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Read Women Chat > 2020 Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

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message 1: by Carol (last edited May 16, 2020 11:30AM) (new)

Carol (carolfromnc) | 1791 comments Mod
May is half-gone and I just realized it's Asian Pacific American Heritage Month! Are you reading anything connected to this theme this month? Have you found great resources or do you have recommendations to share?

1. I have heard great things about PBS' Asian Americans documentary. i haven't seen it yet but am excited to do so.

2. I would like to read Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning by Cathy Park Hong, if not in May, then this summer.

3. Lists and resources

First, from Insider a quality list curated by organizations focused on Asian-Americans.

Pachinko, All You Can Ever Know, Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations, Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls, Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets, & Advice for Living Your Best Life, The Making of Asian America: A History, The Best We Could Do (a group read of ours in 2018, I think), Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning, I Was Their American Dream: A Graphic Memoir,

https://www.insider.com/best-books-as...

and another published by Mental Floss, with little cross over, and some highly accessible recs on the more genre side of things, including romance and YA:

Little Fires Everywhere, Clay Walls by Ronyoung Kim *adding to my TBR*, The Namesake, Girls Burn Brighter, I Love You So Mochi, The Woman Warrior, The Astonishing Color of After, Marriage of a Thousand Lies, Internment, The Kiss Quotient, To All the Boys I've Loved Before, The Leavers, America Is Not the Heart, Falling Leaves: The Memoir of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter, Somewhere Only We Know, It's Not Like It's a Secret.

https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/5...

and a Book Riot list focused exclusively on Asian-American YA offerings:

American Panda, Like a Love Story, Mariam Sharma Hits the Road, Love From A to Z (from the author of Saints and Misfits). My So-Called Bollywood Life, Tell Me How You Really Feel, The Love & Lies of Rukhsana Ali, When Dimple Met Rishi, Love, Hate & Other Filters, Starfish, I Believe in a Thing Called Love, A Match Made in Mehendi, The Downstairs Girl (YA historical fiction), Loveboat, Taipei, You Bring the Distant Near

https://bookriot.com/2020/03/05/asian...

Have you read and do you recommend any of these books? If yes, let us know what you thought.

If you've read and enjoyed other books by female Asian-American authors in the last 24 months or so, what are your top 5?

If, like me, you read Asian-American authors frequently, as well as women in translation of Asian ancestry, do you find yourself to be surprisingly narrow in your interests? For example, I read frequently from female authors of Japanese or Chinese ancestry, but rarely from anyone Filipino or Bangladeshi or Cambodian or Burmese, for examples. My TBR is chock-full of novels by Indian women and Indian-American women, but I select them rarely to read. I don't have the answers, but I suspect that my appearance of reading diversely is an illusion and that my tastes are far less broad then I like to think. Do any of you relate? Does it matter?


message 2: by Anita (last edited May 16, 2020 02:29PM) (new)

Anita Fajita Pita (anitafajitapitareada) | 799 comments Mod
Carol, my book angel, you've struck again. Yes, I love reading Asian American authors and this is the first year I've pushed/allowed myself to stray from strictly Asian authored translations to Asian American books - though I do enjoy translations.

Like you, I've noticed a specific range of Asian countries and authors that are translated, and it's interesting because Cathy Park addresses this in Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning - which I recommend. She discusses how a certain type of Asian author and story is palateable, or appealing, to the western reader publisher. It's quite an angsty book, and I haven't yet been able to eloquently express my feelings about it for a review. I hope to do so soon though.

I enjoyed the P.S. I Still Love You series by Jenny Han, although both YA and romance are genres I don't generally read. I think the Asian American household is what appeals to me personally. The same for Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng. I'd like to read more of Ng's books.

We read The Leavers here, didn't we? It was also a very good Asian American experience, with trans-racial adoption being the centerpoint.

