Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: For the Win + Asian Pacific Heritage Month

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme created and hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

For the Win by Cory Doctorow
Release Date: May 11, 2010
In the virtual future, you must organize to survive

At any hour of the day or night, millions of people around the globe are engrossed in multiplayer online games, questing and battling to win virtual “gold,” jewels, and precious artifacts. Meanwhile, others seek to exploit this vast shadow economy, running electronic sweatshops in the world’s poorest countries, where countless “gold farmers,” bound to their work by abusive contracts and physical threats, harvest virtual treasure for their employers to sell to First World gamers who are willing to spend real money to skip straight to higher-level gameplay.

Mala is a brilliant 15-year-old from rural India whose leadership skills in virtual combat have earned her the title of “General Robotwalla.” In Shenzen, heart of China’s industrial boom, Matthew is defying his former bosses to build his own successful gold-farming team. Leonard, who calls himself Wei-Dong, lives in Southern California, but spends his nights fighting virtual battles alongside his buddies in Asia, a world away. All of these young people, and more, will become entangled with the mysterious young woman called Big Sister Nor, who will use her experience, her knowledge of history, and her connections with real-world organizers to build them into a movement that can challenge the status quo.

The ruthless forces arrayed against them are willing to use any means to protect their power—including blackmail, extortion, infiltration, violence, and even murder. To survive, Big Sister’s people must out-think the system. This will lead them to devise a plan to crash the economy of every virtual world at once—a Ponzi scheme combined with a brilliant hack that ends up being the biggest, funnest game of all.

Imbued with the same lively, subversive spirit and thrilling storytelling that made LITTLE BROTHER an international sensation, FOR THE WIN is a prophetic and inspiring call-to-arms for a new generation.
-I may or may not be taking macroeconomics next year and For the Win sounds like a fun read that will help me understand macro better (the economy and economics are terribly confusing for me but I need to take the class). I love that it has a diverse cast, deals with technology and macro and that there's so much going on (violence, fun, blackmail and more!) I'm guessing this will be my first SCI FI read. I'm excited for it and I only have to wait about a week :) Summary from

Reading in Color News
I just wanted to have a quick note saying that I have not forgotten that May is Asian Pacific Heritage Month along with Jewish/Haitian/Indian heritage month. As you guys already know, I promote books by and about POC 365 days of the year, but I use the 'cultural' months to re-evaluate my blogs and the books I review. In doing so this month, I realized that I haven't reviewed that many books with Asian main characters. I do have a few reviews coming up that deal with Pacific Asians (is that correct terminology?)* and India but I'll work even harder to review the books I have on my tbr list that deal with Asian main characters. Also I'm probably not going to do any reviews of books about people with Jewish heritage, but I do plan on reviewing several of them during the summer as off-color because I think there is a huge gap in YA books about teens with Jewish heritage unless it has to do with the Holocaust (which is horrifying event that everyone needs to read about it but the Jewish culture is so much more than that). I'll go more in depth with books I plan on reading to celebrate this month on Sunday.
What POC books are you waiting on?

*ETA: The wise Ah Yuan has kindly pointed out that obviously Pacific Asians means people living on the islands in the Pacific. I'm presuming that Asian Heritage Month celebrates East Asians as well as Pacific Asians and not just a certain group. The question is: Does the Middle East count? Technically, those countries are in Asia. So here at RiC, I'll try and review books from ALL of Asia, especially this month. But if anyone knows the answer to my question, please comment and let me know.


  1. I wasn't big on Little Brother, but I'm willing to check out For the Win. Diversity rocks.

    lawl, um, I have no idea what you mean by Pacific Asian??? If you mean Far East Asian countries such as China, Japan, North and South Korea, than it's usually referred to as East Asia. Pacific Islander refers to the group who lives on the islands of the Pacific Ocean.

    Haha, I already rambled on about my WoW pick (which is by a Japanese writer) on my blog, but to answer your question, I'm waiting on Book Girl and the Suicidal Mime. It looks pretty epic.

  2. Wow, For the Win sounds amazing! I'll have to check that out.

  3. @Ah Yuan-I'm curious to read Little Brother, but I'm starting with For the Win and if I like it, I'll read Little Brother next.

    Ok I've never been sure if I say 'Asians' people will know I mean all of Asia. Sometimes I say Asians and mean the middle East, but that can seem wrong (you should write a post on this!). Like I don't even know if Asian Heritage Month in the U.S. celebrates only East/South Asia and excludes the Middle East, or celebrates all of Asia. we've never celebrated it in school so I have no idea.

    But obviously Pacific Asian would be referring to the islands in the Pacific. DUH on my part!

    Book Girl and the Suicidal Mime does look epic, very original.

