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03 Jan 2023
The best books I read in 2022

I read a lot of books in 2022, and a high percentage of them were truly excellent! What a great year for reading!

Books related to trauma and abuse

  • Thistlefoot by GennaRose Nethercott - This gutted me. A Baba Yaga inspired fantasy novel about 3G pogrom survivors.
  • Before All The World by Moriel Rothman-Zecher - This too. A brutal pogrom/diaspora book, the language is stunning, the stories are stark.
  • The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow - Made me cry. And I loved it so much that I read it twice in one year! If you have old pain, siblings, and a baby, it might clench hard in your chest and throat too. A tiny bit reminiscent of The Power and maybe Wicked, but much better
  • Night by Elie Wiesel - yeah this was a correct holocaust book
  • In The Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado - Memoir of domestic abuse. The image of the abuser just shouting poison into the narrator, ooft.
  • Carrie by Stephen King - Reread, for the first time since I was an adolescent. It holds up.
  • What My Bones Know: A Memoir of Healing From Complex Trauma by Stephanie Woo
  • A Gesture Life by Chang-rae Lee - the gentleness that hides horrors, conveyed with great delicacy
  • Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah - (hey Mollie, this is another entrails-hanging-from-chandeliers one!)

Other books that related to Judaism

  • The Rabbi’s Cat by Joann Sfar
  • Shmutz by Felicia Berliner - ending was unsatisfying, but there was a lot of yiddish filth I got a huge kick out of along the way
  • People Love Dead Jews by Dara Horn - Non-fiction, lots of truth.
  • More Stories From My Father’s Court by Isaac Bashevis Singer - there’s something just soothing about this sort of old-fashioned Jewish storytelling for me
  • My Fine Fellow by Jennieke Cohen - Romance with a cooking competition and a secretly Jewish love interest
  • People of the Book: A Decade of Jewish Science Fiction & Fantasy edited by Rachel Swirsky & Sean Wallace - I particularly loved Uncle Chaim and Aunt Rifke and the Angel by Peter S. Beagle

Other books that related to colonialism (obvs this overlaps with trauma)

  • Olga Dies Dreaming by Xochitl Gonzalez - Puerto Rican / Nuyorican history, colonialism, complicity. The different ways we try to fight the system, from inside and out, hurt each other while fighting just fights and help each other while abetting harmful systems, try to repair and survive and thrive. Lots of fairly heavy-handed symbolism and a rushed ending, but overall I really liked the ethical nuance explored. What’s selfish, earning money but also helping family or neighbors? Ditching kids to fight for freedom? Getting fame and being able to help some, but at the cost of secrets and compromises?
  • Portrait of a Thief by Grace D. Li - Heist novel where Chinese American grad students steal back stolen Chinese art from western museums
  • Babel by R.F. Kuang - Academic fantasy, linguistics and colonialism
  • The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See (reread)

Other scifi/fantasy

  • The Golden Enclaves by Naomi Novik - Last book in the Scholomance trilogy, so good I wish I was a slower reader so I could’ve spent more time in this world
  • Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki - trans violinist, teacher who needs to trade souls to the devil to save her own, space alien mom love interest selling donuts, older women queer love story
  • The Dark is Rising (series) by Susan Cooper - Reread from my youth, which really held up. The only Christmassy books I can tolerate.
  • KL Noir: Magic edited by Deric Ee
  • Someone in Time: Tales of Time Crossed Romance edited by Jonathan Strahan - Lots of good stories, but my fav was The Difference Between Love and Time by Catherynne M. Valente
  • The Past is Red by Catherynne M. Valente - Post-climate-disaster but in a kinda happy way?

Other romance

  • A Lady For A Duke by Alexis Hall - regency romance with trans protagonist, absolutely beautifully written
  • The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie by Jennifer Ashley - autistic love interest (romance novels with autistic characters have a special place in my heart)
  • The Warlord’s Wife by Sandra Lake - the love interest initially falls in love with being a good dad to the protagonist’s daughter from her first lover
  • The Switch by Beth O’Leary - protagonist swaps lives with her grandmother, super cute
  • Paris Daillencourt Is About To Crumble by Alexis Hall - m/m baking show romance, but the actually great heart of the story is the way the protagonist has anxiety that gets diagnosed during the book, plus there’s a delightful female dom roommate side character

