The Blog of Toledo Lucas County Public Library
As we continue to honor Asian and Pacific American Heritage Month, we’ve compiled a list of notable Asian American and Pacific Islander authors and some of their works, along with other books for Asian and Asian American voices.
Eighteen-year-old Khalid is the Caliph of Khorasan who takes a new bride each night only to have them executed the very next morning. Because of this, each dawn brings horror to a new family and it comes to everyone’s surprise when Shahrzad volunteers to marry Khalid, especially after her best friend became a victim of the murderer-boy-king.
Kitsune shapeshifter Yumeko must give up the final piece of the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers in order to save everyone she loves. She and her group of companions must make their final effort to stop the Master of Demons from using said scroll to call the Great Kami Dragon. No one knows for sure if they will succeed in overcoming this force of evil as it seems that such a task is impossible.
Jack Yu grew up in Chinatown and is now a detective that has just been transferred to the precinct for his old neighborhood where some of his old friends are criminals while some are dead. While others that work in the precinct are confused by the residents who speak another language, Jack knows exactly what is going on.
In Taiwan, August is known as Ghost Month and is meant to commemorate the dead. The people of Taiwan do this by burning incense, visiting shrines, honoring their ancestors, and by avoiding unlucky situations. Jing-nan is a young man that runs a food stand. He doesn’t think of himself as overly superstitious until he learns that his ex-girlfriend from high school has been murdered on the side of a highway.
Omar is a history teacher who tends to stay away from all the violence around him until a former pupil is charged of murder.
It is 1875 in Laos. Dr. Siri Paiboun is a seventy-two-year-old Paris-trained doctor who has been appointed national coroner. There is no training for the job and there is no one else since the rest of the educated class has fled.
Lucky is an unemployed millennial programmer that likes to dance, have a drink or two, and make art on commission. Fifty bucks gets you high-resolution digital images of anything you want and a nice frameable print. Lucky's husband, Krishna, is an editor for a greeting card company. Both are secretly gay. They present their conservative Sri Lankan-American families with a heterosexual front, while dating on the side. When Lucky's grandmother has a nasty fall, Lucky returns to her mother's home to act as caretaker and unexpectedly reconnects with her childhood best friend and first lover, Nisha. Nisha has agreed to an arranged marriage with a man she doesn't know but finds herself attracted to her old friend. The attraction is mutual and Lucky tries to save Nisha from entering a marriage based on a lie. But does Nisha really want to be saved? What does Lucky want in life?
Born to an American mother and a late Afghan war hero, Daniel Sajadi has spent his life navigating a complex identity. After years in Los Angeles, he is returning home to Kabul at the helm of a US foreign aid agency dedicated to eradicating the poppy fields that feed the world's opiate addiction.
The Mid-Autumn Festival is a time for prioritizing family. When 25-year-old Jing-nan's gangster uncle, Big Eye, asks a favor, Jing-nan can't exactly say no, especially because two goons are going to follow him around to make sure he gets it done right. The favor is this: Big Eye's 16-year old daughter, Mei-ling, has a biker boyfriend from the wrong side of the tracks. Big Eye wants Jing-nan to bring her to Taipei, away from the bad influences, and straighten her out. It doesn't take Jing-nan long to discover that she is even more trouble than the average bratty, rebellious teenage girl.
Cult X is a story that dives into the psychology of fringe religion, obsession, and social disaffection. When Toru Narazaki's girlfriend, Ryoko, disappears, he tries to track her down, despite the warnings of a private detective he's hired to find her. Ryoko's past is shrouded in mystery, but the one concrete clue to her whereabouts is a previous address where she lived: in a compound in the heart of Tokyo, with a group that seems to be a cult led by a charismatic guru with a revisionist Buddhist scheme of life, death, and society. Narazaki plunges into the secretive world of the cult, ready to expose himself to any of the guru's brainwashing tactics if it means he can learn the truth about Ryoko. But the cult isn't what he expected.
When the murder of a woman is reported to the Shanghai police while Inspector Chen is on vacation, Sergeant Yu is forced to take charge of the investigation. The victim, Yin Lige, a novelist known for her banned book, has been found dead in her tiny, humble room off the stairwell of a converted multi-family house. It seems that only a neighbor could have committed the crime, for the building is kept locked at night. But there is no apparent motive.
To be tattooed in Japan was once a punishment intended to brand criminals with an indelible mark of shame, setting them apart from the rest of society. Instead, they made it their badge of defiance. It was a test of will and strength to be tattooed, and an act of daring because the practice of this art was actually made illegal.
Leigh travels to Taiwan to meet her maternal grandparents for the first time. While she is there, she is determined to find her mother, whom she is absolutely certain has turned into a bird after she committed suicide. As she grieves, she has to come to terms with the fact that on the same day that her mother died, she was kissing her best friend and longtime crush.
Parachutes are what Claire Wang and her friends call teenagers who are dropped off to live in private homes and study in the United States while their wealthy parents remain in Asia. Little did Claire know that she was going to be one of them until her parents plucked her from her very privileged life in Shanghai and enrolled her at a high school in California.
Struggling with emotional problems and an eating disorder, Jayne, a Korean American college student living in New York City, is estranged from her accomplished sister, June. But then, June gets cancer and the only person that she can count on is her flaky little sister.
Nishat doesn’t want to lose her family, but she also doesn’t want to hide who she is. It gets harder when a childhood friend walks back into her life. Nishat falls immediately for Flávia, who is both beautiful and charismatic. When a school competition invites students to create their own businesses, the two both jump to showcase their talents as henna artists.
