Asian Pacific American Heritage Month is almost over, but that doesn’t mean we can’t read books written by Asian Pacific authors all year long! We’ve already shared some of our favorite books for young readers, but what about us, ahem, older readers? Fear not, dear reader, I’ve compiled a list of some of my personal favorites that were published within the past year or so.
If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha
Four very different young women living in the same apartment building struggle to thrive in Seoul, a city with impossibly high beauty standards, rampant plastic surgery, strict hierarchies, and a cutthroat economy. Having lived in Seoul as a young woman, this book really resonated with me, but you don’t have to be familiar with Korea to enjoy this novel! Read this for a peek into what it’s like to be a young woman in modern Korea.
Pride Prejudice and Other Flavors by Sonali Dev
This is the first book in a Jane Austen inspired series about the Raje family, a tight-knit Indian American descended from royalty. While I love a good Jane Austen retelling, what I particularly liked about this one was that it wasn’t just a straight up retelling. In fact, if I hadn’t seen the title of the book, I might not have realized it was a retelling. There’s a neurosurgeon who’s the black sheep of the family, a hottie chef whose sister needs brain surgery, and a brother running for public office, amongst other characters and situations. So you know, just your usual Pride and Prejudice retelling. If this books sounds good, be on the lookout for the latest in this series Incense and Sensibility coming out in July. I know I’ll be reading it on the beach this summer!
Eat a Peach by David Chang
I admit, I wasn’t terribly familiar with David Chang before reading his memoir. I knew he was a celebrity chef, but that’s about it. After reading this book, I’m now a fan. Chang opens up about his struggles with depression and anxiety, what it was like growing up the son of Korean immigrants in Virginia, and, of course, his journey as a chef and restaurant owner including both his successes and failures.
Dial A for Aunties by Jesse Q. Sutanto
Looking for a beach read this summer? Dial A for Aunties is the book for you. I’ve heard it described as Weekend at Bernie’s meets Crazy Rich Asians. When Meddy Chan accidentally kills her blind date, her mother and three aunties “help” her hide the body while also trying to coordinate an over-the-top super expensive Indonesian American wedding. Sound ridiculous? Well, it is, but it’s also hilarious and endearing. There’s even a romance in the midst of all this craziness. I got a big kick out of this book, and will be recommending it to everyone this summer.
These are just a few of my Asian Pacific Islander American recommendations. Books on my To Be Read List for the summer include Forest of Stolen Girls by June Hur, Heart of Fire by Mazie K. Hirono, and Bad Muslim Discount by Syed M. Masood. Check out all these books and more from our library!