Other fiction

  • Killers of a Certain Age by Deanna Raybourn - Older female retired professional assassins, reunion tour / last job story
  • The Lost Daughter by Elena Ferrante - maternal ambivalence
  • The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey - husband leaves her for her clone that he built and trained to be more docile &c
  • All My Mother’s Lovers by Ilana Masad - what struck me here was that the mother, after her abusive first marriage, managed to really find a bunch of caring gentle guys and allow herself to be loved. It’s an astonishing story of recovery from trauma, under the hood. Also yay Jewish.
  • Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus - reminds me just the tiniest bit of Last Samurai, largely in that there’s an intelligent troubled angry single mother
  • Would I Lie To You? by Aliya Ali-Afzal - Harrowing. It gets across the awful stress and terror of lying and hiding and desperation very effectively, which made it a very uncomfortable read. Plus racism, and the difficulties of motherhood.
  • Fingersmith by Sarah Waters - lots of twists and missing knowledge and queerness and betrayal
  • X by Davey Davis - hottest book ever
  • Boy Parts by Eliza Clark - what really struck me was how hard the protagonist worked at trying to be seen as as dangerous as she was
  • Pachinko by Min Jin Lee (reread)

Other non-fiction

  • I Contain Multitudes by Ed Yong
  • Fuzz by Mary Roach - all Mary Roach is sublime
  • The Scout Mindset by Julia Galef
  • Lying For Money: How Legendary Frauds Reveal the Workings of Our World by Dan Davies

Short stories available online

Honorable Mentions

  • Mika in Real Life by Emiko Jean - Honestly can’t tell if this was a great book, or just resonated with some intense personal memories for me - perhaps if you’ve ever lost touch with someone you loved as a child, it’ll hit you hard too
  • An Unorthodox Match by Naomi Ragen - Romance novel between a baal t’shuvah and a frum guy and his family, confronting hypocrisy with a lot of love
  • Toyols R Us by Terence Toh
  • When We Were Birds by Ayanna Lloyd Banwo - Trini magical realism love story!
  • Weather Girl by Rachel Lynn Solomon - Romance, fine, but what I really liked was how the protagonist is depressed but coping okay and there’s totally background humdrum Judaism
  • The Siren of Sussex by Mimi Matthews - Romance. Excellent horsewoman protagonist, Indian tailor love interest makes her riding habits
  • Partners in Crime by Alisha Rai - Romance with heist hijinks (apparently this year I was into heist-movie-ish novels)
  • Ocean’s Echo by Everina Maxwell - Queer psi romance
  • Tomorrow And Tomorrow And Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin - Game developers, growing up. All characters bad at opening up to each other. I liked it more than I usually like vibes-based fiction.
  • The School For Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan - too many loose threads, unsatisfying ending, but along the way it was intense and painful and good
  • The Violin Conspiracy by Brendan Slocumb - Race and music and violin theft and family and getting out while both honoring and discarding the past
  • The Unraveling by Benjamin Rosenbaum - On the edge of being too vibesy for me, but with some Talmud so I overall liked it
  • Honor by Thrity Umrigar - Indian American journalist goes back to India, investigates honor killing. I didn’t like the protagonist’s love story, but a lot else was fairly striking
  • Such Big Dreams by Reema Patel - Indian street kid grows up, learns to take care of herself instead of relying resentfully on unreliable caretaking from others
  • The Last Flight by Julie Clark - a woman escapes her abusive husband, another woman tries to escape the trap of drug dealer life
  • A Psalm for the Wild-Built by Becky Chambers - Most of her stuff is way too slow and vibes-driven for me, but this was a soothing guide for enjoying things as they’re ending
  • The Shell Seekers by Rosamunde Pilcher - Too long and dull at times, marvelously cozy and comforting at others. Very character-driven. The plot was about small, domestic issues. A war novel, but fundamentally it was about how to live in small ways while the world goes on.
  • A Half-Built Garden by Ruthanna Emrys - Jewish scifi! Reminds me a bit of the Species Imperative books, with some of the more modern gender-focused and cozy vibes-based touches, and a bit of old Heinlein creative family building

