Celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Through Literature

Celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Through Literature

Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (also known as Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month). It’s a time to celebrate and honor the traditions, contributions, and history of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. To mark the occasion, we’ve highlighted some of our favorite books by Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. There are 35 books here, and it’s a small sampling of the great work available. We encourage readers to read work from these authors not just this month, but all year long. Join us in celebrating, and dive in!

The Incendiaries by R. O. Kwon

Will and Phoebe meet in college, and Will is immediately smitten. This love story becomes complicated as Will worries about Phoebe getting involved with a cult.

The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston

If you love memoirs and Chineses folklore, look no further than Maxine Hong Kingston’s genre-bending book that won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1976.

They Who Do Not Grieve by Sia Figie

Readers who love generational stories will want to pick up Sia Figiel’s novel about women from two Samoan families and the tattoo that ties them together.

The Ghost Bride by Yangsze Choo

Yangsze Choo weaves Chinese folklore throughout this story about a girl named Li Lan who learns she has been chosen to become a ghost bride, meaning she will marry a man who has already died and live with his family.

All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung

Nicole Chung grew up in Oregon knowing that her biological parents had placed her up for adoption. Here, she meditates on the search for her birth parents as well as becoming a mother herself.

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

This highly-anticipated romance hits shelves on May 7. Readers won’t want to miss this tale of an autistic accountant and Vietnamese maid who find themselves thrown together by a meddling mother.

Diamond Head by Cecily Wong

Historical fiction fans, this one’s for you. Cecily Wong’s debut follows the Leong family (and all of their secrets) from China to the Hawaiian island of Oahu. When the head of the family is murdered, the rest struggle to rebuild.

Sacred Games by Vikram Chandra

Get ready to meet Inspector Sartaj Singh and join the hunt for a notorious Indian gangster in this riveting thriller from Vikram Chandra.

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

One of the buzziest fantasies of 2018, this book follows Rin, an orphan who discovers she possesses an incredible power, and with it, the ability to seek revenge.

There’s Something about Sweetie by Sandhya Menon

Love is in the air for teens Ashish and Sweetie in this YA rom com. This book hits shelves mid-May—just in time to be your first read of the summer.

Pride, Prejudice, and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev

Neurosurgeon Dr. Trisha Raje and chef DJ Caine learn that first impressions aren’t everything in this novel inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

This Pulitzer Prize-winning story collection gives readers insight into the experiences of those who have immigrated to America from India.

Jade City by Fonda Lee

Readers looking for a blend of politics, magic, and complex family dynamics will find all of that and more in the Green Bone Saga, an epic fantasy series where clans battle for control of their nation.

The Dragon and the Pearl by Jeannie Lin

You can’t go wrong with any of the books in the Tang Dynasty series. This standalone second installment is set in 759 AD and follows a general as he begins to fall for the former emperor’s consort.

Flower Net by Lisa See

Lisa See’s debut novel will get your heart pounding. In it, two sons of high-profile men are murdered and U.S. District Attorney David Stark and Liu Hulan must work to track down the killer.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

A Little Life follows the lives of four male friends as their careers unfold, their relationships shift, and they deal with their pasts. Pro tip: Have some Kleenex handy.

The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui

Graphic memoirs brings stories to life with illustrations, which is part of what makes Thi Bui’s story about immigrating to the United States from Vietnam so special.

The Black Tides of Heaven by J.Y. Yang

This novella is the first in the Tensorate series and introduces readers to twins Mokoya and Akeha, each gifted with an ability that could change their world forever.

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao

Julie C. Dao serves up a fairytale with a dark twist in her debut. Xifeng’s journey from peasant to empress is dramatic, bloody, and captivating.

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

Mindy Kaling’s essays address topics like beauty, the importance of friendship, workplace romances, and more. You’ll love this fun and relatable book.

Year of the Dog by Henry Chang

Henry Chang’s mystery novel takes readers to New York City’s Chinatown as Detective Jack Yu tracks down a murderer.

Zero Sum Game by S.L. Huang

In this sci-fi thriller, a mercenary uses her gift for mathematics to rise to the top of her field—only to find herself being manipulated by someone with devious intentions.

Isle of Blood and Stone by Makiia Lucier

This YA fantasy novel transports readers to an island still grieving after the loss of their young princes. But when a discovery reveals that they might be alive, 19-year-old mapmaker Elias begins to search for hem.

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen

Do you love spy novels? Pick up Viet Thanh Nguyen’s Pulitzer-winning story about a South Vietnamese army captain who keeps tabs on some of his peers who leave for California.

Sick by Porochista Khakpour

Porochista Khakpour’s memoir details her long struggle with Lyme disease. Readers can also check out Bookish’s interview with Khakpour.

The Tiger at Midnight by Swati Teerdhala

The assassin known as the Viper is always one step ahead of the soldier hoping to capture her in this debut inspired by Hindu mythology.

Serpentine by Cindy Pon

Take a journey to the Kingdom of Xia, a world inspired by Chinese mythology, where 16-year-old Skybright is hiding a dark secret.

Dragonfish by Vu Tran

Robert’s wife Suzy was there one day, and then she wasn’t. Sonny had a similar experience. Now, Sonny wants Robert to track Suzy down for him, and if he fails, the consequences will be dire.

Hold Me by Courtney Milan

In this sizzling enemies-to-lovers romance, Jay and Maria discover they’ve been falling in love with each other online. If you haven’t read any Courtney Milan yet, what are you waiting for?

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Looking for an epic YA fantasy? Sabaa Tahir has you covered. Dive into a world run by an oppressive empire and meet the girl who could bring it all crashing down.

Hurts to Love You by Alisha Rai

Feuding families have kept Livvy and Nicholas apart for years, but the chemistry between them can’t be denied for long. Fair warning: Once you start the Forbidden Hearts series you’ll want to read every book in it.

Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo

This summer Maurene Goo turns up the volume with a YA tale of a K-pop star who meets a tabloid photographer. The unlikely duo hits it off and adventures around Hong Kong ensue!

Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

Miles away from everything and everyone she knows, Penny Lee exchanges numbers with Sam and the two begin to open up to each other about their deepest fears, dreams, and more.

The Farm by Joanne Ramos

This book hits shelves in early May and we know you don’t want to miss it. Travel to the Hudson Valley to meet Jane, a Filipino immigrant preparing to become a Host at the Farm.

The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee

Opera lovers, you’re in luck. Alexander Chee’s novel introduces readers to opera star Lilliet Berne. Things take a dark turn when Lilliet’s past catches up to her.


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