The year in Asian American & Pacific Islander fiction

Each May, in recognition of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, we take a look at the past year’s novels and short stories from AAPI authors. You’ll find the full list of recent AAPI fiction here. To get you started, here are some highlights from this year’s list:

The Family Chao, by Lan Samantha Chang. When Big Leo – founder of Fine Chao, the best Chinese food in Haven, Wisconsin – dies under mysterious circumstances, suspicion falls on his three variosly assimilated sons, James, Ming and Dagou, in a perceptive and poignant Chinese-American rendition of Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov.

Nuclear Family, by Joseph Han. What – or who – possessed Korean Hawaiian Jacob Cho to attempt to cross over into North Korea? Back home at their Honolulu plate lunch restaurant, rumors fly that he must be a spy – a suspicion that seems all too true when on January 13, 2018, sirens suddenly blare, (falsely) alerting the island to a rain of incoming ballistic missiles.

Circa, by Devi S. Laskar.  Coming of age in Raleigh, North Carolina, Bengali-American teenager Heera Sanyal feels the American Dream slip from her grasp when her best friend is killed by a drunk driver, leaving her both trapped and solaced by the clasp of her family’s traditions.

Auē, by Becky Manawatu. It is a cry of dismay, or distress, and for Taukiri, “auē” is almost a kind of music, telling of his traumatic upbringing, and calling out towards a hope that things might someday get better. This award-winning new novel sings with raw, lyrical power of the contemporary Maori experience.

Under Lock & Skeleton Key: A Secret Staircase Mystery, by Gigi Pandian. In this delightfully quirky locked-room mystery series debut, out-of-work Las Vegas magician Tempest Raj stumbles over the corpse of her stage double, and it seems the only answer lies in a family curse that claimed her own mother’s life – or did it?

The Verifiers, by Jane Pek. Claudia Lin’s detective work is confined to checking up on the veracity of online dating profiles, until one of her clients suddenly turns out to be an imposter, and then turns up dead, and the mystery buff can’t resist jumping in with both feet.

The Immortal King Rao, by Vari Vauhini. Did Athena’s billionaire father escape from his doomed existence as Dalit, on the lowest run of India’s caste system, only to perpetuate and perfect those same social inequities when he struck it rich in Seattle’s heady tech scene? A thought provoking dystopian thriller.

Siren Queen, by Nghi Vo. When budding starlet Luli Wei discovers that the Hollywood studio system is an predatory gothic nightmare, there is only one solution: she must become the biggest monster of them all.

To Paradise, by Hanya Yanagihara. Spanning three centuries from 1893 to 1993 and 2093, this ambitious epic explores our quest for love and fulfillment against a steadily darkening backdrop of isolation, xenophobia and ecological decline.

We’ve just scratched the surface here, so check out our full list of recent AAPI fiction here.

     ~ Posted by David W.

“We Hereby Refuse” – Sharing the History of Japanese American Resistance, 80 Years Ago

We Hereby Refuse

Just over 80 years ago, on March 30, 1942, more than 200 Bainbridge Island residents were expelled from their homes and forcibly relocated and incarcerated in American concentration camps. They were among the first of the 120,000 Japanese Americans – according to a recent story in the Seattle Times – who were incarcerated during World War II solely on the basis of race.

In May 2021, a groundbreaking graphic novel was published that shared a lesser-known story of that mass injustice: resistance. Published by the Wing Luke Museum and Chin Music Press, “We Hereby Refuse: Japanese American Resistance to Wartime Incarceration,” authored by Frank Abe and Tamiko Nimura and illustrated by Ross Ishikawa and Matt Sasaki, wove together an epic narrative of three Japanese Americans who refused to submit to imprisonment in American concentration camps without a fight.

Want to learn about this remarkable graphic novel and the story behind it? Watch the YouTube recording of the Library event that celebrated its publication, hosted in partnership with the Wing Luke Museum, Densho and Elliott Bay Book Company.

Moderated by Tom Ikeda, Executive Director of Densho: The Japanese American Legacy Project, this must-see event gathered panelists including “We Hereby Refuse” authors Frank Abe and Tamiko Nimura, and artist Ross Ishikawa, as well as Wing Luke Museum board member Diane Sugimura. Continue reading ““We Hereby Refuse” – Sharing the History of Japanese American Resistance, 80 Years Ago”

Peak Picks Turns 5 — and 25 Most Popular Books Since 2017

Peak PIcks
Selections Services’ Elena Gutierrez, who led the design of the Peak Picks collection in 2017, connects with a new Peak Pick

Blow out the candles! Peak Picks, The Seattle Public Library’s highly popular collection of books you can check out with no holds and no wait, turns 5 this month. Launched as a pilot project in May 2017, Peak Picks expanded to all 27 Library locations by the end of 2017. Since its start, more than 75,000 readers have checked out more than 700,000 copies of Peak Picks titles.

