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March 2020 Book Discussion: Mulan

Welcome to the Uncorked 2020 Reading Challenge–anyone can join in at any time. Discover book lists and books to read for our upcoming March 2020 book discussion: Popular Mulan Retellings.

March 2020 Book Discussion Mulan blog post cover with pink and white strand of orchids

Are you ready for March’s 2020 Reading Challenge theme? This month, our theme and book discussion will focus on popular Mulan retellings.

Are you going to see the new Mulan movie out in theaters this month?

For Our March 2020 Book Discussion Find:

  • A reminder how the 2020 Reading Challenge works
  • Mulan reading lists and book suggestions
  • Our book discussion questions for the month
  • A sneak peek into April’s theme
March 2020 Book Discussion Reading Challenge
Don’t forget to return to our March 2020 book discussion to leave a comment. Pin this post as a reminder.

A Brief Reminder Of How You Can Participate In Our Reading Challenge

There are four easy ways that you can participate in our Reading Challenge–none of which are required.

1. Join The Uncorked 2020 Reading Challenge Each Month

You can find the complete 2020 Reading Challenge here with monthly themes and book suggestions per category.

You can read as much or as little as you like. Dip in and out as you please, too. We are a judgment-free zone.

2. Comment On This Post With Your Updates

The comment section below is our mini-book club and book discussion for March 2020’s theme. Scroll to the bottom of this post for discussion questions.

Please let us know what you are reading and your opinions in the comments. This is not required.

You may engage with other commenters [in a respectful way] and just have fun.

3. Share On Social Media

Please don’t forget to use the hashtag #UncorkedReading2020 online and tag The Uncorked Librarian accounts so that we can find and share your progress. I am @theuncorkedlibrarian on social media everywhere except twitter, which is @theuncorkedlib.

4. Sign Up For Our Newsletter

If you would like Reading Challenge suggestions, more book lists, and exclusive subscriber info, don’t forget to sign-up for our non-spammy newsletter. I usually send out two emails a month.

Also, please don’t forget to check your inbox and CONFIRM your email address immediately after signing up. Thanks!

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March 2020 Book Discussion Theme

Popular Mulan Retellings

A Quick February Recap:

February 2020’s book discussion theme focused on Books Set In Iceland. It’s no secret that my husband and I love Iceland and headed there last February. WE SAW THE NORTHERN LIGHTS.

I hope that you were able to easily obtain Icelandic books. From the discussion, many Uncorked Reading Challengers picked up–and loved–Hannah Kent’s Burial Rites. Other’s read ex-pat Sarah Moss or decided to pick up my favorite wacky sci-fi read, LoveStar.

As you may have read in our February 15th newsletter, I picked a disastrous and newer Icelandic novel.

Books If You Like Mulan Frostblood by Elly Blake.jpg
If you are looking for a Mulan-like story that is slightly different with similar themes, try Frost Blood by Elly Blake.

March’s Reading Challenge Theme: Popular Mulan Retellings

In honor of the new live-action March 27, 2020, Mulan movie release, we are reading popular Mulan retellings. Secretly, just like time travel novels, I love fairy tale retellings and all things YA.

Did you know that I went to an all-women’s college in Northampton, MA? Yup, I am a Smithie, and there is nothing that I love more than a strong woman or female lead.

Mulan is a centuries’ old fairy tale, and there are so many international stories that celebrate this Chinese legend.

What are some book ideas for March’s 2020 theme? Let’s get started.

March 2020 Book Suggestions

Our Mulan Book List To Get You Started

Popular Mulan Retellings blog post cover in black and white with young girl holding a sword and bowing

The best book list to get you started for the March 2020 book discussion is this popular Mulan books reading list.

I am actually not as well-versed in Mulan books as I should be, and I definitely need to read or re-read a few more.

Here are a few of my top picks:

The Warrior Maiden by Melanie Dickerson book cover with Mulan in a red tunic
The Hand the eye and the heart by by Zoe Marriott book cover with dragon, bird, and jaguar
Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh turquoise book cover with face and pink orchards

The Warrior Maiden by Melanie Dickerson – I read The Warrior Maiden in preparation for our Baltics road trip last year. Set partially in Lithuania–and then also Poland–this Mulan fairy tale retelling finds Mulan battling against the Teutonic Knights. Of course, there is a little romance, too. Read TUL’s complete The Warrior Maiden book review.

