Howe Library celebrates Asian American & Pacific Islander Heritage Month. Check out some of our newest titles showcasing AAPI experiences, storytelling, and activism.
My life : growing up Asian in America edited by CAPE, the Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment ; with an introduction by SuChin Pak (Print Book)
"There are twenty-two million people representing more than twenty countries, each with unique languages, history and cultures. Yet they are all clumped into one group: Asian American. Here, in essays, poems, and comics, prominent Asian American creators give voice to moments that defined them, and shed light on the immense diversity and complexity of the Asian American identity."
Bestiary : a novel by K-Ming Chang (Print Book)
"One evening, Mother tells Daughter a story about a tiger spirit who lived in a woman's body. She was called Hu Gu Po, and she hungered to eat children, especially their toes. Soon afterward, Daughter awakes with a tiger tail. And more mysterious events follow: Holes in the backyard spit up letters penned by her grandmother; a visiting aunt arrives with snakes in her belly; a brother tests the possibility of flight. All the while, Daughter is falling for Ben, a neighborhood girl with strange powers of her own. As the two young lovers translate the grandmother's letters, Daughter begins to understand that each woman in her family embodies a myth--and that she will have to bring her family's secrets to light in order to change their destiny. Bestiary is a spellbinding, visceral novel about one family's queer desires and migration, a novel of buried secrets and girlhood"
Year of the tiger : an activist's life by Alice Wong (eBook)
“In Chinese culture, the tiger is deeply revered for its confidence, passion, ambition, and ferocity. That same fighting spirit resides in Alice Wong. Drawing on a collection of original essays, previously published work, conversations, graphics, photos, commissioned art by disabled and Asian American artists, and more, Alice uses her unique talent to share an impressionistic scrapbook of her life as an Asian American disabled activist, community organizer, media maker, and dreamer. From her love of food and pop culture to her unwavering commitment to dismantling systemic ableism, Alice shares her thoughts on creativity, access, power, care, the pandemic, mortality, and the future. As a self-described disabled oracle, Alice traces her origins, tells her story, and creates a space for disabled people to be in conversation with one another and the world. Filled with incisive wit, joy, and rage, Wong's Year of the Tiger will galvanize readers with big cat energy.”
All this could be different by Sarah Thankam Mathews (Print Book)
"From an exhilarating new voice comes a dazzling debut novel about an Indian-American immigrant building a life for herself in the Midwest--a brilliant and utterly absorbing story of love, friendship, and precarity in 21st century America. Graduating into the trough of yet another American recession, Sneha is one of the fortunate ones. However mind-numbing the work, her entry-level consulting job is the key that unlocks every door: she can pick up the check for her growing circle of friends in Milwaukee, send money home to her parents in India, and dare to envision a stable future for herself. She even begins dating who she has long wanted--women--and soon develops a crush on Marina, a beautiful dancer who always seems just out of reach. But then, as quickly as it came together, Sneha's life begins to fall apart. Her job and apartment are both suddenly and maddeningly in jeopardy, and closely-guarded secrets and buried traumas resurface, sending her spiraling into shame and isolation. When a chance encounter with Marina ignites an electric romance, it looks like salvation--if only they can overcome the lie that threatens to undo the trust they've built. A novel of working lives, friendships, and self-discovery in flux, All This Could Be Different is a wry, intimate, and redemptive exploration of the freedom and fragility of youth, and what it means to devote oneself to others in search of a better world"
A career in books : a novel about friends, money, and the occasional duck bun written and illustrated by Kate Gavino (Print Book)
“Shirin, Nina, and Silvia have just gotten their first jobs in publishing, at a University Press, a traditional publisher, and a trust-fund kid's indie" publisher, respectively. And it's... great? They know they're paying their dues and the challenges they meet (Shirin's boss just assumes she knows Cantonese, Nina cannot get promoted by sheer force of will, and Silvia has to deal with daily microaggressions) are just part of "a career in books." When they meet their elderly neighbor, Veronica Vo, and discover she's a Booker Prize winner dubbed the "Tampax Tolstoy" by the press, each woman finds a thread of inspiration from Veronica's life to carry on her own path. And the result is full of twists and revelations that surprise not only the reader but the women themselves"
Good talk : a memoir in conversations by Mira Jacob (Print Book)
"Like many six-year-olds, Mira Jacob's half-Jewish, half-Indian son, Z, has questions about everything. At first they are innocuous enough, but as tensions from the 2016 election spread from the media into his own family, they become much, much more complicated. Trying to answer him honestly, Mira has to think back to where she's gotten her own answers: her most formative conversations about race, color, sexuality, and, of course, love. Written with humor and vulnerability, this deeply relatable graphic memoir is a love letter to the art of conversation--and to the hope that hovers in our most difficult questions."
Stay true : a memoir by Hua Hsu (Print Book)
“From the New Yorker staff writer Hua Hsu, a gripping memoir on friendship, grief, the search for self, and the solace that can be found through art. In the eyes of 18-year-old Hua Hsu, the problem with Ken-with his passion for Dave Matthews, Abercrombie & Fitch, and his fraternity-is that he is exactly like everyone else. Ken, whose Japanese American family has been in the United States for generations, is mainstream; for Hua, a first-generation Taiwanese American who has a 'zine and haunts Bay Area record shops, Ken represents all that he defines himself in opposition to. The only thing Hua and Ken have in common is that, however they engage with it, American culture doesn't seem to have a place for either of them. But despite his first impressions, Hua and Ken become best friends, a friendship built of late-night conversations over cigarettes, long drives along the California coast, and the textbook successes and humiliations of everyday college life. And then violently, senselessly, Ken is gone, killed in a carjacking, not even three years after the day they first meet. Determined to hold on to all that was left of his best friend-his memories-Hua turned to writing. Stay True is the book he's been working on ever since. A coming-of-age story that details both the ordinary and extraordinary, Stay True is a bracing memoir about growing up, and about moving through the world in search of meaning and belonging.”
Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin OverDrive eAudiobook
"A modern love story about two childhood friends, Sam, raised by an actress mother in LA's Koreatown, and Sadie, from the wealthy Jewish enclave of Beverly Hills, who reunite as adults to create video games, finding an intimacy in digital worlds that eludes them in their real lives, from the New York Times best-selling author of The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry"
Patron saints of nothing by Randy Ribay (Print Book)
“When seventeen-year-old Jay Reguero learns his Filipino cousin and former best friend, Jun, was murdered as part of President Duterte's war on drugs, he flies to the Philippines to learn more.”
Contemporary Asian American activism : building movements for liberation edited by Diane C. Fujino and Robyn Magalit Rodriquez (eBook)
"In the struggles for prison abolition, global anti-imperialism, immigrant rights, affordable housing, environmental justice, fair labor, and more, twenty-first-century Asian American activists are speaking out and standing up to systems of oppression. Creating emancipatory futures requires collective action and reciprocal relationships that are nurtured over time and forged through cross-racial solidarity and intergenerational connections, leading to a range of on-the-ground experiences. Bringing together grassroots organizers and scholar-activists, Contemporary Asian American Activism presents lived experiences of the fight for transformative justice and offers lessons to ensure the longevity and sustainability of organizing. In the face of imperialism, white supremacy, racial capitalism, heteropatriarchy, ableism, and more, the contributors celebrate victories and assess failures, reflect on the trials of activist life, critically examine long-term movement building, and inspire continued mobilization for coming generations."
The magic fish by Trung Le Nguyen (Print Book)
“Real life isn't a fairytale. But Tié̂n still enjoys reading his favorite stories with his parents from the books he borrows from the local library. It's hard enough trying to communicate with your parents as a kid, but for Tié̂n, he doesn't even have the right words because his parents are struggling with their English. Is there a Vietnamese word for what he's going through? Is there a way to tell them he's gay?”
Stargazing by Jen Wang ; color by Lark Pien (Print Book)
“Moon is everything Christine isn't. She's confident, impulsive, artistic ... and though they both grew up in the same Chinese-American suburb, Moon is somehow unlike anyone Christine has ever known. When Moon's family moves in next door to Christine's, Moon goes from unlikely friend to best friend--maybe even the perfect friend. The girls share their favorite music videos, paint their toenails when Christine's strict parents aren't around, and make plans to enter the school talent show together. Moon even tells Christine her deepest secret: that she sometimes has visions of celestial beings who speak to her from the stars. Who reassure her that earth isn't where she really belongs. But when they're least expecting it, catastrophe strikes. After relying on Moon for everything, can Christine find it in herself to be the friend Moon needs?”
Messy roots : a graphic memoir of a Wuhanese American by Laura Gao ; with color and art assistance by Weiwei Xu
"After spending her early years in Wuhan, China, riding water buffalos and devouring stinky tofu, Laura immigrates to Texas, where her hometown is as foreign as Mars--at least until 2020, when COVID-19 makes Wuhan a household name. In Messy Roots, Laura illustrates her coming-of-age as the girl who simply wants to make the basketball team, escape Chinese school, and figure out why girls make her heart flutter. Insightful, original, and hilarious, toggling seamlessly between past and present, China and America, Gao's debut is a tour de force of graphic storytelling."
Crying in H Mart : a memoir by Michelle Zauner (Print Book)
"From the indie rockstar of Japanese Breakfast fame, and author of the viral 2018 New Yorker essay that shares the title of this book, an unflinching, powerful memoir about growing up Korean-American, losing her mother, and forging her own identity. In this exquisite story of family, food, grief, and endurance, Michelle Zauner proves herself far more than a dazzling singer, songwriter, and guitarist. With humor and heart, she tells of growing up the only Asian-American kid at her school in Eugene, Oregon; of struggling with her mother's particular, high expectations of her; of a painful adolescence; of treasured months spent in her grandmother's tiny apartment in Seoul, where she and her mother would bond, late at night, over heaping plates of food. As she grew up, moving to the east coast for college, finding work in the restaurant industry, performing gigs with her fledgling band--and meeting the man who would become her husband--her Koreanness began to feel ever more distant, even as she found the life she wanted to live. It was her mother's diagnosis of terminal pancreatic cancer, when Michelle was twenty-five, that forced a reckoning with her identity and brought her to reclaim the gifts of taste, language, and history her mother had given her. Vivacious and plainspoken, lyrical and honest, Michelle Zauner's voice is as radiantly alive on the page as it is onstage. Rich with intimate anecdotes that will resonate widely, and complete with family photos, Crying in H Mart is a book to cherish, share, and reread."
Karnali blues by Buddhisagar ; translated by Michael Hutt (Print Book)
"As it recounts the evolution of a father-son relationship - a son's search for approval, a father's small acts of kindness and forgiveness, a son's fears for his father's dignity as his fortunes and faculties begin to fail - the reader is deeply drawn into young Brisha Bahadur's world. His father is kind and idealistic; his mother, though she is kind too, is often frustrated and irascible. The characters in this book are some of the most carefully drawn and authentic in all of Nepali literature. In a backwater district of a country about to undergo radical social, political and cultural change, Brisha's dreams, his games and his mischief, his loves, his hopes and his fears come alive."