Total number of books read in 2022: 219

01 Jan 2022
The best books I read in 2021

Scifi/Fantasy I loved reading in 2021

  • The Scholomance (series) by Naomi Novik - Magical boarding school books, but extra horrifying and dark and well done.
  • Uhura’s Song by Janet Kagan - Easily the best Star Trek novel I’ve ever read (and I’ve read plenty), with lots of interesting linguistics/cultural nuance.
  • Black Water Sister by Zen Cho - My favorite novel of hers so far. Queer Malay Chinese girl moves back to Malaysia and gets possessed by the ghost of her grandmother.
  • Spirits Abroad by Zen Cho - Mostly a reread but this edition has a few new stories, still brilliant
  • Legendborn by Tracy Deonn - An actually clever, non-boring Arthur novel!
  • The Midnight Bargain by C.L. Polk - Bit on the nose but really well done. When a female sorceress marries, she is literally locked in a collar that seals away her magic (because a fetus could otherwise get possessed)
  • The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri - Another very dark one, lots of burning people to death (including children), but excellent world-building.
  • An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon - Generation ship, major class abuse issues, autistic-seeming doctor-ish protagonist. Very violent. The end a bit weak, but I really liked it until then.
  • Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir - I put off reading this for ages, and then liked it so much more than I thought I would! Not precisely an unreliable protagonist, but one whose perspective makes trying to understand the plot like looking through a cracked, cloudy window from a distance. Plus queer and funny!

Romance novels I loved reading in 2021

  • The Devil Comes Courting by Courtney Milan - Touches on colonialism and cross-racial adoption and brilliant female engineering
  • The Duke Who Didn’t by Courtney Milan - British Chinese regency romance, with a culinary theme and a list-making protagonist
  • Cotillion by Georgette Heyer - The doofy dandy love interest is hilariously great, not the hero we’d expect but a hero nonetheless
  • The Chai Factor by Farah Heron - Engineer protagonist, love interest is a member of the annoying barbershop quartet that moved into her family’s basement
  • Book of Love by Erin Satie - Pranks and politics
  • The Brown Sisters (series) by Talia Hibbert - Protagonists with fibromyalgia, autism
  • Salt Magic, Skin Magic by Lee Welch - m/m selkie mystery romance!
  • The Lady Hellion by Joanna Shupe - Protagonist poses as a man to solve crimes, love interest grapples with agoraphobia and some sort of other panic attacks
  • How to Find a Princess by Alyssa Cole - Latest book in a great series full of great poc characters, this one is f/f and protagonist is somehow neurodivergent
  • The Perks of Loving a Wallflower by Erica Ridley - Lesbian romance, heists, cryptography

Other fiction I loved reading in 2021

  • What did you eat yesterday? (series) by Fumi Yoshinaga - manga mostly about cooking with bits and pieces of cozy m/m romance in between the recipes
  • Dial A For Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto - Protagonist accidentally kills her handsy date, then her mother and 3 aunts help her hide the body while running a massive indo-chinese wedding. Cute funny hijinks ensue.
  • The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf - Reread. Still really brilliant, about a girl dealing ocd or perhaps a djinn during malaysian race riots

Honorable mentions

  • A Charm of Magpies (series) by KJ Charles - Particularly charming m/m fantasy romance.
  • Saint of Steel (series) by T. Kingfisher - Solid comfort food fantasy trilogy for me this past month
  • Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid - mostly here for some really upsetting bits that stick in my head, about the importance of someone helping a child feel most loved
  • Satisfaction Guaranteed by Karelia Stezt-Waters - cute artsy f/f romance, odd couple trope
  • The Empire of Gold by S.A. Chakraborty - last book in an enjoyable fantasy series
  • Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots
  • Born in Fire by Nora Roberts - Romance. The love interest annoyed me, but I really liked that the protagonist is a glassblower and how lovingly her art is described

Total number of books read in 2021: 184

04 Mar 2021
What did you eat yesterday? (recipe index)

For easy reference, a recipe index for the manga What did you eat yesterday?

Volume 1

  • salmon burdock rice (11)
  • bamboo zha cai scrambled eggs (12)
  • cold vermicelli with tuna and tomatoes (43)
  • boiled bamboo shoots and broccoli rabe (58)
  • strawberry jam (66)
  • sardines simmered with pickled plums (94)
  • tomato salad
  • stewed bacon and cabbage
  • miso soup with string beans and potatoes
  • stir-fried asparagus (97)
  • chinese-style spicy pork with eggplant and tomato (111)
  • finely chopped blanched okra with fresh ginger and minced bonito flakes (112)
  • tofu salad with mustard greens, shiso, cucumber, shrimp, ponzu (112)
  • salt-grilled mackerel pike (133)
  • chestnut rice
  • sesame-dressed spinach
  • nameko and trefoil miso soup
  • mackerel pike rice (137)
  • oven-roasted chicken (153)
  • german potatoes with leeks
  • tosa-style sesame-dressed broccoli
  • tofu and wakame miso soup
  • tosa-style cabbage and onions (155)

