Asian American books to cuddle up to on a Winter day

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Graphic by Rhiannon Koh

By Barbara Yau, AsAmNews Staff Writer

Curling up with a good book can be the perfect way to spend a winter day, especially since many of us are still spending a lot of time self-entertaining at home these days. Some of us are adept at choosing the books they would like to read, but for others it can be challenging to find the perfect book to satisfy the needs and desires of the moment.

Fortunately, Lucy Yu, the owner of the first female Asian American New York City-based bookstore called Yu and Me Books, has offered to share her thoughts on how Asian American stories can help us get through challenging times. She also gives some book recommendations for different types of readers and occasions.

Photo by Lucy Yu

As a true bibliophile who aims to read 100 books a year and loves generational fiction novels with lyrical prose, Yu has been very busy since the store’s grand opening in New York City’s Chinatown in December 2021. Offering a wide range of Asian and Asian American books with focus on writers of color and immigrant stories, Yu stated that she has been incredibly supported by the Asian American community who is warmly welcoming her books and space.

Yu believes the wide range of books she curates represents diverse voices that need to be shared with the public. She also feels that reading these books at this time can reap added benefits that we can use during these trying times. 

Photo by Lucy Yu

“Oftentimes, trauma is what is being presented at the forefront especially in minority communities so I find that also bringing joy through some of the stories here is also a form of resistance. Of course, books help educate, but that’s not the only format they offer. They also offer companionship, comfort, and lightness,” said Yu.

While the store offers books in every genre, Yu has noted that memoirs in particular have been flying off the shelves.

“I think it says something about how hungry we are to read stories similar to ours now that we don’t have to search so hard for them,” stated Yu.

According to Yu, the book titles that have been selling well include:

Beautiful Country: A Memoir of An Undocumented Childhood by Qian Julie Wang

The Loneliest Americans by Jay Caspian Kang

Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning by Cathy Hong Park

The Mountains Sing by Nguyen Phan Que Mai

Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

Seeing Ghosts: A Memoir by Kat Chow

The Making of Asian America: A History by Erika Lee

No matter who you are, there is likely a book for you. Here are Yu’s favorite books and recommendations that she has shared with AsAmNews readers:

Photo by Lucy Yu

Favorite fiction book you’ve read recently:

A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza

Favorite nonfiction book you’ve read recently:

Beautiful Country: A Memoir of An Undocumented Childhood by Qian Julie Wang

Book that every Asian American adult should read:

Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning by Cathy Hong Park

Book that every Asian American child should read:

Eyes the Kiss at the Corners by Joanna Ho

Book that every person in the world should read:

Tough to choose just one! One of my favorite poetry collections is An American Sunrise: Poems by Joy Harjo.

Best books to read while quarantining:

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

A Pho Love Story by Loan Le

Best book for those with limited attention span:

Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Best book to gift someone you love:

All About Love: New Visions by Bell Hooks

Yu and Me Books is located at 44 Mulberry Street, NYC 10013.

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