    @Anica-It does look fantastic. I hope it lives up to that =)

  4. In the UK Asian is used to include people from Middle Eastern countries both by white people and by people in Britain with some kind of connection to those countries (born there, earlier generations from there etc). It's a little odd because I'd almost never use Asian to refer to someone from say China, I'd be specific and say Chinese.

  5. lol, as Jodie pointed out, the UK has quite a different meaning behind the term "Asian". (Which, to my understanding, also includes South Asians, but I wouldn't pretend to be all knowing about UK's usage of ethnic group terms.) As I understand, in the UK, "Asian" does not cover people of East Asian descent.

    It's the opposite in the US and Canada. We tend to talk about Asians in reference to people of East Asian descent, and then say South Asian for people coming from India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and other neighbouring countries, and Middle Eastern for the West.

    I'm also pretty sure that people of the Pacific Islands would not be called "Asians" but I wouldn't claim to be all knowing about this because in Canada, when we refer to Asians, we do not include Pacific Islanders. I know that in the US, Asians and Pacific Islanders' issues are often talked about in the same breath, which I suspect is due to the fact that Hawaii, a Pacific Island, has a very large Asian population, but I couldn't tell you for sure that in the US, Pacific Islanders are also considered as Asians or anything like that. As far as I'm aware, in Canada, we do not group Pacific Islanders with our term "Asian".

    I'm not really a fan of how "Asians" in all three countries (UK, US, Canada) tend to privilege people from one part of Asia in exclusion of others, for many many reasons, but also largely because in all these cases, SOUTH-EAST Asia is glaringly missing, a factoid which always annoyed me. [/personal bias]

  6. I'm not sure how this will help you with macro econ, but it does sound like a good read. It's on my looking forward to list, too! Macro econ I just didn't like. I did major in econ, though!

  7. @Jodie-Of course if I knew or was able to tell the ethnicity I would say that, but as an overall tag, I've decided it would be easier to label my reviews as Asian. I'm not sure why the U.S. identifies Asians and Middle Easterners as different. Same continent. It's like how white South Africans are still Africans. Why can't it be that way for Middle Eastern people from Asia? I think the UK may be more advanced than the U.S. on the issues of race (going way back to slavery times!)

    @A Yuan-Right, people will either say Filipinos (for example) or just group them as Asian. I suppose because to many Americans they all look the same? Agreed, India and the Middle East are never included in the term Asian which I don't understand. I may have to write a post on this later on because it's a fascinaitng topic. Finals are coming up so I don't have time yet, but if you can that would be awesome. I learn sooo much from your blog/comments and I love your rants :)

    @edi-lol, I'm not sure either, it said that on Amazon and I just thought "ok cool!" We shall see.

  8. There is an official U.S. Govt web site for Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month, which lists the countries included in this designation. The url is:

  9. Micol Ostow's SO PUNK ROCK is a good Jewish, non-Holocaust read.

    Yann Martel's new novel, BEATRICE AND VIRGIL, navigates the stories we tell about the Holocaust.

    David Handler has stated that the Baudelaire orphans (A Series of Unfortunate Events) are Jewish. (

    "A Scandal in Bohemia" (Sherlock Holmes story) - Irene Adler is considered Jewish.

    Dave At Night by Gail Carson Levine - and he's a Sephardic Jew!

    David from K.A. Applegate's Everworld and Rachel and Jake from Animorphs are assumed to be Jewish.

  10. Liviana - I love you for bringing in Rachel and Jake :-) Not that their ethnic background ever influenced them noticeably, but it was there!

    As for PoC books I'm looking forward to, For The Win is definitely high on my list. I was a big fan of Little Brother, and this one looks right up my alley as well. I know absolutely nothing about economics, macro or otherwise, however the social justice aspect (unionizing gold farmers) sounds awesome. For those of you who haven't read Little Brother yet but enjoy ebooks, Doctorow has made the book available online here for free under a creative commons license.

  11. @rhapsody-Thanks for the link, it was really interesting. i always wondered why May was picked and apparentely it was picked to celebrate the completon of the railroad (which had mostly Chinese workers) and because in May we received our first Japanese immigratns. According ot that site it says that it celebrates the whole Asian continet, so really, it's more of people not acknowledging that Indians are Asian too.

    @Liviana-I'm going to try and stick to YA. I love So Punk Rock! It was a lot of fun to read. I really want to read a book by Dana Reinhardt (I frogot the name at the moment). I never partiucluarly cared for the Series of Unfortunate Events books but that's interesting. I don't know what Sephardic means but I've always wanted to read Dave at Night because it takes place during the Harlem Renaissance :D

    @Angela-I just read a review of Little brother and it said there's a lot of technology info to keep up with but it's really good. I never have time to read ebooks online but thanks for the link!

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