AAPI Heritage Month Suggested Readings

Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning by Kathy Park Hong

Minor Feelings by Cathy Park Hong (Non-fiction)

(http://oskicat.berkeley.edu/record=b25716898~S1) Poet and essayist Cathy Park Hong fearlessly and provocatively blends memoir, cultural criticism, and history to expose fresh truths about racialized consciousness in America. Part memoir and part cultural criticism, this collection is vulnerable, humorous, and provocative—and its relentless and riveting pursuit of vital questions around family and friendship, art and politics, identity and individuality, will change the way you think about our world. (Penguin Random House)

The Making of Asian American. A History by Erika Lee

The Making of Asian American. A History | By Erika Lee

(http://oskicat.berkeley.edu/record=b25742499~S1) The Making of Asian America shows how generations of Asian immigrants and their American-born descendants have made and remade Asian American life, from sailors who came on the first trans-Pacific ships in the 1500 to the Japanese Americans incarcerated during World War II. Over the past fifty years, a new Asian America has emerged out of community activism and the arrival of new immigrants and refugees. No longer a “despised minority,” Asian Americans are now held up as America’s “model minorities” in ways that reveal the complicated role that race still plays in the United States. (Simon & Schuster)

Mountain Movers: Student Activism and the Emergence of Asian American Studies  Edited by: Russell Jeung, Karen Umemoto, Harvey Dong, Eric Mar,  Lisa Hirai Tsuchitani, Arnold Pan

Mountain Movers: Student Activism and the Emergence of Asian American Studies | Edited by Russell Jeung, Karen Umemoto, Harvey Dong, Eric Mar, Lisa Hirai Tsuchitani, Arnold Pan (Non-fiction)

(http://oskicat.berkeley.edu/record=b25088982~S1)  This book shares the history of student movements at SF State, UC Berkeley, and UCLA during the 1960s and features oral histories of prior and current student activists. Student activists at these universities envisioned an education that would reflect their histories and prepare them to address the problems they saw in their communities and in society. (UCLA Asian American Studies Center)

Book Cover - We Gon Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation by Jeff Chang.

We Gon Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation | By Jeff Chang (Nonfiction)

(http://oskicat.berkeley.edu/record=b23522954~S1(link is external)) Jeff Chang looks at the recent tragedies and widespread protests that have shaken the country. He explores the rise and fall of the idea of “diversity”, the roots of student protest, changing ideas about Asian Americanness, and the impact of a century of racial separation in housing.

From the Land of Shadows War, Revolution, and the Making of the Cambodian Diaspora by Khatharya Um

From the Land of Shadows War, Revolution, and the Making of the Cambodian Diaspora | By Khatharya Um (Non-fiction)

(http://oskicat.berkeley.edu/record=b25818723~S1) Khatharya Um is a Professor in the Department of Ethnic Studies - Asian American and Asian Diaspora Studies - at UC Berkeley. In a century of mass atrocities, the Khmer Rouge regime marked Cambodia with one of the most extreme genocidal instances in human history. From the Land of Shadows surveys the Cambodian diaspora and the struggle to understand and make meaning of this historical trauma. Drawing on more than 250 interviews with survivors across the United States as well as in France and Cambodia. (NYU Press)

The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui

The Best We Could Do | An Illustrated Memoir by Thi Bui

(http://oskicat.berkeley.edu/record=b25626309~S1) Exploring the anguish of immigration and the lasting effects that displacement has on a child and her family, Bui documents the story of her family’s daring escape after the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970s, and the difficulties they faced building new lives for themselves. (Abrams Books)

Potiki by Patricia Grace. A prize-winning classic novel, as relevant today as when it was first written.

Potiki by Patricia Grace

( http://oskicat.berkeley.edu/record=b15749598~S1A prize-winning classic novel, as relevant today as when it was first written. In a small coastal community threatened by developers who would ravage their lands it is a time of fear and confusion – and growing anger. The prophet child Tokowaru-i-te-Marama shares his people's struggles against bulldozers and fast money talk. When dramatic events menace the marae, his grief threatens to burst beyond the confines of his twisted body. His all-seeing eye looks forward to a strange and terrible new dawn.

