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Hello, everyone!

I hope you all are doing well this last day of the second-to-last month of the year (or, whatever day you happen to click on this post)! That statement is simply shocking to me; I must sound like a broken record, but I cannot believe that it is almost the end of 2022.

It is a tradition, at this point, for me to take extremely long hiatuses and then come back around the end/beginning of the year—and I am truly so sorry for my disappearance. This time, though, I can say with confidence that I promise to be back for good. I have so many post ideas for the future and am feeling revitalized to use this space as a creative outlet again! Everything I discussed in my last post still stands true, only this time, I promise to actually begin consistently posting again. This is truly so exciting; I cannot wait to show you all what I have in store!

So without further ado, let’s get into today’s post! To stay true to my roots, I’ve decided to begin my return by talking about books: my recent reads, what I’m currently reading, and a few I hope to read by the end of the year.

(Also, you may notice the new theme and design of the blog if you are reading this on desktop… I’ve been working on it for the past few days and am not entirely satisfied, so bear with me for the next week or so as I continue to fix all the little glitches that come with changing a WordPress theme.)


Recent Reads

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

I first read Crying In H Mart in October 2021, and while I liked it—rating it an amorphous four stars—it didn’t make it onto my favorites list as I hoped. However, I decided to pick it up again this summer and was absolutely enamored and heartbroken the second time. Perhaps this has to do with my growing love for Japanese Breakfast—the band that Zauner heads—and Zauner as a creative person, but this memoir is now one of my all-time favorites. (One of my future posts will go into further detail about this, so stay tuned…)

Queen of the Tiles by Hanna Alkaf

Honestly, I went into this book without any expectations—all I knew was that my enjoyment of YA Fiction was dwindling and that this was a YA murder mystery about Scrabble. While Queen of the Tiles didn’t rectify my opinion about young adult novels, it was a wild ride and one that I certainly enjoyed. This novel is just so utterly unique in concept and execution, and I would highly recommend picking it up on a whim as I did. My only qualms were with the ending, which seemed hastily put together and lacked true closure.

If You Could See the Sun by Ann Liang

This YA Contemporary boasting academic-rivals-to-lovers and magical realism was one of my most—and only—anticipated 2022 releases. While it was decently enjoyable, it just further reinforced my realization that I am growing out of YA Contemporary. (And as a self-proclaimed YA Contemporary lover, I am truly so sad to say this!) The novel delivered the story it was marketed as, but most of the commentary on wealth and academics that I desired lacked the depth it hoped to achieve. I still can’t get over its gorgeous cover, though… look at it!!

Pure Colour by Sheila Heti

I picked this one up in a beautiful indie bookstore and was so utterly excited to delve into its promised “galaxy of a novel” and “atlas of feeling.” Yet the content fell so short of my expectations; although I’m sure Heti intended for its poetic style, it was so abstract at times that I honestly had no idea what was going on. I would have DNF’d it if not for my insistence to finish and my last shred of hope that it would somehow turn around by the end… even after the main character somehow transformed into a leaf, I decided to push through. And I do, unfortunately, regret my decision.


Currently Reading

Translating Myself and Others by Jhumpa Lahiri

One of my recent interests has been translation and languages, especially as I’m learning Spanish in school and attempting to learn to read and write Hindi. I just think that the nuances of translation and language are so absolutely interesting! You can imagine my excitement when I saw this novel at a Delhi airport bookstore on my way back from India this summer, and I am now finally getting the chance to read it. So far, the essays are quite insightful and thought-provoking—I’m excited to continue and finish the collection.

Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu

I’m actually reading this book for school and I didn’t really know much about it prior to picking it up. (However, the cover is so gorgeous and fulfills my graphic-design-loving heart!) Regretfully, the aforementioned bit about reading for school has seeped out most of the enjoyment that typically would have stemmed from reading such a pretty book with a promising concept (it’s written as a play within a play talking about Asian Americans in the Hollywood industry). I truly hope that it turns around and I end up enjoying it!


Winter TBR

Although I finished my 2022 Goodreads Reading Challenge of 22 books with Pure Colour about two weeks ago, I really hope that I can squeeze in a few more books before the year ends, as there are some that I have been wanting to pick up for the longest time. Here are the top four that I’m most anticipating and truly hope I can read—although I am a mood reader above all else and may completely disregard this TBR and pick up something else entirely. 😭

How have you all been? I’ve truly missed this community so much. ❤ Let me know all of your recent reads and reading plans in the comments below!

11 responses to “Reading Updates + My Winter TBR”

  1. Rishika @ For Goodness Bakes Avatar

    ash, so so happy to see you back! i look forward to anything you post, so definitely v excited to see all the new content you’re hoping to make 💞 sending lots of warm wishes and virtual hugs! 😚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ash @ Starlight Strands Avatar

      thank you so much, rishika!! love you lots 🥰🥰


  2. riv @ dearrivarie Avatar

    so excited you’re back! i’ve also been feeling the slow drift away from ya contemporary but i just picked up a copy of if you could see the sun so fingers crossed that might do something for me ~

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ash @ Starlight Strands Avatar

      omg hi riv i’m so glad to be back too, i missed you!!! and i really hope you love if you could see the sun, lmk your thoughts 👀❤️


  3. Eleanor J. Avatar

    ash!! you’re one of my favorites on this platform – it’s so wonderful to see you’re back! 😊 ooh translating myself and others looks so interesting, i can’t wait to see your review 😀 i completely agree about if you could see the sun, and it’s sadge because it had so much potential…

    ahh we HAVE to buddy read on earth we’re briefly gorgeous! it’s going to be epic.

    …just like your next post 👀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ash @ Starlight Strands Avatar

      me @ you!!!! ilyyy 🥺🥺 i’m glad that we at least got to talk together about if you could see the sun LOL. and YES so excited for our buddy read hehe!!


  4. Clo @ Cuppa Clo Avatar

    Aaah Ash welcome back, I’ve missed you and your posts! I’ve been doing ok I think? Honestly time kinda blurs together but the autumn months (sep-nov) were my best reading months, I ended up reading quite a few books, which I enjoyed. I also reread books 2 and 3 of the iron fey series, which was like coming home because I love those characters so much. As for reading plans, I’m in the middle of buddy reading the heart forger, planning on rereading the iron knight and I’ve started several other books that I would ideally love to finish before 2023. However I’m not going to push myself to finish them for the sake of it, if I have to carry them over then I will but I just like the idea of starting the year with a ‘clean slate’ so to speak.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ash @ Starlight Strands Avatar

      Hii clo, i’ve missed you so much too 😭🥰 I’m glad that you’ve been doing okay and reading + rereading good books!!! i hope you are able to find some new fav reads before the end of the year ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Stephen Writes Avatar

    It’s wonderful to see you are back, Ash 🥰 My favourite read of the year is Daughter of the Moon Goddess, and I’m hoping to fit in a few more books before the end of the year. Enjoy your December reads!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ash @ Starlight Strands Avatar

      thank you so much, stephen!! ahh daughter of the moon goddess has one of my absolute favorite book covers of the year, I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed it! i hope you have a great rest of your reading year! ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  6. 2022 In Review: The Year in Books Avatar

    […] Colour by Sheila Heti: This book was so, so strange. Like I talked about in my last post, it was extremely abstract and consisted of pages and pages of rambling about art, and connections, […]


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