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Books to Read in AAPI Month | My Favorite Books by Asian Authors

Hello readers! Today, I thought I would try something new and recommend some books. I haven’t done a recommendations post before, so please let me know what you think of this post.

In this post, I’m going to share some of my favorite books by Asian authors from all different genres and countries. I have a ton of books on my radar by Asian authors, but don’t be afraid to drop your favs in the comments! Hopefully, I can get to a ton of new books by next year, and make this a yearly post.

Before we go any further, I want to disclaim there are affiliate links and ads within this post.

The Astonishing Color of After is a book about grief with a magical realism twist. It follows Leigh, who is half white and half Taiwanese. At the beginning of the book, her mother has committed suicide, and it is about her meeting the estranged family of her mother in Taiwan. Leigh struggles with connecting to them due to their language barrier and is learning why they became estranged to her mother.

I avoided this book for a very long time because I have a parent who has passed away. Not by suicide, just so you know. However, I picked this up last year and I loved it so much. I thought the entire book would be triggering for me and it wasn’t. However, everyone will be different. This was a beautifully told story with rich culture involved. I highly recommend picking this one up if you haven’t.

TW: suicide, death of a loved one

This book follows Rin and Ji in Malaysia in the 30s. At the beginning of the book, they don’t know one another.

Rin is a boy who needs to find his recently deceased master’s severed finger. There is this belief that your soul will be trapped on earth if your entire body is not buried with you. I believe this is part of Buddhism, but it doesn’t say in the book.

Ji is a girl who wants to be a doctor. She is given a really strange gift, a severed finger in a jar. She wants to find who this finger belongs to and return it.

There is also a part of the story about a ghost tiger manifesting in the night and attacking people and how that ties into the severed finger. I would love to reread this book this year myself. The characters were unforgettable, and I want to revisit them and this story.

TW: Death, murder

This one is a YA historical mystery that takes place in 1800’s Joseon, which is Korea. Seol is helping this inspector to solve a political crime. She is also grieving her brother, who has been missing for a long time.

I loved this book because it has a great storyline, and also teaches about Korea, their language, and alphabet. This is the perfect time to pick this book up as June Hur’s second novel was just published in April.

TW: mutilation, violence, murder, missing family member

Aruh Shah is a girl who lives in the Museum of Ancient Indian Art and Culture with her mom, who runs the entire museum. She lights a lamp and releases a demon that was trapped within it.

If you like Percy Jackson, I guaruntee you will love this series. I’ve only read book 1 so far. However, it currently has 4 books in the series with 1 more book planned. I loved learning about Hinduism and seeing this story pan out. I am a person who loves to learn about other peoples religions and cultures, so this was the perfect type of book for me. I do own book 2 in this series, so I might pick it up in May myself.

TW: absent parent, death of a loved one, bullying

Amal Unbound is about a girl named Amal, who lives in Pakistan. Her father owes a debt to a powerful man in town, so Amal has to become his servant to pay off her families debt.

This is a wonderful story about child slavery that anyone could read. It puts it a way that even children could understand and isn’t too graphic or violent.

TW: violence, murder, slavery, childbirth, post-partum depression

Once Upon An Eid is a middle grade collection of short stories that center around Eid. Eid is a holiday that follows Ramadan. Ramadan is happening right now and is a fasting period for Muslim people.

I love these stories because they are about appreciating what you have and karma and the importance of family. I am not and never have been a Muslim person, but I understood these stories just fine. If you like short story collections, this will be perfect for you!

Not every author in this book is Asian. However, this book features authors from all over the world with many different ethnicities including Australia, America, Egypt, Malaysia, Canada, Saudi Arabia, India, Iraq, Pakistan and Palestine.

I think manga can be intimidating to those who haven’t delved into it before. A lot of the really popular series are very long. Death Note is a mystery/thriller series that is only 12 books. I know 12 seems like a lot, but it isn’t in the manga world. Some manga series have almost 100 books.

This one is about a teen named Light, who finds a Death Note on the ground. With it comes the power to kill anyone he wants, just by writing their name in the book. If he just writes their name, they will die of a simple heart attack. However, he write specifically what they do before they die and how they die.

He tries to use it for good, but the police catch onto these mysterious deaths and start to investigate, and Light becomes quite power hungry.

This is the book series I would pay a million dollars to erase from my brain so I could experience it all over again. Every character in this series is written so well and is distinct and the books are very fast paced. I’ve been wanting to reread these for a while now.

TW: death, violence, murder, gore

This is a translated memoir by a Japanese teen with Autism. He has the severe form of Autism that is debilitating. It is such an interesting book on how he sees the world inside his head, when he physically can’t express himself on the outside. We see this type of Autism portrayed on TV, but only focus on how it affects those around the person with Autism. It is important to show that those who have the Autism suffer, too.

I remember I found this book a long time ago when watching the Daily Show with Jon Stewart. He had the person who translated this book into English on the show, and I bought it on my Kindle. The translator of this book has a son with Autism himself, and was his inspiration for translating the novel.

Malala has this book and an entire movie based on her experience living in Pakistan, getting shot by the Taliban, escaping her own country, and becoming a refugee.

I also remember seeing Malala on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. She is just a girl who wanted to go to school and the Taliban did not agree with her. She is now 23 and just graduated college last year. I know she will go on to do a lot of good for the world we live in within her lifetime.

TW: violence, suppression, misogyny, guns, bombs, being shot

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