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AAWAA Bibliography

Asian American Women Authors

Reviews by Amazon unless otherwise noted.

General or All Asian American Women

YELL-Oh Girls! Emerging Voices Explore Culture, Identity, and Growing Up Asian American, by Vickie Nam (Editor). Paperback: 336 pages; (August 2001). In this collection of personal writings, young Asian American girls come together in dynamic conversations about the unique challenges they face in their lives. Promoted by a variety of pressing questions from editor Vickie Nam and culled from hundreds of submission from all over the country, these revelatory essays, poems, and stories tackle such complex issues as dual identities, culture clashes, family matters, body image, and the need to find one's voice.

Dragon Ladies : Asian American Feminists Breathe Fire by Sonia Shah (Editor). Paperback - 250 pages (October 1997) South End Pr. Asian American feminism is a political hybrid linking very different cultures. "We all share the same rung on the racial hierarchy and on the gender hierarchy," asserts Sonia Shah, the editor of this appropriately diverse collection of writings. In it, Shamita Das Dasgupta and her daughter, Sayantani Das Dasgupta, comment on both raising and being third-world activists in the American Midwest, teetering outside the approved boundaries of largely white feminist groups and the Indian community. Margarita Alcantara, editor of the zine Bamboo Girl; Leslie Mah, lead guitarist of Tribe 8; and oxymoronic moderator Selena Whang explode model minority images with a freewheeling round robin on issues and events facing self-identified queer, punk Asians. Community activists Bandana Purkayastha, Shyamala Raman, and Kshiteeja Bhide expound on their agency SNEHA, which embodies the contradictions faced by Asian American feminists trying to empower women while respecting cultural traditions. Dragon Ladies: Asian American Feminists Breathe Fire is raw and powerful.

Warrior Lessons : An Asian American Woman's Journey into Power by Phoebe Eng. Hardcover - 288 pages (February 1999) Pocket Books. Social activist, lawyer, and spearheading former publisher of A. Magazine for Asian Americans, Eng begins her journey with stories of her own life as a second-generation eldest daughter, caught between cultures, codes of behavior, and colliding worlds -- yet inspired by the book that gave her a voice as a young girl, Maxine Hong Kingston's The Woman Warrior. With the weight of her parents' expectations and familial pressures, Eng faced dilemmas such as duty vs. freedom, heredity vs. independence, her parents' dreams vs. her own. Among her many lessons, she had to learn that in order to be true to herself, conflict and tough choices were necessary. But with these, she found, came a wonderful payoff: the doors to opportunity flew open. "

Leaving Deep Water : Asian American Women at the Crossroads of Two Cultures by Claire S. Chow. Paperback - 302 pages (March 1999) Plume. From the bookjacket: "Integrating ethnic identity with mainstream American culture is a complex task. In Leaving Deep Water, Claire S. Chow deftly explores the many ways that women of Asian descent have forged a place for themselves in modern society. Drawing from the personal narratives of dozens of women from China, Japan, Korea, and other Asian countries, Chow analyzes such common themes as coming of age, parental expectations, marriage and divorce, career experiences, family relationships, and aging. These intimate reflections are deeply moving, the voices unique, and the stories eye-opening, bringing new perspectives to the multicultural experience. Leaving Deep Water offers guidance, inspiration, and a shared sense of struggle while breaking down myths and celebrating the ability to build a new sense of identity in a foreign place."

The Forbidden Stitch : An Asian American Women's Anthology by Shirley Geok-Lin Lim, Mayumi Tsutakawa (Editor), Donnellym Margarita (Editor), Shirley Geok-Lin Lim (Editor), Margarita Donnelly (Editor). Paperback - 290 pages Reissue edition (December 1991) Calyx Books. The Forbidden Stitch received the American Book Award and includes the work of Chitra Divakaruni, Diana Chang, Jessica Hagedorn, Marilyn Chin, Nelllie Wong, Mitsuye Yamada, among the 80 contributors. It also includes the only extensive bibliography of Asian American women's work.

