SIGN UP: Year of the Asian Reading Challenge 2019

I propose that our motto for 2019 be give me Asian books or give me death. By a thousand cuts (cough, pre-order Descendant of the Crane by Joan He, cough).

And this isn’t just because there are a wonderful ton of upcoming Asian releases this year (although I won’t deny that I am constantly side-eyeing them, especially the Asian-inspired fantasies — aaah, my heart). More importantly, it’s because Asian authors have been totally slaying the writing game for the longest time, but until today, a lot of them are still unjustly being slept on. Case in point: I read Fonda Lee’s Jade City (released in 2017) and Rin Chupeco’s The Bone Witch (released in 2017) in 2018, and both books are now my all-time favorites. Is it likely that I missed out on other hidden gems released in 2016 or even earlier? Yes. Very likely. But I digress.

Towards the end of 2018, I made a fearless forecast that 2019 will be the year of the Asian — that is, the year for both Asian authors and Asian readers.

Since then, even in my sleep-deprived and overworked state, I began toying with the idea of organizing a reading challenge that’s entirely dedicated to books written by Asian authors. At the time, I was juggling current projects — namely, Project 14 Lists and Bookish Secret Tita — and my final academic requirements for the semester. Nonetheless, that did not stop me from plotting and from dragging a few people into my schemes.*

* Spoiler alert: They are all co-hosting with me now.

Which brings us to the very heart of this post:


My lovely co-hosts — CW from The Quiet Pond, Lily from Sprinkles of Dreams, and Vicky from Vicky Who Reads — have already done an excellent job at introducing YARC 2019 to everyone yesterday (while I struggled to make this blog presentable enough for public viewing). But head on over to their blogs, read their posts about this reading challenge, and give them all the love in the world because they are absolutely the best!



The challenge is to read as many books written by Asian authors as you can! These books can be backlist titles (i.e. released in 2018 or earlier), new releases, and even ARCs. Any genre, any format, and any length. Check out the fun levels we’ve made, and decide which one you’ll aim for!

In order for a book to count, you must start and finish it in 2019 because the challenge ends on the 31st of December this year. This means that books started in 2018 and finished in 2019 do not count. Likewise, any books started in 2018 and finished in 2019 do not count either. Rereads count, too, as long as you reread them within 2019.

You can join in at any time in the year! The sign-up form will remain open until 2019 ends.

Follow us on Twitter (@YearOfTheAsian) for announcements, surprises, and more bookish fun. The official hashtag for this reading challenge is #YARC2019.


  1. Announce your intention to participate in YARC in any online platform (e.g. blog, Twitter, Goodreads) and create a progress tracker. Place the link to your progress tracker in our sign-up form below.
    • If you’re a blogger, announce your participation via blog post, which will serve as your update post. Please make sure to link back to this sign-up post so that other people can join in, too!
    • If you’re a reader without a blog, you can either create a Goodreads shelf that’s dedicated to the books for this challenge or create a Twitter thread for tracking. Use the hashtag (#YARC2019) for the latter! Please make sure to link back to this sign-up post so that other people can join in, too!
  2. Select your target level and grab your badge! Display your badge on your blog, or share it on social media.
  3. Start reading and keep track of your progress!
  4. Share your updates on social media using the official hashtag: #YARC2019.


Philippine tarsier
1 to 10 books read
Download badge

Indian cobra
11 to 20 books read
Download badge
Malayan tapir
21 to 30 books read
Download badge
Giant panda
31 to 40 books read
Download badge
Asian elephant
41 to 50 books read
Download badge
Bengali tiger
More than 50 books read
Download badge



  • Monthly link-ups will be posted by Shealea on the 2nd day of every month and will close on the 15th day of the next month (e.g. the January form will expire on February 15).
  • For the monthly link-up, you can submit any of the following links:
    • Your updated progress tracker (e.g. blog post, Goodreads shelf, Twitter thread).
    • Your review of an Asian book that you read for that month. This could be a review on your blog, on Goodreads, on Amazon, or anywhere online. The review itself does not have to be elaborate; any length will do.
  • Every link you submit is counted as an entry for the mysterious grand giveaway, which will be drawn once the year ends. (It’s mysterious because we’ll be revealing the prize later on. Be patient!)
  • Regularly check this page for the monthly link-ups.