Ji-su’s traditional South Korean parents are concerned by what they see as a lack of her attention to schoolwork and her future. Ji-su tries to compromise with her parents by going on the recommended dates after they work with Seoul’s premiere matchmaker to help them find her the right boyfriend as one step towards ensuring Ji-su’s success. When she flubs a test and skips out on a date set by her parents, they shock her by shipping her off to a private school in San Francisco!
Gemma Huang has recently abandoned her plans for college to pursue a career in acting, moving herself from Illinois to Los Angeles, where she finds herself living with three roommates in a two-bedroom hovel. What’s worse: she is auditioning for bit roles that hardly cover rent. A big break comes when she is asked to play a role in an update of M. Butterfly that is filming for the summer in Beijing.
In a progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned: from the layout of roads, to the colors of houses, to the successes of their residents. Elena relishes in this town, who loves nothing more than playing by the rules. An enigmatic artist and single mother, Mia, suddenly moves into the idyllic bubble with her daughter, disregarding the status quo that threatens to upend the carefully ordered community. When a family decides to adopt a Chinese American baby, a custody battle erupts and ultimately divides the town, as well as Mia and Elena. Troubled by her mysterious past, Elena is determined to uncover Mia’s secrets.
A community of Indian Americans has settled into lives that straddle the divide between Eastern and Western cultures in a suburb outside of Cleveland. For some, America is a bewildering and alienating place where coworkers have trouble pronouncing your name but will completely and utterly repeat Sanskrit phrases from their yoga class. Enter Harit, an Indian immigrant in his late forties who lives with his mother who can no longer function after the death of his sister. In an attempt to keep his mother sane, Harit has taken upon himself to dress in a Sari every night to pass himself off as his sister. Meanwhile, Ranjana is an Indian woman who has just seen her only child off to college. Ranjana suspects that her husband is having an affair and seeks solace in writing paranormal romances. Harit and Ranjana meet and thus begins a strange, yet very necessary friendship.
In a future, long-declining America, society is divided by class. Abandoned urban neighborhoods have been repurposed as high walled, self-contained labor colonies. Members of the labor class are descendants of those brought over en masse from provincial China. In this world, Fan is a female fish-tank diver, who leaves her home when a man she loves mysteriously disappears.
A story about a Chinese mother and her daughter, who has been adopted by an American couple, tracing the very different cultural factors that compel them to consume a rare native tea that has shaped their family's destiny for generations.
In the title story of Souvankham Thammavongsa's debut collection, a young girl brings a book home from school and asks her father to help her pronounce a tricky word, a simple exchange with unforgettable consequences. Thammavongsa is a master at homing in on moments like this—moments of exposure, dislocation, and messy feelings that push us right up against the limits of language.
Frequently mistaken for one another in spite of very different natures, brothers Subhash and Udayan Mitra pursue respective lives in rebellion-torn 1960s Calcutta, until a shattering tragedy compels Subhash to return to India, where he endeavors to heal family wounds.
Four college classmates are broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition as they move to New York in search of fame and fortune. Their lives are tinged by addiction, success, and pride as their relationships deepen over the decades.
Solimar Castro-Valdez is eighteen and super optimistic as they embark on a journey across the Mexican border. After several weeks, she arrives in Berkeley, California, having found love and lost, and pregnant. And now, she is undocumented and unmoored. On the flipside, Kavya Reddy can’t get pregnant. When Soli is placed in immigrant detention, Kavya comes to care for little Ignacio, finally able to become the mother she dreamed of being, even under false pretenses.
A mesmerizing story of Lilliet Berne, an orphan who was left on the American frontier of Europe and later swept into a life of glamour and terror of Second Empire France, and later on becoming a sensation of the Paris Opera. Someone is out to destroy her career by spreading a dark secret, and the legendary opera singer must find out who.
While Janie is waiting for her sister, Hannah, to be born, she is told a story about how her family loses a daughter in every generation. Henceforth, Janie swears to keep Hannah safe. Years later, Hannah cuts all ties with the family, and disappears. Janie goes on a mission to find her sister, and finally uncovers the truth beneath their family’s silence.
A story about Yohan, who leaves his country at the end of the Korean War to seek a new life in Brazil. During his years there, he meets Kiyoshi, a Japanese tailor, Peixe, the groundskeeper at the town church, and two vagrant children, Santi and Bia. A truly heartrending story about a man who finds love, despite his loneliness and traumatic past.
Maggie, an experienced psychologist, befriends a young Indian woman named Lakshmi, who is suicidal, lonely, and trapped in a loveless marriage. Their friendship becomes warped by conflicted expectations as well as threatened by long-buried secrets.
Hu Lian and his classmates are ordered to flee when Japanese bombs begin to fall on the city of Nanking. Along with more than 100 students, faculty, and staff, they must walk 1,000 miles into China’s western provinces to seek refuge, all while entrusted with a 500-year old collection of myths and folklore called The Library of Legends.
Ashish’s friends, Pinky and Samir, pretend to date during a summer at Cape Cod to get their mothers off their backs. They bicker their way through lighthouses and butterfly habitats through the whole summer. One thing is definite and that is that this will be a summer they will never forget.
Desi Lee decides to tackle her flirting failures by watching K-Dramas, something that her father has obsessed over for years. Believing the power of K-Drama and its simple formula, Desi decides to go after the moody and elusive artist, Luca Drakos. Boat rescues, love triangles, and staged car crashes ensue.