12 of the Best Books by Writers of the Asian Diaspora
I’ve been rendered speechless multiple times a day in recent weeks, as the onslaught of news and images of anti-Asian racism has flooded my newsfeed. From speaking to many of my Asian friends, I know that I am not alone in feeling paralysis, despair, and rage when I try to process these horrifying acts of anti-Asian hate. How do we begin to create change, to combat the evil and ignorance fueling attacks on the defenseless—on subways, on streets in broad daylight, and to also move bystanders to act instead of simply watching or turning their backs in apathy?
As a writer, all I can do is to continue to write, and as a reader, all I can do is hope that Asian writers will keep telling their stories—ones that span genres and time periods and countries—to keep showing the readers who are willing to step into them the breadth of the Asian experience, and that that experience is not to be stereotyped or dismissed or hated. These books, by a wide range of authors writing in categories from science-fiction, to young adult, to memoir, to historical fiction, to horror—are just a sampling of the works I love dearly. Now, more than ever, we need the power of stories to humanize, to illuminate, to educate, to entertain, to invite empathy and to promote understanding. While our stories are individual, much of our experience is universal, connecting us, and binding us together.
Frances Cha is the author of the novel If I Had Your Face, which is now available in paperback.
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