31 Great Books by Asian American Authors to Read in 2022

Today we will share 31 Great Books by Asian American Authors to Read in 2022.

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. While much of American popular culture still struggles to produce consistent and diverse representations of Asian Americans, the treasure trove of work by Asian American authors provides readers with a wealth of stories, characters, and experiences.

We've put together a list of 31 popular books by Asian-American authors, covering different eras, genres, and topics. These books embody the inexhaustible variety of Asian and Asian-American stories and experiences. 

Each book has been selected and reviewed to be considered the best, whether because they have been respected and won awards, or because they have become bestsellers that spark conversations among book clubs everywhere.

The list features book lovers of all genres—memoirs, romances, mystery novels, graphic novels—with titles ranging from grief-stricken characters about the loss of their mothers and family epics spanning a generation to exposing race. Complicated experiences with class struggle and other experiences dealing with high school crushes. 

Here is the list of 31 Great Books by Asian American Authors to Read in 2022.

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31 Books By Asian American Authors to Read in 2022 


Those 31 books will select the works of Asian-American writers. The anthology includes works by writers from ethnic backgrounds, including Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Filipino, Indian, and Vietnamese.

Each chapter mainly includes the author's introduction, selected works, appreciation of the work, and extended reading bibliography; the genres of the works include autobiography, novels, poems, dramas, and other genres.

The publication time of the works is almost a century, with diverse contents and styles, presenting the rich content and historical context of Asian American literature from different levels and perspectives, as well as the uniqueness and development trend of Asian American literature.


1. Land of Big Numbers 


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Land of Big Numbers by Te-Ping Chen

After reading the first story, I was a little confused, because the story happened in China but it didn't look like real China. After reading two more stories, I confirmed that these stories are not realistic, but have strong sci-fi and dystopia. color. 

The perspectives of the 10 stories are not exactly the same, and the author will not particularly deliberately address a certain social problem in China. He just brings some Chinese characteristics into the background of the stories, people's values, and thinking methods, which will not feel very contrived. 

After reading it, I feel that the author is quite pertinent, not deliberately catering to the mainstream view of China in Western society, nor demonizing Chinese society. The writing is very good, and the expression is very sharp. Has the same tenderness as most female writers I've read and feels more rational and crisp. I like it.


2. On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous 


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On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong

This month is Asia Pacific Heritage Month, so I chose the autobiographical novel On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Vietnamese writer Ocean Vuong. This is what the author wrote in the form of a letter to his mother. It's a coincidence that I read it on Mother's Day.

Beautifully written, but also painful. The author was born in Vietnam, which was in turmoil, moved to the Philippines, and finally fled to the United States. Raised by his grandmother and mother's single-parent family, he lives in a dilapidated small town in the United States, where his mother works hard at manicures, and his lovers and friends continue to die due to the recent opium crisis in the United States. And he got out of town by writing.

The painful memories of the war of grandmothers and mothers, the sentimental memories of the author's growing up without care and attention, the sweet and poignant memories of dealing with lost lovers, and the memories of flowers, butterflies, and calves in everyday life 

The memories of, monkeys and water buffaloes made the author realize the shortness of life, Zhaohua's ephemeral nature, the pain that accompanies the shadows, and the continuation of love. It also made the author realize that we are so short-lived in this world. stay. But we stayed briefly, and we were brilliant, even for a moment.

After reading this book, I can't help feeling sad. Mothers on Mother's Day may be experiencing wars, or they may find it difficult to reunite with their children during the epidemic, or they may not be loved by their children and society. We are all mothers who have been brilliant and brilliant for a short time on the earth. May the world have less pain and suffering, and may mothers have fewer tears and more smiles.


3. Pachinko 


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Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

1. "Pachinko" is the first work about Koreans in Japan written directly in English.

2. The timeline of Pachinko is from 1910 to 1989. The year 1989 was the year when the author, Lee Min-jin, first learned about the group of Koreans in Japan.

3. In 1989, the author first learned about the Korean community in Japan. In a missionary speech at the university, the missionary talked about the situation of many Koreans in Japan. 

Among them, the author's most impressive story is the suicide of a 13-year-old boy. The boy was born in Japan, and his parents were born in Japan, but his classmates made him go back to his country (South Korea) and wrote "Go to hell" in his notebook that he smelled like garlic. 

