AANHPI Heritage Month Book Club

May is Asian American Native Hawaiian Pacific Islanders (AANHPI) Heritage Month. We’re celebrating the history, culture, and achievements of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders with our favorite book recommendations!

“If you’re looking for a light read, I highly recommend these two books (or listening to their audiobooks). Both books are funny as heck and dive into what it’s like being a female AANHPI comedienne and being on the receiving end of sexist and racist comments and microaggressions.”

“When my sister introduced me to Scaachi Koul, Indian Canadian journalist at Buzzfeed and prime example of How To Use Twitter Correctly, I felt like a void in my life had been filled. This anthology of essays is universally enjoyable with its scathing and honest examinations of getting older, dealing with relatives, and being a woman alone at a bar, but it’s also a Uniquely Brown Girl Experience. Koul puts into gut-splitting, gasping-for-laughter words what it’s like to feel too brown, too hairy, too much for the world—and then still continue life with compassion and humor. This book makes me feel less alone and affirms my belief that we are all just doing our best–I hope it’ll do the same for you!”

I’m a sucker for post-apocalyptic novels and satire so when I read the sleeve of this book in a bookstore, I knew I needed to read it. This book may ring too true for folks given the current pandemic so if you’re looking for an escape from our current state of affairs, this is not the book for you. That being said, I read this book way before the pandemic and found the novel to be an interesting take on a post-apocalyptic world through satirical eyes. The novel takes place before and during a pandemic from an infection called Shen Fever that, just like now, originated in China. The book follows Candace Chen, a millennial living in NYC, who even when the fever hits the area and everyone flees, she stays devoted to her routine of going to work as the sole employee left at a bible publishing house. Those affected by Shen Fever become zombie-like, except, unlike the violent brain-eating zombies we’re used to seeing, these zombies, similar to Candace, are zombies of repetition; doing the same mundane task over and over again – until their bodies disintegrate. The novel leaves us wondering whether or not our routines and capitalist systems are worth it, something that I’ve been left thinking too during the coronavirus pandemic. ”   

“I read Mira Jacob’s Good Talk one day last summer when we did things that seem unimaginable/magical now like going to Provincetown for a long weekend with chosen family.  This graphic memoir is heartwarming, hilarious, and filled with such important commentary on the racial dynamics in our nation today. She moved me both as a South Asian woman and as someone parenting a kiddo who asks complicated questions.  She highlighted both the silly and the poignant moments that can come from these conversations. I loved her portrayals of growing up within an immigrant family, navigating interracial relationships and the ways that she highlighted enduring friendships between women of color. “

“Written by my mother, Nergesh Tejani, this book touches on many parts of my amazing mother’s amazing life – being a doctor when few women were, the difficult medical situations she faced and resolved her immigrant experience – and is a love letter to my equally wonderful and deeply-missed father. “