2022 Reading Challenge: Read a Book By an Asian American or Pacific Islander Author

OPL invites patrons to take part in the 2022 Reading Challenge, opens a new window! For each challenge, OPL offers suggestions for titles to listen to or read. As you’re working through the challenge, feel free to tag @omahalibrary on Twitter, opens a new window, Instagram, opens a new window, or Facebook, opens a new window, to let us know which read you picked up this month!

What does it mean to be an Asian American or Pacific Islander? This label can be applied to more than 23 million Americans from approximately 50 ethnicities, representing more than 40 countries. It’s a broad label that can’t be distilled to a singular identity. Someone who identifies as Asian American could have ties to any Asian or Indian country, and someone who identifies as Pacific Islander originates from native Hawaiians or a country in the Pacific Ocean such as Guam or Samoa. When we say Asian American or Pacific Islander (AAPI), we are talking about a massive range of cultures and experiences. 

OPL has many wonderful book suggestions for this challenge! "Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning, opens a new window" is a fantastic place to start - a mix of memoir, history, and cultural critique provides broad context. Other books in this vein include “My Life: Growing up Asian in America, opens a new window” and “The Loneliest Americans, opens a new window.” More nonfiction options include “Rise: A Pop History of Asian America from the Nineties to Now, opens a new window,” “Our Stories: An Introduction to South Asian America, opens a new window,” “Not Quite Not White: Losing and Finding Race in America, opens a new window,” and “Heart of Fire: An Immigrant Daughter’s Story, opens a new window.” 

Fiction readers, there are so many great AAPI-authored options! For literary fiction, standout titles include “Homeland Elegies, opens a new window,” "My Year Abroad, opens a new window," and “Bright Lines, opens a new window.” If you like short stories, check out “This is Paradise, opens a new window” or “Go Home!, opens a new window.” Science fiction fans should pick up anything by Ted Chiang, opens a new window, and Helen Hoang, opens a new window is an author romance readers will want to know. Mia P. Manansala, opens a new window writes cozy culinary mysteries with a Filipino touch. “Blame This on the Boogie, opens a new window,” “Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations, opens a new window,” and “The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir, opens a new window” are some graphic novels that work for this challenge. 

Food is a wonderful entry point in appreciating different cultures. “From Canton Restaurant to Panda Express, opens a new window,” “The Peached Tortilla, opens a new window,” "A Common Table:80 Recipes and Stories from My Shared Cultures, opens a new window,"and “My Two Souths: Blending the Flavors of India Into a Southern Kitchen, opens a new window” explore the intersection of Asian and American cuisine. Learn how to make Hawaiian food at home with “Aloha Kitchen, opens a new window” or “Cook Real Hawai’i, opens a new window.” 

"Chinatown Pretty: Fashion and Wisdom from Chinatown's Most Stylish Seniors, opens a new window" is irresistibly charming, and this list of recommendations would not be complete without it. 

For more ideas check out this list, opens a new window or request a custom reading list or book bundle, opens a new window, tailored to your interests by OPL librarians.

You may submit your completed reading log online, opens a new window or return a completed tracking sheet to any OPL branch to receive a pin and to be entered into a drawing for some fun literary-themed prizes! All completed tracking sheets or online challenge form entries must be received by December 31, 2022, to be entered into the prize drawing.