  • We’ve prepared fun prompts for each month of the year! These prompts will be released quarterly (i.e. January, April, July, October).
  • Take note that you are free to read whatever you want, but if you want to make this challenge a bit more difficult and exciting, then participate in these prompts.
  • Because we are the kindest souls ever and we love talking about books written by Asian authors, we will pick three featured books based on the monthly prompts. These featured books will be included in the monthly link-up posts.
  • CW, Lily, and Vicky will also post a list of recommendations every 1st day of the month to help you build up your TBR.
  • Regularly check this page for the monthly prompts and recommendations.


  • Once every two months, there will be a fun #YARC2019 Twitter chat. These chats will be held either on the 3rd or 4th week of the month.
  • The host for #YARC2019 is @YearOfTheAsian, so don’t forget to give us a follow on that account!


  • Every 1st of the month: list of recommended books (for the monthly prompt)
  • Every 2nd of the month: release of monthly link-up post
  • Every 15th of the month: closing of previous monthly link-up post
  • 31 December 2019: last day of the reading challenge
  • 01 January 2020: announcement and contacting of giveaway winner



I am happy to announce that I’ll be going for the Giant Panda badge for 2019! How about you? Join YARC 2019 by filling out this form. Don’t forget to grab your badge!

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You can share this post on other social media platforms, too — check out the buttons at the bottom of this post. If you really enjoy my content, maybe consider supporting me with a cup of coffee?

I’d love to hear from you!

🌻 Are you going to participate in the first ever Year of the Asian Reading Challenge? Which challenge level are you aiming for?

🌻 What Asian books would you recommend reading?

🌻 What are some books written by Asian authors that have been in your TBR for what feels like forever?

Twitter: @shutupshealeaInstagramPinterestGoodreadsBloglovin’

30 thoughts on “SIGN UP: Year of the Asian Reading Challenge 2019

  1. I’m so glad I found your blog. Thanks for this challenge. I just signed up and grabbed the badge Indian Cobra (15 books read this year so far). This summer, I decided to read 48 books from Asia for my blog so the timing couldn’t be more perfect.

    On a side note, I just saw on your profile that you’re from UP Diliman too. I graduated from and taught in the CAL. 🙂


  2. The idea is great, the badges are more than cute and I really needed to join a Reading Challenge! I am really excited for YARC since there are also a couple of books from previous years by Asian authors I really should read…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s a great challenge! I think I will participate. Just a quick question – how do you define Asian authors? Do they have to be born in Asia? What about second generation Chinese-American authors for example?

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Oooh this is such a cool idea! I’ve been seeking out more Asian and African-inspired fantasy over the past year, so considering how many Asian-inspired fantasy books by own voices authors that are on my TBR right now this is a reading challenge I need to take part in. Thanks for bringing it to my attention! I’m glad to hear you enjoyed Jade City, too – that one’s on my TBR! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve been wanting to find African-inspired fantasies too! I just love cultural settings. 💛

      I’m very happy to hear that you’re participating! We have a ton of fun stuff planned, and we hope to make this challenge a good one.

      Jade City is my life. I hope you pick it up soon. I would love to know your thoughts! Have fun and happy reading! ☺️💛


  5. I’m so EXCITED! I’ve signed up for the lowest target, and I’m crossing my fingers that I overshoot, but trying not to stress myself out. I’ve already started and finished Descendant Of The Crane which EVERYONE SHOULD READ, but also anything by Sandhya Menon is a good read, and I have a few Asian author’s novels on my bookshelves I cannot wait to start.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Philippine tarsier badge is adorable! 😍 I totally get what you mean about not wanting to be stressed out. As the host of this challenge, I feel compelled to go for the highest badge (bengali tiger) — but realistically, I know I can’t commit to that huge of a goal. So I’m settling for the very cute panda badge.

      I have one of Sandhya Menon’s books on my shelf, and I’m hoping to finally pick it up this year! Good luck to us both! 💖

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Zia, I’m so happy that you’re participating! The badges are all courtesy of CW. ❤️ I’m blessed to have creative minds like her and Vicky as co-hosts because I suck at anything art-related, tbh.

      Liked by 1 person

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