Funded by the 2019 Library Levy, Peak Picks is designed to make more copies of popular, high-interest adult fiction and nonfiction books immediately available to patrons. It was popular from the start. Continue reading “Peak Picks Turns 5 — and 25 Most Popular Books Since 2017”

The Seattle Public Library to Reopen Meeting Rooms, Expand Hours and Update Borrowing Policies in May

Beginning Monday, May 2, meeting rooms and study rooms at The Seattle Public Library will once again be available for public reservation and use. Members of the public can learn more about these spaces and book available rooms by visiting the Branch Meeting Rooms and Central Library Meeting Rooms pages on spl.org. More information about public use of Library meeting rooms can be found below.

Additionally, beginning the week of May 2, the Central Library Spiral on Levels 6 through 9 will be open to the public on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Also in May, four branches of the Library will expand open hours beginning Wednesday, May 11, as part of the Library’s reopening and return to pre-pandemic operations. The Northgate Branch will once again be open on Mondays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and the University Branch will once again be open on Fridays from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Additional morning or evening hours will also be added to the Lake City, Northeast and Northgate branches on most weekdays. A complete schedule of library open hours can be found below.

“With all Seattle libraries reopened – most at pre-pandemic hours – and Library meeting rooms and study rooms once again available for public use, we are very encouraged to have reached this phase of our reopening efforts,” said Tom Fay, The Seattle Public Library’s executive director and chief librarian. “I greatly appreciate the patience of our patrons and public throughout our reopening progress, and look forward to beginning public conversation soon to identify our future focus areas as we envision the Library’s work beyond pandemic operations.”

Later in May, the Library will also return to pre-pandemic policies for hold times and account suspensions for unreturned items. Hold times and account suspension timelines were extended during the Library’s COVID-19 systemwide reopening to accommodate patrons who needed extra time to retrieve or return items during the pandemic.

Starting Monday, May 23, the Library will return to a maximum hold time of 7 days (from 14 days) for books, CDs, DVDs and other physical items placed on hold. Scheduled Library closures do not count against the 7-day hold limit. The Library will also return to suspending accounts for items that remain overdue after 14 days (from 31 days). Since temporarily extending that timeline, the Library has implemented auto-renewal for most Library items. Materials are automatically renewed up to three times if another patron isn’t waiting for the item. Peak Picks books and items checked out through Inter-Library Loan cannot be renewed. The Seattle Public Library also offers fine-free borrowing, and suspended accounts are reactivated once items are returned.

PUBLIC USE OF LIBRARY MEETING ROOMS

Please note that while most Library meeting and study rooms will be available May 2, some rooms may not be available to accommodate staff use and Library operations. We will continue to make more of these spaces available to the public as we are able.

The Library believes that freedom of expression and access to ideas and information are essential to the health and development of a democratic society. We acknowledge that Library spaces may be used by those who express viewpoints and ideas contrary to the Library’s institutional vision and values. Use of any Library facilities, including meeting rooms, by any group or organization in no way constitutes endorsement of the policies or beliefs of that group or organization by the Library or the City of Seattle.

The Library recognizes that some individuals and groups may strongly disagree with ideas and views expressed within Library spaces and collections. However, in keeping with its Intellectual Freedom policy, the Library will not restrict freedom of expression beyond the limits of U.S. law.

More information can be found in our Intellectual Freedom Policy and Facilities and Meeting Room Use Policy.

OPEN HOURS AS OF WEDNESDAY, MAY 11

Please note that expanded hours do not take effect until Wednesday, May 11. Visit our website at spl.org/Today to stay up-to-date with our systemwide schedule and to be alerted to any impacts to our schedule. Current schedules may always be found on spl.org/hours.