A Patchwork Shawl : Chronicles of South Asian Women in America by Shamita Das Dasgupta (Editor). Paperback - 256 pages (September 1998) Rutgers University Press. "In the 1960s, Shamita Das Dasgupta moved from India to the United States with her husband. They settled in the Midwest, feeling culturally stranded and pressured on all sides to cut loose ties to their mother country while taking on the customs of their adopted land. In A Patchwork Shawl, Dasgupta works to make sense of the divide she and her children straddle, as do other essay writers from Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India, and Pakistan. ""

Our Feet Walk the Sky : Women of the South Asian Diaspora by Women of South Asian Descent Collective (Editor)

Asian American Women and Gender: A Reader (Asians in America: The Peoples of East, Southeast, and South Asia in American Life and Culture) by Franklin Ng (Editor), Garland Pub, May 1998; Women have shaped immigrant families, reared new generations, and pioneered significant changes their communities. These essays illuminate the complex and changing roles of Asian American women, examing such diverse subjects as war brides, international marriages, split households, stereotyping, women-centered kin networks, employment, immigrant prostitution, conflict with patriarchal attitudes, feminism, and lesbianism.

Unbroken Thread : An Anthology of Plays by Asian American Women by Roberta Uno (Editor). Paperback - 328 pages (October 1993) Univ. of Massachusetts Press

The Politics of Life : Four Plays by Asian American Women by Velina Hasu Houston (Editor), Wakako Yamauchi (Editor), Genny bitter Lim. Also in hardcover.

Making More Waves : New Writing by Asian American Women by Elaine H. Kim (Editor), Lilia V. Villanueva (Editor), Asian Women United. Paperback - 340 pages (July 1997) Beacon Press. "Hailing by lineage or immigration from Asian posts such as Japan, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Korea, Vietnam, and India, the contributors to Making More Waves are as well known as Lisa See (On Gold Mountain) and Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (The Mistress of Spices ), and as new to print as 16-year-old poet Juno Parrenas. "

Asian American Women Writers by Harold Bloom (Editor), William Golding. Paperback Paperback (May 1997) Chelsea House Publishing. The writings of Asian-American women - whether born in America or transplanted from China, Japan, the Philippines, or India - have continued to reflect the complexities of their authors' cultural milieus, the stories set in places as disparate as Japanese internment camps in Arizona, flamboyant Manila under Marcos, and the Chinatowns of California. Likewise, these writings have continued to reflect the ambiguities of their authors' identities, the tensions of a female consciousness caught between cultures. The very voices of these stories - from Wong's polite autobiographical "she" and Yamamoto's "double telling" to the "splinters" in Kingston's voice and Hagedorn's polyglot - tell of the richness of writing by Asian-American women thus far.

With Silk Wings : Asian American Women at Work by Elaine Kim.

Autobiographical Inscriptions : Form, Personhood, and the American Woman Writer of Color (The W.E.B. Du Bois Institute Series) by Barbara Rodriguez, ISBN# 0195123417, Oxford Univ Press, September 1999 By engaging current approaches to the genre, Autobiographical Inscriptions breaks new ground in the field of autobiography studies. The book is centered in a discussion of the ways that innovations of form and structure contain and bolster arguments for personhood articulated by Harriet Jacobs, Zora Neale Hurston, Hisaye Yamamoto, Maxine Hong Kingston, Leslie Marmon Silko, Adrienne Kennedy, and Cecile Pineda. Organized thematically, with each chapter focusing on central questions of form, this work pairs canonized texts with less well-known works, reading autobiographical works across cultural contexts, historical periods, and artistic media, and illustrating the stunning range of formal strategies available and adopted by the American woman writer of color.

Cambodian/Cambodian American Women

When Broken Glass Floats: Growing Up Under the Khmer Rouge by Chanrithy Him. Hardcover - 288 pages 1 Ed edition (April 2000) W.W. Norton & Company. "...Chanrithy had to watch her mother, father, and five of her brothers and sisters die, murdered by the Khmer Rouge or fatally weakened by malnutrition, disease, and overwork. Now living in Oregon, where she studies posttraumatic stress disorder among Cambodian survivors, Chanrithy has written a first-person account of the killing fields that's remarkable for both its unflinching honesty and its refusal to despair. In wrenchingly immediate prose, she describes atrocities the rest of the world might prefer to ignore... yet what emerges most strongly from this memoir is the triumph of life. Chanrithy is determined to honor her pledge to the dying Chea, to study medicine so she can help others live. When Broken Glass Floats accomplishes the same goal in a different way. "As a survivor, I want to be worthy of the suffering that I endured," Chanrithy writes; by giving such eloquent voice to her dead, she has proven herself more than worthy of her suffering--and theirs. --Chloe Byrne"