This story had a great influence on her and was also incorporated into "Pachinko", but the author's choice of perspective was not the boy who committed suicide or his parents, but to write the story from the perspective of the Japanese police (ie "Chunxi"). , is Mosa's good friend), to write the sympathetic of the Japanese to the Koreans in Japan. 

The author has encountered many Japanese who have sympathy for Koreans in Japan, but the overall Japanese environment has not improved the situation that Koreans in Japan use negative words to describe Koreans. At the same time, Chunxi is gay, and homosexuality is not an easy path in Japan, so she did this.

4. The idea of writing stories for the Korean community in Japan has been circling in her mind since she learned about the existence of this group in 1989. The real creation started in 1996, and the original protagonist was actually Solomon.

5. Before "Pachinko", that is, in 2003, she had completed work with a Korean in Japan as the protagonist, but later she felt that it was not a novel, but too much like a paper, so she felt that it was not good work and gave up it.

6. The image of the protagonist Junko was established in 2007. In that year, the author returned to Asia and came to Japan. He met many Koreans in Japan, 아줌마 (old aunts), thinking about their work and life, and realized that without Sunja, there would be no Solomon.

7. The author interviewed many Koreans in Japan in Japan, and those people gave her inspiration to write the beginning of "Pachinko", that is, "History has failed us, but no matter." The translation of the Chinese version is "History has failed us, but we have nothing to fear". 

In fact, this translation is different from the author's own interpretation. The author said in the interview that those in Japan and South Korea clearly stated that they were not victims of history, they knew that history happened and some laws were unfair, but their attitude was, you move on, you work through it, they did not go to binary opposition, did not feel that only one of Japan and South Korea is good, and the other is evil. 

These Koreans in Japan made the author rethink the work and focus on people, not the winning or losing of history.

8. The author is a history major. She said that she likes doing research and reading documents very much. She has read a lot of documents for the writing of "Pachinko". 

She said that readers do not need to know these very specific historical details, but she needs Know, learns, and forget specific details in writing. 

For the shaping of the characters, the inspiration does not come from music or the like, but from interviews and materials.

9. The final "Pachinko" work was published in 2017. So this book took nearly 30 years from the original idea in 1989 to the research, creation, and final publication.


4. Klara and the Sun 


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Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro

The first-person perspective of artificial intelligence is my favorite. It is written by Kazuo Ishiguro, who has delicate writing, rich narrative layers, and always has a spirit of exploration of human nature. 

Why do you love artificial intelligence, because all artificial intelligence stories are ultimately about people, what defines people, and what is human nature, those AIs with extraordinary intelligence, and amazing insight, but childlike naivety seem to be another hypothesis of human nature, it's so interesting to see ourselves through them. 

Also, I really love Kazuo Ishiguro. He only examines people without judgment. He is really humble and tender.

Originally, after reading this book, the first impression was two stars, but seeing the full screen with five stars makes people tremble... Is what I read and what you read the same book? In order to be true to my own feelings, this evaluation is still made. This book disappointed me very much. 

Although I am not a big fan of Kazuo Ishiguro, I like him very much from his previous works and think his works are very special! However, this novel seems to be an extended version of a children's book. 

The dialogue of the characters is the same tone regardless of age or gender... I can't understand the depth of the story beyond the enjoyment of reading... 

The story is actually very simple: AF subjective feeling A story of subjective salvation. The superfluous branch trivializes the story. If this is a short story, it may be a surprise.


5. How Much of These Hills Is Gold 


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How Much of These Hills Is Gold by C Pam Zhang

I'm utterly disappointed by it, and how well-regarded this book is. First and foremost, as a trilingual reader (English, Mandarin, and Cantonese), the lethal weakness that bugs me throughout the book and makes me hate it so much is the misuse of languages. 

English speakers might not be able to pick it up, but I'm unsettled by Zhang's decision to replace Toisanese and Cantonese with Mandarin pin yin, just bc may be of her own background.

Furthermore, the erasure of Native Americans through the sinicization of Indigenous people on this land is unbearable. Zhang's genre revision is basically a Sino-centric reimagination of the gold rush that really is proposing how the European settler colonialism shall be revised into a “better” Chinese settler colonialism. 

There's not much a grappling of the intricacies of many POC as both victims and beneficiaries of settler colonialism. 

And I cannot help but question why Zhang, an elite ivy league one-point-five generation Mandarin-speaking Chinese American, is trying to tell this story of the gold rush. 

It's neither a sincere family story nor a historical fiction that respects the experiences of the early Chinese diaspora and their descendants.

