By Tamera “EON” Pillay, Staff Writer

I read, but not the most diverse list of books. I stick to comedy or popular science fiction. In an attempt to connect with people of my own ethnic background, I cling to Mindy Kaling and Aziz Ansari (who are both very funny). However, there are many more authors worthy of praise and a common chance. This list showcases works from Asian American authors and an author who focuses on the culture that Ashanti “Accel” Henderson, another University of Georgia alumna, and I recommend. In light of last month being Asian-Pacific Islander American Heritage Month, jot these book titles down for a diverse summer reading list. These books have a wonderful air with real, page-turning quality.

EON’s Recommendations:


The Love Wife

“The Love Wife” by Gish Jen
Great dialogue, great insight, lots of humor. “The Love Wife” is a great book to start off the summer, packed with heritage and details you can subconsciously learn a lot from.

Short Stories


“Unaccustomed Earth” by Jhumpa Lahiri
In my opinion, everyone needs a book of short stories. An intricate writer of the heart and mind that people swear by is Jhumpa Lahiri, including Accel who said if you want something good to read, then look for “anything Jhumpa Lahiri.”

Inspirational Memoir

When Breath Becomes Air

“When Breath Becomes Air” by Paul Kalanithi
I typically, immaturely skip novels with this topic because they are too real, but this New York Times Bestseller seems to have all the inspiration and hope to get someone through their lowest and most forlorn of times.

Appreciation of Asian Culture

Lost in Place

“Lost in Place” by Mark Salzman
For a long time, “Lost in Place” was one of my favorite books. An intro to creative writing class brought us together, and it brought to my eyes the beauty of the “creative non-fiction” genre. What an honor to be used to teach students how to write. If you can tell by the last name, Salzman is most certainly not of Asian descent, but his overwhelming desire to learn and attempt to familiarize himself with Buddhism, martial arts and Chinese culture as a whole, all at such a young age, can parallel the journey of a child who has not been taught their ethnic background. Overall, it is a warm-hearted example of genuine appreciation. He also wrote Iron and Silk, which I hear is really good.


Crossing With the Light

“Crossing with the Light” by Dwight Okita
There are many dense poems within the confines of this book. It contains a very moving poem about internment, which is one of the most reprinted poems about the subject. There’s also really defining poems like “Notes for a Poem on Being Asian American,” which is printed in many school books because it carries a poignant, relatable message. His entire book of poetry is very moving.

Speculative Fiction

The Prospect of My Arrival

“The Prospect of My Arrival” by Dwight Okita
The plot intrigues me. It fits perfectly in the realm of speculative/science fiction. The main question the book asks is, “What if you could decide whether you want to be born into this world?” Okita has his characters do their best to explain the science from the beginning to make the read enjoyable, and it works well. I’m excited to see how the main character, Prospect, takes in and develops his thoughts of the world.



“Waiting” by Ha Jin
Because it’s summer, and we need a love triangle.


Accel’s Recommendations:


A Different Mirror

“A Different Mirror” by Ronald Takaki
There is an immense weaving of cultures that we can learn a lot from within this novel. This novel is important.

Young Adult Literature

The Summer I Turned Pretty

“The Summer I Turned Pretty Trilogy” by Jenny Han
This trilogy sounds well written and like a guilty pleasure for those of us a little too old for the young adult novels that we still read. I saw this beautiful review from a fellow author that I just could not top.

“If I could live inside this amazing book, I would. I would inhale the ocean air and soak up the sun, and I would hang out all day with kind-wonderful-funny-awkward Belly and her two known-’em-forever buds, Jeremiah and Conrad. I’d watch the three of them stop being kids and start being more…and I’d hope hope hope that when Belly falls in love — ’cause you know she will — she’d give her heart to the exact right boy.” -Lauren Myracle, author of the “ttyl series and “Bliss”

Historical Account

Wild Swans

“Wild Swans” by Jung Chang
The description of this novel reminds me of the “Gilmore Girls” reboot. Who wouldn’t love the plot of “Gilmore Girls” with the diversity, cultural beauty, deeper topics and history brought to you by these women of China’s “century of turbulence”?


Featured Image:

Kyle Pearce via Flickr

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