First They Killed My Father : A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers by Chanrithy Him. Paperback - 256 pages (January 9, 2001) Harperperennial Library. ".Written in the present tense, First They Killed My Father will put you right in the midst of the action--action you'll wish had never happened. It's a tough read, but definitely a worthwhile one, and the author's personality and strength shine through on every page. Covering the years from 1975 to 1979, the story moves from the deaths of multiple family members to the forced separation of the survivors, leading ultimately to the reuniting of much of the family, followed by marriages and immigrations. The brutality seems unending--beatings, starvation, attempted rape, mental cruelty--and yet the narrator (a young girl) never stops fighting for escape and survival. Sad and courageous, her life and the lives of her young siblings provide quite a powerful example of how war can so deeply affect children--especially a war in which they are trained to be an integral part of the armed forces. "

Chinese American Women

Red China Blues : My Long March from Mao to Now by Jan Wong. Paperback 368 pages Reprint edition (June 1997) Anchor. "A crackerjack journalist's (she's a George Polk Award winner) immensely entertaining and enlightening account of what she learned during several extended sojourns in the People's Republic of China. A second-generation Canadian who enjoyed a sheltered, even privileged, childhood in Montreal, Wong nonetheless developed a youthful crush on Mao Zedong's brand of Communism. " "(Wong) recounts her sojourn in Communist China beginning in 1972, during which her strong faith in Maoist ideology gave way to sympathy with the dissident movement that began under Deng Xiaoping. "

Bound Feet & Western Dress by Pang-Mei Natasha Chang. Paperback - 215 pages Reprint edition (October 1997) Anchor Books. "When Chang Yu-I was three her mother tried to bind her feet. But the child's cries so tormented her brother that he convinced their mother to stop. This break with convention foreshadowed the extraordinary life Yu-i was to lead. After following her husband, poet Hsu Chi-Mo, a noted philanderer, to Oxford, she made history by becoming the first Chinese woman to have a western-style divorce at age 22. Determined to make her own way, she moved to America and served in a series of prestigious positions, including president of a bank. Written by Yu-i's great niece, Pang-Mei Natasha Chang, Bound Feet and Western Dress chronicles the life of this exceptional woman. "

Falling Leaves : The True Story of an Unwanted Chinese Daughter by Adeline Yen Mah. Paperback- 278 pages Reprint edition (April 6, 1999) Broadway Books. Also available in hardcover."The author's memoir of life in mainland China and--after the 1949 revolution--Hong Kong is a gruesome chronicle of nonstop emotional abuse from her wealthy father and his beautiful, cruel second wife. Chinese proverbs scattered throughout the text pithily covey the traditional world view that prompted Adeline's subservience. Had she not escaped to America, where she experienced a fulfilling medical career and a happy marriage, her story would be unbearable; instead, it's grimly fascinating. "

On Gold Mountain : The One-Hundred-Year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family by Lisa See. Paperback - 394 pages (September 1996) Vintage Books. "Out of the stories heard in her childhood in Los Angeles's Chinatown and years of research, See has constructed this sweeping chronicle of her Chinese-American family, a work that takes in stories of racism and romance, entrepreneurial genius and domestic heartache, secret marriages and sibling rivalries, in a powerful history of two cultures meeting in a new world. 82 photos. "