Volume 2

  • spinach lasagne (17)
  • sour cream and cod roe dip with baguette
  • baked herb-crusted chicken
  • tuna salad
  • miso pork, leeks, cabbage, and thick fried tofu (29)
  • yuzu-dressed napa cabbage
  • wakame soup
  • stewed yellowtail and daikon (37)
  • fried tofu stuffed with miso scallion
  • egg drop soup with mitsuba
  • miso-marinated cherry salmon (54)
  • mustard and mayo dressed asparagus
  • simmered dried daikon strips
  • scrambled eggs with stir-fried veggies
  • onion and new potato miso soup
  • beef and celery oyster sauce stir-fry (75)
  • potato salad
  • natto
  • egg drop soup with tomato and okra
  • Miso pork, eggplant, and bell pepper stir-fry (92)
  • crispy baby sardines, carrot and celery salad
  • cold tofu with onions, myoga ginger, and soy-sauce flavored bonito flakes
  • shredded kelp soup
  • pork and pumpkin curry udon (112)
  • chikuwa and green been salad
  • milky agar with brown sugar syrup
  • foil-baked miso salmon (129)
  • bacon and turnip greens garlic stir-fry
  • vinegared turnips
  • country-style vegetable chowder
  • nikujaga (meat and potatoes) (139)
  • ohitashi spinach
  • scallop and daikon salad
  • tofu and wakame miso soup
  • mixed seasoned rice with salmon, burdock, and maitake mushrooms

Volume 3

  • fried rice with miso pork sauce (17)
  • sweet and sour soup
  • chicken and broccoli in oyster sauce
  • sapporo ichiban miso ramen (napa, carrot, bean sprout, pork, leek, wakame, egg) (33)
  • mochi and veggie-laden toppingful soup (51)
  • chicken wings hot pot (75)
  • lotus root kinpira
  • seasoned rice cooked with vegetables (92)
  • pork and tofu
  • steam-cooked clams, cabbage, and bacon
  • sesame-seasoned sprouts and leeks
  • salty chicken and asparagus stir-fry (113)
  • stewed hijiki with soybeans
  • spring onions dressed in bonito flakes and baby sardines
  • potato and wakame miso soup
  • seasoned rice with eel, takana, and eggs (130)
  • fried eggplant and tomato salad
  • german potatoes with asparagus
  • tofu and myoga soup
  • side-dish crepes (ham and egg, tuna salad, tomato, cucumber, lettuce, &c) (145)
  • snack-dish crepes (banana, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, yogurt, honey, &c)

Volume 4

  • stewed hamburgers in mushroom sauce (17)
  • stir-fried mustard greens and bean sprouts
  • lightly-pickled daikon, cucumbers, and carrots
  • eggplant, thin fried tofu, and ginger bud miso soup
  • salmon, egg, and cucumber sushi rice (33)
  • stewed chicken and veggies
  • stir-fried eggplants and bell peppers
  • plum and mayo dressed broccoli
  • shrimp and turnips in rich sauce
  • rice porridge with chicken, egg, and mitsuba (55)
  • rolled omelet
  • spinach shiraae
  • hot soba with shrimp, mitsuba, and onion fritters (69)
  • vegetable tempura
  • stewed chicken wings and daikon (89)
  • leek consomme (includes the leeks, and mustard)
  • chives with natto
  • sweet potato and fried tofu miso soup
  • caramel-simmered apples on toast (107)
  • ginger pork with heaps of onions (126)
  • carrot namul
  • cold tofu with scallions and zha cai
  • bamboo shoots and wakame miso soup
  • spaghetti napolitan (140)
  • stewed dried daikon strips with carrots
  • tea over rice with pickled plum (146)

