December 2, 2022

Volume 2, Issue 24

Dear Friends,

Happy Holiday Season! In this issue, we have a great list of noteworthy fiction and nonfiction books by Asian American authors – whether you're looking for gifts or adding to your own TBR (to be read) list, you’re sure to find something that catches your eye. In an upcoming newsletter, we’ll continue with recommendations for cookbooks, children’s books, and poetry collections.

Check out our Spotlight section below and learn about our newest videos. One is a sneak peek at our new video on martial arts icon Bruce Lee and his philosophy of life, and the other shows the U.S. and China’s impact on climate change.

Thanks for your continued support of the 1990 Institute and newsletter. Please share this newsletter with your friends and family and encourage them to subscribe.


Enjoy this sneak peek at our video called “The Master of Influence: With Si-Fu Bruce Lee”
and learn about Bruce Lee’s unique philosophy and lasting impact.


What shall we buy for the holidays?
Asian American Books!

By Frances Kai-Hwa Wang


On Thursday, we had hot pot. On Friday, we wrapped dumplings. On Saturday, we steamed sticky rice stuffing. And on Sunday, we made Indian food. Instead of trying to overload our plates with everything all on one day, our Thanksgiving this year was a four-day succession of all our favorite feasts. And when we weren’t cooking and eating, we were buying Christmas presents. We are not big shoppers, but we can’t resist a deal, and Black Friday seems to have expanded into Black Shopping Week. 

But the more I shopped, the less certain I was about what to get my kids.

When my children were small, I bought them books for every holiday — Christmas, Lunar New Year, Valentine’s Day, birthdays. I bought all their friends books, too, even after they started begging me to let them give “normal” birthday gifts. I still think that Asian American books are the best gifts — beautiful, meaningful, educational, inspirational, and easy to wrap, too.

If you are looking for holiday gift ideas, here are some great books that came out this year.


"Tomorrow in Shanghai: Stories" by May-lee Chai — A vibrant and illuminating short story collection exploring multicultural complexities in China, the Chinese diaspora in America, and the world at large through lenses of class, wealth, age, gender, and sexuality — always tracking the nuanced, knotty, and intricate exchanges of interpersonal and institutional power. Review in San Francisco Chronicle.

The Evening Hero" by Marie Myung-Ok Lee — A sweeping, lyrical novel following a Korean immigrant pursuing the American dream who must confront the secrets of the past or risk watching the world he's worked so hard to build come crumbling down. Review in New York Times.

"Death Doesn’t Forget" by Ed Lin — Jing-nan, owner of a popular night market food stall, is framed for a string of high-profile murders — why does it seem like he's always the one left holding the skewer? Ed Lin's continuing Taipei mystery series is as hilarious and poignant as ever. Review in Los Angeles Times.

"Homicide and Halo-Halo" by Mia P. Manansala — Death at a beauty pageant turns Filipino restaurant Tita Rosie's Kitchen upside down in the latest entry of this witty, humorous, and cozy mystery series, a sequel to "Arsenic and Adobo." Interview with author at Medill Northwestern.


"RISE: A Pop History of Asian America from the Nineties to Now" by Jeff Yang, Phil Yu and Philip Wang — A love letter to and for Asian Americans — a vivid scrapbook of voices, emotions, and memories from an era in which our culture was forged and transformed, and a way to preserve both the headlines and the intimate conversations that shaped our community. Review on NBC Asian America.

"Year of the Tiger: An Activist's Life" by Alice Wong — A groundbreaking memoir that offers a glimpse into an activist's journey to finding and cultivating community and the continued fight for disability justice, from the founder and director of the Disability Visibility Project. Excerpt in Teen Vogue

"The Light We Give: How Sikh Wisdom Can Transform Your Life" by Simran Jeet Singh — Part memoir, part spiritual journey, a transformative book of hope that shows how we can turn from fear and uncertainty and move toward renewal and positive change with Sikh tenets of love and service. Five key insights.

"Somewhere Sisters: A Story of Adoption, Identity, and the Meaning of Family" by Erika Hayasaki — An incredible, deeply reported story of identical twins Isabella and Hà, born in Viêt Nam and raised on opposite sides of the world, each knowing little about the other's existence until they were reunited as teenagers, against all odds. Interview with author on NPR.

Poetry, cookbooks, and children’s books next time.



See our new video exploring climate change and the impact that Americans and Chinese have on our planet’s future:
Why are Chinese and Americans a Key to Life on Planet Earth?” (Graphic: 2019 World Greenhouse Gas Emissions, EDGAR: Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research v6.0)


Curated News

Newsom names California’s new poet laureate. He adds to Fresno’s legacy in the art form | Fresno Bee  “As a teacher, poet, and father, Lee [Herrick] writes movingly about his identity as a Californian and encourages others to reflect on what the state means to them,” Gov. Newsom said.

What’s in your Asian American feast? | CAAM  Turkey or tandoori? Find out what seven creatives are putting on their tables this Thanksgiving and join the fun by sharing your #AsianAmericanFeast.

What the Whiteness Story of America Denies | Yes!  Writer David Mura reflects on whiteness in American history after his daughter, Samantha Sencer-Mura, a professional educator, becomes the first Japanese American elected as a representative from her district to the Minnesota State Legislature.

China’s Grandparents Are Done Babysitting and Ready to Go Viral | NY Times  Rapping grannies, crooning 70-year-olds and gamers in their 80s are challenging traditional Chinese views about aging and what it means to have a long and happy life.

China pressured to reduce its carbon emissions at global climate change summit | PBS NewsHour  U.S. and Chinese climate negotiators met formally at the COP27 global climate summit. “China and the United States are the world's two largest economies, the two largest emitters of greenhouse gasses. So, historically, when they're able to come together on climate change, it makes a really big difference.”

US bans Chinese telecom devices, citing ‘national security’ | Al Jazeera  The U.S. Federal Communications Commission decision includes devices from Huawei, ZTE, Dahua, Hikvision, Hytera.

Thousands in China protest zero-COVID policy in largest demonstrations in decades | PBS NewsHour  Minxin Pei, Claremont McKenna College Director of International and Strategic Studies, discusses the significance and political nature of China’s nationwide protests, which include some calls for President Xi to step down. 

COVID-19 lockdown protests in China rattle US, world markets | The Hill  Protests in multiple cities in China over the country’s so-called zero-COVID policy rattled world markets, adding to fears about stagnating growth and supply chain crunches.

Mass Bay Area Tech Layoffs Thrust Thousands of H-1B Visa Holders Into Frantic Job Hunt | KQED  Mass layoffs have pitched thousands of Bay Area workers on H-1B visas into a desperate search to find another employer before they’re required to self-deport.




Dim Sum - A Little Bit of Heart


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