Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Heritage Reading List for Adults

50 Books Found

  • Afterland: Poems

    The story of the poet's family shines a light on the Hmong exile from Laos to the United States after the Vietnam War. Stark and haunting images of nature and spirits convey the loss and anguish felt by many refugees due to the war and its aftermath.
    Cover of Afterland: Poems
  • All You Can Ever Know: A Memoir

    Growing up in Oregon, Nicole Chung always believed the story her white adoptive parents told about her Korean immigrant birth parents. As an adult—and a pregnant mother-to-be—Chung discovers that her biological family and origin story are more complicated than she knew.
    Cover of All You Can Ever Know: A Memoir
  • Apsara Engine

    Som’s debut graphic short story collection envisions trans futures and thoughtfully explores ideas of gender, the body, and human connection against a sci-fi and fantasy backdrop in eight eerie stories.
    Cover of Apsara Engine
  • The Bandit Queens

    A young Indian woman finds the false rumors that she killed her husband surprisingly useful--until other women in the village start asking for her help getting rid of their own husbands--in this razor-sharp debut.

    Cover of The Bandit Queens
  • Bengali Harlem and the Lost Histories of South Asian America

    This book delves into the forgotten history of Bengali men who arrived via Ellis Island as silk traders and ship workers, and who made new homes in Black, Hispanic, and Creole neighborhoods such as Harlem, Baltimore, Detroit, New Orleans, and beyond.
    Cover of Bengali Harlem and the Lost Histories of South Asian America
  • The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir

    This deeply intimate illustrated memoir depicts Bui's family in war-torn Vietnam, their escape to the U.S., and the lasting effects of displacement. Bui lays bare and embraces the sacrifices made to ensure a new life for future generations.
    Cover of The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir
  • Bestiary: A Novel

    Bestiary describes three generations of Taiwanese American women haunted by their homeland, with each embodying a mythical story. Chang’s energetic, inventive, and lyrical voice will resonate widely, especially with diasporic audiences.
    Cover of Bestiary: A Novel
  • Blame This on the Boogie

    Ayuyang chronicles growing up Filipino American in Pittsburgh, under the lights of disco and the silver screen in this colorful, exuberant graphic memoir.
    Cover of Blame This on the Boogie
  • Bright Lines: A Novel

    This coming-of-age novel set in Brooklyn and Bangladesh follows the Saleems (patriarch Anwar, an apothecary owner; his wife, Hashi, a beauty salon owner; their teenage daughter, Charu; and college-student niece, Ella) as they deal with family secrets, affairs, and tragedy.
    Cover of Bright Lines: A Novel
  • Central Places

    A young woman's rootless past and uncertain future collide when she brings her white fiancé home to meet her Chinese immigrant parents, toppling her carefully constructed life.

    Cover of Central Places
  • Chlorine: A Novel

    Ren Yu is a swimmer. Her daily life starts and ends with the pool. Her teammates are her only friends. Her coach, her guiding light. If she swims well enough, she will be scouted, get a scholarship, go to a good school. Her parents will love her. Her coach will be kind to her. She will have a good life.

    Cover of Chlorine: A Novel
  • Dear Girls

    Full title: Dear Girls: Intimate Tales, Untold Secrets & Advice for Living Your Best Life | Stories from the comedian's college study abroad experience in Vietnam, her struggles to break into the entertainment business, and her observations on love, family, food, and motherhood.
    Cover of Dear Girls
  • The Dream Builders

    After living in the US for years, Maneka Roy returns home to India to mourn the loss of her mother and finds herself in a new world. The booming city of Hrishipur where her father now lives is nothing like the part of the country where she grew up, and the more she sees of this new, sparkling city, the more she learns that nothing--and no one--here is as it appears.

    Cover of The Dream Builders
  • Fairest: A Memoir

    Journalist and editor Meredith Talusan tells her lifelong story of struggle and acceptance as an albino child in the Philippines, coming out at Harvard University, and later on, undergoing gender transition as an adult.
    Cover of Fairest: A Memoir
  • Flux

    Four days before Christmas, 8-year-old Bo loses his mother in a tragic accident, 28-year-old Brandon loses his job after a hostile takeover of his big-media employer, and 48-year-old Blue, a key witness in a criminal trial against an infamous now-defunct tech startup, struggles to reconnect with his family. So begins Jinwoo Chong's dazzling, time-bending debut that blends elements of neo-noir and speculative fiction as the lives of Bo, Brandon, and Blue begin to intersect, uncovering a vast network of secrets and an experimental technology that threatens to upend life itself.

    Cover of Flux
  • Go Home!