Paper Daughter : A Memoir by M. Elaine Mar. PHardcover - 292 pages (August 1999) Harperflamingo." Born in Hong Kong to parents who immigrated there from the Toishan region of mainland China, Elaine Mar came to America in 1972, when she was not quite 6. Colorado was quite a shock to a girl who had previously shared a five-room apartment with four other families. "She must be rich," Man Yee (her Chinese name) thought, emerging from the basement room where she and her parents slept to explore her Aunt Becky's three-bedroom house in a working-class Denver neighborhood. Not so: her aunt, father, and other relatives worked in the kitchen of a restaurant owned by others, and Mar's pungent memoir of her odyssey from poor immigrant to Harvard undergraduate shatters stereotypes about Asians as the "model minority." She was a smart girl and a good student who soon preferred the American name Elaine and "only spoke Chinese when absolutely necessary," but she found it hard to decipher the "cultural cues" on which social success in school depended. Honestly chronicling conflicts with her parents, whose horizons and expectations seemed unbearably limited, Mar outlines her youthful rebellion and their response with mature understanding. Her observation of American life is as clear-eyed and unsentimental as her self-portrait of a girl adrift between two cultures. --Wendy Smith "

Beyond the Narrow Gate : The Journey of Four Chinese Women from the Middle Kingdom to Middle America by Leslie Chang. Hardcover - 288 pages (May 1999) E P Dutton. "The Chinese this century have endured traumas inconceivable to modern Western generations. Beyond the Narrow Gate is the story of four girls who fled extreme violence, privation, and the Communist Red Army in 1948. Author Leslie Chang hoped to uncover the family history that her mother, one of the girls, was unwilling to talk about and learn her own identity in the process. The gulf between their experiences is profound. As Chang says of her orphaned mother, "At thirteen, she had learned to expect only the worst from life; at thirteen, I thought the greatest tragedy was losing a contact lens." Chang's tale weaves together several themes: her mother's passage from Chinese student to American housewife; the varied experiences of three friends her mother made at an elite girls' school in Taiwan; the mother-daughter relationship; and growing up in an alien culture."

Spider Eaters : A Memoir by Rae Yang. Paperback - 312 pages Reprint edition (November 1998) University of California Press. "Born in 1950, Rae Yang came of age in a time of tremendous social upheaval in her native China. Her parents, Communist intellectuals who had been in favor with the leadership, were denounced during the so-called anti-Rightist campaigns of the 1950s. During the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s Yang, a Red Guard, traveled throughout the country spreading revolutionary fever--an exciting period, she recalls, that she had much time to reflect on while later working at a collectivized pig farm. (She named the pigs under her charge, she writes: Capitalist, Prince, Natasha, and so on.) Disillusioned by the violence, repression, and hardship all around her, Yang eventually managed to leave China on a student visa for the United States. "Lies, big and small, cannot easily hypnotize me," she writes, and her memoir paints an honest portrait of a China in suffering."

Surviving on the Gold Mountain : A History of Chinese American Women and Their Lives by Huping Ling. Paperback - 256 pages (September 1998) State Univ of New York Press. Also in hardcover.

Unbound Feet : A Social History of Chinese Women in San Francisco by Judy Yung. Paperback - 395 pages (November 1995) Univ California Press. "The crippling custom of footbinding is the thematic touchstone for Judy Yung's engrossing study of Chinese American women during the first half of the twentieth century. Using this symbol of subjugation to examine social change in the lives of these women, she shows the stages of "unbinding" that occurred in the decades between the turn of the century and the end of World War II. The setting for this captivating history is San Francisco, which had the largest Chinese population in the United States. Yung, a second-generation Chinese American born and raised in San Francisco, uses an impressive range of sources to tell her story. Oral history interviews, previously unknown autobiographies, both English- and Chinese-language newspapers, government census records, and exceptional photographs from public archives and private collections combine to make this a richly human document as well as an illuminating treatise on race, gender, and class dynamics. While presenting larger social trends Yung highlights the many individual experiences of Chinese American women, and her skill as an oral history interviewer gives this work an immediacy that is poignant and effective. Her analysis of intraethnic class riftsa major gap in ethnic historysheds important light on the difficulties that Chinese American women faced in their own communities. Yung provides a more accurate view of their lives than has existed before, revealing the many ways that these womenrather than being passive victims of oppressionwere active agents in the making of their own history. "

Unbound Voices: A Documentary History of Chinese Women in San Francisco by Judy Yung. Paperback - 500 pages (December 1999) Univ California Press. "Unbound Voices brings together the voices of Chinese American women in a fascinating, intimate collection of documents--letters, essays, poems, autobiographies, speeches, testimonials, and oral histories--detailing half a century of their lives in America. Together, these sources provide a captivating mosaic of Chinese women's experiences in their own words, as they tell of making a home for themselves and their families in San Francisco from the Gold Rush years through World War II. "

Chinese Women of America : A Pictorial History by Judy Yung. University of Washington Press. Out of print.