Volume 5

  • coleslaw (4)
  • bean rice (actually peas, not beans) (19)
  • tomato stewed chicken
  • stewed string beans and potatoes
  • horse mackerel tataki (32)
  • stewed cabbage and fried tofu
  • kinpira of green peppers and dried baby sardines
  • miso soup with tomatoes and chinese yam
  • summer veggie curry (49)
  • wasabi soy sauce flavored avocado and tomatoes
  • pork soup (74)
  • dried mackerel
  • corn fried in soy sauce and butter
  • spicy tofu with okra
  • japanese-style pasta with mushrooms, tuna, and turnip leaves (93)
  • minestrone
  • turnip salad with wasabi dressing
  • banana pound cake (114)
  • tonkatsu (128)
  • stewed dried daikon
  • spaghetti salad
  • miso soup with spinach and fried tofu
  • pork and chikuwa chop suey (149)
  • spicy daikon and ham and scallion salad
  • corn and egg soup

Volume 6

  • boiled pork and cabbage dumplings (18)
  • sesame-dressed bok choy
  • chilled tofu with baby sardines, natto, and kimchi
  • bamboo shoot rice (38)
  • babyneck clam miso soup
  • sashimi salad
  • green asparagus dressed in white sauce
  • baby sardine and burdock root seasoned rice balls (47)
  • rolled eggs as seen on public television
  • roasted and dunked green peppers
  • tomato-stewed hijiki and tuna
  • corned beef and onion toast (70)
  • worcestershire fried cabbage
  • banana yogurt
  • kenji au lait
  • curry udon (75)
  • miso-fried squid and konnyaku (89)
  • vermicelli, egg, and cucumber salad
  • mustard-dressed bok choy
  • clear soup with green onions and chicken
  • chinjao rosu (beef and green pepper stir-fry) (107)
  • tingly pickled cucumber
  • grilled eggplant
  • miso soup with kabocha and japanese ginger
  • sirloin steak with sauteed string beans and tender potatoes (129)
  • easy pickles
  • cabbage and bacon soup
  • miso-stewed mackerel (144)
  • white stewed taro
  • spinach and shimeji mushroom with grated daikon
  • chives and egg soup

Volume 7

  • peperoncino-style broccoli and littleneck clams (10)
  • milk tea granita (14)
  • fried chicken (35)
  • stir-fried turnip greens with baby sardines
  • lightly pickled turnips and carrots (41)
  • sukiyaki-style udon hot pot (lightly salted cod, chicken thighs, oysters, blue crabs, scallops, littleneck clams, napa cabbage, mizuna, shiitakes, scallions, parboiled udon) (53)
  • stir-fried carrots and konjac with sesame and miso
  • mapo-style cellophane noodles with cabbage and spinach (69)
  • new onions and wakame dressed in ponzu soy sauce
  • turnip and bacon soy milk soup
  • chili shrimp with eggs and asparagus (91)
  • namul-style carrots and bean sprouts
  • plum-wasabi cold tofu
  • potato and wakame miso soup
  • kimchi stew, gilbert style (with littleneck clams and tofu) (107)
  • salt-grilled horse mackerel with ponzu (129)
  • pork stewed with eggplant and string beans
  • okra natto
  • cabbage, onion, and fried miso tofu soup
  • omelette over chicken rice with demi-glace (149)

Volume 8

  • fried oysters (16)
  • plum-dressed boiled spinach
  • thunder konjac
  • miso soup with tofu and nameko mushrooms
  • oden stew (34)
  • boiled chrysanthemum
  • brownies (79)
  • pan-fried chicken with salted rice malt and leeks (97)
  • boiled broccoli
  • kinpira burdock
  • daikon miso soup
  • nagasaki-style plate udon noodles (115)
  • tuna and avocado with wasabi, soy sauce, and rice malt
  • cabbage dressed with plum and baby sardines
  • egg drop soup with mitsuba and baby sardines (133)
  • firefly squid, welsh onion, and wakame salad
  • boiled field mustard dressed with wasabi
  • sawani-style vegetable soup
  • mapo-style bean sprouts (150)
  • carrot salad
  • boiled snap peas with yuzu pepper dressing
  • miso soup with new potatoes, cabbage, and onions

Volume 9

  • salmon ,euniere with japanese-style ginger sauce (14)
  • ratatouille
  • simple green salad
  • okra and tofu clear soup
  • faux roast beef (38)
  • acqua pazza
  • gorgeous green salad
  • chicken wings in garlic, vinegar, and soy sauce (56)
  • mizuna and onion salad
  • potato gratin
  • napa cabbage and bacon soup
  • squid with daikon (70)
  • kabocha salad
  • cabbage sauteed in butter and soy sauce with dried bonito
  • komatsuna and thin fried tofu miso soup
  • shiruko (91)
  • black beans (93)
  • carbonara with broccoli (108)
  • yellowtail teriyaki (127)
  • broccoli and shrimp in thick sauce
  • julienned daikon with natto dressing
  • enoki mushroom miso soup
  • ume bonito onigiri (145)
  • meatballs
  • spanish omelet
  • komatsuna and seaweed salad
  • shredded potato, cheese, and ham pancake (151)