    Asian diasporic writers—including Alexander Chee, Gaiutra Bahadur, Mia Alvar, Chang-Rae Lee, and more—meditate on the meaning of “home” through short stories, essays, and poetry in this timely, well-curated collection.
    Cover of Go Home!
  • The Good Immigrant: 26 Writers Reflect on America

    Emulating the original UK text, this new edition features writing by first- and second-generation immigrant authors as they reflect on America in the wake of the 2016 election. Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) voices shine throughout this compelling collection.
    Cover of The Good Immigrant: 26 Writers Reflect on America
  • Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations

    Jacob’s heartfelt graphic memoir invites readers into her life growing up as a first-generation American and examines questions about race, identity, politics, and love that she and her six-year-old son grapple with. Her use of photographic collage is particularly effective.
    Cover of Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations
  • Gutted

    Faced with his father’s terminal illness and his own health issues, Chin grapples with grief and loss in this Lambda Award-nominated poetry collection. Chin died less than a decade later due to a stroke.
    Cover of Gutted
  • Happiness Falls

    Mia isn't initially concerned when her family fails to return from a walk until her mute brother Eugene, who suffers from a rare genetic condition, returns bloody and alone and is unable to describe what happened to their father.

    Cover of Happiness Falls
  • Happy Stories, Mostly

    Happy Stories, Mostly is a short story collection by queer Indonesian author Norman Erikson Pasaribu. Blending speculative fiction and absurdism, these stories ask what it means to be almost happy, to nearly find joy, to sort of be accepted, but never fully to grasp one's desire.

    Cover of Happy Stories, Mostly
  • Homeland Elegies: A Novel

    A novel that questions what it means to be Pakistani American and Muslim in a post-9/11 world. It blends autobiographical experiences about the author's relationship with his immigrant father, political conflicts and strife, wealth and debt, and love and loss.
    Cover of Homeland Elegies: A Novel
  • If They Come for Us: Poems

    Poetry that reflects on Asghar's identity as a queer Pakistani Muslim woman in America and the effects of both the 1947 India-Pakistan Partition and 9/11. Her poems are playful while confronting serious subjects with a distinctive voice, full of vibrancy and urgency.
    Cover of If They Come for Us: Poems
  • The Incendiaries: A Novel

    Grieving her mother's death, Phoebe finds herself drawn into a secret extremist cult. When the cult commits an act of domestic terrorism and Phoebe disappears, her boyfriend, Will, struggles to understand the woman he thought he knew.
    Cover of The Incendiaries: A Novel
  • Insurrecto: A Novel

    Apostol layers complex labyrinthian narratives to tell the story of two women—a filmmaker and a translator—creating rival scripts in Duterte’s Philippines. This meta-narrative is a haunting look at the brutalities of the Filipino-American War and its postcolonial legacy.
    Cover of Insurrecto: A Novel
  • The Laughter

    Dr. Oliver Harding, a tenured professor of English, is long settled into the routines of a divorced, aging academic. But his quiet, staid life is upended by his new colleague, Ruhaba Khan, a dynamic Pakistani Muslim law professor.

    Cover of The Laughter
  • The Leavers: A Novel

    One morning, Deming Guo's mother, an undocumented immigrant, disappears. After being adopted by two white college professors, Deming struggles to reconcile his new life with his mother’s disappearance and the memories of the community he left behind.
    Cover of The Leavers: A Novel
  • A Living Remedy: A Memoir

    A searing memoir of class, inequality, and grief—a daughter's search to understand the lives her adoptive parents led, the life she forged as an adult, and the lives she's lost.

    Cover of A Living Remedy: A Memoir
  • Making Comics

    Cartoonist and professor Lynda Barry teaches the art of making comics, challenging artists to abandon perfectionism and embrace expressive communication. Sprawling full-page spreads offer philosophical meditations and exploratory exercises to engage students young and old.
    Cover of Making Comics
  • Memory Piece

    Moving from the pre-digital 1980s to a strikingly imagined portrait of the 2040s, this visionary novel of friendship, art, and ambition follows three lifelong friends as they strive for meaningful lives in a world that turned out to be radically different from the one they were promised.

    Cover of Memory Piece
  • Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning

    This collection of essays blends biographical stories with cultural criticism to explore the complexities of discrimination against Asian Americans and Hong's experiences being pigeonholed as an artist and writer.
    Cover of Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning
  • Monstress: Stories

    Set in the Philippines and within the Filipino American communities of California, these short stories explore isolation, displacement, and the longing for human connection.
    Cover of Monstress: Stories
  • New Waves: A Novel

    In this sharp novel about tech culture, two startup employees, tired of being office pariahs and dealing with passive-aggressive racism, decide to steal their company’s user database in an act of vengeance before quitting their jobs.
    Cover of New Waves: A Novel
  • No-No Boy: A Novel

