Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

America is not the Heart / Elaine Castillo

Three generations of women from one immigrant family trying to reconcile the home they left behind with the life they’re building in America.

The Fortunes / Peter Ho Davies

Explores a century of American history through the lives of Chinese Americans, using the lives of four individuals to depict how an immigrant community survives and ultimately becomes American in the process.

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet: a novel / Jamie Ford

Set in the ethnic neighborhoods of Seattle during World War II and Japanese American internment camps of the era, this debut novel tells the heartwarming story of widower Henry Lee, his father, and his first love Keiko Okabe.

Patriot Number One: American dreams in Chinatown / Lauren Hilgers

A deeply reported analysis of the Chinese immigrant community in the United States offers revisionist insights into how their experiences in China and America have reflected and transformed the American dream.

A River of Stars: a novel / Vanessa Hua

Betrayed by the boss who is also the father of her unborn child, an undocumented Chinese factory worker is forced to flee and reinvent herself in San Francisco’s Chinatown in the desperate hopes of securing American citizenship for her baby.

Charlie Chan: the untold story of the honorable detective and his rendezvous with American history / Yunte Huang

A biography of cinematic hero Charlie Chan, based on the real-life Chinese immigrant detective, Chang Apana, whose bravado inspired mystery writer Earl Derr Biggers to depict his fictional sleuth as a wisecracking and wise investigator rather than a stereotype.

The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing: a novel / Mira Jacob

Decades after an interrupted visit to his mother’s home in 1979 India triggers a haunting series of events, brain surgeon Thomas Eapen begins having conversations with his dead relatives, prompting his career-beleaguered wife to investigate a painful family history.

The Leavers: a novel / Lisa Ko

One morning, Deming Guo’s mother, an undocumented Chinese immigrant named Polly, goes to her job at the nail salon and never comes home. With his mother gone, eleven-year-old Deming is left with no one to care for him. He is eventually adopted by two white college professors who move him from the Bronx to a small town upstate. Set in New York and China, the Leavers is the story of how one boy comes into his own when everything he’s loved has been taken away–and how a mother learns to live with the mistakes of her past.

The Collective: a novel / Don Lee

Three aspiring Asian artists, a painter and two writers, meet in college and form a strong friendship after banding together against an act of racism that has lasting repercussions into their adult lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The Making of Asian America: a history / Erika Lee

An epic history of global journeys and new beginnings, this book shows how generations of Asian immigrants and their American-born descendants have made and remade Asian American life in the United States: sailors who came on the first trans-Pacific ships in the 1500s; indentured ‘coolies’ who worked alongside African slaves in the Caribbean; and Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Korean, and South Asian immigrants who were recruited to work in the United States only to face massive racial discrimination, Asian exclusion laws, and for Japanese Americans, incarceration during World War II. Over the past fifty years, a new Asian America has emerged out of community activism and the arrival of new immigrants and refugees. No longer a ‘despised minority,’ Asian Americans are now held up as America’s ‘model minorities’ in ways that reveal the complicated role that race still plays in the United States.

Drifting House / Krys Lee

Spanning Korea and the United States, from the postwar era to contemporary times, the stories presented in “Drifting House” illuminate a people torn between the traumas of their collective past and the indignities and sorrows of their present.

Everything I Never Told You / Celeste Ng

A story of the divisions between cultures and the rifts within a family explores the fallout of the drowning death of Lydia Lee, the favorite daughter of a Chinese-American family in 1970s Ohio.

The Refugees / Viet Thanh Nguyen

Author Viet Thanh Nguyen’s debut novel The Sympathizer won both the Pulitzer Prize and the Carnegie Medal, among other accolades; readers hungry for more will appreciate the eight stories collected here, written before The Sympathizer was published. While the stories, mostly set in the Vietnamese community in California, represent Vietnamese refugee experiences in the US, the topics they explore — relationships, grief, the desire for fulfillment — speak to the human experience. Check them out if you’re interested in sympathetic characters, cultural dislocation, or the experiences of refugees.

The Sympathizer / 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.

A Tale for the Time Being / Ruth Ozeki

In a manga cafe in Tokyo’s Electric Town, Nao has decided there’s only one escape from the loneliness and pain of her life, as she’s uprooted from her U.S. home, bullied at school, and watching her parents spiral deeper into disaster. But before she ends it all, she wants to accomplish one thing: to recount the story of her great-grandmother, a 104-year-old Zen Buddhist nun, in the pages of her secret diary. The diary, Nao’s only solace, is her cry for help to a reader whom she can only imagine.

Don’t Let Him Know: a novel in stories / Sandip Roy

In a boxy apartment building in an Illinois university town, Romola Mitra, a newly arrived young bride, anxiously awaits her first letter from home in India. When she accidentally opens the wrong letter, it changes her life. Decades letter, her son Amit finds that letter and thinks he has discovered his mother’s secret. But secrets have their own secrets sometimes.

Shanghai Girls: a novel / Lisa See

In 1937, Shanghai is the Paris of Asia, a city of great wealth and glamour, the home of millionaires and beggars, gangsters and gamblers, patriots and revolutionaries, artists and warlords. Thanks to the financial security and material comforts provided by their father’s prosperous rickshaw business, twenty-one-year-old Pearl Chin and her younger sister, May, are having the time of their lives…until after the day their father tells them that he has gambled away their wealth and that in order to repay his debts he must sell the girls as wives to suitors who have traveled from California to find Chinese brides.

Bitter in the Mouth: a novel / Monique Truong

When a personal tragedy compels a young woman to return to Boiling Springs, North Carolina, she gets to know a mother she never knew and uncovers a startling story of a life, a family.

The Submission / Amy Waldman

A jury gathers in Manhattan to select a memorial for the victims of a devastating terrorist attack. Their fraught deliberations complete, the jurors open the envelope containing the anonymous winner’s name — and discover he is an American Muslim. Instantly they are cast into roiling debate about the claims of grief, the ambiguities of art, and the meaning of Islam. Their conflicted response is only a preamble to the country’s.

Chemistry: a novel / Weike Wang

Losing her love for her major when her graduate studies become subject to research failures and high pressure, a Boston University student contemplates a marriage proposal from a more successful fellow scientist while she pursues an entirely different kind of chemistry.

The Woman Who Could Not Forget: Iris Chang before and beyond: the Rape of Nanking / Ying-Ying Chang

The mother of Iris Chang shares a portrait of her daughter that reveals the discoveries that inspired the writing of “The Rape of Nanking,” describes her daughter’s struggles with an autistic son and remembers her tragic suicide.