The Hand, the Eye & the Heart by Zoë Marriott – When our Mulan book list published last year, one of our readers suggested The Hand, the Eye & the Heart. I have been meaning to try this one–if you pick it up, please let me know what you think. Zhilan is a transgendered character and takes the place of their disabled father on the battlefield. While not a strict Mulan retelling, find LGBT romance with a Mulan twist. Goodreads

Flame In The Mist by Renée Ahdieh – I love Renée Ahdieh from The Wrath And The Dagger. Flame In The Mist is going to be my March 2020 Reading Challenge pick. Mariko is a skilled alchemist, whose only future involves marriage. Dressed as a boy, Mariko infiltrates the Black Clan, a group trying to kill her. Goodreads

Smoke In The Sun by Renée Ahdieh – I also couldn’t resist picking up the sequel to Flame In The Mist. Even better than the first, readers watch as Mariko takes charge of her future to save the people around her. You can find our full summary under Currently Reading: March 2020.

March 2020 Book Discussion Questions

We’d love to know what book(s) you are thinking about reading for March 2020’s Book Challenge Mulan theme.

After you have completed your reading or even in the beginning or middle, please tell us what you are up to in the comments below.

A few questions that you may consider for the comment section:

What Mulan book(s) did you read?

Did you find any Mulan retellings, fiction or nonfiction, not listed on our reading list that we should add?

Did you enjoy or not enjoy your Mulan retellings book(s) and why?

Most of these selections are YA. Do you enjoy reading YA lit? Why or why not?

What do you love about Mulan stories? Do you see any faults with the Mulan-like plots, as well? Does the romance annoy you?

Will you go see the new movie? Let me know what you think of it!

Don’t forget to check your inbox for even more great book suggestions and use the hashtag #UncorkedReading2020. Happy Reading!

April’s Reading Challenge Theme

In honor of Indie April, April’s Reading Challenge is indie novels. I have a few fun ideas in order to make sure you can access indie books that aren’t always at the library. More to come!

You May Also Enjoy:

Currently Reading: March 2020 (with two Mulan Retellings)
February’s Iceland Reading Challenge
January’s Books That Make You Think Reading Challenge
2020 Uncorked Reading Challenge – All Themes

Tori C

Saturday 28th of March 2020

I read The Warrior Maiden by Melanie Dickerson. I have to be honest and say I was not loving it at first, but it was only because I had just finished reading “What The Wind Knows” and I was mad that I wasn’t reading an amazing time travel book set in 1920’s Ireland anymore. After I decided to give Warrior Maiden a chance, I appreciated it for what it was. It kept me entertained the whole time, and it was interesting picturing her in Poland and Lithuania fighting the Teutonic Knights!

Christine

Monday 30th of March 2020

I have been dying to read What The Wind Knows. I've only heard amazing things about it.

I enjoyed The Warrior Maiden, but I will say that Flame in the Mist was much better. The appeal of The Warrior Maiden, for me, was that I read it as we were road tripping around Lithuania and the rest of the Baltic States. I hadn't read any Baltic lit before then. In fact, I barely knew where the Baltics were. EK! I am glad that you gave The Warrior Maiden a second chance, though.

Hayley Yager

Sunday 15th of March 2020

I absolutely blitzed through my Mulan read! I was worried I wouldn't have time to squeeze it in (currently reading five, yes FIVE, books at once...) but I took it on my spontaneous trip to Tasmania and finished in two days. I decided to go for Alanna by Tamora Pierce (in all honestly, the length swayed me) and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I'm not super into fantasy but because this book was probably aimed at middle grade, I found it easy to read and was swept into the story (so much so that I was dreaming of sword fights and sorcery..). I love that it was YA - sometimes fantasy is just too um.. fantasy?! Does that make sense? Like it's so unreal it's not believable. YA feels a lot more structured with fantasy elements woven into real settings. I loved the gender representation, even more so because this book was first published in 1983. It's empowering to women, especially when the males in the story agree that women have the ability to be warriors too. There was zero romance in this book which is another reason I liked it. I don't mind romance, it's pretty much a given but I don't like it to be the central theme. I might see the new movie, I've never seen the original so I'm definitely intrigued!

