Asian American writers you SHOULD be reading because we are having a moment right now!

August 10, 2019


There are literally just some great Asian American authors. Please read them then talk to us about them. 


No book listicle is complete without Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life, the heartbreaking chronicle of four friends and a testament to surviving trauma. But don’t overlook Yanagihara’s other novel: People in the Trees, equally as challenging and ambitious, about the fatal consequences of cultures colliding. Features immortals?! Anthropology! Moral ambiguity!


Can’t Stop Won’t Stop is by all accounts the definitive history of the beginnings of hip hop. Chang follows the origins of the genre from 1960’s Kingston, Jamaica to the Bronx in the 70s to the turn of the century. He is VERY thorough.


Beautifully illustrated, Thi Bui’s The Best We Could Do does for the Vietnam War what Maus did for the Holocaust. She interviews her parents about the reality of being an average civilian in the crossfire of world powers. A book about family and how the raging anxiety of war can torture generations to come.


Chances are if you haven’t heard of Celeste Ng’s wildly popular Little Fires Everywhere, soon to be a limited series featuring Reese Witherspoon AND Kerry Washington (yaaaaas), you’ve been living under a rock. Or you’re just not that into books. Celeste Ng’s writing will make you turn the pages so fast they’ll—wait for it—catch fire.


In The Space Between Us, Thrity Umrigar spirits us away to the bustling and vibrant streets of Bombay where we meet our two heroines: Sera, a wealthy widow, and Bhima, her elderly housekeeper. The Space Between Us and its sequel The Secrets Between Us are poignant chronicles of womanhood, class, and race. An engrossing drama that’ll make you see, smell, and hear the wonders of Bombay. And it’s much cheaper than a plane ticket.


Weike Wang’s debut novel, Chemistry, left us crying out for more (seriously—we hope Weike is typing away furiously as we write this). Insanely smart and funny, Chemistry chronicles the unraveling of a Chinese-American PhD student who suddenly realizes she didn’t sign up for her life.


A burgeoning master of all things LA and crime, Steph Cha is the author of Follow Her Home, Beware Beware, Dead Soon Enough and the forthcoming Your House Will Pay—which we have read and are dying to share (out 10/15!). Your House Will Pay tracks a nearly 30-year-old tragedy as its aftermath screams into the present. With a deft touch, Cha examines the racial and cultural undercurrents of LA life.


Ted Chiang is a master of the concept-driven sci-fi short story. Each one takes a thoughtful near-future idea to its extreme but will hit you right in the feels. His sci-fi story collections Exhalation and Stories of Your Life are quintessential to the next generation of American Sci-Fi. He's also won a whopping four Nebula awards and four Hugo awards. Whew.