There is a lot of potential with a western revisionist novel that pays due respect to the histories of White settlers, POC settler laborers, and Indigenous people. But sadly, Zhang's book is far from being it.


6. The Joy Luck Club 


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The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

This is what the book "The Joy Luck Club" gave me the most. The author wandered freely in time as if possessed by a soul, constantly looking at the world through the eyes of a mother or a daughter at different times. 

Use the tone of their day to tell their feelings and views about the world. Everyone, whether it's our parents, grandparents, or our children, originally lives in their own unique world, and even our closest relatives, we can only experience what we see and hear. 

A little bit. We fail to understand others because we are so loaded up with our own experiences that it is hard to imagine what the other person is going through and how those experiences will affect his or her way of seeing the world. 

Just like a mother tells her stories in Chinese, and even if a daughter who grew up in the United States can understand Chinese, those stories will only blow like the wind, leaving no trace.

But in fact, the mother also has a childhood, and the daughter also has a day when she grows up. And childhood experiences, and even the childhood experiences of our parents, can have an impact on our lives now. 

This is the wonderful cycle of life. We are only one link in this cycle, and everything continues to cycle. When the wind blows, it has left its mark on us, whether we can feel it or not.


7. Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning 


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Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning by Cathy Park Hong

On the inside of the cover of the book is a passage that says:

Poet and essayist Cathy Park Hong fearlessly and provocatively blend memoir, cultural consciousness, and history to expose fresh truths about racialized in America.

I don't think this book is about "fresh truths", I think this book is about "uncovering the truths", these truths in the book, these honest feelings, are always there, just not paid attention, not told, No one speaks from Cathy's perspective.

For example, why do people pay attention to the work of artist Theresa Hak Kyung Cha, but every time she mentions the cause of her death by rape and murder, it is taken lightly? Why did her rape case become taboo? Why did Carmen Winant 2018 do a photo installation about female childbirth at MOMA, all the pictures were white women? 

Why does "Blade Runner 2046" have India, Japan, etc. elements in the scene, but why are the main characters not Asian? Why didn't the documentary "Vietnam War" interview some South Korean soldiers who were assisting the US military at that time? ...  

I've watched "Blade Runner 2046" and I've also watched "The Vietnam War", but because of our different identities, the world that Cathy and I see are at odds, and I can't see this layer of her so-called "whiteness", I There is no Asian American lens.

In Jose Saramago's novel Blindness, when the characters go blind, their vision doesn't go dark but turns white as if they “plunged with open eyes into the milky sea.” I see whiteness everywhere I go. I sense its machinations. I see that even my mind is stained by whiteness as if it's been dyed with the radiopaque ink used for X-rays. This stain makes me incessantly analogize my life to other lives. I no longer think my life comes up short. But even in opposition, I still see my life in relation to whiteness.

I suddenly seem to be able to understand why the Japanese hostess who interviewed Simu Liu at the premiere of "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" was about to faint with excitement; 

I also seem to be able to understand why there are Chinese-Americans who grew up in the United States I will think that an actor who looks ordinary but can express clearly in both Chinese and English is very good.

Asian American is a term that has always puzzled me a lot. I think it's too big and inappropriate, and it lumps all Asians together indiscriminately. Take China and India as an example. 

In addition to being countries with large populations, their languages, cultures, and customs are far from each other. However, in the United States, they are all Asian Americans.

To me, Asian is more of a spatial term. It's like, we are all students in Year 1, Class 1, but you can't represent me, and I can't represent you, we are individuals. But because of this book, I suddenly understand Asian Americans a little more.

Cathy's language is a bit spicy, and suddenly there will be particularly poetic words and phrases, which catch people off guard.


8. Little Fires Everywhere 


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Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

The story of "Little Little Fire" tells the story of a small fire that burned down the Richardson family's house in the summer of a certain year. 

Everyone thought it was the "good thing" that his youngest daughter Ikki did, but she disappeared... Along with Ikki, there were also the tenants of Richardson's house: the wandering artist Mia and her daughter Pearl. 

The novel unfolds to us in flashbacks: the Richardsons live a secure, peaceful life in a large luxury house called Sickel Heights, where they live in Sickel Highland is a planned city, there are many rules in this city, including what you can do and what you can't do, "planned is the best" is the motto of this city, the people who live here People also believe in this creed: to live happily day after day and year after year in this city according to the rules. 