Volume 10

  • beef/pork/potato croquette sandwiches (15)
  • okra with spicy miso
  • tomato soup
  • thai curry (32)
  • beef and zucchini stir-fry
  • shrimp and glass noodle salad
  • homemade yakiniku (beef, bean sprouts, cabbage, green peppers, carrots, onion, eggplants, potatoes, kabocha, grated daikon, ponzu soy sauce) (53)
  • ricotta pancakes (74)
  • sole with sweet and sour sauce (94)
  • bok choy ohitashi
  • sardines over grated daikon
  • kabocha and bacon miso soup
  • miso marinated grilled pork (112)
  • napa cabbage and scallop cream soup
  • savory komatsuna with tofu sesame dressing
  • yam with plum dressing
  • pork belly, cabbage, chives, and glass noodles hot-pot stew (131)
  • tuna with grated yam (150)
  • miso-stewed turnip and chicken
  • bean sprout namul
  • nori soup

Volume 11

  • steamed cod with ponzu (16)
  • steamed egg custard
  • chrysanthemum greens and carrot salad with sesame miso dressing
  • taro and leek miso soup
  • sardine and sesame seed inari sushi (35)
  • carrot and scallion pork rolls
  • salmon nanbanzuke
  • savory rolled omelet
  • asparagus with bonito flakes
  • wasabi chicken (54)
  • fried eggplant and shishito peppers
  • carrot and tuna salad
  • potato and wakame miso soup
  • stir-fried liver and chives (75)
  • steamed eggplant with baby sardine marinade
  • salted cucumber and cabbage
  • egg drop soup
  • stewed flounder (93)
  • fried okra with bonito flakes
  • potato salad
  • tofu, wakame, and leek miso soup
  • kansai-style okonomiyaki with pork (110)
  • clam chowder (128)
  • avocado, shrimp, and broccoli salad
  • corn and butter rice
  • chiffon cake (151)

Volume 12

  • sukiyaki (14)
  • apple muffins (36)
  • squid, natto, and avocado rice bowl (53)
  • gochujang-dressed broccoli
  • miso soup with lettuce
  • stir-fried chicken and turnips (68)
  • tofu-dressed hijiki
  • mitsuba ohitashi boiled greens
  • potato and snow pea miso soup
  • sardine, cabbage, and cod roe pasta (92)
  • yanagawa-style eggplant and pork belly (cooked with burdock root, eggs, and dashi)
  • broiled salted mackerel (110)
  • kabocha and chicken stew
  • coleslaw
  • okra and myoga ginger miso soup
  • zucchini omelet (119)
  • stir-fried pork, tomatoes, and eggs (132)
  • edamame
  • spicy cucumber pickles
  • garlic chives miso soup
  • smelt (152)
  • sweet potato rice
  • chinese-style fried tofu and mushroom stew
  • fried eggplant with grated daikon and ponzu
  • komatsuna and tofu miso soup

Volume 13

  • tantan udon (16)
  • nameko-dressed tofu
  • spring rolls (33)
  • potato salad with egg and bacon
  • chinese komaysuna soup
  • okayu rice porridge with daikon, egg, and miso (49)
  • simmered broccoli with crab
  • sweet potato and apple simmered in lemon juice (52)
  • upgraded boiled chicken (bone-in chicken thighs/wings/meatballs, atsuage tofu, green cabbage, leeks, shiitakes, pea sprouts) (65)
  • carrot shirishiri
  • chicken meatballs (73)
  • edomae-style barachirashi sushi (88)
  • chicken and avocado tempura
  • sesame-dressed rapini
  • clear clam soup
  • tasty boiled shrimp (93)
  • singaporean chicken rice (105)
  • stir-fried bok choy
  • vegetable and consomme egg drop soup
  • stewed horse mackerel (127)
  • octopus and scallion butter-ponzu stir-fry
  • dressed asparagus
  • potato, onion, and bacon miso soup
  • boiled pork and okra (with spicy scallion sesame sauce) (149)
  • stewed kabocha and eggplant
  • egg, tomato, and tofu chinese-style soup

