Bookish Posts

Jewish And AAPI Heritage Month

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In the last few years, I’ve learned a lot about the value of reading diverse books. Reading books by and about various groups of marginalized people have massively expanded my understanding of history, culture, language, rituals, oppression, and the stressors that these groups face regularly, but it has also helped me learn more about how similar we are at heart, as humans. This doesn’t discount the beautiful ways in which we differ, but it does make it easy to identify with people from these groups when we can find common ground. It’s like traveling all around the world without leaving home. And something else I’ve learned? We can always find common ground. If I can empathize with faeries and dragons and witches, I can empathize with someone who doesn’t look like me or have the same lived experience.

Lately, I’ve been using Heritage Months to guide my reading. And this month is not only Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, it’s also Jewish Heritage Month. So here are some books that I’ve read this month or have on my TBR for this month. 

  1. Hula by Jasmin Iolani Hakes (AAPI) — this is a wonderful and incredibly moving story about 3 generations of Hawaiian women, and the difficulties that they face, not only with racism and colonialism, but also with family dynamics and secrets.
  2. Jews in the Garden by Judy Rakowsky (Jewish)— this is on my TBR, and it’s about a family of Jews in Poland who went into hiding but only one survived. A Holocaust survivor and his descendant wonder what happened to them, and seek out information about the Jews next door, while the Polish government is desperate to portray their people as overwhelmingly helping Jews and laying the blame for all the atrocities at the feet of the Germans.
  3. Hurt You by Marie Myung-Ok Lee (AAPI) — a Korean retelling of Of Mice and Men featuring a neurodivergent character that addresses racism and ableism? Yes please!
  4. Unorthodox Love by Heidi Shertok (Jewish) — this is on my TBR, and it’s a romance featuring an Orthodox Jewish woman! I’m so excited for this one.
  5. The Rachel Experiment by Lisa Lin (AAPI) — the blurb for this book kind of gives me The Kiss Quotient vibes, and I’m totally here for it.
  6. Someone Just Like You by Meredith Schorr (Jewish) — another one for my TBR, and a Jewish enemies to lovers romance sounds absolutely perfect!
  7. The Perfumist of Paris by Alka Joshi (AAPI) — I’m super excited for this conclusion to the series that I’ve loved, even if I have to reread the first two books.
  8. Christian Supremacy: Reckoning with the Roots of Antisemitism and Racism by Magda Teter (Jewish) — while this normally isn’t my style, I had to add it to my TBR because of the growing influence of toxic Christianity in the US, especially with how it relates to the increasing levels of antisemitism and racism.
  9. Chlorine by Jade Song (AAPI) — I read this book last month, and it seriously stuck with me. It’s the kind of story that gets in your head, completely unsettles you, and then doesn’t ever really let go.
  10. Kantika by Elizabeth Graver (Jewish) — this was a gorgeous book detailing the life of a woman based on the grandmother of the author, and I loved that it featured Sephardic Jewish representation, which I don’t come across as much. I especially recommend the audiobook so you can hear the beautiful Ladino language and songs as they’re meant to be heard.

What are some books you’re interested in reading for Jewish and/or AAPI Heritage Month?

18 replies »

  1. Oh boy- The Holocaust is a topic I am quite sensitive about. In order to read a book relating to it, it has to be just the right one (ones dealing with rescue, resistance, and hope are what I need)

    Here are some:

    1. Winter Orphans- currently reading

    2. Paper Girl of Paris

    3. The Paris Library

    Crazy thing is they all take place in France, and there is hope. Either through rescue, power of books, or resistance. That is why I can handle them

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Christian Supremacy sounds like a book to add to my TBR. It’s sickening how toxic “Christianity” has become in the US. I’ve always identified as a Christian but I’m a whole other type than what’s in the media and GOP. I can do a whole rant on it but I won’t do that. Great selection of books. I love that you are basing your reading on monthly heritage months!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! It’s such a great way to diversify reading and get a broader perspective of experiences and understanding. As a Jewish person, America is becoming a very scary place to live. Especially with politicians ready to turn our country into a Christian theocracy.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I know, it’s so scary and I cannot believe it. I really can’t. I’m not sure how ppl think this is the Greatest country when so many people are scared for their lives. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

      • I completely understand that and it’s also very heartbreaking. I hate that this is what this country has come to. I should get our passports up to date anyways. I think they all expired last year.

        Liked by 1 person

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