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Reads for AAPI Heritage Month

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Reads for AAPI Heritage Month

aapi month 2024

Celebrate Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month at the Livingston Public Library with these reads written by Asian American Pacific Islander authors. Please note that descriptions are taken from the publishers. 

age of vice

Age of Vice by Deepti Kapoor 

New Delhi, 3 a.m. A speeding Mercedes jumps the curb and in the blink of an eye, five people are dead. It’s a rich man’s car, but when the dust settles there is no rich man at all, just a shell-shocked servant who cannot explain the strange series of events that led to this crime. Nor can he foresee the dark drama that is about to unfold.

All This Could Be Different by Sarah Thankam Mathews 

Graduating into the long maw of an American recession, Sneha is one of the fortunate ones. She’s moved to Milwaukee for an entry-level corporate job that, grueling as it may be, is the key that unlocks every door: she can pick up the tab at dinner with her new friend Tig, get her college buddy Thom hired alongside her, and send money to her parents back in India. She begins dating women–soon developing a burning crush on Marina, a beguiling and beautiful dancer who always seems just out of reach. But before long, trouble arrives. 

Asian American Histories of the United States by Catherine Ceniza Choy 

Original and expansive, Asian American Histories of the United States is a nearly 200-year history of Asian migration, labor, and community formation in the US. Reckoning with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the surge in anti-Asian hate and violence, award-winning historian Catherine Ceniza Choy presents an urgent social history of the fastest growing group of Americans. The book features the lived experiences and diverse voices of immigrants, refugees, US-born Asian Americans, multiracial Americans, and workers from industries spanning agriculture to healthcare.

Beautiful Country: A Memoir by Qian Julie Wang 

An incandescent and heartrending memoir about Qian Julie Wang’s five years living undocumented after immigrating with her parents from China to New York City in 1994. In Chinese the word for the United States, Mei Guo, translates directly to “beautiful country,” but when seven-year-old Qian is plucked from her warm and happy childhood surrounded by extended family in China, she finds a world of crushing fear and poverty instead. 

Counterfeit by Kirstin Chen

For fans of Hustlers and How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, the story of two Asian American women who band together to grow a counterfeit handbag scheme into a global enterprise—an incisive and glittering blend of fashion, crime, and friendship from the author of Bury What We Cannot Take and Soy Sauce for Beginners.

crying in h mart

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner 

From the indie rockstar of Japanese Breakfast fame, and author of the viral 2018 New Yorker essay that shares the title of this book, an unflinching, powerful memoir about growing up Korean-American, losing her mother, and forging her own identity. In this exquisite story of family, food, grief, and endurance, Michelle Zauner proves herself far more than a dazzling singer, songwriter, and guitarist.

Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q Sutanto 

When Meddelin Chan ends up accidentally killing her blind date, her meddlesome mother calls for her even more meddlesome aunties to help get rid of the body. Unfortunately, a dead body proves to be a lot more challenging to dispose of than one might anticipate, especially when it is inadvertently shipped in a cake cooler to the over-the-top billionaire wedding where Meddy, her Ma, and aunties are working at an island resort on the California coastline. It’s the biggest job yet for the family wedding business—”Don’t leave your big day to chance, leave it to the Chans!”—and nothing, not even an unsavory corpse, will get in the way of her auntie’s perfect buttercream flowers.

If You Leave Me by Crystal Hana Kim 

An emotionally riveting debut novel about war, family, and forbidden love, the unforgettable saga of two ill-fated lovers in Korea and the heartbreaking choices they’re forced to make in the years surrounding the civil war that still haunts us today.

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan 

In 1949, four Chinese women–drawn together by the shadow of their past–begin meeting in San Francisco to play mahjong, invest in stocks and “say” stories. They call their gathering the Joy Luck Club–and forge a relationship that binds them for more than three decades.

Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning by Cathy Park Hong 

Asian Americans inhabit a purgatorial status: neither white enough nor black enough, unmentioned in most conversations about racial identity. In the popular imagination, Asian Americans are all high-achieving professionals. But in reality, this is the most economically divided group in the country, a tenuous alliance of people with roots from South Asia to East Asia to the Pacific Islands, from tech millionaires to service industry laborers. How do we speak honestly about the Asian American condition–if such a thing exists? Poet and essayist Cathy Park Hong fearlessly and provocatively confronts this thorny subject, blending memoir, cultural criticism, and history to expose the truth of racialized consciousness in America.

partner track

The Partner Track by Helen Wan

Ingrid Yung’s life is full of firsts. A first-generation Chinese American, the first lawyer in her family, she’s about to collect the holy grail of “firsts” and become the first minority woman to make partner at the venerable old Wall Street law firm Parsons Valentine & Hunt. Ingrid has perfected the art of “passing” and seamlessly blends into the old-boy corporate culture. She gamely banters in the corporate cafeteria, plays in the firm softball league, and earnestly racks up her billable hours. But when an offensive incident at the summer outing threatens the firm’s reputation, Ingrid’s outsider status is suddenly thrown into sharp relief. 

Rise: A Pop History of Asian America From the Nineties To Now by Jeff Yang

Rise is a love letter to and for Asian Americans–a vivid scrapbook of voices, emotions, and memories from an era in which [their] culture was forged and transformed, and a way to preserve both the headlines and the intimate conversations that have shaped [their] community into who [they] are today.

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen

Follows a Viet Cong agent as he spies on a South Vietnamese army general and his compatriots as they start a new life in 1975 Los Angeles. 

Things We Lost to the Water by Eric Nguyen 

A stunning debut novel about an immigrant Vietnamese family who settles in New Orleans and struggles to remain connected to one another as their lives are inextricably reshaped. 

You can find these reads and more at the Livingston Library. We hope to see you at the Library soon!

-Jessica, Head of Adult Services & Acquisitions 

 

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