Similarly, in his own life, he lives according to the established rules of life, such as studying hard, working hard, getting married, having children, and raising children. 

The Richardson family is no exception and lives happily according to such rules. There are four children in his family: the eldest daughter Lexie, the confident and outgoing eldest daughter, the handsome second son Tripp from England, and the third son Moody, who is somewhat introverted from Myanmar. , and the little daughter Ikki, who is a little "extraordinary". 

And as new tenants, homeless artist Mia and her daughter Pearl, moved to Seakel Heights to rent a rental house in the Richardsons, everyone in the Richardsons began to change. 

The biggest difference between Mia and the Richardson family is that from the very beginning, Mia only followed her own heart, never succumbed to the pressure of the world, lived the life she wanted, and did not measure a person with worldly eyes. 

And that's where Mrs. Richardson is completely different. The appearance of Mia was initially a curiosity to Mrs. Richardson, but with the changes that Mia brought to the four children of the Richardson family, especially the change of the youngest daughter Ikki, who was called "Alien", Mrs. Richardson was terrified, 

because Mia's lifestyle was different from that of the Richardsons, and even the way people did things according to the rules of the whole Seakel Heights, which made Mrs. Richardson feel at a loss.

"Little Little Fire" ostensibly describes the lifestyle conflict between the Richardson family and the new tenant Mia, but it actually explores the differences in life pursuits and lifestyles brought about by different values. 

At the same time, how to face it, whether to embrace integration or resist rejection, are all things that we should think about after reading the novel "Little Little Fire".


9. Crazy Rich Asians 


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Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

I finally finished reading this book in the early morning, and it's interesting to read it for leisure.

The main line is the inspirational story of a 30-year-old female doctor born on the mainland and a 32-year-old super handsome and super charismatic male doctor who came from more than three generations of aristocratic families. 

There are too many characters in it, so the portrayal of the male and female protagonists is slightly weak, but more emphasis is placed on describing their brands, prices, and lifestyles. 

I have made a detailed description of the luxurious and extravagant lifestyle of the Chinese in Singapore and Hong Kong, which can be used as a guide for the lifestyle of the rich and rich in mainland China.

I was shocked that the book also mentioned family planning on the mainland, as well as trying to get a boy. 

Blind as the first-born baby girl echoes the news that a few days ago, a needle was used to stab the baby girl's body in order to ask for a baby boy.

Written like a script, perfect for a movie adaptation! According to The Wall Street Journal, it is being adapted into a movie. 


10. The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories 


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The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Liu

The first time I read the award-winning "Paper Menagerie" was a reading comprehension I did when preparing for the SAT in high school. The excerpts and test questions mainly explored the identity and contradictions of second-generation immigrants in the United States. 

In the third year of coming to the United States, I reread the complete version, and then I felt that Ken Liu wrote a fragment of his rejection of his mother. 

Every word struck into my heart, into the hearts of every international student, into every attempt to integrate into American society. 

For those who have abandoned or doubted the original culture, Ken Liu's words are cold and cruel, like a needle pierced into the flesh, and the pain is so painful that people can't breathe.

Thank you Ken Liu for making me understand what native culture means to a person. It is the cornerstone, the backing, and it is written in the DNA sequence of every Chinese. 

It makes us different from Americans in our bones, but the difference does not represent the difference, the difference makes us unique, and we should be proud of it.

"If I say 'love,' I feel here." She pointed to her lips. "If I say 'ai,' I feel here." She put her hand over her heart. --- "Paper Menagerie"


11. Crying in H Mart: A Memoir 


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Crying in H Mart: A Memoir by Michelle Zauner

This book tells the story of the author Michelle Zauner before and after her mother's illness and death.

This is a Memoir written by the author Michelle after her mother died of cancer. It is about her memories of growing up with her mother, the care Michelle took for her from the time of her mother's illness to the six months before her death, and the memories of her mother after her death. sad. 

Michelle called the process of writing the book a kind of therapy, healing her from the loss of her mother. After the book was published, the fire also brought fire to Michelle's band Japanese Breakfast (the song is very good!), I really believe that this is the good luck brought to her by her mother.

Michelle is half-American and Korean, with a Korean mother and a white American father. They live in Eugene, Oregon, USA, so Michelle's identity as a mixed Asian is another theme of the book.

Why is the title of the book Crying in H mart? H Mart is a Korean grocery store chain in the United States. The most important connection between Michelle and her mother is the mutual love of Korean food. 