  • Ballard Branch, 5614 22nd Ave. N.W.
    • 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.
  • Beacon Hill Branch, 2821 Beacon Ave. S.
    • 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.
  • Broadview Branch, 12755 Greenwood Ave. N.
    • 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.
  • Capitol Hill Branch, 425 Harvard Ave. E.
    • 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays; noon to 8 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays; and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.
  • Central Library (Levels 1, 3 & 5), 1000 Fourth Ave.
    • 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays; and noon to 6 p.m. Sundays.
  • Columbia Branch, 4721 Rainier Ave. S.
    • Noon to 8 p.m. Mondays; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.
  • Delridge Branch, 5423 Delridge Way S.W.
    • 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays; and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.
  • Douglass-Truth Branch, 2300 E. Yesler Way
    • 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays; noon to 8 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays; and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.
  • Fremont Branch, 731 N. 35th St.
    • 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays; and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.
  • Green Lake Branch, 7364 E. Green Lake Dr. N.
    • 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays; and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.
  • Greenwood Branch, 8016 Greenwood Ave. N.
    • 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.
  • High Point Branch, 3411 S.W. Raymond St.
    • 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays; and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.
  • International District/Chinatown Branch, 713 Eighth Ave. S.
    • 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays; and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.
  • Lake City Branch, 12501 28th Ave. N.E.
    • 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.
  • Madrona-Sally Goldmark, 1134 33rd Ave.
    • 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays; and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.
  • Magnolia Branch, 2801 34th Ave. W.
    • 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday and Thursdays; and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.
  • Montlake Branch, 2401 24th Ave. E.
    • 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays; and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.
  • NewHolly Branch, 7058 32nd Ave. S.
    • 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays; and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays.
  • Northeast Branch, 6801 35th Ave. N.E.
    • 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Fridays and Satrudays; and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.
  • Northgate Branch, 10548 Fifth Ave. N.E.
    • 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.
  • Queen Anne Branch, 400 W. Garfield St.
    • 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays; and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
  • Rainier Beach Branch, 9125 Rainier Ave. S.
    • 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays; and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.
  • South Park Branch, 8604 Eighth Ave. S.
    • 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays; and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.
  • Southwest Branch, 9010 35th Ave. S.W.
    • 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays; noon to 8 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays; and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.
  • University Branch, 5009 Roosevelt Way N.E.
    • 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays; and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.
  • Wallingford, 1501 N. 45th St.
    • 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays; and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.
  • West Seattle Branch, 2306 42nd Ave. S.W.
    • 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays; noon to 8 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays; and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.

UPDATED COVID PRECAUTIONS

Library visitors are strongly encouraged, but no longer required, to wear masks while inside Library buildings. This change follows new state and county public health guidelines.

To protect our most vulnerable patrons and staff, Library staff will continue to wear masks and we will still offer free masks to patrons at dispensers in each Library location.

The Library continues to take many precautions to protect patrons, staff and the community from the spread of COVID-19: We are a fully vaccinated workforce; will continue to use safety protocols such as plexi-glass barriers, increased ventilation and improved air filtration in buildings; and practices such as handwashing and routine cleanings.

Finally, any Library patron can request Curbside service on an individual basis for pickup of their holds: Just call the branch’s phone number – found on signs at your branch or on our Hours & Locations page on spl.org – to let staff know you have arrived and need assistance with your holds pickup.

MORE INFORMATION

Check spl.org/hours for a complete list of current hours and services at each branch. For up-to-date information on unexpected closures and schedule changes, the Library will update http://www.spl.org/Today. The Library’s Road to Reopening page shares the latest updates on our reopening process.

Contact the Library’s Ask Us service by phone at 206-386-4636 or by email or chat at spl.org/Ask. Staff are ready to answer questions and direct you to helpful resources and information.

–SPL–

(For more information, contact Laura Gentry, head of the Communications Office, at 206-915-9028 or laura.gentry@spl.org)

May Author Events: Douglas Stuart, Angela Garbes, Claudia Castro Luna and More

From Douglas Stuart’s story of working-class families and queer love to Seattle writer Angela Garbes’ memoir about the power and potential of mothering to reshape society, the Library’s May author programs feature a wide range of authors and topics.

And you can see some of these amazing authors in person! Four May events will be held at the Central Library’s Level 1 Microsoft Auditorium; the events will also be livestreamed via Zoom. Registration is required for both in-person and online attendance; check the event description at spl.org/Calendar for registration and links. All events are free and open to the public.

Douglas Stuart discusses “Young Mungo”Central Library and online

From 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday, May 3

Douglas Stuart, the Booker Prize-winning writer of “Shuggie Bain,” will be at the Central Library to discuss his new novel “Young Mungo,” a story of queer love and working-class families, in conversation with Rick Simonson. “Shuggie Bain,” Stuart’s first book, was one of the most successful literary debuts of the century. The event is presented in partnership with Elliott Bay Book Company. It is supported by The Seattle Public Library Foundation and the Gary and Connie Kunis Foundation. “Young Mungo” is a Peak Picks title.

Continue reading “May Author Events: Douglas Stuart, Angela Garbes, Claudia Castro Luna and More”