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Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, a time to acknowledge and celebrate the contributions and culture of people of Asian and Pacific Islander descent. Beginning as Asian/Pacific American Heritage Week in 1978, the celebration was expanded to the entire month of May in 1990 and renamed AAPI Heritage Month in 2009. May was chosen to commemorate two landmark events in AAPI history: the immigration of the first Japanese people to the US on May 7, 1843 and the completion of the transcontinental railroad, constructed with a majority of workers who were Chinese immigrants, on May 10, 1869.

This list of novels and memoirs is its own celebration of AAPI heritage, lifting up many different voices, stories, and issues.

All This Could Be Different

by: Sarah Thankam Mathews

A new grad in a recession, Sneha is lucky to have landed a job that allows her to take care of friends and family, but it isn’t long until things start to sour.

When I’m Gone, Look for Me in the East

by: Quan Barry

A young monk and his identical twin, who has rejected monastic life, set out across Mongolia in search of the reincarnation of a great lama.

Interior Chinatown

by: Charles Yu

Willis Wu sees himself as “Generic Asian Man,” an extra in his own life. But his dreams of being “Kung Fu Guy” lead him to revelations about the history of Chinatown and his family.

Time is a Mother

by: Ocean Vuong

A collection of poetry which “contends with personal loss, the meaning of family, and the cost of being the product of an American war in America.”



They Called Us Exceptional

by: Prachi Gupta

Gupta considers her own family story, postcolonial theory, and research on mental health as she reveals the harm of the model minority myth.

Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls

by: T. Kira Madden

Madden reflects on growing up queer and biracial in a privileged but unstable household in 1960s Hawaii.


Beautiful Country

by: Qian Julie Wang

Qian recalls growing up in America as an undocumented immigrant living in poverty, oscillating between overwhelming fear and small, precious joys.

Sharks in the Time of Saviors

by: Kawai Strong Washburn

After seven-year-old Nainoa falls overboard only to be rescued by a shark, he begins to develop strange abilities his family interprets as a divine sign from the Hawaiian gods.

The Farm

by: Joanne Ramos

At a secluded retreat, women receive luxury amenities at no cost except 9 highly-controlled months of their time and a perfect baby for their clients. When Jane is selected, she finds it harder to disconnect from her real life than expected.

The Great Reclamation

by: Rachel Heng

In a fishing village in Singapore, Ah Boon discovers he can locate hidden islands, altering his sense of purpose. After the Japanese army invades during WWII, he is forced to reckon with his newfound empowerment and the meaning of sacrifice.

Stay True

by: Hua Hsu

Hua grapples with the violent and untimely loss of a close friend while exploring what it means to belong.


by: Jhumpa Lahiri

A university professor writes daily about her encounters, trips to and from various places in the city, moments of grief, loneliness,  friendships. After a year, she experiences a transformation.