Another recent discovery: I LOVE HISTORICAL FICTION. I find that having protagonists tell a story with historical events as the backdrop is a way more engaging way to learn about history. I have an easier time remembering and understanding the context, and driven to learn more and seek out additional information. Reading history is often too dry for me. The ones listed here include work illustrating different cultures and time periods. Let me know how you you enjoy the books on this list and send your book recommendations, too!
Shawna Yang Ryan$16.95
This story is the most comprehensive Taiwan-specific historic fiction I've found to date (recommended by a friend, thanks!). It spans several generations of a family, from the 228 incident and onset of martial law era in Taiwan, to imprisonment by the KMT, to immigrant life in Berkeley, California in the midst of KMT spies and murderers. Must read for all Taiwanese-Americans or anyone looking to understand the past 70 years of Taiwan history.
Min Jin Lee$16.99 $15.63
This is a story of a Korean family told over four generations. It starts in 1910 during Japanese colonization of Korea, follows the family when members immigrate to Japan, and ends in modern day. It talks about prejudice they experience as second-class citizens, as well as traditions they passed on to their children. Must read for anyone interested in learning more about Japanese colonial period, assimilation across generations, embracing and rejecting blended identities.
Sharon Bala$16.95 $15.59
The story is told from several points of views. Sri Lankan refugees escape civil war (fought between minority Tamil Tigers and majority Sinhalese Buddhist from 1982-2009) in their homeland, board a boat, and land in Canada. The asylum seekers find themselves mired in national security bureaucracies in their new homeland.
Julie Otsuka$14.95 $13.75
Stories of Japanese picture brides who traveled by boat from Japan to San Francisco in the early 1900s. Uses first person plural narration.
Khaled Hosseini$16.00 $14.72
Friendship and tragedies in Afghanistan
Colson Whitehead$24.95 $22.46
The story is set in a boys reform school in Florida during 1960s Jim Crow. Racism, inequality. Mind blowing what went on for decades until the school was closed in 2011.
For other recommendations by Cynthia for the Taiwanese Diaspora podcast, check out https://bookshop.org/shop/twdiaspora.