Jul 6, 2024

Essays, Short Stories, and a Fantasy: Sunday Salon

 In my mailbox

I requested this book because of its use of Japanese mythology in its storytelling.

Soho Press, Soho Teen, Sci Fi and Fantasy, Teens and YA, OwnVoices


This heartfelt and quirky young adult fantasy debut follows a young outcast on a journey of transformation . . . into a robot vacuum cleaner.

A fresh twist on Japanese mythology that doubles as a deep, honest dive into mental health.

“I wish to become one of those round vacuum cleaner robots.” That’s what Machi prays for at the altar of Japanese goddess Benzaiten. Ever since her two best friends decided they want nothing to do with her, Machi hasn’t been able to speak. After months of online school and a carousel of therapists, she can no longer see the point of being human. She doesn’t expect Benzaiten to hear her prayer, much less offer a different prayer on Machi’s behalf—that Machi  discover the beauty of humanity, ultimately restoring her to her previous self.

From an author to watch, The Lost Souls of Benzaiten is a highly original debut about the nature of happiness and the potential for healing.

Thanks to Soho Press for a review copy of this book.

Ebook Downloads

The cover and the title grabbed me. Besides, I wanted to read more short stories from a woman's point of view.

Miss Kim Knows

And Other Stories

October 29, 2024; Liveright, NetGalley


From the international best-selling author of Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982, a collection exploring the intimacies of contemporary Korean womanhood.

A woman is born. A woman is filmed in public without consent. A woman suffers domestic violence. A woman is gaslit. A woman is discriminated against at work. A woman grows old. A woman becomes famous. A woman is hated, and loved, and then hated again.

Miss Kim Knows follows eight women, ranging from preteens to octogenarians, as they confront how gender shapes and orders their lives. “Despite her characters’ hardship and disappointments, there is mischief and glee to be found in these pages” (Hephzibah Anderson, Observer), resulting in another riveting read from an essential voice in world literature.

Collection of Essays

Dancing on My Own

Essays on Art, Collectivity, and Joy

Published June 25, 2024; Harper

An essay collection on the aesthetics of class aspiration, creating art and fashion, and the limits of identity politics by emerging art critic and curator Simon Wu

Some interesting and revealing quotes from the essays about being artistic, and being an immigrant:
"...we had chosen to follow our passions into precarious creative professions where few others looked like us and our parents could offer little help. Children of immigrants who pursue creative careers often contend with the perceived opportunity cost of endangering the economic foothold their parents carved out for them." (from "For Everyone")

Simon Wu is a curator and writer involved in collaborative art production and research, and is currently in the PhD program in history of art at Yale University. His family immigrated to the U.S. from Myanmar. 

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated BookreviewerAlso, It's Monday: What Are You Reading, Sunday Salon, and Stacking the Shelves 


  1. That one that incorporates Japanese mythology sounds interesting! I know very little about it.

  2. The first one sounds quirky and fun!
    I just got the latest by Murakami through Netgalley!!

  3. That looks like some good reading -- enjoy!

  4. I absolutely love the cover of Miss Kim Knows and it looks like an interesting read too.

    Ash @ Essentially Ash
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  5. A great list of new arrivals.The Lost Souls of Benzaiten looks good!

  6. Presently about 1/3 of the way through 'The Trigger - The Hunt for Gavrilo Princip: The Assassin who Brought the World to War' by Tim Butcher. Next up will be 'Lord Jim' by Joseph Conrad.

  7. The Lost Souls of Benzaiten is a book I have not heard about, but I think it is a story I'd like to read. I'm fascinated with stories about people who have lost their love of life. Happily, it's on order at my library.

    I also think the book of essays sounds promising. I'm glad that we are now seeing lots of new voices writing essays.

  8. Your books all look interesting, especially The Lost Souls of Benzaiten.

  9. The Lost Souls of Benzaiten looks really interesting!

  10. These books sound really good but my first pick would be Miss Kim Knows
    And Other Stories.

  11. An interesting mix of books to enjoy! Happy reading and have a great week!

  12. Such pretty and unique covers this week. Short story collections can be wonderful. Hope you enjoy your week.


  13. These all sound interesting, and I'm particularly interested in The Lost Souls of Benzaiten. I will have to look for that one. I hope you have a great week!

  14. These books all look a bit different ... I hope you like them. Right now I'm reading Leaving by Roxana Robinson. Have a great week.

  15. Everything in your post today looks fascinating. I am especially interested in Miss Kim Knows because Kim Jiyoung, Born 1982, was a profound eye opener for me. I had long conversations with my Korean daughter in law after finishing it. Unfortunately non of these books are available yet from my either of my library systems.

  16. The first book sounds really intriguing. I hope you enjoy all three!

    I have been struggling to read anything new recently, so I am rereading a trilogy by Mercedes Lackey that I have read several times before. And I'm listening to Ivory Vikings, about the 12th-century carved ivory Lewis chessmen and the woman who may have carved them.

  17. I haven't read nearly enough short story or essay collections in the past few years. I always enjoy them and they're such a good add in to my regular reading. These look good and interesting.


I appreciate your comments and thoughts...

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