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous A NOVEL By OCEAN VUO

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous | By Ocean Vuong (Fiction)

(http://oskicat.berkeley.edu/record=b25183555~S1) At once a witness to the fraught yet undeniable love between a single mother and her son, it is also a brutally honest exploration of race, class, and masculinity. Asking questions central to our American moment, immersed as we are in addiction, violence, and trauma, but undergirded by compassion and tenderness, On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous is as much about the power of telling one’s own story as it is about the obliterating silence of not being heard. (Penguin Random House)

Berkeley alumnus Arthur Sze won the 2019 National Book Award for Poetry for his book titled Sight Lines.

Sight Lines | By Arthur Sze (Poetry)

(http://oskicat.berkeley.edu/record=b24965811~S1) Berkeley alumnus. Winner of the 2019 National Book Award for Poetry. From the current phenomenon of drawing calligraphy with water in public parks in China to Thomas Jefferson laying out dinosaur bones on the White House floor, from the last sighting of the axolotl to a man who stops building plutonium triggers, Sight Lines moves through space and time and brings the disparate and divergent into stunning and meaningful focus. (Copper Canyon Press)

Cleave by Tiana Nobile - Poems

Cleave by Tiana Nobile - Poems

In her debut collection, Tiana Nobile grapples with the history of transnational adoption, both her own from South Korea and the broader, collective experience. In conversation with psychologist Harry Harlow’s monkey experiments and utilizing fragments of a highly personal cache of documents from her own adoption, these poems explore dislocation, familial relationships, and the science of love and attachment.

The Color of Success tells of the astonishing transformation of Asians in the United States from the "yellow peril" to "model minorities"--peoples distinct from the white majority but lauded as well-assimilated, upwardly mobile, and exemplars of tradition

The Color of Success Asian Americans and the Origins of the Model Minority | By Ellen D. Wu (NonFiction)

(http://oskicat.berkeley.edu/record=b23670138~S1) The Color of Success tells of the astonishing transformation of Asians in the United States from the "yellow peril" to "model minorities"--peoples distinct from the white majority but lauded as well-assimilated, upwardly mobile, and exemplars of traditional family values--in the middle decades of the twentieth century. (Princeton University Press)

The Incendiaries by R.O. Kwon

The Incendiaries by R. O. Kwon (Non-fiction)

(http://oskicat.berkeley.edu/record=b25721154~S1) A powerful, darkly glittering novel of violence, love, faith, and loss, as a young woman at an elite American university, is drawn into a cult's acts of terrorism.

Grieving and guilt-ridden, Phoebe is drawn into a secretive cult founded by a charismatic former student with an enigmatic past. When the group commits a violent act in the name of faith, her boyfriend Will finds himself struggling to confront a new version of the fanaticism he's worked so hard to escape. Haunting and intense, The Incendiaries is a fractured love story that explores what can befall those who lose what they love most.

The Sympathizer by Berkeley alumnus Viet Thanh Nguyen

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Non-fiction)

(http://oskicat.berkeley.edu/record=b25115294~S1The winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, as well as seven other awards, The Sympathizer is one of the most acclaimed books of the twenty-first century. With the pace and suspense of a thriller and prose that has been compared to Graham Greene and Vladimir Nabokov, The Sympathizer is a sweeping epic of love and betrayal. The narrator, a communist double agent, is a “man of two minds,” a half-French, half-Vietnamese army captain who comes to America after the Fall of Saigon, and while building a new life with other Vietnamese refugees in Los Angeles is secretly reporting back to his communist superiors in Vietnam. 

The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen

The Refugees | By Viet Thanh Nguyen (Nonfiction)

(http://oskicat.berkeley.edu/record=b25711167~S1) In The Refugees Viet Thanh Nguyen gives voice to lives led between two worlds, the adopted homeland and the country of birth. From a young Vietnamese refugee who suffers profound culture shock when he comes to live with two gay men in San Francisco, to a woman whose husband is suffering from dementia and starts to confuse her for a former lover, to a girl living in Ho Chi Minh City whose older half-sister comes back from America having seemingly accomplished everything she never will, the stories are a captivating testament to the dreams and hardships of immigration. (Grove Atlantic)

A group of Asian immigrants are given exams by medical staff at Angel Island Immigration Station in the early 20th century.

