BookDragon’s Top 25 APA Book Picks for 2015
This time of the year, everyone and their fourth cousin seems to be sharing their best-of lists. Surprise! Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center’s BookDragon is joining the fray. For those of you who aren’t familiar with APAC’s BookDragon, meet our multi-culti book blog with reviews and author interviews all year round.
So 2015 is drawing to a close – WHOOOOOSH!!! Does BookDragon have recommendations for this year’s by-and-about Asian and Asian Pacific American titles? Ask no more!
Drumroll, please … Here are BookDragon’s top-five faves by genre. Titles are listed in alphabetical order.
- Dragonfish by Vu Tran is a six-part people-puzzle just begging to be solved.
- In the Country by Mia Alvar is the best short story collection I read this year.
- The Investigation by J.M. Lee provides a lesson on perspective like no other.
- Love Love by Sung J. Woo proves that jaw-dropping dysfunction can make for some spectacular Schadenfreude
- The Sympathizer by Việt Thanh Nguyễn will prove again and again your assumptions are totally unreliable.
- Daughters of the Samurai: A Journey from East to West and Back by Janice Nimura takes you back to an almost unknown piece of Japanese American women’s history.
- Discontent and Its Civilizations: Dispatches from Lahore, New York, and London by Mohsin Hamid because life, art, and politics, should always be so sharply, smartly, even snarkily iluminated.
- A Kim Jong-Il Production: The Extraordinary True Story of a Kidnapped Filmmaker, His Star Actress, and a Young Dictator’s Rise to Power by Paul Fischer because truth is always stranger than fiction.
- Last Night’s Reading by Kate Gavino will make every author – APA and otherwise – long to be ‘Gavino’-ed.
- Stars Between the Sun and Moon: One Woman’s Life in North Korea and Escape to Freedom by Lucia Jang with Susan McClleland will make you grateful for your countless privileges.
- Master Keaton (multiple volumes) by Naoki Urasawa, story by Hokusei Katsushika and Takashi Nagasaki, is my favorite manga series this year.
- Nanjing: The Burning City by Ethan Young is a necessary history lesson for all ages.
- Supermutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki is one of those unexpectedly delightful surreal experiences you can’t put down.
- There Is No Right Way to Meditate and Other Lessons by Yumi Sakugawa shows us how we can all become better people, just a few minutes at a time.
- Ultraman: This Is the Beginning of a New Age by Eiichi Shimizu, illustrated by Tomohiro Shimoguchi, is a 21st-revisioning of one of my favorite books from childhood.
Middle Grade/Young Adult
- Dance of the Banished by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch reveals a compassionate-and-cruel piece of history about what is now Turkey that deserves so much more attention.
- Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon has a little bit of everything – illness, death, love, betrayal, adventure, and more.
- None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio shows how labels don’t define us.
- Rad American Women A-Z: Rebels, Trailblazers, and Visionaries Who Shaped Our History . . . and Our Future! by Kate Schatz, illustrated by Miriam Klein Stahl, showcases girl power across backgrounds, ethnicities, histories – or, rather – herstories!
- Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee shows that the wild, wild west was just-as-won by POC pioneers.
- The Inker’s Shadow by Allen Say is filled with resonating artist-as-a-young-man stories.
- Juna’s Jar by Jane Bahk, illustrated by Felicia Hoshino, shows how a friendship stays connected regardless of distance.
- Pool by JiHyeon Lee is a wordless wonder that reveals magical landscapes, if only we’re willing to dive in below the surface.
- The House that Sonabai Built by Vishakha Chanchani, photographs by Stephen P. Huyler, showcases the life and work of an accidental artist of world renown.
- The Whale in My Swimming Pool by Joyce Wan brings ingenious humor perfect to warm these long winter days.
Want more? Share our reading adventures throughout the year … from absolute favorites to total duds, and everything in between. Multi-culti BookDragons unite!