Volume 14

  • white rice porridge (15)
  • soft-boiled eggs
  • atsuage ketchup stir-fry
  • umeboshi-dressed garlic chives
  • dried sardines
  • shiitake with kelp
  • mackerel tatsua’age (33)
  • green pepper and tuna miso stir-fry
  • stewed cabbage with ginger
  • tomato natto
  • mushroom soup
  • mapo tofu with garlic chives and tomato (52)
  • lightly-pickled zucchini
  • wakame and onion soup
  • financiers baked in pound cake pans (73)
  • kakuni cubed pork belly (86)
  • chinese okowa rice (93)
  • pork cutlet over rice (104)
  • butter cod teriyaki with chinese yam and shimeji (125)
  • chrysanthemum greens salad
  • turnip and aburaage miso soup
  • japanese-style pasta with green bell pepper and sardines (144)
  • chicken and avocado salad
  • bok choy and egg soup

Volume 15

  • yurinchi chicken (with green beans and kabocha) (38)
  • salted perilla and cucumber tofu
  • king oyster mushroom and onion miso soup
  • fried gyoza (plain and perilla) (54)
  • stewed fiddleheads
  • bean sprout namul
  • daikon sprout miso soup
  • yuan-zuke salmon (77)
  • chinese-style pork belly and veg kinpira
  • spinach with plum and enoki
  • fried tofu and sweet potato miso soup
  • ginger soy fried eggplant (97)
  • tsukune meat patties with lotus root
  • bok choy with sesame
  • stewed daikon and tofu
  • raisin marmalade cookies (116)
  • beef stew (134)
  • caesar salad
  • cod roe and sour cream with baguette
  • tokoyanabe hotpot (thinly sliced pork belly, spinach, shimeji mushrooms, fried tofu) (147)
  • cod roe and hijiki seaweed

01 Jan 2021
The best books I read in 2020

Books I loved reading in 2020 which had a strong sense of place

  • Meddling and Murder: an Aunty Lee Mystery by Ovidia Yu - Murder mystery solved by a Singaporean aunty who runs a restaurant. Very foodie, very cute. Latest book in a series I love.
  • Sightseeing by Rattawut Lapcharoensap - Thai short stories. Reading these made me feel ridiculous about my tourism. Excellent.
  • The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin - A love song to the real NYC where I live. She gets it. (The plot is almost beside the point with this one, for me.)
  • If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha - Young women in Seoul, beauty standards and plastic surgery, what we do to survive.

Romance novels I loved reading in 2020

  • The Bride Test by Helen Hoang - Autistic love interest. Protagonist was chosen by the mom to be the bride (mom went back to Vietnam to find a candidate), agrees because she wants citizenship, and is brought to the US as a housekeeper to try to win him over. It’s all loving and respectful and sweet.
  • The Truitts: Appetites & Vices by Felicia Grossman - Historical romance (1800s Philly) with a Jewish protagonist who came across to me as probably on the spectrum. Not accepted because of her religion, but also she’s always just too loud and direct and confident and blunt. I love her.
  • Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston - Adorable romance between the UK prince and the son of the US president. Light and warm and fuzzy and just solidly comforting.
  • The Worth Saga: Mrs. Martin’s Incomparable Adventure by Courtney Milan - Queer old women, one rich one poor, falling in love. I live for stories of old ladies having fun!

Scifi/Fantasy I loved reading in 2020

  • Strange the Dreamer (series) by Laini Taylor - Dark, creepy, awful, sickening. (First book was a reread, but I finally read the sequal this year.)
  • Species Imperative (series) by Julie E. Czerneda - This was a reread, I love it so much. Evolutionary biology scifi! Written by a scientist, and it shows!
  • The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle - Reread, of course. Lives up to the memories.
  • Docile by K.M. Szpara - Feels like this should’ve been sexy but in fact it was creepy and depressing. I wouldn’t actually say I loved it, or even liked it, but it certainly stayed with me.
  • The Scapegracers by Hannah Abigail Clarke - What this one really gets right is the feeling of being a teenage girl - all sharp and gross and ridiculous and dangerous and desperate and confused and powerful. Really excited for the rest of the series to come out!

