤𝙣𝙚 𝙢𝙤𝙣𝙤𝙡𝙞𝙩𝙝𝙞𝙘 𝙜𝙧𝙤𝙪𝙥.
There are so many different cultures to explore.
And if you are worried that you might not be able to find enough diversity.
✨ DON'T WORRY! ✨ Because I have a giant Google Doc list of Asian authors—of all kinds of different ethnicities—to read about.
So, you can just browse the list and see what interests you and pick one from there.
Now, let's talk about the optional group book which is 𝘓𝘪𝘵𝘵𝘭𝘦 𝘍𝘪𝘳𝘦𝘴 𝘌𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦.
Ali Dunn, and I and a few other hosts, are organizing this Read-along/Watch-along.
The dates for the Read-along are from May 1st — May 15th.
And then, the next day, on Saturday, May 16th, we will have a live show on Ali's channel at 7PM EST.
And while you're reading-along, you can also use the #𝒍𝒊𝒕𝒕𝒍𝒆𝒇𝒊𝒓𝒆𝒔𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒅𝒂𝒍𝒐𝒏𝒈 to join and be a part of the conversation.
Then, for the second half of the month, we will switch over to the Watch-along, which is taking place from May 15th — May 29th.
We're gonna be watching the Hulu show during the second half of the month and seeing what's different and seeing what's similar.
And we will have another live show on Ali's channel on Saturday, May 30th, at 7PM EST.
You can use the #𝒍𝒊𝒕𝒕𝒍𝒆𝒇𝒊𝒓𝒆𝒔𝒘𝒂𝒕𝒄𝒉𝒂𝒍𝒐𝒏𝒈 to update as you watch.
Even if you're not participating in this, you can still use the #𝒂𝒔𝒊𝒂𝒏𝒓𝒆𝒂𝒅𝒂𝒕𝒉𝒐𝒏 just to be a part of the conversation, in general.
All the information, whether it's the challenges or the group book or whatever, will be listed in the description.
And it will be written out in full detail in the Google Doc as well.
That leads me to the last thing that I want to cover in this video, which is: 📚💖 I NEED VOLUNTEERS! 💖📚 I am just one simple person, with one simple brain cell.
If you know of any Asian books that you would strongly recommend— That you think would represent an Asian ethnicity that doesn't necessarily get represented a lot.
Or maybe Asians that have LGBT+ rep, or disability rep, or whatever kind of intersectional identity— I will have a link to a form where you can submit your suggestions.
And then they will be added to this ever-growing list of Asian book recommendations.
Now, 𝙬𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙄 𝙣𝙚𝙚𝙙 𝙞𝙣 𝙩𝙚𝙧𝙢𝙨 𝙤𝙛 𝙫𝙤𝙡𝙪𝙣𝙩𝙚𝙚𝙧𝙨 though, is people who will actually go through the suggestions and add it to the Google Doc.
What I ran into last year was: I found it very difficult to be able to add everybody's suggestions.
I got so many recommendations from people, but I was only one person trying to add them all—and organize them and categorize them in the right sections.
And what I really need this year is for people to help add onto the Google Doc and go through the suggestions.
I was thinking of starting an Asian Readathon Committee.
So, instead of having co-hosts like last year, we're having this optional read-along with other co-hosts.
And we have this ever-growing list of Asian book recommendations.
If you are interested, if you are internet-savvy with Google Docs, and if you have the time— You can volunteer to be one of the people who gets access to all the recommendations that get submitted through the form.
And you can help add onto the Google Doc whenever you can.
And I think it will just be a lot easier if it were a community effort instead of me trying to add every single person's suggestion.
So, if you would like to apply to be part of the Asian Readathon Committee: I will have a link in the description where you can apply with your information and give more detail about how you can help.
Once again, all information is in the description and also in the Google Doc.
So, you really didn't need to watch this video, but I appreciate you for doing so anyway.
Let me know what books you plan on reading for Asian Readathon.
Feel free to post about it on Twitter, on Instagram, on YouTube.
We will re-tweet it, we will add it to the 2020 Asian Readathon Playlist, we will collect it all together.
Lastly, I want to say “thank you” to Skillshare for sponsoring this video.
Skillshare is an online learning community with thousands of inspiring classes for creative and curious people.
If you're anxious during this time, you can explore classes that may help you express what you're feeling through creative self-discovery.
Drawing, writing, and journaling classes can be a really great way to help manage stress and practice mindfulness and feel connected to one another.
The class that I would like to recommend for what's going on at the moment is “Drawing as Self-Discovery” by Mari Andrew.
In the class, she shares how drawing can help you process your emotions and promote self-discovery.
And they have really easy and fun exercises that will guide you to go deep and reflect on your emotions, and visualize your dreams for the future.
Skillshare classes are cheaper compared to other in-person classes because they are less than $10 a month.
The first 1, 000 people who click on the link in my description will get their first two months of Skillshare for absolutely free.
I hope that you can use this time to explore your creativity.
And I also hope that you can use this time to read and expand your knowledge.
And also find ways to be supportive of your Asian friends and loved ones.
It's a hard time for everyone right now but Asians— 𝘞𝘦 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘺 𝘨𝘰𝘪𝘯' 𝘵𝘩𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘨𝘩 𝘪𝘵.
So, if we can try to take care of ourselves, and also be kind and empathetic to one another, that's really the only way we can get through what's going on right now.
I hope that everyone is staying safe.
💞 If you are joining, let me know what you plan on reading.
And I will see you next time! Bye! 🎶 Music Outro 🎶.