When Michelle went to H mart alone after her mother's death, she remembered the memories of visiting this supermarket with her mother, seeing three generations of Korean families eating together in the food court inside, and was saddened by her mother's early death and subsequent loss. the only link between himself and his Korean identity.


12. Norwegian Wood 


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Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

The next book I'm going to recommend is Norwegian wood. this is the last book I read of 2021 I read this I finished about a week two weeks ago and this was on my list for so long 

I've had an infinite number of people talk about this and I also know so many people who have this as their favorite book and I'm definitely going to recommend it to you. 

I found this to be extremely gripping it's about a student living in Tokyo and it's about kind of love and just like student life I love that it's set in Tokyo you do get quite a cool insight into the culture which I really enjoyed as an aspect of this book the protagonist is actually reflecting back on his time as a student 

so it's quite like nostalgic which I love nostalgia is one of my favorite feelings and you definitely like this book radiates that. 

so obviously the book is named after the Beatle's song Norwegian Wood and the protagonist hears the song and it makes him think back to his days as a student 

and then you kind of get that story around it I would say the reason this is so gripping is that the characters are just so almost complicated I'd say this book is very character-driven I guess there's the plot as well 

but I would say the character development is very very intense there are also themes of like mental health suicide is a huge theme in this book so be careful if that's like something you don't want to read about I'd definitely avoid this. 

I think the main reason I'd say this could get you back into reading is that this is not like anything I've really ever read, it's also um was originally written in Japanese so this is the translation um I would love to read the original Japanese version but I just do not think I'll ever be fluent in Japanese. 

I really really enjoyed this book and it gave me a new kind of I've never read anything like it which I love when I read a book that isn't quite unique 

however, there is just one side note that I want to say about this book and that is the way that women are written about is really unenjoyable I haven't analyzed it too far or done much research I don't know if that is intentional or if that is just how the author thinks. 

I think I have heard that that's like a theme within Murakami books but I would be wary of that I think that cut from me personally did taint the book a little bit but I'm still going to recommend it because I read this so quickly and I like would definitely recommend it to a friend.


13. Whereabouts 


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GET IT ON BOOKSHOP.ORG 

Whereabouts by Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri is a gifted writer, her prose is always like water, intertwined with calm flows and sudden waves; reading her is like sitting in a boat and being amazed at what the water brings. 

I loved her short story collection “the interpreter of maladies ”. Her later books are also good, establishing herself as a distinct literary voice- a second-generation Indian immigrant who grew up in Rhode Island and had shrewd observation of our contemporary life- immigrant or not. 

Currently, she is a Professor of creative writing at Princeton and has been taking a sabbatical in Italy. This is the book she wrote in Italian and translated back into English herself.

Whereabouts, a place where someone is. This book is short, made of snippets and vignettes of a woman's seemingly mundane everyday life. 

As time goes by, one will realize the disappearance of the constant excitement, the anticipation, and the unstoppable urge to keep moving forward associated with youth. 

Because one has seen a lot, done a lot, felt a lot, the excitement may subside, and one gets lost in knowing one's own whereabouts. 

Is this where I am supposed to be? Where do I want to be? How did I get here? What now? What after?

We read about a woman, single, in her 40s, who probably works in a university, probably a writer/artist who lives in a city in Italy. 

We follow her daily routines, read her thoughts, and get familiar with a few people in her life, her mother, the man on the bridge who she keeps bumping into, who is her friend's husband. 

We start to know her and see the “whereabouts” in her life, rather than a specific geographic location.

The prose is dreamy and deliberately slow at times, and then all of sudden, she throws some sentences at you, so deep and fierce, and takes you by surprise. “Solitude: it's become my trade. 

As it requires a certain discipline, it's a condition I try to perfect. And yet it plagues me, it weighs on me in spite of my knowing it so well.” 

We all have times in our lives when we start to wonder about our own whereabouts, we will also stop and reflect as she did; hope we can be like her, and keep moving forward.


14. A Burning 


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A Burning by Megha Majumdar

I really like the author's bland tone about life in the slums as a woman's plight as a scapegoat The repressed anger and feeling of powerlessness is the most touching thing about the inmates in the prison who have been bullied by men in their lives somehow go to prison, What's more, the three-person perspective of women has a very good impact on society and life! 

