From family dramas to love stories to memoirs, these critically acclaimed titles center and celebrate Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage and the lived experiences of Asian Americans.
For even more titles, browse our Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage shelf on cloudLibrary.
Afterparties: Stories by Anthony Veasna So
The stories in this collection are funny, thoughtful and – at times – delightfully absurd. Each narrative centers on the lives of first-generation Cambodian Americans as they forge new paths in California.
America Is Not the Heart by Elaine Castillo
Three generations of a Filipino family work to reconcile the place they left behind with their new life in America. This novel skillfully portrays the political realities of the Philippines in the 80s and 90s and the communities that Filipino immigrants created in suburban America.
Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien
Two women in modern-day Vancouver piece together the stories of their fractured families. They connect the stories of family who lived through Mao’s Cultural Revolution and their children, who protested in Tiananmen Square as students.
Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo
A beautifully written novel of love and self-discovery. Two young women fall in love in San Francisco’s Chinatown in 1954. Thanks to the Red Scare, rampant paranoia threatens one of the pair, Lily, whose father is also facing deportation.
Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok
This suspenseful family drama weaves together the stories of a Chinese immigrant and her two daughters. After the eldest daughter Sylvie vanishes during a visit overseas, the rest of the family grapples with a complicated past full of secrets.
The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
This Pulitzer-winning novel follows a man caught between two worlds: the Vietnam he fled in 1975 and the Los Angeles community he must navigate after. This book is a perfect blend of spy thriller, love story and thoughtful examination of the legacy of the Vietnam War.
All You Can Ever Know: A Memoir by Nicole Chung
Nicole Chung traces her roots with depth and emotional insight. Born premature, Chung was placed for adoption by her Korean parents and raised by a white family. She began to question the story of her adoption as she grew older and started to face prejudice her family couldn’t see. The memoir chronicles Chung’s search for her birth parents, which coincided with the birth of her own child.
How to Write an Autobiographical Novel: Essays by Alexander Chee
Alexander Chee reflects on how his life and identity has been shaped by writing and teaching fiction. The powerful essays in this collection speak to Chee’s many identities: son, gay man, Korean American, student, artist, activist, reader, writer, friend, and lover.
The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui
This illustrated memoir follows a family’s harrowing journey to America from Vietnam. This wonderfully illustrated book alternates between the present day, Bui’s childhood in California, and her parents’ efforts to escape Vietnam in the 1970s.
They Called Us Enemy by George Takei
Many years before actor George Takei explored final frontiers in Star Trek, he was a young child forced from his home during World War II. This graphic memoir is a powerful firsthand recounting of Takei’s childhood in an American concentration camp.