ICYMI: Recently released fiction & nonfiction for AANHPI Heritage Month

By Collection Management Librarians Dontaná & Kathy

Check out these recently released fiction and nonfiction titles that might have flown under your radar. They are perfect for celebrating Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) Heritage Month.

Hawaiian Mythology by Martha Beckwith

Why you should try it: If you've made your way through the gateway mythologies of the Greeks, Romans, and Celts, Hawaiian mythology is a whole new world.

Description: The Hawaiian gods were like great chiefs from far lands who visited among the people, entering their daily lives sometimes as humans or animals, sometimes taking residence in a stone or wooden idol. Martha Beckwith was the first scholar to chart a path through the hundreds of books, articles, and little-known manuscripts that recorded the oral narratives of the Hawaiian people. Her book has become a classic work of folklore and ethnology, and the definitive treatment of Hawaiian mythology.

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Blame This on the Boogie by Rina Ayuyang

Why you should try it: This graphic memoir is fun, colorful, and a love song for musical lovers.

Description: Inspired by the visual richness and cinematic structure of the Hollywood Musical, this chronicles the adventures of a Filipino American girl born in the decade of disco who escapes life's hardships and mundanity through the genre's feel-good song and dance numbers.

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Red Oblivion by Leslie Shimotakahara

Why you should try it: This is for you if you love heart-wrenching, character-driven stories of family, and especially all the questions we've wanted to ask our parents about their pasts.

Description: Family secrets surface when two sisters travel to Hong Kong to care for their ill father.

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Disappear Doppelgänger Disappear by Matthew Salesses

Why you should try it: A surrealist, thought-provoking novel about Asian American erasure.

Description: Matt Kim is always tired. He keeps passing out. His cat is dead. His wife and daughter have left him. He's estranged from his adoptive family. People bump into him on the street as if he isn't there. He is pretty sure he's disappearing. His girlfriend, Yumi, is less convinced. But then she runs into someone who looks exactly like her, and her doppelganger turns out to have dated someone who looks exactly like Matt. Except the other Matt was superior in every way. How can Matt Kim protect his existence when a better version of him wasn't able to? Or is his worse life a reason for his survival?

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Search History by Eugene Lim

Why you should try it: Have you ever missed someone so much, you would do anything to be with them again? That's kind of what this is.

Description: Frank Exit is dead—or is he? While eavesdropping on two women discussing a dog-sitting gig over lunch, a bereft friend comes to a shocking realization: Frank has been reincarnated as a dog! This epiphany launches a series of adventures—interlaced with digressions about AI-generated fiction, virtual reality, Asian American identity in the arts, and lost parents—as an unlikely cast of accomplices and enemies pursues the mysterious canine.

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Not Quite Not White: Lose & Finding Race in America by Sharmila Sen

Why you should try it: Because what does assimilation really mean and whose cultural standards are we trying to assimilate to?

Description: At the age of 12, Sharmila Sen emigrated from India to the U.S. Never identifying with a race in the India of her childhood, she rejects her new "not quite" designation: not quite white, not quite black, not quite Asian, and spends much of her life attempting to blend into American whiteness. But after her teen years trying to assimilate, she is forced to reckon with the hard questions: What does it mean to be white, why does whiteness retain the magic cloak of invisibility while other colors are made hypervisible, and how much does whiteness figure into Americanness?

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The Loneliest Americans by Jay Caspian Kang

Why you should try it: If you like a good genre blend, try this which mixes up memoir, history, and journalism.

Description: In 1965, a new immigration law lifted a century of restrictions against Asian immigrants to the U.S. Nobody, including the lawmakers who passed the bill, expected it to transform the country's demographics. But over the next four decades, millions arrived, including Jay Caspian Kang's parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles. They came with almost no understanding of their new home, much less the history of "Asian America" that was supposed to define them.

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Made in China: A Prisoner, an SOS Letter & the Hidden Costs of America's Cheap Goods by Amelia Pang

Why you should try it: You likely heard about this story at some point but investigative journalist Pang delves into the hows and whys that surrounded it.

Description: In 2012, an Oregon mother opened up a package of Halloween decorations, and something shocking fell out: an SOS letter, handwritten in broken English. Sun Yi, a Chinese engineer turned political prisoner, had been forced into grueling labor for campaigning for the freedom to join a forbidden meditation movement. His "reeducation" involved carving foam gravestones and stitching clothing for more than 15 hours a day. What Pang reveals is a closely guarded network of laogai—forced labor camps—that power the rapid pace of American consumerism.

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Q & A: Voices From Queer Asian North America edited by Martin F. Manalansan IV, Alice Y. Hom, and Kale Bantigue Fajardo

Why you should try it: Wide-ranging perspectives presented in a variety of ways (poetry, visual arts, scholarly criticism) are sure to make you think.

Description: The artists, activists, community organizers, creative writers, poets, scholars, and visual artists who contribute to this new volume make visible the complicated intertwining of sexuality with race, class, gender, and ethnicity.

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Dark Tourist by Hasanthika Sirisena

Why you should try it: If you love reading essays, especially about art, and don't mind the heavy subject matter, this book will intrigue and enlighten you.

Description: Dark tourism—visiting sites of war, violence, and other traumas experienced by others—takes different forms in Hasanthika Sirisena’s excavation of the unexpected places (and ways) in which personal identity and the riptides of history meet.

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About Dontaná

Dontaná is a Collection Management Librarian who was born with an unending reading list. She is almost always reading two books simultaneously and is easily distracted by cool covers.

Librarian Kathy

About Kathy

Kathy is a Collection Management Librarian who loves reading, sharing, and talking about books. Her missions in life are to: create communities of readers, convince folks that her official title should be "Book Pusher," and refute that "disco" is a dirty word.