APIA Literature that Influenced Me

The International Examiner July 20, 2011 Comments Off on APIA Literature that Influenced Me

Nhien Nguyen, drug rehab case manager and former Editor in Chief of the IE

“Native Speaker” “Native Speaker”
by Chang-Rae Lee

“Joy Luck Club”
by Amy Tan

“American Knees”
by Shawn Wong

“Finding My Voice” by Marie G. Lee

Harvey Dong, co-owner of Eastwind Books in Berkeley, Calif., one of the few bookstores in the country devoted to carrying a comprehensive stock of books on Asian Americans and Asia.


1. “Forbidden Book: The Philippine American War in Political Cartoons” by Abe Ignacio, Enrique de la Cruz,
& Jorge Emmanuel. This book was influential because it teaches us the power of popular media in the creation of stereotypes for purpose of imperial conquest.

2. “Passing It On” by Yuri Kochiyama.
This book was influential because
it presents a human voice to activist Yuri Kochiyama.

3. “Other: an Asian & Pacific Islander Prisoners’ Anthology” by Eddy Zheng. This work puts onto print the inner thoughts of API prisoners such that readers can comprehend their situation and humanity.

4. “To Save China to Save Ourselves” by Renqiu Yu. Addresses a dark period in American history when it was illegal for Chinese Americans to have contact with their homeland in China. A little talked about subject is presented with voices of those affected.

5. “I Hotel” by Karen Tei Yamashita, with illustrations/design by Leland Wong and Sina Grace. This novel is a fictionalized work that presents a difficult composite, through vignettes, of many personalities that comprised the political-cultural coming together of Asian Americans in the 1960s and 70s.


Shawn Wong, author and Professor of English at the University of Washington. His previous novels include “Homebase” and “American Knees.”


1. “Eat a Bowl of Tea” by Louis Chu

2. “No No Boy” by John Okada

3. “Donald Duk” by Frank Chin

4. “Before the War”
by Lawson Fusao Inada

5. “Eat Everything Before You Die”
by Jeffery Paul Chan


Bharti Kirchner, author of four novels and four nonfiction works. She has written essays for eight anthologies and is Contributing Editor for The Writer.


imagining-india-idea-renewed-nation-nandan-nilekani-paperback-cover-art1. Nandan Nilekani’s “Imagining India: The Idea of a Renewed Nation.”
An IT leader in India, Nilekani talks about the ideas that have pushed social, economic, and political progress in his country.

2. Although not one of his popular novels, I enjoyed “An Equal Music” by Vikram Seth. The writing is lyrical and the book throbs with the rhythm of music, not always the happy kind.

3. “In other Rooms, Other Wonders, a Linked Short Story Collection” by Pakistani writer Daniyal Mueenuddin, has stayed with me for its elegant prose and diverse characters who seem real.

4. As a former runner, I enjoyed “What I Talk about When I Talk about Running” by Haruki Murukami. It gives glimpses into a writer whose work sometimes
confounds me but who keeps me on the page.


Darrell H. Y. Lum, co-editor, Bamboo Ridge Press

1. “All I Asking For Is My Body”
by Milton Murayama

2. “And the View from the Shore: Literary Traditions of Hawaii” by Stephen Sumida

3. “The Woman Warrior”
by Maxine Hong Kingston

4. “The Chickencoop Chinaman
and The Year of the Dragon” (plays)
by Frank Chin

5. “Dragon Wings, and Other Books”
by Laurence Yep


CONNIE SO, Associate Professor of American Ethnic Studies at the University of Washington

Gene Yang, author of  “American Born Chinese.”

Gene Yang, author of “American Born Chinese.”

1. “Roots: An Asian American Reader” by the UCLA Asian American Studies Collective

2. “AIIIEEEEE!”
by Shawn Wong, Frank Chin, Lawson Inada and Jeff Chan

3. “Island: Poetry and History of Chinese Immigrants on Angel Island: 1910-1940”
by Him Mark Lai, Genny Lim and Judy Yung

4. “American Born Chinese”
by Gene Yang

5. “Child of the Owl”
by Laurence Yep

Peter Bacho, published author and instructor at the Evergreen State College, Tacoma Campus:

1. “Prejudice, War and the Constitution”
by Jacobus TenBroek

2. “No No Boy” by John Okada

3. “America is in the Heart”
by Carlos Bulosan

4. “Scent of Apples”
by Bienvenido N. Santos

5. “Bone” by Fae Myenne Ng

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