A Year in Reading: Vanessa Hua

December 14, 2017 | 13 books mentioned 3 min read

We live in a time when immigrants, people of color, refugees, women, disabled people, LGBT people, the poor, and others in the margins are denied their stories—and denied their humanity. Reading about lives different than our own is an act both of empathy and resistance. In my year of reading, I found the following books by women deeply moving and illuminating.

covercovercover

Three novels—Shanthi Sekaran’s Lucky Boy, Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere, and Lisa Ko’s The Leavers—depict the pain, joy, and complexities around transracial, transnational adoption, from a kaleidoscope of perspectives.

 

covercover

Min Jin Lee’s novel Pachinko is epic, Thi Bui’s graphic memoir The Best We Could Do is intimate, and Kaitlin Solimine’s novel Empire of Glass is experimental, but each reflect the impact of war and migration over generations—and each are compelling and unforgettable.

 

covercovercover

Bridget Quinn’s Broad Strokes about 15 female artists from the 17th century to the present, is inspiring, charming, and eye-opening; Ethel Rohan’s novel The Weight of Himwhich portrays an Irish father in the aftermath of his son’s suicide, is painful yet big-hearted; the short stories in Laurie Ann Doyle’s World Gone Missing give us the moments of connection that people find even amid great loss; Julie Lythcott-Haim’s searing, lyrical memoir Real American details her experiences as the daughter of an African-American father and white British mother; Kirsten Radtke’s graphic memoir Imagine Wanting Only This is thought-provoking and poignant; and Lesley Nneka Arimah’s What it Means When A Man Falls from the Sky is a witty, devastating collection of short stories. I loved Xhenet Aliu’s Brass, a fierce, funny, and tender debut novel about mothers and daughters that is coming out early next year.

These narratives are individual yet universal in their concerns, timely and timeless, and just what I needed to get through 2017 and beyond.

More from A Year in Reading 2017

Do you love Year in Reading and the amazing books and arts content that The Millions produces year round? We are asking readers for support to ensure that The Millions can stay vibrant for years to come. Please click here to learn about several simple ways you can support The Millions now.

Don’t miss: A Year in Reading 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005

is the author of Deceit and Other Possibilities winner of the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature and the forthcoming A River of Stars (Ballantine, August 2018.) For nearly two decades, she has been writing about Asia and the diaspora in journalism and fiction.  A columnist at the San Francisco Chronicle, she has written for the New York Times, Washington Post, The Atlantic, and elsewhere. She received a Rona Jaffe Writers' Award, a Steinbeck Fellowship in Creative Writing, as well as honors from the Society of Professional Journalists and Asian American Journalists’ Association. 

Add Your Comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.