Saturday, May 16, 2015

Celebrating Asian Heritage Month With Great Books

May is Asian Heritage Month and an ideal occasion to celebrate the culture and wisdom of various Asian cultures. This list of fiction and non-fiction books highlights great works of Asian and Asian-Canadian literature:

Ru by Kim Thuy

“Ru is the poetic, meditative story of Nguy√™n An Trinh, a girl who escaped Vietnam with her family and came to live in Quebec. Winner of the Governor General's Award for literature.”

My Journey: a memoir by Olivia Chow

“A candid memoir about influences and events shaping the life of seasoned politician and public figure. What drives Olivia Chow? How did she emerge from a turbulent childhood to become an inspiring political force? What influences and events have shaped her life? And how is she continuing her quest after losing her partner in life and politics?”

Tamarind Mem by Anita Rau Badami

"Set in India's railway colonies, this is the story of Kamini and her mother Saroja, nicknamed Tamarind Mem due to her sour tongue. While in Canada beginning her graduate studies, Kamini receives a postcard from her mother saying she has sold their home and is traveling through India. Both are forced into the past to confront their dreams and losses and to explore the love that binds mothers and daughters everywhere."--Back cover.

Funny Boy: a novel in six stories by Shyam Selvadurai.

"Set in Sri Lanka where Selvadurai grew up, Funny Boy is constructed in the form of six poignant stories about a boy coming to age within a wealthy Tamil family in Colombo. Between the ages of seven and fourteen, he explores his sexual identity, and encounters the Sinhala-Tamil tensions leading up to the 1983 riots."

Belonging: the paradox of citizenship by Adrienne Clarkson

“What does it mean to belong? How do we belong? Who do we belong to? Integral questions discussing citizenship throughout the ages at the heart of the 2014 Massey Lecture series given by Clarkson, former Governor General of Canada.”

Where the Air is Sweet by Tasneem Jamal

“A story of three generations of an Indian family drawn to Africa in search of a better life: their loves, losses and sudden expulsion at the hands of one of the world's most terrifying tyrants.”

The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng.

“Before her memories are stolen by disease, a Malaysian judge and former prisoner of war returns to a garden she helped create as the apprentice to an exiled, enigmatic Japanese gardener.”

In the Shadow of the Banyan by Vaddey Ratner.

“When the Khmer Rouge gain power, seven-year-old Raami, her sister and parents begin a terrible odyssey through the impoverished Cambodian countryside.”

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