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AAPI Books from the past 5 years (2017-2022)

The list below compiles various fiction and non-fiction books written by AAPI or Asian authors and published in the past five years. It is by no means intended to be an exhaustive listing of all AAPI books from 2017 to the present, but includes a handful of recommended or highly anticipated recent books published by AAPI authors. APABA-DC member Erica Lai prepared the list and book descriptions. Hope this list helps you find a new AAPI book to savor and enjoy!


FICTION

  • Land of Big Numbers, Te-Ping Chen

This debut collection of short stories from a Chinese-American journalist previously based in Beijing poignantly illustrates the paradoxes and contradictions in contemporary life in China. 

  • Exit West, Mohsin Hamid
This fourth novel by British Pakistani novelist Mohsin Hamid tells the story of two young lovers who meet in a country on the brink of civil war and decide to flee through a magical door, becoming refugees in an alien world where they have to struggle to hold onto their past, their identities, and each other.  Exit West was a finalist for the Booker prize and won the LATimes book prize for fiction. 

  • Klara and the Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro
This first novel from Kazuo Ishiguro since he won the Nobel Prize in Literature tells the story of an Artificial Friend, a humanoid machine created to serve as a companion to a human child, who has keen observational skills of a dystopian future in which humans struggle to survive alongside increasingly intelligent machines. 
  • Miracle Creek, Angie Kim
A gripping, yet realistic courtroom thriller and murder mystery set in a small town in Virginia, where a group of strangers come together for an experimental oxygen chamber that may cure a range of medical conditions, but a horrific explosion raises questions about their intentions, secrets, and lies.  Last year, the author, a former Williams & Connelly litigator joined APABA-DC’s book club for a virtual discussion of Miracle Creek, and she’ll be joining our Speak Up and Speak Out panel with AAPI women creators this Summer. 
  • On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, Ocean Vuong
This semi-autobiographical debut novel from critically acclaimed Vietnamese American poet Ocean Vuong takes the form of a letter from a Vietnamese American son to his mother who cannot read.  The publisher, Penguin Random House, describes it as a “brutally honest exploration of race, class, and masculinity,” and “as much about the power of telling one’s own story as it is about the obliterating silence of not being heard.”  It was longlisted for the 2019 National Book Award for Fiction and Carnegie Medal in Fiction.
  • Pachinko, Min Jin Lee
This impeccably researched, poignant, yet understated epic tracing the sociopolitical history of Korea and Japan through four generations of a poor, exiled Korean immigrant family fighting to survive and thrive in 20th century Japan.  Pachinko was a finalist for the National Book Award and was recently adapted into a TV series.  

NON-FICTION

  • The Best We Could Do:  An Illustrated Memoir, Thi Bui
This stunningly beautiful and deeply moving autobiographical graphic novel depicts the lives of the author’s family before, during, and after the Vietnam War, including their perilous escape from South Vietnam to the challenges they faced as they struggled to assimilate in the United States. 
  • All You Can Ever Know, Nicole Chung
This is a profoundly introspective memoir delving into the author’s meditations on race, motherhood, and identity as she searches for answers about her biological parents and unravels myths her family had told her about her adoption.  The book was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.
  • Minor Feelings:  An Asian American Reckoning, Cathy Park Hong
This autobiographical book of essays by Korean-American poet Cathy Park Hong provides an honest and introspective reflection of Asian American identity.  It was published in 2020, before the wave of unprecedented anti-Asian American violence. 
  • Trick Mirror:  Reflections on Self-Delusion, Jia Tolento
This is a series of thoughtful essays by a staff writer and cultural critic at the New Yorker exploring the impact of the internet, social media, reality TV, late-stage capitalism, and “the cult of the difficult woman” on our modern day society. 

APABA-DC is an affiliate of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association

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