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Books About Asian Heritage to Celebrate the Lunar New Year

Check out these novels and memoirs exploring Asian and Asian-American heritage!

January 27, 2022

 

Fiction

Beasts of a little land

Beasts of a Little Land

Juhea Kim

After her desperate family sells her to a courtesan school, Jade befriends JungHo, an orphan boy begging on the streets of Seoul, and must decide to pursue her dreams or risk everything in the fight for independence.

Committed

Committed

Viet Thanh Nguyen

A sequel to the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Sympathizer finds the unnamed “man of two minds” and his blood brother dealing drugs in 1980s Paris, where he navigates the worlds of privileged clients while trying to reconcile two politically polarized friends.

Crazy Rich Asians

Crazy Rich Asians

Kevin Kwan

Envisioning a quality-time summer vacation in the humble Singapore home of a boy she hopes to marry, Chinese American Rachel Chu is unexpectedly introduced to a rich and scheming clan that viciously competes against other wealthy families and strongly opposes their son’s relationship with an American girl.

Family trust

Family Trust

Kathy Wang

Struggling to fulfill a terminally ill father’s final bequest, a privileged Chinese-American family in Silicon Valley is forced to contend with the realities of their ambitions and actual desires.

How Much of These Hills Is Gold

How Much of These Hills is Gold

C Pam Zhang

Two orphaned Chinese immigrant siblings flee the threats of their gold rush mining town across an unforgiving landscape where their survival is tested by family secrets, sibling rivalry and disparate goals.

Interior Chinatown

Interior Chinatown

Charles Yu

A stereotyped character actor stumbles into the spotlight before uncovering surprising links between his family and the secret history of Chinatown.

The island of sea women

The Island of Sea Women

Lisa See

The ostracized daughter of a Japanese collaborator and the daughter of their Korean village’s head female diver share nearly a century of friendship that is tested by their island’s torn position between two warring empires.

joy luck club

The Joy Luck Club

Amy Tan

Encompassing two generations and a rich blend of Chinese and American history, the story of four struggling, strong women also reveals their daughter’s memories and feelings

The kinship of secrets

The Kinship of Secrets

Eugenia Kim

The story of two sisters separated by the Korean War follows Miran, who grows up living with her parents in a prosperous American suburb, and her sister Inja who struggles with life in war-torn Korea and ties to a family she doesn’t remember.

Land of Big Numbers

Land of Big Numbers

Te-Ping Chen

Gripping and compassionate, Land of Big Numbers traces the journeys of the diverse and legion Chinese people, their history, their government, and how all of that has tumbled—messily, violently, but still beautifully—into the present.

Last Tang standing

Last Tang Standing

Lauren Ho

Reluctantly dating a man who has the approval of her traditional family, a successful lawyer on the brink of partnership is unwittingly drawn to an office rival who is anything but respectable.

Little gods

Little Gods

Meng Jin

A new novel explores the complex web of grief, memory, time, physics, history and selfhood in the immigrant experience, and the complicated bond between daughters and mothers.

Love in the big city

Love in the Big City

Sang Young Park

When his female best friend and roommate, Jaehee, leaves him to settle down, Young, a cynical gay man living in the lonely city of Seoul, tries to make sense of his life and his relationships as he finds himself torn between two very different men.

Mambo in Chinatown

Mambo in Chinatown

Jean Kwok

Enduring a limited existence with her Chinese-American father, Charlie Wong discovers new opportunities and perspectives when she takes a job at a ballroom dance studio where her natural talents begin to emerge.

My Year Abroad

My Year Abroad

Chang-rae Lee

An everyday American college student finds his life transformed by a Chinese-American businessman who unexpectedly takes him under his wing on a series of whimsical, heartbreaking and darkly shocking adventures throughout Asia.

Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune

Natalie Tan’s Book of Luck and Fortune

Roselle Lim

Inheriting her grandmother’s restaurant in a crumbling San Francisco Chinatown neighborhood, Natalie Tan is advised by the local seer to prepare three recipes from her grandmother’s cookbook to help their struggling community.

