Our Top Books by AAPI Authors

Our Top Books by AAPI Authors

This May during Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month discover the vibrant voices and rich narratives of AAPI authors through our team’s curated selection of memoirs and fiction. From reflections on identity to tales of family and resilience, these works offer a window into the diverse experiences and heritage of the AAPI community.

Come along with us as we dive into our top recs for books by AAPI authors:


All You Can Ever Know: A Memoir

By Nicole Chung


Nicole Chung's memoir, "All You Can Ever Know," delves into her search for her birth parents while navigating her identity as a transracial adoptee. The book explores the repercussions of uncovering family secrets and the connections formed along the way. With its focus on themes of identity, it's a must-read for those interested in memoirs by AAPI authors.


Beautiful Country : A Memoir

By Qian Julie Wang


Qian Julie Wang's "Beautiful Country" recounts her family's struggle as undocumented immigrants in America. Through poignant anecdotes, Wang illustrates the challenges they face, from laboring in sweatshops to navigating cultural differences. This compelling narrative not only sheds light on the AAPI heritage but also provides valuable insights into the immigrant experience, making it a significant addition to your TBR (to be read) list this month.


Meet Me Tonight in Atlantic City

By Jane Wong


"Meet Me Tonight in Atlantic City" by Jane Wong paints a vivid picture of growing up in a Chinese American restaurant in New Jersey. Wong captures the complexities of family dynamics against the backdrop of the American dream and its eventual unraveling. This exploration of AAPI heritage and cultural identity offers readers a unique perspective, enriching the landscape of memoirs by AAPI authors.



I Want to Die but I Want to Eat Tteokbokki: A Memoir

By Baek Sehee


In "I Want to Die but I Want to Eat Tteokbokki," Baek Sehee candidly shares her struggles with depression and self-doubt. Through dialogues with her psychiatrist, she explores the cycle of self-abuse and seeks understanding amid darkness. With its focus on mental health within the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, this memoir contributes to the conversation surrounding self-discovery and healing.


Biting the Hand: Growing Up Asian in Black and White America

By Julia Lee


Julia Lee's memoir, "Biting the Hand," reflects on her racial identity as a Korean American against the backdrop of the 1992 Los Angeles riots. Through her journey, Lee grapples with questions of complicity and seeks to reconcile her experiences with her sense of self.



The Three Body Problem

By Cixin Liu

The Three-Body Problem is the first novel in the groundbreaking, Hugo Award-winning series from China's most beloved science fiction author, Cixin Liu.

Cixin Liu's "The Three-Body Problem" sets the stage for an epic science fiction tale involving a secret military project, alien contact, and Earth's response to an impending invasion. As a prominent AAPI author in the science fiction genre, this work by Cixin Liu took the internet and booktok by storm recently.


Before the Coffee Gets Cold

By Toshikazu Kawaguchi


“If you could go back in time, who would you want to meet?”  This is the prominent question in Toshikazu Kawaguchi's "Before the Coffee Gets Cold. This novel presents a whimsical tale of time travel set in a Tokyo café, where customers seek to change the past with the simple rule of returning before their coffee gets cold and a new exploration of Japanese culture and traditions.


Yellow Face

By R. F. Kuang


"Yellow Face" by R.F. Kuang follows the gripping story of June Hayward, who assumes a stolen identity to claim literary success. Kuang's novel delves into themes of diversity, racism, and cultural appropriation in a social media-driven world, contributing to the dialogue surrounding novels by AAPI authors.


Happiness Falls

By Angie Kim

“We didn’t call the police right away.” Those are the electric first words of Angie Kim's "Happiness Falls", a mystery intertwined with a family drama, exploring the disappearance of a father and the secrets that emerge in its wake. Kim crafts a narrative rich in emotional depth and philosophical inquiry, adding to the breadth of novels by AAPI authors.

On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous: A Novel

By Ocean Vuong

Poet Ocean Vuong's debut novel is a shattering portrait of a family, a first love, and the redemptive power of storytelling

Ocean Vuong's "On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous" is a poignant letter from a son to a mother, exploring their family's history and the complexities of love, race, and identity. As an acclaimed AAPI author, Vuong's inagura novel offers a profound reflection on Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage and experiences.


Homeland Elegies: A Novel

By Ayad Akhtar

Ayad Akhtar's "Homeland Elegies" blends fact and fiction to paint a portrait of America post-9/11, exploring themes of identity, belonging, and the pursuit of the American dream amidst societal upheaval. Through its nuanced exploration of AAPI heritage and immigrant experiences, Akhtar's novel stands out among novels for 2024.


This month, we are reminded of the power of storytelling to bridge cultures, foster empathy, and ignite conversations. The voices of AAPI authors resonate with authenticity, inviting readers to engage with themes of identity, family, and belonging in meaningful ways. Let us continue to elevate the voices of Asian American and Pacific Islander authors.  Find these titles and more from our full AAPI book collection!

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