But I always felt that PT Sir becoming a politician was a later addition because his storyline was very boring in the middle. Jivan's toughness and intelligence (but unable to resist this society) made me think of Rue and Lovely happened to be the image of Jules The story that comes to my mind (actually Lovely is not that beautiful but at least figurative) can imagine the story 

after that people found Jivan's letter, maybe she was cleared of her grievance, maybe there was a bill but nothing changed The fact that she has died unjustly, her family is very poor, maybe not the poorest kind, but her father's injury is enough to make the family collapse. Isn't this the most worthy of reflection in this society?


15. If I Had Your Face 


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If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha

It's a good read, but the author wants to cover too many things: female friendship, appearance anxiety, sexism, class, star chasing, and parenting... But the characters are handled thinly and flatly, and it always reads like a Korean drama. Visual sense.

It is actually aimed at the beauties on the title and cover of the book (the lustful stone hammer), and it is written about renting and living in the same building and doing different professions (artist, nightclub senior escort, company employee, hairdresser, The stories of girls who want to become senior escorts), the stories of girls helping girls, also touched on countless hot topics in the patriarchal society (plastic surgery, star chasing, porn escorts, maternity leave, wealth gap, etc.). 

There is no way out and no hope in the lives of girls, idols and chaebol boyfriends are bound to disappoint them, but they have each other, and in the end, they can always go out on their own. (The funniest thing is that the best excuse to stop a gentlemanly boyfriend from helping him get a bag he forgot in the car is that the sanitary napkin in the bag fell out)


16. The Queen of the Night 


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The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee

The Queen of the Night is a historical novel set in Paris in 1882, during the decadence and high profile of the Paris Opera. Readers follow the story of soprano Lilith Berne, who finally gets her chance in an original role, only to find the opera's lyrics suspiciously similar to the story of her mysterious past.

Alexander Chee's work is full of suspense, mystery, and romantic intrigue. Chee's first novel, Edinburgh, won the Whiting Award, and his second novel, The Queen of the Night, was no different.


17. The White Tiger: A Novel 


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The White Tiger: A Novel by Aravind Adiga

"The White Tiger" is a darkly humorous and disturbingly honest novel about India's caste system, with narrator Balram Halwai about the moral problems of his journey from country boy to successful businessman. 

This action-packed novel exposes the deep-rooted corruption in India's entrenched caste system, and the poverty it can lead to.

Aravind Adiga won the Booker Prize in 2008 for his debut novel, The White Tiger. It was later adapted into a Netflix film, due out in 2021.


18. Everything I Never Told You 


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Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

"Everything I Never Told You," tells the story of a mixed-race Chinese family in Ohio in the 1970s. When the second, favorite child of Chinese immigrants Marilyn and James Lee is found dead, the rest of the family is unraveled, secrets are revealed, and the meaning of home and family is questioned. Celeste Ng's work is both poignant and engaging.

Everything I Never Told You made the New York Times bestseller list and won the Massachusetts Book Award, the Asia Pacific Association of Librarians Literary Award, and the American Library Association Alex Award.


19. Interior Chinatown: A Novel 


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Interior Chinatown: A Novel by Charles Yu

Winner of the 2020 National Fiction Award, Inside Chinatown is told as a screenplay. It follows "ordinary Asian" Willis Wu, who has been playing "background oriental men" in fictional police procedurals but dreams of one day playing "Kung Fu Man" on the big screen. 

The novel is Yu's satire and heartfelt satire of Hollywood Asian stereotypes, exposing the underrepresentation of Asian Americans on the screen.


20. The Border of Paradise 


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The Border of Paradise by Esmé Weijun Wang

"Heaven's Frontier" is a gripping and informative family drama, a story told from multiple perspectives over the years and in multiple locations. Bookmarked with two suicide attempts, it follows Brooklynite David battling neurosis. 

Daisy, the woman he married in Taiwan with a daughter; and his childhood friend Marianne, with whom he had an affair and gave birth to another daughter in California. As complex family dynamics unfold, secrets and hidden pasts are revealed.

Esmé Weijun Wang's novels have been praised for their beautiful prose and thoughtful characters.


21. They Called Us Enemy 


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They Called Us Enemy by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott, and Harmony Becker

George Takei was an actor and activist who pushed boundaries on "Star Trek" in the 1960s. In his vivid memoir, "They Called Us Enemies," readers recount his childhood in a Japanese-American concentration camp in the United States during World War II. 

This memoir sheds light on the political and human atrocities committed by the American government from a very personal and accessible perspective. Takei's graphic memoir won the 2020 Asian Pacific American Youth Literature Award.


