When I was younger, it always made me wonder who those people were, penning book reviews splashed across covers front and back.
All the adjectives: breathtaking, captivating, mesmerising, groundbreaking…
And all those verdicts: a must-read, the book to watch for, the tome of the year…
When it came to my turn to write book reviews, instead of feeling empowered, I felt more meek and feeble than ever.
More so, because the first piece I took on was to review books of my poet friends, also marvellous mentors who inspired me to write my own poems and encouraged me to read them outloud in a monthly poets’ meet-up.
Six years on, occasionally I had the opportunity to write reviews. Time has not made me more bold, and I doubt, more wise. But I have found a way around it. It has always been a way to go:
Thanks to the training as an English major in the undergraduate years, I have learnt to appreciate literature, not so much to critique, but to look into little details, and to relate. Thanks goodness, also, that my reviews are collated by a group of literature-lovers, who would understand the approach beyond the adjectives and verdicts.
In this, I think I am pretty confident.
So here, without further ado, let me present to you my contribution to the wonderful Cha: An Asian Literary Journal. Starting with the latest Sixth Anniversary Issue (woot!), and more down the memory lane. Enjoy!
• Chan, Cecilia. “Holding Your Breath and Disappearing Into Stories: Felix Chong’s Vanishing Point and Christopher New’s Gage Street Courtesan”. Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Issue 23 (March 2014).
• Chan, Cecilia. “Deepest Yearnings Revealed: Grace Chia’s Cordelia and John Wall Barger’s Hummingbird”. Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Issue 21 (June 2013).
• Chan, Cecilia. “Journeys through Home: Fifty Stories, Fifty Images and Home, Away, Elsewhere”. Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Issue 21 (June 2013).
• Chan, Cecilia. “Poetry Wrapped in Beauty: A Review of Three Poetry Collections”. Cha: An Asian Literary Journal. Issue 7 (May 2009)
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Image courtesy of the cover artist Hu Jiamin and Cha: An Asian Literary Journal.