May 27, 2023

Sunday Salon: The Chinese Groove, Crying in H Mart, Under the Naga Tail, Sunshine Nails

Books for AAPI Heritage Month that I started in May but will finish in June.

The Chinese Groove by Kathryn Ma
Published January 24, 2023; Counterpoint
Genre: Literary, Fiction, Contemporary, Asian Literature

Publisher:  Eighteen-year-old Shelley, shunned by richer members of his Zheng extended family in China, heads to San Francisco to live with his "rich" uncle, confident in the powers of the "Chinese groove," the unspoken bonds between countrymen that transcend time and borders.

But Shelley soon discovers that his extended family in the U.S. are not about to help him longer than the two weeks he was originally promised. How he manages to survive and be in a position to later help his uncle is the gist of the novel. 

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner
Published April 20, 2021; Knopf, library book
Genre: memoir, biography, Asian literature

Michelle Zauner tells of growing up one of the few Asian American kids at  school in Eugene, Oregon; of struggling with her mother's high expectations of her; of a painful adolescence; of months spent in her grandmother's  apartment in Seoul, where she and her mother would bond, late at night, over heaping plates of food.

As she grew up, Michelle's Koreanness began to feel ever more distant, even as she found the life she wanted to live. 
 It was her mother's terminal cancer that forced a reckoning and brought her to reclaim the gifts of taste, language, and history her mother had given her. 

by Mae Bunseng Taing, James Taing
Published February 7, 2023; Greenleaf Book Group Press

Forced from his home by the Khmer Rouge, teenager Mae Taing struggles to endure years of backbreaking work, constant starvation, and ruthless cruelty from his captors—supposed freedom fighters who turned against their own people. Mae risks torture and death to escape into the dark tropical jungles, trekking across a relentless wilderness crawling with is only his willpower to survive and dreams of a better country that give Mae the strength to face the dangers ahead.

This memoir, written with Mae’s son, James, is an incredible story of survival, and a testament to the human spirit’s capacity in us all to endure and prevail in spite of great adversity. Under the Naga Tail will find its place among the most epic true stories of personal triumph.

Mae Bunseng Taing now lives in Connecticut; his son James lives in the metro New York area

In the Shadow of the Banyan
by Cambodian American novelist Vaddy Ratner 
Published: August 7, 2012; Simon & Schuster
Genre: historical fiction, Cambodian history, Southeast Asia
An award winning novel about a family losing a father and narrowly escaping the Cambodian war and the Khmer Rouge atrocities. 

A literary work of poetic, lyrical beauty, this novel is based on the real experiences of the writer as a child living through the time of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. I was overwhelmed by the beauty of the writing, the author's use of poetic words and descriptions to tell this story of survival, loss, and emotion.

May Is Asian Heritage Month in Canada

It is interesting that Canada has also named each May as Asian Heritage Month, "celebrating the diverse culture and history of people of Asian origin in Canada". Their theme this year is "Stories of Determination."

This book fits the Canadian theme of "Stories of Determination."
Publication: July 4, 2023, Atria Books

Sunshine Nails by Mai Nguyen is a humorous novel about a Vietnamese Canadian family in Toronto who have built a nail salon that they have relied on thus far. Things change when an "ultra glam high end salon opens up across the street." They "will do whatever it takes to protect their no-frills nail salon - even if it tears the family apart." 

More reading: 22 More books for AAPI Month and Beyond, recommendations by Novel Suspects

Memes: The Sunday Post hosted by The Caffeinated BookreviewerAlso,  It's Monday: What Are You Readingand Sunday SalonStacking the ShelvesMailbox Monday


  1. I thank you so much for sharing books this month for AAPI Heritage Month. You have featured books from many diverse cultures this month. Some have been highlighted in other places, but many have slipped below the radar, I think.

    Under the Naga Tail: A True Story of Survival, Bravery, and Escape from the Cambodian Genocide sounds especially compelling.

  2. The Chinese Groove sounds like my father’s story of immigration — he had to make it on his own when his aunts and uncles didn’t show any interest in his quest for education. But that was 100 years ago!

    best, mae at

  3. Agreeing with Deb in thanking yu for sharing so many good titles. I love blogs as I am always introduced to new literature and ideas.

  4. I love the sound of The Chinese groove.

  5. A pair of non-fiction for me going into next week - 'Kraftwerk: Future Music from Germany' by Uwe Schutte and 'The Nocturnal Brain - Nightmares, Neuroscience and the Secret World of Sleep' by Guy Leschziner.

    1. The Nocturnal Brain sounds fascinating

  6. Hello Harvee, Crying in H Mart has been on my list for a while. I do love good memoirs.. I finally did a blog post with an update and some summer picks; have a goon summer.

  7. A lot of good books to explore from your AAPI Heritage Month posts! Thanks for sharing, Harvee!

  8. "In the Shadow of the Banyan" and "Sunshine Nails" both sound very interesting to me. Adding them to my read list.

  9. These look good. AAPI covers such a broad range of cultures and people.

  10. Mystica VarathapalanMay 28, 2023 at 12:05 AM

    Immigrant stories are such interesting heartfelt reads. This sounds a good one

  11. Thanks for sharing. These sound like interesting books.

  12. Those look like amazing books. I'm especially interested in In The Shadow of the Banyan.

  13. I really want to read Crying in H Mart but I feel like I need to properly mentally prepared for it before I do.

    The rest all look really good!

  14. Your explorations for Asian heritage month have been SO interesting. I added a couple to my TBR earlier in the month and this week it's going to be Under the Naga Tail. The best part of my Sunday mornings is wandering the blogs and finding about gems like these. Have a terrific week.
    Terrie @ Bookshelf Journeys

  15. You read such interesting books. I like the sound of all of these. Sunshine Nails really sounds like fun.

  16. Was Chinese Groove more humorous or more like holding our breath, biting our nails wondering "ohmygosh what is Shelley going to do???"

  17. Thanks for sharing, Harvee. I've heard great things about Crying in H Mart. The others are new to me.

  18. Thanks for sharing all these titles! I have a copy of Crying in H Mart, but haven't gotten to it yet.

  19. I pitched The Chinese Groove for my book club but no one had heard of it besides me and since I hadn't read it I couldn't talk it up too much. Do let me know what you think of it. The Shadow of the Banyan was beautifully written but such a tragic tale.

  20. You’ve shared so many wonderful books! Which to read first? 😊

  21. What a great list of books. Thanks for sharing.

  22. These look like great selections - enjoy!

    Wishing you a great reading week

  23. Ooh! All of these books look interesting! Great haul!

    Here’s my Sunday Post

    Please join the Book Photo Sundays and Cover Spotlight

    Rabbit Ears Book Blog: WORLD’S WEIRDEST BOOK BLOG!

  24. These all look good. Thanks for sharing.
    Mary @Bookfan

  25. Interesting assortment of books. Thanks for sharing them. Come see my week here. Happy reading!

  26. I read In the Shadow of the Banyan Tree several years ago and totally loved it! And I think The Chinese Groove is one I'd really like, too. Happy reading. :D

  27. Thank you for sharing this list, I've seen Crying in H Mart around and it looks good. Happy reading!

  28. You have done such a good job with the Asian Heritage reading. Thanks for sharing these. Happy Reading!

  29. I have read the H Mart and Chinese Groove books -- both decent. I need to read the Ratner book -- but it looks scary and sad too.


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