October 12, 2021

Book Recommendations in October

Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning - Cathy Park Hong

Award winning poet and essayist Cathy Park Hong’s Minor Feelings is part memoir and part essays on racial consciousness in the U.S. The book’s seven essays explore Asian American identity from Hong’s personal experiences. Minor Feelings has received multiple awards including the 2020 National Book Critics Award for autobiography. It was announced in May that actress Greta Lee is writing, producing and set to star in a TV series adaptation based on the book. Cathy Park Hong is also a professor at Rutgers University and Poetry Editor of the New Republic. In September 2021 she was named as one of the top 100 of the world’s most influential people by Time Magazine for her writings and advocacy.

Pachinko - Min Jin Lee

One of the New York Times best books of 2017, Pachinko tells the story of four generations of a Korean family starting in Korea at the turn of the 20th century and then their migration and settlement in Japan. Beautifully written and an engrossing read, it is also set for production by Apple TV for a series in the near future. 

Selected by President Obama for his recommended reading list, he noted:
“This is a captivating book I read at the suggestion of a younger staffer on my team — a historical novel about the Korean immigrant experience in wartime Japan.  Min Jin Lee’s novel takes us through four generations and each character’s search for identity and success. It’s a powerful story about resilience and compassion.” — President Barack Obama

The Sympathizer - Viet Thanh Nguyen

The Sympathizer won the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, the Asian-Pacific American Award for Literature and the Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, among others.  The novel is about a North Vietnamese spy in the South Vietnamese Army during the war and his subsequent involvement with the South Vietnamese community in California after being evacuated. It is also being made into a film for expected release early next year. A sequel to The Sympathizer, The Committed was released this year. He is also the author of Race and Resistance: Literature and Politics in Asian America. He is a University Professor, Aerol Arnold Chair of English, and Professor of English, American Studies and Ethnicity, and Comparative Literature at the University of Southern California. He is a frequent Contributing Opinion Writer for the New York Times.