My mail box was packed this week and most of the books have a theme. As a result of all my Okinawa research for the upcoming Tortured Willows, I wound up getting a lot of books on the topic. Three poetry books, two kid/YA books, and three non-fiction. Some of the links below are affiliate links and if you purchase, I earn a commission.
First, from the library I found Speak, Okinawa by Elizabeth Miki Brina: “A searing, deeply candid memoir about a young woman’s journey to understanding her complicated parents—her mother an Okinawan war bride, her father a Vietnam veteran—and her own, fraught cultural heritage.” Available on Amazon here or find it at your local library like I did.
In my mail I have two copies of Monstrum Poetica by Jezzy Wolfe. I pre-ordered a copy with signed bookplate and Jezzy sent me a copy so now I have one to give away. Some time this month I’ll be doing a book spotlight show with Jezzy, so I’ll give the extra copy away then. Watch for that announcement to pop up in this blog. If you don’t want to wait to win, you can always get a copy on Amazon here.
I ordered Oriental Faddah and Son by Lee A. Tonouchi: “delivers Da Pidgin Guerrilla’s most entertaining yet poignant work to date through a combination of lamenting and humorous poems… Award winning author Tonouchi delivers a captivating, semi-autobiographical tale through his mastery of the Pidgin language… uncovering the identity of one’s true self. In the Guerrilla’s case, it’s the essence of being an Okinawan in Hawai’i.” Available on Amazon here.
Also in poetry I downloaded Oblivion in Flux: A Collection of Cyber Prose by Maxwell I. Gold: Enter a world of desolate imagination, rhizomatic beauty, and ruined cities. Oblivion in Flux, the debut prose poetry collection of Maxwell I. Gold, takes the reader on a trip along demented railways and past rhizomatic tubular dreamscapes… as well as a brand-new collaborative prose poem written by the author and Bram Stoker Award winner and SFPA Grandmaster, Linda D. Addison. Available from Amazon here.
Also in my mail, The Last Sakura: Tales of The Yuta by Ashley Nakanishi. I was super excited about this one because the cover features the mysterious hajichi tattoos from my ancestors, but also talks about yuta, a type of Okinawan medium or witch. From family stories, my family were yuta. From the book’s description, I think there’s a lot of fiction here but I’m still looking forward to it: “Have you ever wondered if all those ghost stories and bits of folklore your obaa told you were true? After the tragic loss of their mother, Kiko and Yuki move to Okinawa to live with their mysterious grandmother. In a new world of language, culture, food and magical arts, Kiko learns she must unlock her mystical destiny as a yuta to avenge her mother’s death against the Iron Dragon.” Find this book on Amazon here.
The Ghosts of Okinawa by Jayne A. Hitchcock was not what I was expecting at all. I expected a professionally printed book and this is printed on a home printer but if the information is good I don’t see that it matters. More power to her. Maybe I’ll try this myself, but I don’t think the labor involved with stapling and folding would be worth it to me. I may have gotten her last paperback version, because I don’t find it listed on Amazon now, but you can still find it on Kindle here.
Another Okinawan book, Okinawan Princess: Da Legend of Hajichi Tattoos by Lee A. Tonouchi: “an illustrated, transpacific feminist fairy tale for all readers that illuminates an ancient tradition and pushes back against normative standards of beauty. When Gramma notices how much her granddaughter wishes she could look like a supermodel, Gramma shares how her own mother was made fun of when she moved to Hawaii from Okinawa due to the bold blue hajichi tattoos on the back of her hands. Gramma then reveals the legend behind those mysterious markings. When the Okinawan Princess is kidnapped by Japanese pirates, will she wait for someone to save her or will she be able to outwit her captors? This trilingual story is written in Hawaii Creole, then translated into Japanese and the endangered indigenous Okinawan language called Uchinaaguchi. Okinawan Princess is part of ongoing efforts to revitalize Okinawan language, history and culture worldwide.” While this book is on Amazon here, I wound up ordering four copies direct from Hawaii for my mother, daughters and granddaughters. I don’t see any copies listed in the Hawaiian shop now, but you can find them here.
Finally, I downloaded a brand new book, Blueprint for a Book: Build Your Novel from the Inside Out by Jennie Nash. For nonfiction books I often buy the ebook version to see if the information is useful, and if I see it being a go-to text I also get the paper or hardback, so you may be seeing this again in a future post. I’ve been excited about this one: “How to write novel in the most efficient way by tackling the hardest part before you start to write, from top book coach Jennie Nash” I will definitely be reviewing this soon, or pick up your copy on Amazon here.