Coronavirus: Fear of Asians rooted in long American history of prejudicial policies

From denigrating social media memes and GIFs to incidents of outright prejudice around the world, many Chinese people, and people of Asian descent perceived to be Chinese, are being avoided and blamed for spreading the pneumonia-causing virus, which originated in Wuhan, China. (Berkeley News article by Ivan Natividad, Feb. 12, 2020.)

Night is a Sharkskin Drum by Haunani-Kay Trask

Night is a Sharkskin Drum by Haunani-Kay Trask

(http://oskicat.berkeley.edu/record=b15861049~S1A lyrical evocation of Hawaii by a Native poet whose ancestral land has been scarred by tourism, the American military, and urbanization. Grounded in the ancient grandeur and beauty of Hawaii, this collection is a haunted and haunting love song for a beloved homeland under assault.

Our America with Julian Castro discusses curbing Anti-Asian violence with Cynthia Choi.

Curbing Anti-Asian and Pacific Islander Hate (with Cynthia Choi)

Since the start of the COVID-19 lockdown in the US, over 3,000 attacks on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) have been reported – with many targeting the Bay Area’s elderly population. Misinformation, fear, and politicians’ racist rhetoric tied to COVID’s origins in China have only fueled the sometimes fatal violence against AAPI communities across the country. Cynthia Choi of Stop AAPI Hate and Chinese For Affirmative Action joins us to talk about scapegoating, the data collected on these verbal and physical attacks, and the pressing need for community-led, intersectional public safety initiatives.

Maxine Hong Kingston - author, UC Berkeley Professor Emeritus and alumnus.

The Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston

(http://oskicat.berkeley.edu/record=b11134697~S1In her award-winning book The Woman Warrior, Maxine Hong Kingston created an entirely new form—an exhilarating blend of autobiography and mythology, of world and self, of hot rage and cool analysis. First published in 1976, it has become a classic in its innovative portrayal of multiple and intersecting identities—immigrant, female, Chinese, American. 

The Dream Swimmer by Witi Ihimaera

The Dream Swimmer by Witi Ihimaera

http://oskicat.berkeley.edu/record=b15263182~S1The Dream Swimmer continues the odyssey of Tama Mahana, grandson and heir to the matriarch, as he assumes the mantle of leadership and, with it, his grandmother's battles with the Pakeha.  But at every step Tama is thwarted – by deception and intrigue, and by the woman whose destiny has intersected Riripeti's and his.  She is the enigmatic Tiana, his mother, the woman of no account.

The Tattoo by Chris McKinney

The Tattoo by Chris McKinney

Ken Hideyoshi is the new guy in Halawa Correctional Institute. He’s tough looking, a hard case, observes his cellmate Cal—the mute tattoo artist of the prison, a wife murderer. SYN, a gang symbol, is tattooed on his hand, and he has a Japanese emblem inscribed on his left shoulder. He asks Cal for a tattoo on his back, in kanji script, of Musashi’s Book of the Void. 

Asian American Dreams. The Emergence of an American People by Helen Zia

Asian American Dreams: The Emergence of an American People by Helen Zia

(http://oskicat.berkeley.edu/record=b13429454~S1This groundbreaking book is about the transformation of Asian Americans from a few small, disconnected, and largely invisible ethnic groups into a self-identified racial group that is influencing every aspect of American society. It explores the junctures that shocked Asian Americans into motion and shaped a new consciousness, including the murder of Vincent Chin, a Chinese American, by two white autoworkers who believed he was Japanese; the apartheid-like working conditions of Filipinos in the Alaska canneries; the boycott of Korean American greengrocers in Brooklyn; the Los Angeles riots; and the casting of non-Asians in the Broadway musical Miss Saigon. The book also examines the rampant stereotypes of Asian Americans.

