Asian-Authored Books to Read This Spring

The following booklist was compiled by Pranjal Malik and Olivia Melanson to help celebrate Asian Heritage Month here at the Libraries. The list strives to be geographically diverse, covering a wide scope and many different voices.

Yellowface, R.F. Kuang

“What’s the harm in a pseudonym? Bestselling sensation Juniper Song is not who she says she is, she didn’t write the book she claims she wrote, and she is most certainly not Asian American – in this chilling and hilariously cutting novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author R. F. Kuang in the vein of White Ivy and The Other Black Girl.”

Beauty is a wound, Eka Kurniawan

“One afternoon on a weekend in May, Dewi Ayu rose from her grave after being dead for twenty-one years. So begins Beauty Is a Wound, an epic, sweeping, compulsively readable novel, combining history, satire, family tragedy, legend, humor, and romance in a sweeping polyphony. […] The bravura resilience on display here makes Beauty Is a Wound a luscious yet astringent product of the art blossoming since the fall of Suharto.”

No One Can Pronounce My Name, Rakesh Satya

“In a suburb outside Cleveland, a community of Indian Americans has settled into lives that straddle the divide between Eastern and Western cultures. For some, America is a bewildering and alienating place where coworkers can’t pronounce your name but will eagerly repeat the Sanskrit phrases from their yoga class. […] When Harit and Ranjana’s paths cross, they begin a strange yet necessary friendship that brings to light their own passions and fears”

Exit West, Mohsin Hamid

“In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet […]. They embark on a furtive love affair, thrust into premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors – doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price.”

The Wrong End of the Telescope,  Rabih Alameddine

“Mina Simpson, a Lebanese doctor, arrives at the infamous Moria refugee camp on Lesbos, Greece, after being urgently summoned for help by her friend who runs an NGO there. Alienated from her family except for her beloved brother, Mina has avoided being so close to her homeland for decades. But with a week off work and apart from her wife of thirty years, Mina hopes to accomplish something meaningful […]”

The Startup Wife A Novel, Tahmima Anam

“Newlyweds Asha and Cyrus build an app that replaces religious rituals and soon find themselves running one of the most popular social media platforms in the world. The platform creates a sensation, with millions of users seeking personalized rituals every day. Will Cyrus and Asha’s marriage survive the pressures of sudden fame, or will she become overshadowed by the man everyone is calling the new messiah?”

Minor Feelings, Cathy Park Hong

“Asian Americans inhabit a purgatorial status: neither white enough nor black enough, unmentioned in most conversations about racial identity. In the popular imagination, Asian Americans are all high-achieving professionals. But in reality, this is the most economically divided group in the country […] Poet and essayist Cathy Park Hong fearlessly and provocatively confronts this thorny subject, blending memoir, cultural criticism, and history to expose the truth of racialized consciousness in America.

Counterfeit, Kirstin Chen

“Ava Wong has always played it safe. As a strait-laced, rule-abiding Chinese American lawyer with a successful surgeon as a husband, a young son, and a beautiful home, she’s built the perfect life. But beneath this façade, Ava’s world is crumbling. […] Enter Winnie Fang, Ava’s enigmatic college roommate from Mainland China. […] But the shy, awkward girl Ava once knew has been replaced with a confident woman of the world, dripping in luxury goods, including a coveted Birkin in classic orange.”

A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini

A breathtaking story set against the volatile events of Afghanistan’s last thirty years-from the Soviet invasion to the reign of the Taliban to post-Taliban rebuilding-that puts the violence, fear, hope and faith of this country in intimate, human terms. It is a tale of two generations of characters brought jarringly together by the tragic sweep of war […]”

Frankenstein in Baghdad, Ahmed Saadawi

“From the rubble-strewn streets of U.S.-occupied Baghdad, Hadi, a scavenger and an oddball fixture at a local café, collects human body parts and stitches them together to create a corpse. His goal, he claims, is for the government to recognize the parts as people and to give them proper burial. But when the corpse goes missing, a wave of eerie murders sweeps the city, and reports stream in of a horrendous-looking criminal who, though shot, cannot be killed.”

