From Representation to Rallies: Literature Recommendations

Vinh Dang with his beloved copy of GQ magazine featuring Henry Golding on the cover

Origins: An Immigrant’s Journey in America by Thy Nguyen

What is it like to live as an Asian woman in America?

Police: A Field Guide by David Correia and Tyler Wall

Police: A Field Guide is an illustrated handbook to the methods, mythologies, and history that animate today’s police. It is a survival manual for encounters with cops and police logic, whether it arrives in the shape of officer friendly, Tasers, curfews, non-compliance, or reformist discourses about so-called bad apples. In a series of short chapters, each focusing on a single term, such as the beat, order, badge, throw-down weapon, and much more, authors David Correia and Tyler Wall present a guide that reinvents and demystifies the language of policing in order to better prepare activists — and anyone with an open mind — on one of the key issues of our time: police brutality. In doing so, they begin to chart a future free of this violence — and of police.

Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning by Cathy Park Hong

Poet and essayist Cathy Park Hong blends memoir, cultural criticism, and history to expose the truth of racialized consciousness in America. Binding these essays together is Hong’s theory of “minor feelings.”

Cathy Park Hong and the cover of “Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning” courtesy of SSense

No No Boy by John Okada

No-No Boy tells the story of Ichiro Yamada, a fictional version of the real-life “no-no boys.” Yamada answered “no” twice in a compulsory government questionnaire as to whether he would serve in the armed forces and swear loyalty to the United States. Unwilling to pledge himself to the country that interned him and his family, Ichiro earns two years in prison and the hostility of his family and community when he returns home to Seattle. As Ozeki writes, Ichiro’s “obsessive, tormented” voice subverts Japanese postwar “model-minority” stereotypes, showing a fractured community and one man’s “threnody of guilt, rage, and blame as he tries to negotiate his reentry into a shattered world.”

The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui

This illustrated memoir is about the search for a better future and a longing for the past. Exploring the anguish of immigration and the lasting effects that displacement has on a child and her family, Bui documents the story of her family’s daring escape after the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970s, and the difficulties they faced building new lives for themselves.

At the heart of Bui’s story is a universal struggle: While adjusting to life as a first-time mother, she ultimately discovers what it means to be a parent — the endless sacrifices, the unnoticed gestures, and the depths of unspoken love. Despite how impossible it seems to take on the simultaneous roles of both parent and child, Bui pushes through.

Good Talk by Mira Jacob

Like many six-year-olds, Mira Jacob’s half-Jewish, half-Indian son, Z, has questions about everything. At first they are innocuous enough, but as tensions from the 2016 election spread from the media into his own family, they become much, much more complicated. Trying to answer him honestly, Mira has to think back to where she’s gotten her own answers: her most formative conversations about race, color, sexuality, and, of course, love.

Poetry as Offering: To Practice In Poetry & Live In The Body-Mind by Kay Ulanday Barrett

Kay Ulanday Barrett courtesy of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts

i hope we choose love: notes on the application of justice by Kai Cheng Thom

Decolonize Through 30 Day Poetry Challenge

Babaylan Studies shares a process of re-membering/ decolonization reflection, release, healing and radical visioning.

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