    A Japanese American “no-no boy”—so-called because of his refusal to denounce his Japanese heritage and refusal to fight for the U.S. during World War II—struggles to cope with life post-internment and post-prison in this haunting and still-relevant 1957 novel.
    Cover of No-No Boy: A Novel
  • Not Quite Not White: Losing and Finding Race in America

    An essay collection that recounts Sen's childhood in Kolkata (then Calcutta) and her family's move to Boston. She discusses code-switching, being both the “native translator” and “assimilated immigrant,” and navigating issues of race, caste, and privilege.
    Cover of Not Quite Not White: Losing and Finding Race in America
  • On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous

    This poetic autobiographical novel intimately explores grief, race, and sexuality in the form of letters from a son to his mother, who is illiterate.
    Cover of On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous
  • The Perfect Sound: A Memoir in Stereo

    A poet’s audio obsession, from collecting his earliest vinyl to his quest for the ideal vacuum tubes. A captivating book that “ingeniously mixes personal memoir with cultural history and offers us an indispensable guide for the search of acoustic truth.

    Cover of The Perfect Sound: A Memoir in Stereo
  • Quarantine: Stories

    Mehta explores the lives of gay Indian American men caught between worlds in this insightful Lambda Award–winning short story collection.
    Cover of Quarantine: Stories
  • Sea Change

    Ro is stuck. She's just entered her thirties, she's estranged from her mother, and her boyfriend has just left her to join a mission to Mars. Ro's only companion is Dolores, a giant Pacific octopus who also happens to be Ro's last remaining link to her father, a marine biologist who disappeared while on an expedition when Ro was a teenager. When Dolores is sold to a wealthy investor intent on moving her to a private aquarium, Ro finds herself on the precipice of self-destruction.

    Cover of Sea Change
  • Soft Science

    Framed in the context of cyborgs and Turing tests, Choi's dazzling poetry collection explores the nebulous spaces of human identity.
    Cover of Soft Science
  • A Tale for the Time Being: A Novel

    A novelist finds a diary and artifacts in a Hello Kitty lunchbox that washes up on an isolated Canadian beach in 2012. It belongs to a depressed Japanese American teenager living in Tokyo, whom Ruth begins to suspect may have died in the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.
    Cover of A Tale for the Time Being: A Novel
  • This Is Paradise: Stories

    These tightly written contemporary stories set throughout Hawaii feature strong local protagonists—some Native Hawaiian and others of mixed ethnic backgrounds—as they go about their daily lives, far away from the kitsch or romanticized ideal.
    Cover of This Is Paradise: Stories
  • Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers

    When she discovers a dead man in the middle of her tea shop, Vera Wong, a suspicious Chinese mother with time on her hands, calls the police but not before swiping the flash drive from the body, setting a trap for the killer that becomes complicated by unexpected friendships with her customers.

    Cover of Vera Wong's Unsolicited Advice for Murderers
  • We Too Sing America

    Full title: We Too Sing America: South Asian, Arab, Muslim and Sikh Immigrants Shape Our Multiracial Future | An attorney chronicles a post-9/11 history of hatred and racial profiling against various immigrant and undocumented groups, as well as efforts to improve the situation.
    Cover of We Too Sing America
  • Welcome Me To the Kingdom

    Organized around the devastating financial crisis of 1997, these stories introduce us to an unforgettable cast of characters who employ various schemes and strategies to conceal, betray, lie, and seduce their way to achieving the 'good' life.

    Cover of Welcome Me To the Kingdom
  • What We Are: A Novel

    A young biracial Samoan American never fit in at school, church, work, or among his family. He wanders San Jose aimlessly, getting into fights and spending time in jail, until his family intervenes to straighten out his life. What will he do with this chance at redemption?
    Cover of What We Are: A Novel
  • Y/N

    Surreal, hilarious, and shrewdly poignant—a novel about a Korean American woman living in Berlin whose obsession with a K-pop idol sends her to Seoul on a journey of literary self-destruction.

    Cover of Y/N
  • Yellow Peril!: An Archive of Anti-Asian Fear

    Through critical essays, research, and archival images, this book examines anti-Asian “yellow peril” racism, a centuries-old ideology with examples from past to present in media representations—including literature, pop culture, music, and art—and everyday life.
    Cover of Yellow Peril!: An Archive of Anti-Asian Fear
  • Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White

    Still relevant 20 years after publication, law professor and current Queens College president Frank Wu examines and breaks down the complexities of discrimination, the model minority myth, the perpetual foreigner stereotype, and affirmative action.
    Cover of Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White
  • Yellowface

    After the death of her literary rival in a freak accident, author June Hayward steals her just-finished masterpiece and sends it to her agent as her work. However, as emerging evidence threatens her success, she discovers how far she’ll go to keep what she thinks she deserves.

    Cover of Yellowface