Books I loved reading in 2020 that related to parenting

  • How To Talk So Little Kids Will Listen by Joanna Faber and Julie King
  • The Montessori Toddler by Simone Davies
  • Go To Sleep / I Miss You: cartoons from the fog of new parenthood by Lucy Knisley

Other non-fiction I loved reading in 2020

  • The Sting of the Wild by Justin O. Schmidt - By the Schmidt Sting Pain Index guy! Fun anecdotes (though at least one rather horrifying one, too)
  • An Elegant Puzzle: Systems of Engineering Management by Will Larson
  • Turn the Ship Around! by L. David Marquet
  • Making Comics by Lynda Barry

Other fiction I loved reading in 2020

  • Shirley & Jamila Save Their Summer by Gillian Goerz - Sherlock and Watson as two middle school girls solving kid problems. Exactly the wholesome content I needed this year.
  • An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
  • The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly

Total number of books read in 2020: 159

26 Nov 2020
The best books I read in 2019

Whoops, better get my 2019 list out before 2020 ends…

Books I loved reading in 2019 that related to Judaism

  • The Ritual Bath by Faye Kellerman - A murder mystery that takes place in a mikvah!
  • The Chosen by Chaim Potok
  • The Promise by Chaim Potok

Serieseseseses I loved reading in 2019

  • The Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch - Fun, light, junk-food fantasy novels about a black (dark skinned, not ethically challenged) magician cop in London.
  • The Vorkosigan Saga by Lois McMaster Bujold - Lots of good training montage stuff, disability awareness, uterine replicators, and frankly learning about leadership.
  • The Expanse by James A. Corey - Caught up on the latest two books this year. This series stays really strong for me because the characters are so well-developed. The TV series is great to pair it with, because I think the actors really match my mental images of the characters incredibly well.

Books I loved reading in 2019 that had major family dynamic themes

  • The Rice Mother by Rani Manicka - Big family story during Japanese occupation of Malaysia. Strong matriarch. Loved it.
  • The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf - Protagonist is a teenager with OCD separated from her mother during the 1969 Kuala Lumpur race riots.
  • Please Look After Mom by Kyung-Sook Shin - Actually this look at Korean family life and parenting and aging really struck me.

Books I loved reading in 2019 that related to parenting

  • Precious Little Sleep: The Complete Baby Sleep Guide for Modern Parents by Alexis Dubief - This basically saved our lives.
  • Dear Parent: Caring For Infants With Respect by Magda Gerber
  • Small Talk: How to Develop Your Child’s Language Skills from Birth to Age Four by Nicola Lathey and Tracey Blake - I’ve gone back to this again and again. Not sure it really matters, but it kinda soothes me to have ideas on what to try.
  • The Whole-Brain Child by Daniel J. Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson - Some interesting stuff on emotional development and how to understand what’s going on with tantrums and such.
  • Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child by John Gottman - The main idea is to emphasize that all feelings are accepted, but all behaviors are not, and how to handle the feelings.

Other non-fiction I loved reading in 2019

  • For God, Country & Coca-Cola: The Definitive History of the Great American Soft Drink and the Company That Makes It by Mark Pendergrast
  • Open Borders: The Science and Ethics of Immigration by Bryan Caplan and Zach Weinersmith - Graphic novel. I thought I’d find it boring since it’s preaching to the choir with me, but it was a nice overview and well worth the read regardless of where you’re starting from.

Other fiction I loved reading in 2019

  • The Future of Another Timeline by Annalee Newitz - Punk rock time-traveling feminist scifi!
  • The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson - Really good YA, politics and sacrifice.
  • Thus Was Adonis Murdered by Sarah Caudwell - Murder mystery, really fun characters, reminded me a bit of Wodehouse.
  • The Murders of Molly Southbourne by Tade Thompson - Delightfully creepy. This might be this year’s #entrailsfromchandeliers winner.
  • Hoodtown by Christa Faust - Bwahaha, murder mystery where everyone in the japanese/mexican ghetto wears luchadore heads 100% of the time.
  • A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers - I liked this a lot more than the first book in the series. It had stronger characters and a more interesting story arc. Quite good.
  • Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee - A Chinese girl and a runaway enslaved girl traveling together on the Oregon trail, helping each other.
  • Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values by Robert M. Pirsig - Reread. Aged really well.
  • Worm by John C. McCrae - Lots of really good stuff, sort of like The Martian but better, though I got tired of it by the end. Again, I’m very into the training montage stuff.

Total number of books read in 2019: 118