In my ongoing effort to achieve gender parity in my list (as well as my somewhat less successful effort to pare the list down to a more manageable size) I’ve made a few changes to the list in the past month. I’ve also changed my reading order for Southeast Asia. I had originally intended to go from Thailand to Cambodia and then to Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, and Macau; I decided it would make more geographical sense to go Thailand-Myanmar-Laos-Cambodia-Vietnam-Macau. Vietnam and Macau don’t share a border (there’s a bit of China between them), but they’re a hell of a lot closer than Macau and Myanmar.
Here are my additions and subtractions, with the occasional explanation:
- Sandera, Arena Wati, 1971 (doesn’t appear to be translated into a language I know)
- I Am Muslim, Dina Zaman, 2007
- The Terracotta Bride, Zen Cho, 2016
- Among the White Moon Faces, Shirley Geok-lin Lim, 1996
- Yesterday, Felicia Yap, 2017
Corrected the date on If We Dream Too Long, making it second on the list instead of 11th.
- Tender Delirium by Tania de Rozario, 2013
- Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows, Balli Kaur Jaswal, 2017
- The Happiness of Kati, Jane Vejjajiva, 2003
- Sunset at Chaophraya, Thommayanti, 1965
- Katya and the Prince of Siam, Narisa Chakrabongse and Eileen Hunter, 1995
- Noblesse Oblige, Dorkmai Sot, 1937
General changes: Decided to read either Htin Aung’s Burmese Folk Tales or Ludu U Hla’s Folktales of Burma, but not both
Moved Orwell’s Burmese Days to the end so it doesn’t influence my perceptions until after I’ve read all the books by Burmese authors
- The Road to Wanting, Wendy Law-Yone, 2010
- Stories from Her Heart, Khin Hnin Yu, 2009
- Another Quiet American: Stories from Laos, Brett Dakin, 2003
- 3 epic poems to choose from, depending on whether I can find them:
- Sang Sinxay, Phang Kham (mid-16th to late 17th c.)
- Thao Hung Thao Cheuang (15th c.? but maybe earlier)
- Phra Lak Phra Ram (Laotian Ramayana)
- The Latehomecomer, Kao Kalia Yang, 2008
- Au-delà de la Mékong, Oubone-lat Papet, 2008 **
- When the Sky Turns Upside Down, Doung Champa and Duangduan Bounyavong (Outhine Bounyavong’s widow), 2009
- Spring Essence: The selected poetry of Ho Xuan Huong, ed. John Balaban, 2001 (18th author)
- Lament of the Soldier’s Wife, Dang Tran Con and Doan Thi Diem**, trans. Rewi Alley, 1966 (poems from 18th)
- Enfer rouge, mon amour, Lucien Trong, 1980
- When Heaven and Earth Changed Places: A Vietnamese Woman’s Journey from War to Peace, Le Ly Hayslip, 1989
- Calmonies (trans. as “Slander”), Linda Lê, 1993
- Monkey Bridge, Lan Cao, 1997
- The Cemetery of Chua Village and Other Stories, Doan Le, 2005
- Le Venin du Papillon, Anna Moï, 2017
So there are a lot, a lot of Vietnamese authors who fled Vietnam as children during the war and settled in Canada, the US, or France. The two I have on my list are Lan Cao and Viet Thanh Nguyen (mostly because I want to read The Sympathizer anyway). If I decide to later, could include: Teresa Mei Chuc, Le Thi Diem Thuy, Thanhha Lai, Kim Thuy, Thi Bui (author of “The Best We Could Do,” which is on my to-read list anyway), and Monique Truong. The gender balance of my list is now at 12/11, so maybe just add “The Best We Could Do” and call it a day.
I spent a fair amount of time researching Maccanese authors trying to find some more women, but had no luck. The only person whose name I could even find is Jenny Oliveros Lao (it looks like I can find two of her poems on the web, and she’s also written a children’s book but it may be hard to source). I’ve added her to the list in a general way and will try to pinpoint specific works later.
Subtracted: Kowloon Tong, Paul Theroux, because some time after I put my original list together I read a book by Theroux (“Dark Star Safari”) and I think he’s a condescending misogynist and I have no interest in ever reading anything else he’s written.
I stopped there because I figure by the time I get through this much of the list, a few years will have gone by and more stuff might have been published.