I also really enjoyed Pachinko, but the story doesn't take place in America. I think they have relatives who go, but the main characters do not have any major experiences there as I recall. I didn't care too much for Internment or All You Can Ever Know. They weren't bad, I just didn't love them myself.

One book I haven't read, but saw the movie when I was younger, is When Heaven and Earth Changed Places: A Vietnamese Woman's Journey from War to Peace. The movie resonated with me so strongly that I still think about it two decades later. Maybe I will give the book a go, finally, this month.


message 3: by Carol (new)

Carol (carolfromnc) | 1791 comments Mod
Anita wrote: "Carol, my book angel, you've struck again. Yes, I love reading Asian American authors and this is the first year I've pushed/allowed myself to stray from strictly Asian authored translations to Asi..."

Thanks for these comments, Anita. You're right about Pachinko - it is relevant to the treatment of ethnic Koreans in Japan - not an Asian American story. I''ve not heard of When Heaven and Earth Changed Places and am always interested in good content relating to the Vietnamese experience both in Vietnam and in the US. Thank you for the perfect rec!


message 4: by Sanne (new)

Sanne (sanneennas) | 66 comments I was wondering if anyone as any recommendations for books by Pacific Islander Americans? They're really hard to find, and there's not a lot of buzz around them, even during this month.
I recently read Where We Once Belonged by Sia Figiel and really enjoyed it. I'd love to read more, and discover some other new-to-me authors!


message 5: by Woman Reading (last edited May 31, 2020 02:13PM) (new)

Woman Reading | 302 comments I just found this group this weekend and am so pleased to see this thread for a smaller ethnic group in the US. My PBS station had aired the new documentary on Asian Americans and I recommend it. In terms of reading though, the closest I'm getting to this is two nonfiction titles, both by male authors. I'm currently listening to A Good Provider Is One Who Leaves: One Family and Migration in the 21st Century by Jason DeParle and I hope that my library reopens soon so that I can read the graphic book They Called Us Enemy - Expanded Edition by George Takei.


message 6: by Carol (new)

Carol (carolfromnc) | 1791 comments Mod
Woman Reading wrote: "I just found this group this weekend and am so pleased to see this thread for a smaller ethnic group in the US. My PBS station had aired the new documentary on Asian Americans and I recommend it. I..."

I'm adding Good Provider to my TBR. Thanks for mentioning it. I read George Takei's graphic memoir last year and highly recommend it. Everything worked - the choices he made about how to tell his story, the art, everything.


message 7: by Woman Reading (last edited May 31, 2020 06:40PM) (new)

Woman Reading | 302 comments Carol, I'm only in ch5 and I'm really enjoying A Good Provider Is One Who Leaves: One Family and Migration in the 21st Century so far so I hope that you'll have a similar response.

I forgot to mention an autobiography I had read within the past year for another group's BOTM. When Broken Glass Floats: Growing Up Under the Khmer Rouge by Chanrithy Him is primarily about her childhood in Cambodia during the 1970s under the Khmer Rouge. She now lives in the US but she didn't discuss much of that transition in her book. Him's book hasn't been read as widely as First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers but it provides the experience of a Cambodian family who didn't have military ties.
My review: www.goodreads.com/review/show/3016079532


message 8: by Woman Reading (last edited May 31, 2020 06:38PM) (new)

Woman Reading | 302 comments My weekend brain was slow to remember 3 other books that I had recently read and that suit Asian American heritage month:

Chinese - American Iris Chang wrote The Rape of Nanking about Japan's atrocities in Nanking during WW2.
My review: www.goodreads.com/review/show/3075329135

Hawaiian - Chinese - Norwegian Tori Eldridge published her debut crime thriller The Ninja Daughter with a Chinese American protagonist in Los Angeles.
My review: www.goodreads.com/review/show/3127885189

SJ Rozan (who is not Asian American) published her 12th Lydia Chin and Bill Smith P.I. book - Paper Son - last year. It's a fictionalized account of the Chinese diaspora to the Mississippi Delta with a modern day mystery.
My review: www.goodreads.com/review/show/2932571105


message 9: by Carol (new)

Carol (carolfromnc) | 1791 comments Mod
Woman Reading wrote: "My weekend brain was slow to remember 3 other books that I had recently read and that suit Asian American heritage month:

Chinese - American Iris Chang wrote [book:The Rape of Nanki..."