The Night Tiger

The Night Tiger

Yangsze Choo

A vivacious dance-hall girl in 1930s colonial Malaysia is drawn into unexpected danger by the discovery of a severed finger that is being sought by a young houseboy who would protect his late master’s soul.

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous

Ocean Vuong

A letter from a son to a mother who cannot read reveals the impact of the Vietnam War on their family history and provides a view into parts of the son’s life that his mother has never known.

Pachinko

Pachinko

Min Jin Lee

In early 1900s Korea, prized daughter Sunja finds herself pregnant and alone, bringing shame on her family until a young tubercular minister offers to marry her and bring her to Japan, in the saga of one family bound together as their faith and identity are called into question.

A phở love story

A Phở Love Story

Loan Le

High school seniors Bàao and Linh, whose feuding families own competing Vietnamese restaurants, conceal their budding romance, as well as Linh’s desire to become an artist.

Please look after mom

Please Look After Mom

Kyŏng-suk Sin

Follows the efforts of a family to find the mother who went missing from Seoul Station and their sobering realizations when they recall memories that suggest she may not have been happy.

searching for sylvie lee

Searching for Sylvie Lee

Jean Kwok

Three women from a Chinese immigrant family navigate complicated secrets when an elder daughter goes missing while visiting her dying grandmother in the Netherlands.

The vegetarian

The Vegetarian

Han Kang

Deciding to renounce eating meat in the wake of violent dreams, Yeong-hye, a woman from a culture of strict societal mores, is denounced as a subversive as she spirals into extreme rebelliousness that causes her to splinter from her true nature and risk her life.

The Wangs vs. the world

The Wangs Vs. the World

Jade Chang

A wealthy but fractured Chinese family loses everything in the financial crisis before embarking on a haphazard but ultimately redemptive journey across America as part of an effort to reclaim ancestral lands in China.

Yolk

Yolk

Mary H.K. Choi

Struggling with emotional problems and an eating disorder, Jayne, a Korean American college student living in New York City, is estranged from her accomplished older sister June, until June gets cancer.

 

Biography and Memoir

Almost American girl

Almost American Girl
An Illustrated Memoir

Robin Ha

Moving abruptly from Seoul to Alabama, a Korean teen struggles in a hostile blended home and a new school where she does not speak English before forging unexpected connections in a local comic drawing class.

Double cup love

Double Cup Love
On the Trail of Family, Food, and Broken Hearts in China

Eddie Huang

After questioning the authenticity of his Chinese identity, a first-generation Chinese-American embarks on a trip to connect with his homeland.

On Gold Mountain

On Gold Mountain
The One-Hundred-Year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family

Lisa See

Documenting the history of her own Chinese-American family, a journalist shares the results of five years of research, including interviews with nearly one hundred Chinese and Caucasian relatives.

Seeing ghosts

Seeing Ghosts

Kat Chow

After her mother dies unexpectedly of cancer, a Chinese American writer and journalist weaves together the story of the fallout of grief that follows her extended family as they emigrate from China and Hong Kong to Cuba and America.

Stealing Buddha’s Dinner: A Memoir

Stealing Buddha’s Dinner

Bich Minh Nguyen

A coming-of-age memoir by a Vietnamese American recounts her struggles for an American identity in the pre-politically correct climate of the Midwest and her passion for American food in the face of her family’s Buddhist lifestyle.

A tiger's heart

A Tiger’s Heart
The Story of a Modern Chinese Woman

Aisling Juanjuan Shen

The daughter of a Chinese peasant family who was the first person to leave her village for college recounts her journey from a dead-end teaching job through poverty and homelessness to a sales career and marriage to an American.

The woman warrior

The Woman Warrior
Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts

Maxine Hong Kingston

A first-generation Chinese-American woman recounts growing up in America within a tradition-bound Chinese family, and confronted with Chinese ghosts from the past and non-Chinese ghosts of the present