Living for Change: An Autobiography by Grace Lee Boggs

Living for Change: An Autobiography by Grace Lee Boggs

(http://oskicat.berkeley.edu/record=b15116595~S1Living for Change is a sweeping account of a legendary human rights activist whose network included Malcolm X and C. L. R. James. From the end of the 1930s, through the Cold War, the Civil Rights era, and the rise of the Black Panthers to later efforts to rebuild crumbling urban communities, Living for Change is an exhilarating look at a remarkable woman who dedicated her life to social justice.

they who do not grieve by Sia Figiel

they who do not grieve by Sia Figiel

(http://oskicat.berkeley.edu/record=b13464847~S1Sia Figiel's powerful, poetic skills weave together the voices of three generations of women from two Samoan families. Their dream worlds and realities intermingle, just as the histories of each generation run through the next. At the center of the novel is the Samoan woman's tattoo, the malu, believed to be brought from Fiji by Siamese twins.

No-No Boy - A novel by John Okada

No-No Boy by John Okada

( http://oskicat.berkeley.edu/record=b10085322~S1First published in 1957, No-No Boy tells the story of Ichiro Yamada, a fictional version of the real-life “no-no boys.” Yamada answered “no” twice in a compulsory government questionnaire as to whether he would serve in the armed forces and swear loyalty to the United States. Unwilling to pledge himself to the country that interned him and his family, Ichiro earns two years in prison and the hostility of his family and community when he returns home to Seattle. It was not until the mid-1970s that a new generation of Japanese American writers and scholars recognized the novel’s importance and popularized it as one of literature’s most powerful testaments to the Asian American experience.

Immigrant Acts: On Asian American Cultural Politics by Lisa Lowe

Immigrant Acts: On Asian American Cultural Politics by Lisa Lowe

(http://oskicat.berkeley.edu/record=b14179535~S1In Immigrant Acts, Lisa Lowe argues that understanding Asian immigration to the United States is fundamental to understanding the racialized economic and political foundations of the nation. Lowe discusses the contradictions whereby Asians have been included in the workplaces and markets of the U.S. nation-state, yet, through exclusion laws and bars from citizenship, have been distanced from the terrain of national culture.

America Goes Hawaiian by Geoff Alexander

America Goes Hawaiian. The Influence of Pacific Island Culture on the Mainland by Geoff Alexander

(http://oskicat.berkeley.edu/record=b24904163~S1) How did Hawaiian and Polynesian culture come to dramatically alter American music, fashion and decor, as well as ideas about race, in less than a century? It began with mainland hula and musical performances in the late 19th century rose dramatically as millions shipped to Hawaii during the Pacific War, then made big leap with the advent of low-cost air travel. The author describes how this cultural conquest came about and the people and events that led to it.

Iep Jaltok Poems from a Marshallese Daughter by Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner

Iep Jaltok Poems from a Marshallese Daughter by Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner

(http://oskicat.berkeley.edu/record=b23709441~S1Marshallese poet and activist Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner’s writing highlights the traumas of colonialism, racism, forced migration, the legacy of American nuclear testing, and the impending threats of climate change.  The poet connects us to Marshallese daily life and tradition, likening her poetry to a basket and its essential materials. Her cultural roots and her family provides the thick fiber, the structure of the basket. Her diasporic upbringing is the material which wraps around the fiber, an essential layer to the structure of her experiences. And her passion for justice and change, the passion which brings her to the front lines of activist movements—is the stitching that binds these two experiences together.

Hawai'i Smiles by Robert Barclay

Hawai'i Smiles - Island Stories by Robert Barclay

Hawai’i Smiles is a collection of eight light-hearted short stories; tales of unrelieved happiness, of smile-inducing euphoria, and relentless fun.

View of Doe Library and the Campanile

Asian American Highlights - Suggested readings from Berkeley Library

Overdrive books on Asian American Pacific Islander topics - non-fiction and fiction curated by Stacy Reardon, Literatures and Digital Humanities Librarian.

Curated Reading Lists on Asian American Pacific Islander issues

Additional Curated Collections

Curated reading and resource guides from UC Berkeley Library, South/South East Asia Library (UC Berkeley), Books stores, and other sources.