Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month | Mechanics' Institute

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Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month

May is Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month, and we're celebrating the many cultures and stories within the AAPI community with books by authors of Asian and Pacific Islander heritage and their cultures. 

All titles are available for check-out either in the library or through the "To Go" contactless pickup service. Where indicated, select titles are available as a downloadable eBook or eAudiobook from MI's website. 

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan - During a summer vacation in the humble Singapore home of the boy she hopes to marry, native New Yorker Rachel Chu meets her prospective in-laws, who strongly oppose their son's relationship with a Chinese American girl. Kwan's 2013 debut novel was adapted into a film by the same name in 2018. Also available as an eBook and as a book on CD

Dear Girls: intimate tales, untold secrets, & advice for living your best life by Ali Wong - Comedian, actress and writer Wong delivers wisecracking wisdom in a series of letters to her daughters. A down-to-earth collection that is blatantly honest but not overtly irreverent. 

Exhalation by Ted Chiang - An outstanding collection of short stories that explore humankind's place in the universe and the nature of humanity.`

A Good Fall by Ha Jin - A National Book Award winner delivers a collection of short stories that delve into the experiences of Chinese immigrants in America.

Fairest: a memoir by Meredith Talusan - A journalist tells the story of how she came to terms with a complex identity that forced her to navigate issues of gender, race and class. Born in the Philippines, Talusan is a transgender Filipino American person with albinism. Also available as an eBook. 

The Farm by Joanne Ramos - A dystopian novel about surrogate mothers who reside on a luxurious secret facility bearing children for wealthy would-be mothers. The surrogates are mostly immigrant females needing a place to live and the enormous payoff from bearing a full-term child. Ramos' compelling novel raises crucial questions about women and class. 

Heart of Fire: an immigrant daughter's story by Mazie K. Horono - The life story of the first Asian American woman and only immigrant in the Senate. 

In the Country: Stories by Mia Alvar - A stunning debut collection of short stories that explores the Filipino diaspora in the Middle East and America. 

Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu - Winner of the 2020 National Book Award, Charles Yu recently appeared in this year's Bay Area Book Festival to discuss his novel about race, pop culture, assimilation and escaping the roles Asian Americans are forced to play. Also available as an eAudiobook

The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See - A thoughtful story about an all-female diving collective off the Korean island of Jeju. The divers, called haenyeo, collect seaweed, shellfish, and other seafood and struggle with the damages of World War II, the Korean War and the era of cell phones and wet suits for these women. Also available as an eBook

The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan - This 1989 story about four Chinese American families in San Francisco who start a club known as The Joy Luck Club, playing the Chinese game of mahjong for money while feasting on a variety of foods. In 1993, the book was adapted into a film by the same name.  

Know My Name by Chanel Miller - This is more than a memoir of the 2015 case in which Brock Turner was sentenced to six months for sexually assaulting a woman on the Stanford University campus. The victim, Chanel Miller, previously described in the media as ''Emily Doe" writes eloquently about the traumatic experience, including the isolation and shame she felt in the aftermath of the trial. Miller's words will transform the way we think about sexual assault and challenge beliefs about what is acceptable. 

Not Quite Not White: losing and finding race in America by Sharmila Sen - A former Harvard professor ruminates on race in America from her perspective as a Southeast Asian woman. Timely and eloquent, Sen's work is a welcome addition to the growing body of literature about race in America. 

Notes of a Desolate Man by Zhu Tianwen - Winner of the coveted China Times Novel Prize, this postmodern, first-person tale of a contemporary Taiwanese gay man reflecting on his life, loves and intellectual influences is among the most important recent novels in Taiwan.

Offerings by Michael Byjungju Kim - With the rapidly cascading Asian financial crisis threatening to go global and Korea in imminent meltdown, investment banker Dae Joon finds himself back in his native Seoul as part of an international team brought in to rescue the country from sovereign default. 

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong - Vietnamese American poet Vuong (Night Sky With Exit Wounds), is making a second debut with this 2019 novel written as a letter from a young boy to his illiterate mother in an attempt to make sense of his traumatic beginnings. A gifted writer, Vuong's latest foray into fiction is being adapted into a film, release date not yet scheduled.  

A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza - A powerful story about an American Muslim family struggling with tradition and modernity as they plan a wedding for their daughter. 

Please Look After Mom by Shin Kyung-Sook - A mother disappears in a Seoul subway, forcing family members to revisit their feelings and treatment of the woman who sacrificed much for her husband and children. A bestselling author in South Korea, Shin was the first woman to win the Man Asian Literary Prize in 2011 for Please Look After Mom. 

White Chrysanthemum by Mary Lynn Bracht - During World War II, two Korean sisters enjoy independence as haenyeo, deep sea divers off Jeju Island. Until one day when the older sister tries to save her younger sibling from a Japanese soldier and she herself is captured and sent as a "comfort woman" in a Japanese military brothel. An unforgettable story about the Korean women prostituted by Japanese soldiers during World War II, a controversy that still persists today. 

Posted on May. 6, 2021 by Celeste Steward