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8Books Review: “Bury What We Cannot Take” by Kirstin Chen

8Books Review: "Bury What We Cannot Take" by Kirstin Chen

Bury What We Cannot Take, the latest novel from author Kirstin Chen set in Mao’s China, is a doozy. After 12-year-old Ah Liam reports his grandmother to the Communist Party, the family must flee their little island off the mainland. His mother applies for temporary exit visas to go to Hong Kong where his father lives. But she is told that she can either take Ah Liam or her daughter San San, leaving one behind […] Continue »

8Books Review: Secrets We Kept by Krystal Sital

8Books Review: Secrets We Kept by Krystal Sital

Krystal Sital’s debut memoir, Secrets We Kept: Three Women of Trinidad, is an intimate and powerful memoir about three generations of her family — their stories, their traumas, their secrets, and their relationship to the author’s grandfather. Eloquently written and deeply personal, Sital dives deep into her own history, the contradictions, and the troublesome relationships between men and women that powerfully shaped her grandmother and then her mother’s lives on the island they were all born on. […] Continue »

Comparing Chinese Death Beliefs with Disney/Pixar’s ‘Coco’

Comparing Chinese Death Beliefs with Disney/Pixar's 'Coco'

During opening weekend, I took my daughter to see the new Disney/Pixar movie, Coco.  It’s a movie she’s been looking forward to seeing for almost a year, since the trailers for the new movie came out quite some time ago.  I didn’t have much expectations for the movie, as I figured it would be similar to a previous animated film, Book of Life, another film centered around Día de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead.  But the movie […] Continue »

8Books Review: “Pashmina” by Nidhi Chanani

8Books Review: "Pashmina" by Nidhi Chanani

Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani is a delightful graphic novel about a young girl looking for herself, navigating two worlds and two cultures. Priyanka is your average Indian American teenager until she finds a magic pashmina in her mother’s closet. Her mother won’t ask questions about the India she left behind or about Priyanka’s father, but the pashmina opens a new window. The story follows Priyanka’s eventual journey to India and back again, all along insightfully […] Continue »

Filipino American Downward Mobility and other Asian American Data Points from Pew Research

Filipino American Downward Mobility and other Asian American Data Points from Pew Research

After he graduated from high school this year, Number Two Son mentioned to me that one conversation he has continually had with a close Filipino American friend regards how few of their Filipino American peers were ambitious with their college choices.  Their levels of achievement and college choices seemed much low, especially compared to other Asian American students at their Silicon Valley high school and despite that many of their parents were well educated.  While […] Continue »

8Books Review: “The Leavers” by Lisa Ko

8Books Review: "The Leavers" by Lisa Ko

Lisa Ko’s debut novel, The Leavers, follows a mother and son separated by immigration agents, borders, and new families. Deming Guo wakes up one day in the Bronx to find that his mother Polly has disappeared. Soon, he is Daniel Wilkinson of upstate New York. We follow Daniel as he struggles through high school, the emotional turmoil of his mom’s abrupt departure, makes a friend who isn’t white, makes a friend who was adopted from China […] Continue »

8Books Review: “Heroine Worship” by Sarah Kuhn

8Books Review: "Heroine Worship" by Sarah Kuhn

Heroine Worship by Sarah Kuhn is the riveting sequel to Heroine Complex, starring not just one, but two badass Asian American superheroines. You may or may not recall that I loved Heroine Complex when it came out last summer. The first book in this series followed Evie Tanaka as she morphed from sidekick to full blown superhero with fire throwing powers. Throw in a budding romance thrown in and an at times testy relationship with her best friend, […] Continue »

8Books Review: “Cilla Lee-Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire” by Susan Tan

8Books Review: "Cilla Lee-Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire" by Susan Tan

Cilla Lee-Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire is the debut novel from author Susan Tan about a spunky and spirited half-white, half-Chinese eight and half year old with grand visions for her future and astute insight into her past. Cilla is our narrator, and this is her memoir–her first step to reaching her destiny as Future Author Extraordinaire. Now I know I’m not the target audience for Cilla Lee-Jenkins (ages 8-12 says her publisher’s website), but I did thoroughly […] Continue »

Breast Cancer Rates Increasing Among Asian American Women

Scarlett Lin Gomez

A new study from the Cancer Prevention Institute of California (CPIC), with Scarlett Lin Gomez as the lead researcher of the study, is showing an increase of breast cancer in Asian American women.  This is particularly troubling because the rate among other racial groups has stabilized. The study looked at women in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, from 1988 to 2013, and included women from different Asian American backgrounds, including Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Filipino, […] Continue »

8Books Review: “The Best We Could Do” by Thi Bui

8Books Review: "The Best We Could Do" by Thi Bui

The Best We Could Do is a beautifully drawn and beautifully narrated memoir by Thi Bui. It is the story of her family and how she reckoned with their past, flight from Vietnam, family members lost and found again…and all the whirling emotions that always come with anything that has to do with family. None other than Viet Thanh Nguyen graces the cover with the recommendation, “a book to break your heart and heal it.” And […] Continue »

8Books Review: “Pachinko” by Min Jin Lee

8Books Review: "Pachinko" by Min Jin Lee

Min Jin Lee’s second novel Pachinko follows several generations of a Korean family living under Japanese colonialism. In the 1930s in a small town in colonial Korea, a young woman named Sunja is abandoned by her wealthy lover, but saved by a young minister who marries her and takes her to Japan. If there can be said to be a central character it is Sunja, though Lee weaves such an intricate tale as to make it hard […] Continue »

8Books Review: “Lucky Boy” by Shanthi Sekaran

8Books Review: "Lucky Boy" by Shanthi Sekaran

Shanthi Sekaran’s novel Lucky Boy is the bewitching story of two mothers and their love and expectations for themselves and the one boy each calls their own. Young Solimar Castro Valdez braves the border crossing in pursuit of a better life in California. In the turmoil of the experience, she finds love. At the end of it, she’ll be expecting. Kavya Reddy, already married several years to her husband Rishi, is looking for the next step […] Continue »