I am glad you mentioned these. I had returned Nnja Daighter to the library’s without reading, and need to check it out again. And I’d avoided Rozan only because I have to make choices and tend to favor translated fiction over American genre fiction. But Paper Son, really, the whole series, appeals.


message 10: by Anita (last edited Jun 07, 2020 08:20PM) (new)

Anita Fajita Pita (anitafajitapitareada) | 799 comments Mod
Sanne wrote: "I was wondering if anyone as any recommendations for books by Pacific Islander Americans? They're really hard to find, and there's not a lot of buzz around them, even during this month.
I recently ..."


I wish I did! But you've set me on a mission and I will be looking for some specifically now. I would be very interested in reading some native Pacific Islander voices. The only book that comes to mind is The Bone People by Keri Hulme. It was completely new writing style for me, and I found it and strange and the story a bit harsh, but good. New Zealand.


message 11: by Carol (new)

Carol (carolfromnc) | 1791 comments Mod
Sanne wrote: "I was wondering if anyone as any recommendations for books by Pacific Islander Americans? They're really hard to find, and there's not a lot of buzz around them, even during this month.
I recently ..."


Here’s a Pacific Islander list from Electric Lit:

https://electricliterature.com/13-boo...

Iep Jaltok: Poems from a Marshallese Daughter by Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner — the Marshall Islands

The Girl in the Moon Circle by Sia Figiel(Samoa)

Afakasi Woman by Lani Wendt Young (Samoa)

Black Ice Matter by Gina Cole (Fiji)

Where the Rekohu Bone Sings by Tina Makereti (indigenous— New Zealand)

Shark Dialogues by Kiana Davenport
(Hawaii)

This Is Paradise: Stories by Kristiana Kahakauwila (Hawaii)

Black Marks on the White Page by Witi Ihimaera (multiple authors)(indigenous Oceanic authors)

Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls by T Kira Madden(Chinese, native Hawaiian, Jewish descent)

My Urohs by Emelihter Kihleng(Pohnpeian)

Island of Shattered Dreams by Chantal T. Spitz(Tahiti)

And here’s a GoodReads list (all genders) that purports to focus on native and indigenous PI authors.

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/1...


message 12: by Woman Reading (new)

Woman Reading | 302 comments What a great list of Pacific Islander titles, Carol, thanks.

I enjoyed A Good Provider Is One Who Leaves: One Family and Migration in the 21st Century so much that I wanted to make an update for this group, even though the writer is male. One recurring story he wrote about was Rosalie's journey from her childhood in Manila's shanties to immigrating to the US in her 40s. By 2012, when she had 20 years of nursing experience, she received an offer from a Galveston hospital. A significant portion of this book was on her family's experience of assimilating into America. My review has a longer description - www.goodreads.com/review/show/3363673602


message 13: by Sanne (new)

Sanne (sanneennas) | 66 comments @Carol and @Anita, thank you both for your recommendations! I'll look into the lists. It looks like there's some good stuff on there.
I read the poetry collection Iep Jaltok: Poems from a Marshallese Daughter last year and loved it!


message 14: by Carol (new)

Carol (carolfromnc) | 1791 comments Mod
Sanne wrote: "@Carol and @Anita, thank you both for your recommendations! I'll look into the lists. It looks like there's some good stuff on there.
I read the poetry collection [book:Iep Jaltok: Poems from a Mar..."


That’s great to hear. I’m not a big poetry reader, but having a recommended, go-to selection makes it easier for me to push myself.


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