Filipina American Women

Babaylan : An Anthology of Filipina and Filipina American Writers by Nick Carbo and Eileen Tabios, Consortium Book Sales & Dist, May 2000, 336 pages

Almost Americans : A Quest for Dignity by Patricia Justiniani McReynolds, Paperback - 264 pages 1 Ed edition (November 1997) Red Crane Books. "Almost Americans is the memoir of an observant child of immigrant parents and noticed the effects of her mixed heritage on herself and her community. She was born of a Filipino father and a Norwegian mother. She grew up in California when racism was institutionalized into the miscegenation laws that denied the legitimacy of her parent's marriage and of her birth. McReynolds remoirs offer a sometimes tender, sometimes searing insight into the reality of the immigrant experience."

Philippine Woman in America by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard, Paperback 2nd edition, RLI Gallery. The straightforward, elegantly-written, and pithy essays reveal much of the author's experiences as an immigrant in the United States."

When the Rainbow Goddess Wept by Cecilia Manguerra Brainard, Paperback - 216 pages (December 1999) Univ of Michigan Pr. Review from Ingram: "Ingram Brainard's fresh and powerful voice fills a void in Asian-American literature with a novel steeped in the enchantment and suffering of the Filipino people. In the story of nine-year-old Yvonne's flight from the Japanese invasion and her determination to hold fast to her people's myths and legends, Brainard lays bare the real-life drama of World War II's devastating effect on the lives of the Filipinos."

India American Women

Pilgrimage to India : A Woman Revisits Her Homeland (Adventura Series) by Pramila Jayapal. Paperback - 288 pages (April 9, 2001) Seal Press Feminist Pub. Pramila Jayapala rejected her indigenous Indian culture when she was a young child, having been taught and raised in Western schools and ideology. For years, Jayapala held this uncomplicated opinion: "India repressed and backward, America creative and advanced." But after working a soulless job in investment banking and marketing, she finally came to realize that "there was a woman within me, waiting to emerge, a persona that included a complexity of new images of homeland, identity, life values, and work." Eventually she left Seattle, Wash., where she had worked, to embark on a two-year pilgrimage through India. Japayala takes us on the underground tour--letting us see this complex and spiritually fascinating country through Western eyes but with a native guide.

Against Purity : Rethinking Identity With Indian Feminisms (Gender, Racism, Ethnicity) by Irene Gedalof . Paperback - (February 2000) 232 pages . This pioneering volume critiques the work of four eminent Western feminists--Rosi Braidotti, Judith Butler, Donna Haraway and Luce Irigaray--in the light of original readings of a wide range of Indian feminist historians and theorists. Irene Gedalof's exploration of the relationship between Indian and white Western feminisms allows the development of more complex models of power, identity and the self--opening up a path which allows the redefinition of "women" as a subject of feminism. Sophisticated yet accessible, Against Purity is a unique contribution to ongoing feminist debates about identity, power and difference.

Japanese American Women

Heartbeat of Struggle : The Revolutionary Life of Yuri Kochiyama by Diane C. Fujino. 424 pages. Publisher: Univ Of Minnesota Press (April 24, 2005). "Based on extensive archival research and interviews with Kochiyama's family, friends, and the subject herself, Diane C. Fujino traces Kochiyama's life from an "all-American" childhood to her achievements as a tireless defender of - and fighter for - human rights. ...After Pearl Harbor, however, Kochiyama's family was among the thousands of Japanese Americans forcibly removed to internment camps for the duration of the war, a traumatic experience that opened her eyes to the existence of social injustice. ... she met Malcolm X, who inspired her radical political development and the ensuing four decades of incessant work for Black liberation, Asian American equality, Puerto Rican independence, and political prisoner defense. "