22. Waiting 


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Waiting by Ha Jin

There's a reason Harkin's novel "Waiting" won the 1999 National Book Award. Set in contemporary China and spanning more than 20 years, the story revolves around military doctor Lin Kong; his unloved wife; and his girlfriend, a nurse at the hospital where he works. 

Loosely based on a true story, the novel is a complex and professionally written study of modern aspirations that grapple with centuries of customs and expectations.


23. To All the Boys I've Loved Before 


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To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han

"To All the Boys I've Loved Before," the No. 1 New York Times best-selling romantic comedy, tells the story of Korean-American high school student Lara Jean's secret love letters that never get read. 

When letters are sent unexpectedly, she has to deal with the kind of attention she's been hoping to avoid and the feelings that come with it.

Praised for Han's related writing, "To All the Boys I've Loved Before" was also adapted into the popular Netflix film series.


24. Interpreter of Maladies 


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Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

The Disease Explainers is a collection of nine short stories linked by common themes of Indian and Indian-American protagonists to balance their cultural roots with the "New World." 

Published in 1999, Jhumpa Lahiri's work was praised for its elegance, and the book itself was praised for its deliberately broad depiction of Indians and Indian Americans. 

In 2000, The Disease Explainers won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award.


25. The Kite Runner 


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The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner is the first novel by Afghan-American author Khalid Hosseini. The book tells the story of Amir, from a wealthy family in Kabul, who spans 30 years of change and chaos in Afghanistan. 

It follows Amir's relationship with his father, and his unlikely friendship with Hassan, the son of his father's servant.

It remained on the New York Times bestseller list for two years and won the San Francisco Chronicle Book of the Year Award.


26. The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts 


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The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts by Maxine Hong Kingston

"Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Ghost Girl" was published in 1976 and is unique in that it combines autobiography and Chinese folklore. 

Author Maxine Hong Kingston uses this undefinable type to tell us the story that helped define her. Kingston has been criticized for her representation of Chinese culture, but her work continues to spark discussion on the subject. This book is a National Book Critics Association award winner.


27. All You Can Ever Know: A Memoir 


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All You Can Ever Know: A Memoir by Nicole Chung

"All You Can Ever Know" is a memoir about author Nicole Chung's experiences as a Korean adoptee raised by white parents. 

This memoir weaves together the author's personal journey to find his biological parents, his search for belonging, and an evolving understanding of his own identity. 

Everything You Know was published to rave reviews and was a finalist for the 2018 National Book Critics Association Autobiography Award.


28. Trust Exercise: A Novel 


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Trust Exercise: A Novel by Susan Choi

Susan Choi's "Trust Exercise" won the 2019 National Award for Fiction. This national bestseller follows the lives of students at a performing arts high school in suburban America in the 1980s, full of narrative twists, surprises, and head-scratching episodes. 

The novel's complex narrative techniques have sparked a lot of debate, making it the perfect book for an intense book club meeting.


29. The Sympathizer: A Novel 


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The Sympathizer: A Novel by Viet Thanh Nguyen 

The Sympathizer is Nguyen Viet Thanh's debut novel and winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. Set in 1975, the story follows a South Vietnamese general who flees to Los Angeles with several of his fellow citizens to start a new life. 

However, the narrator of the novel is one of the compatriots, the captain, who is also a spy for the Viet Cong. It is the part spy novel, part love story, and part exploration of extreme politics in 1970s America and Vietnam.


30. A Thousand Years of Good Prayers: Stories 


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A Thousand Years of Good Prayers: Stories by Yiyun Li 

"A Thousand Years of Beautiful Prayer" is the first collection of short stories by Chinese-American writer Li Yiyun. 

The stories are thematically connected by focusing on the lives and experiences of Chinese and Chinese American protagonists. 

The series won the PEN/Hemingway Award, and the story "Immortal" won the Paris Review's Plimpton Award for New Writers.


31. A Jar of Dreams 


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A Jar of Dreams by Yoshiko Uchida 

A Jar of Dreams is a children's novel by author Yoshiko Uchida, usually read for middle school students, but the story is suitable for all ages. 

The novel follows 11-year-old Rinko, who lives in Depression-era California and struggles to be "different" because she's Japanese. 

When Aunt Waka visited Japan, Rinko learned to love and appreciate her heritage. 

You May Like Also: Great Books by Asian American Authors


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