Christine

Tuesday 17th of March 2020

I am so glad that you enjoyed Alanna. And, total PHEW because I definitely remember that fantasy isn't necessarily your jam.

I just finished Flame in the Mist, and I have all of the same sentiments and feels, too. Although magical and definitely fantasy, the novel's messaging, overall storyline, and characters were very much real and relatable--as well as powerful. It wasn't 'too much' fantasy.

Ahdieh, to me, always successfully brings in culture, myths, enchanting storytelling, and strong gender representation. I love that the novel is set in Feudal Japan--and ties in elements of honor and leadership.

Mariko is constantly evaluating the women around her, and she learns quite a few lessons about creating your own destiny as a woman and how people see you vs the way you see yourself--from the women she initially misjudged.

Yet, I also know with Ahdieh that I will find an equally intriguing and conflicting love story that makes you question everything about life. I appreciate that her love stories are balanced.

I'm about to start the second and final in the series, Smoke in the Sun, even though--like you--I have no time and will be reading 2-3 books at the same time. AHAHA, why do we do this to ourselves?!

Keri

Sunday 15th of March 2020

For this challenge I'm going to read Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim. It was described as Mulan meets Project Runway. How can I resist that?

I love this type of book as well. Badass women warriors could be its own genre! I expect I will fly through this book and it was available through my library so I can start right away! Woo hoo!

Christine

Tuesday 17th of March 2020

Keri, how did I miss this one on my Mulan reading list? I am going to have to add Spin the Dawn to that Mulan book list--or if you want to write a little summary afterward with a link to your blog, please let me know! I love the description, too.

I just added Spin the Dawn to my massive TBR list on Goodreads--and it is indeed MASSIVE.

I just finished reading Flame in the Mist and grabbed the second, Smoke in the Sun today. Not that I have time to read more than one book for this month's reading challenge, but whatever...

crystal muzik

Monday 2nd of March 2020

FIrst of all, I don't believe I ever watched the movie 'Mulan" and honestly don't know that much about it. Fantasy, fairy tale books have never held my interest and I was nervous to find a book that I like and would enjoy. I knew I was pushing myself to step outside the comfort zone and figured that is what the Uncorked Reading Challenge is all about.

So, I read the recommendations and searched my library to see what was available. First I settled on " Women Warriors" by Pam Toler as it seemed like an interesting topic I could get into and learn a bit. The GoodReads reviews were entertaining to say the least. I read about 30 pages and couldn't really find it holding my attention (I've never been into history much). The footnotes (lots and lots of them) were so distracting to me. It seemed like half of a page was just footnotes. Do I read the footnotes as I read or when I finish the page or ……? So, I figured to put that book down and picked up "Frost Blood" by Elly Blake.

I felt relieved as I made it to page 80. The book seems a bit predictable and not super unique but I am enjoying it so far ! I will give it a chance and see where it leads. Happy Reading for March !

Christine

Wednesday 4th of March 2020

I am surprised that so many people haven't watched Mulan. You definitely aren't the only one--in fact, I am starting to think I am the odd one out here by seeing it as a kid. Mulan is based on a Chinese legend/slightly true story, but I only heard about her through the movie.

I never know what to do with footnotes, either: I tend to ignore them.

Truth: I find a lot of YA dystopian fantasy to sound the same/be predictable. Sometimes I love it, and sometimes I am SO over it. I completely get it.

Happy reading!

Jennifer Christy

Sunday 1st of March 2020

Game of Thrones is my choice for the challenge this month. This will be quite a stretch, but hopefully will guide me through the HBO series. My first try at watching three episodes of GOT was extremely confusing. Looking forward to this month!! Glad you had a great trip. Switzerland is a beautiful country!

Christine

Sunday 1st of March 2020

I am hoping to one day get into GOTs. I wanted to add the series since it is a stretch--so enjoy. I also figured not everyone will want to read YA, and I need to find more adult Mulan read alikes. Thank you so much! We had a great time in Switzerland--and man, I am a zombie. I'm going to have to run to the library soon to get my Mulan book.