Asia Society Recommends: An APAHM Reading List
Recommendations for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
May is upon us, and with it we celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month (APAHM). This week, our recommendations include books by or about the Asian Pacific American experience. Check out all our programs, conversations, and content related to APAHM here.
Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People
The Chinese in America: A Narrative History
As we enter into Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, two books come to mind that should be required reading for those interested in better understanding the Asian American experience. Helen Zia’s Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People and The Chinese in America: A Narrative History by Iris Chang provide two insightful narratives told from the perspective of a first-generation Asian American woman. Each features a different generation, and together they create an outline of the evolution of the Asian American experience in America. Most noteworthy are the cautionary tales of systematic discrimination against Asian Americans that resound with the current climate in this time of coronavirus.
—Michelle Yun, Senior Curator, Asian Contemporary Art and Associate Director, Asia Society Triennial
Fatima Bhutto's latest novel follows the lives of three young people from different backgrounds whose lives intersect in meaningful and volatile ways. Told against the backdrop of a world at war for all of their lives, Bhutto explores how secrets, ideals, and the longing for escape lead the characters down paths they never could imagine for themselves.
Free Food For Millionaires
Min Jin Lee's two novel-length works feature the Korean immigrant experience in two vastly different worlds. Free Food For Millionaires tells the story of Casey, the daughter of Korean immigrants who struggles to reconcile her rarefied Ivy League milieu with her parents' solidly working class life. Justly praised and awarded, Pachinko is Lee's chronicle of four generations of a Korean immigrant family in precolonial to postwar Japan, their challenges, triumphs, and bonds keeping them together.
Poet and essayist Cathy Park Hong incisively blends memoir, cultural criticism, and history for a fresh look at racialized consciousness in America. The child of Korean immigrants, Hong grew up in an environment of shame, suspicion, and melancholy. Only later did she come to realize the weight these "minor feelings" had on her well-being, how she came to believe the lies told about her own identity, and how she continues to come to terms with such feelings.