Convenience Store Woman, Sayaka Murata

“Keiko Furukura had always been considered a strange child, and her parents always worried how she would get on in the real world, so when she takes on a job in a convenience store while at university, they are delighted for her. For her part, in the convenience store she finds a predictable world mandated by the store manual, which dictates how the workers should act and what they should say, and she copies her coworkers’ style of dress and speech patterns so that she can play the part of a normal person.”

Improve Your Writing With This Book Display

From completing job application to finishing up assignments for courses, most of us have hit one of the busiest times in the semester. With the opportunity to apply new skills first-hand to current projects, now is the perfect time to acquire new study and writing skills! To help with this, our March book display, “Writing Success,” is sure to come in handy.

Whether you’re looking for grammar tips or step-by-step guides, this book display has all the tools you need to elevate your writing.

Below are a few picks from the March book display. For the full collection, check out the in-person display at the McLennan-Redpath Library.

A Mind For Numbers by Barbara Oakley

Whether you are a student struggling to fulfill a math or science requirement, or you are embarking on a career change that requires a new skill set, A Mind for Numbers offers the tools you need to get a better grasp of that intimidating material.

English Grammar For Dummies by Wendy M. Anderson

Graceless with grammar? Perplexed by punctuation? Have no fear! This second Australian edition of English Grammar For Dummies explains everything from basic sentence structure to the finer points of grammar. Packed with expert advice, this book will help you to communicate more effectively and make the right impression every time.

How to Take Smart Notes by Sönke Ahrens

The key to good and efficient writing lies in the intelligent organisation of ideas and notes. This book helps students, academics and nonfiction writers to get more done, write intelligent texts and learn for the long run. It teaches you how to take smart notes and ensure they bring you and your projects forward.

The Study Skills Guide by Jacqueline Connelly and Patrick Forsyth

The Study Skills Guide covers the essential skills that lead to success at university. With advice on how to work efficiently and achieve great results, this comprehensive guide offers practical and proven ways to cope with the challenges you will face.

How to Write a Thesis by Rowena Murray

This invaluable book covers issues such as working out the criteria for your thesis, writer’s block, writing a literature review, making notes into a draft and much more. 

Library Vocab 102: What are datasets and databases?

As a McGill student working at the library, I understand that navigating the vast world of information can be challenging, especially when encountering terms like “dataset” and “database.” In this short blog post, I try to simplify these concepts for fellow students, providing a clearer understanding of what they entail.

Let’s start with Datasets:

A dataset is essentially a collection of organized information or data. It can be as simple as a spreadsheet with rows and columns or as complex as a massive compilation of data points related to a specific topic. Datasets serve as raw materials for research and analysis, allowing researchers to draw meaningful conclusions based on patterns, trends, and relationships within the data.

For example, a dataset on climate change might include information on temperature variations, greenhouse gas emissions, and sea level rise over a specific time period. McGill’s library provides access to various datasets through platforms like ICPSR (Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research), where you can explore datasets related to social sciences.

Now let’s try understanding Databases:

On the other hand, a database is a structured collection of data organized for efficient retrieval and management. Databases store and organize information in a way that allows users to search, retrieve, and manipulate data easily. Think of it as a digital filing cabinet where information is stored in a systematic manner.

McGill’s library offers access to numerous databases, including academic databases like JSTOR, PubMed, and ProQuest. These databases cover a wide range of disciplines, providing students with scholarly articles, research papers, and other academic resources to support their studies.

To rephrase here are the key differences:

   – Datasets: Raw, unprocessed information.

   – Databases: Organized and processed information.

   – Datasets: Used for analysis, research, and drawing conclusions.

   – Databases: Used for efficient storage, retrieval, and management of information.

As a McGill student, you have access to a wealth of datasets and databases through the library, empowering you to explore, learn, and excel in your academic journey.

Remember to leverage resources like lib guides and platforms recommended by the McGill library to make the most of these valuable tools in your studies. Happy exploring!