Books for Asian and Pacific American Heritage Month

May is Asian and Pacific American Heritage Month and I wanted to highlight a few of my favorite works by Asian-identified authors. This is not a comprehensive list and it’s just to get you started. Most of these authors are East Asian, but these are just the books I have enjoyed recently or exceptionally enjoyed. Also, you should be reading authors and celebrating people from different cultures throughout the year and not just during their arbitrarily designated month. 😊

Severance by Ling Ma

I’ve seen this book a lot on bookstagram, and I feel like people are reading it because the life we currently live seems like an impending apocalypse. The cover and title will fool you into thinking everything is fine, but everything is not fine. This book switches back and forth from the plague of “biblical proportions” sweeping the Earth to its aftermath and how the internet is still keeping people connected. If this seems too real right now, you can always put this farther down on your tbr list. Read this book if you have a dark sense of humor!

The Memory Police by by Yōko Ogawa

If we forget things, they will cease to exist. What if someone had the power to make things disappear and force us to forget them? What do we have left if our memories leave us? A good dystopian story that will hopefully not scare you more than apocalypse books. Read this book if you like pondering the philosophical connection between the material world and our connection to the human experience.

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

Little Fires Everywhere is blowing up because of the new Hulu show, so I wanted to show some love to Celeste Ng’s first novel. I wrote a blog post about this book earlier about the power of second chances. This book is about a family: A father who is Chinese American and a professor; a white mother who feels like she put her hopes and dreams on hold to become just like her own mother; and two kids trying to fit in while being “other”. All of them are dealing with the favorite child who was found dead. Read this book if you like books about sad families (this isn’t a genre, but it should be)!

Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie

Home Fire is a book about what it means to be Pakistani and Muslim in the UK during the rise of ISIS. It’s a story told in four different perspectives, weaving together politics, xenophobia, internalized racism, and the blurred moral lines of right and wrong. Read this book if you like complicated love stories, romantic and familial.

Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok

I read this book a minute ago and wrote a post about it. This novel definitely sparked my interest in suspense (what I like to call White Girl Thrillers), but showed me that suspense didn’t have to just be for and about white people. The story is about a sister that goes missing, a journey to a very White homeland, and a mystery of family and betrayal. All of this wrapped up in what it means to never quite belong in the places that are supposed to be home. Read this book if you like plots with lots of good twists and turns.

I’m thinking about doing a follow up with some other Asian identified authors and stories that include more South Asian authors (because I have a lot to share!). What other books do you think should be added to the list??

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