Memoirs or books by Yuriko Kochiyama

Masking Selves, Making Subjects : Japanese American Women, Identity, and the Body by Taise Yamamoto. "This sophisticated and comprehensive study is the first to situate Japanese American women's writing within theoretical contexts that provide a means of articulating the complex relationships between language and the body, gender and agency, nationalism and identity. Through an examination of post- World War II autobiographical writings, fiction, and poetry, Traise Yamamoto argues that these writers have employed the trope of maskingtextually and psychologicallyas a strategy to create an alternative discursive practice and to protect the self as subject. Yamamoto's range is broad, and her interdisciplinary approach yields richly textured, in-depth readings of a number of genres, including film and travel narrative. "

Polite Lies : On Being a Woman Caught Between Cultures by Kyoko Mori. "Yoko Mori spent a largely unhappy childhood chafing at social restrictions in Japan before migrating to the American Midwest. In 12 beautifully turned essays she shuttles between these two cultures, observing local customs with a wondering eye. Too bold to be emotionally fluent in either land, Mori scrutinizes--and sometimes ridicules--the sound of a woman's voice raised in a childish squeak; the differences between Americans who marry for love (and divorce the day it dissolves) and traditional Japanese women, who may be more likely to find happiness in an honorable widowhood; and the navigation of uncomfortable truths and painful emotions. "
Other books by Kyoko Mori:

Citizen 13660 by Mine Okubo. Paperback - 209 pages Reprint edition (June 1983) University of Washington Press. From an Amazon reader: "Mine Okubo still lives in the Manhattan studio apartment where she has painted for more than 50 years. She is known not just as Citizen 13660 from the internment camps, but as a talented and dedicated artist (see her profiled in the video Persistent Women Artists available on Amazon). This book, a reprint of the 1946 original, uses her deceptively simple style to tell how she was forced to leave behind the life of an American college student to become a Japanese-American detainee, and what her artist's eye observed in the camps."

From a Town on the Hudson : A Japanese Woman's Life in America by Yuko Koyano. Hardcover - 108 pages 1 Ed edition (January 1997) Charles E Tuttle Co.

Songs My Mother Taught Me : Stories, Plays, and Memoir by Wakako Yamauchi, Valerie Miner (Editor), Garrett K. Hongo (Editor). Paperback - 257 pages (June 1994) Feminist Press.

Obasan by Joy Kogawa. Reading level: Young Adult. Paperback (January 1994) Anchor. From the Publisher: "Based on the author's own experiences, this award-winning novel was the first to tell the story of the evacuation, relocation, and dispersal of Canadian citizens of Japanese ancestry during the Second World War." "This quiet first novel burns in your hand. Rage mellows into sorrow; sorrow illumines love. It is the love you come away with, finally, in OBASAN." (Washington Post)

Korean American Women

Doing What Had to Be Done : The Life Narrative of Dora Yum Kim by Soo-Young Chin. Paperback - 229 pages (July 1999) Temple Univ Press.

Still Life With Rice : A Young American Woman Discovers the Life and Legacy of Her Korean Grandmother by Hellie Lee. Paperback - 320 pages Reprint edition (April 1997) Touchstone Books. "In this radiant memoir of her grandmother's life, Lee recreates a culture that is both seductively exotic and strangely familiar. Lee's desire to recover the family's history, as well as to understand the intricate weave of her own identity, results in the exploration of universal issues such as the complex nature of family relations and the rapidly changing lives of women in this century. of photos. ""

Malaysian American Women

Among the White Moon Faces : An Asian-American Memoir of Homelands by Shirley Geok-Lin Lim. Paperback - 248 pages Reprint edition (March 1998) Feminist Press. "cross-cultural ironies echo throughout Lim's thoughtful, politically astute memoir, which covers ground ranging from the neglect and hunger of her Malaysian childhood, to her Anglophile education, to the loneliness of her first years in America. As a Chinese Malaysian, she faced discrimination not only from the colonial British, but later, after independence, from ethnic Malays as well. Reared in an expatriate culture, Lim was doubly dislocated by immigrating to America. Here, too, Lim encountered prejudice, as an Asian female, as a poet, and as a brown-skinned, British-accented anomaly who fit no one's notion of who she should be. In the end, Lim finds a kind of balance in her perpetual exile, using sisterhood and the solace of writing to create a sense of place--and to counter the pull of ancient ghosts. "Listening, and telling my own stories, I am moving home," she writes."

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