8 books to read in August

We choose books by Asian authors, about Asian women, or just those you would totally like (we think!).

You need good books in August. If you’re on a beach but not into splashing in a bikini, or if you love volleyball but want to curl up on the balcony in the evening no matter what the cuties from beach bar say, or if you just want to forget about the heat and the ‘stress’ of planning a vacation and all. Oh, yes, you need good books.

1. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – Parts One & Two

Do we even have a choice for this one? Do you remember the previous seven times? It’s happening again, so why don’t we go to the bookstore already. Ok, it’s not ‘written’ by J.K. Rowling, but it’s ‘based’ on an original new story by the queen of magic herself. It’s also the next best thing to the actual play, which is on stage only in London. You owe it to Harry, Hermione, Ron, and your younger self.

2. Why Not Me?

The actress who played a dorky Indian girl in The Office (U.S. version) was also one of the writers behind it. That girl, Mindy Kaling, now has her own show The Mindy Project. Her comedy and sharp sensitivity shine in her books as well. Her first book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) was an awkward but lovely coming-of-age story, and this one is more mature. Mindy talks of work, fame, love, friendship in adulthood, and how mature it is to be comfortably immature on your own terms.

3. Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class on the Art of Organizing and Tidying Up

When The Secret came out years ago with its message of ‘If you want something so badly, the universe will give it to you’, I rolled my eyes so hard the whole universe must have felt my glare. Maybe it was because the process and outcome were not tangible enough. Organizing consultant Marie Kondo teaches you how to tidy up your home and live a new life with this illustrated guide to the globally famous ‘KonMari method’.

4. Sarong Party Girls: A Novel

More than a decade has passed since Sex and the City, but all that chick-lit remains as our guilty pleasure. Now, it’s Singapore. Sarong party girl means someone ‘who usually dresses and behaves in a provocative manner, and who exclusively dates and prefers white men’ (according to
Wikipedia), which brings out groans in all who fight the ‘Asian fetish’ stereotype. But 27-years-old Jazzy has her reasons; the clash between modern materialism and traditional values, the status set by rigid Singaporean society, and the ambition to climb the social ladders with friends in the best shoes they can afford.

5. When Breath Becomes Air

A prominent neurosurgeon in his newlywed bliss was diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. This book is the memoir from Paul Kalanithi’s last days. Why do we need to read this in our holiday season, when our ordinary life is already enough of a struggle? Because this book will help you to love everything and everyone around you more. Paul’s strength, grace, kindness, insight into his own and others’ lives, honesty, and love will reach you. This book is a stack of life affirming words.

6. Shelter: A Novel

Jung Yun’s debut novel features Kyoung Ho, a financially strained young father who feels his life is getting even more twisted when he has to take in his distant parents after an act of violence hits them. BuzzFeed’s #1 Most Buzzed About Book of 2016 so far, this book deals with gender and race issues (namely the identity of the Asian American man), but brings up more universal questions as well. How can you be happy when you don’t know what happiness is? How can you be a good parent and spouse when you have never witnessed one?

7. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Elizabeth Gilbert recently announced she’s separating from the husband she met in her ‘Eat Pray Love’ quest. It’s a bummer for all the women who aspire to have their own Eat Pray Love trip to find their true love, a soul mate who happens to be a smoking hot Brazilian. But the reason Ms. Gilbert’s book drew us in the first place was her creative writing with her wit and sincerity. In this instant #1 New York Times Bestseller, she talks about how to embrace our creativity and express it in our own ways.

8. Monstress Volume 1: Awakening

So, the new Iron Man is a black woman and Ms. Marvel is a Pakistani-American muslim girl. Have you wondered where the strong East Asian female lead is? Here. Written by Marjorie M. Liu, an attorney and New York Times bestselling author, and drawn by awesome Sana Takeda, MONSTRESS tells the story of a teenage girl who is struggling to survive the trauma of war, and who shares a mysterious psychic link with a monster of tremendous power in an alternate matriarchal 1900’s steampunk Asia.

April Editors

April Editors

Actual Voice of Asian Women ❤︎
April Magazine is an online magazine for East & South East Asian Women in the World. We empower Asian women, one voice at a time.