What Vanessa Hua reads

what vanessa hua reads

The brilliant author behind one of this year’s best new novels, A River of Stars, is joining She Reads all month long as our latest guest editor. We couldn’t wait to see what she loves reading and now that the list is finally here, we’ll be doing our best to read all of these fantastic books by the end of the year. Continue reading to find out what Vanessa Hua reads.

Brass by Xhenet Aliu

This book is a wise and wise-cracking exploration of working-class mothers and daughters.


Invitation to a Bonfire by Adrienne Celt

Adrienne Celt’s Invitation to a Bonfire is sexy and spooky. A twisty page-turner.


Useful Phrases for Immigrants by May-Lee Chai

May-Lee Chai’s Useful Phrases for Immigrants holds multitudes, taking us into a dazzling range of lives.


how to write an autobiographical novel

How to Write An Autobiographical Novel: Essays by Alexander Chee

Alexander Chee’s How to Write An Autobiographical Novel is a deeply moving memoir and manual on being an activist and a writer.


Bury What We Cannot Take by Kirstin Chen

Kirstin Chen’s Bury What We Cannot Take is a gripping examination of a family caught up in the turmoil of Chinese history.


Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras

Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras

Ingrid Rojas Contreras’ Fruit of the Drunken Tree is an enthralling account of female friendship and girlhood.


All That You Can Ever Know: A Memoir by Nicole Chung

Nicole Chung’s All You Can Ever Know is a gorgeous, deeply moving memoir about adoption, the search for identity and motherhood.


The Ensemble by Aja Gabel out in May

The Ensemble by Aja Gabel

Aja Gabel’s The Ensemble is a gripping account of a string quartet, their relationships and the passage of time.


Patriot Number One: American Dreams in Chinatown by Lauren Hilger

Lauren Hilger’s Patriot Number One is a compelling look at Chinese immigrants trying to survive in Flushing; it reminded me of Leslie T. Chang’s Factory Girls, in the shared striving of protagonists.


My Old Faithful by Yang Huang

Yang Huang’s My Old Faithful is charming and funny, chronicling a family over time, in all their struggles and joys.


The Golden State by Lydia Kiesling

Lydia Kiesling’s The Golden State is a lacerating and lyrical depiction of motherhood.


The Incendiaries by Reese Kwon

The Incendiaries by R.O. Kwon

R.O. Kwon’s The Incendiaries is dark and devastating, beautiful, inventive and haunting.


Number One Chinese Restaurant by Lillian Li

Number One Chinese Restaurant by Lillian Li

Lillian Li’s Number One Chinese Restaurant is poignant, big-hearted, funny and insightful.


Self-Portrait with Boy by Rachel Lyon

Rachel Lyon’s Self-Portrait with Boy is a searing examination of art and becoming an artist.


Severance by Ling Ma

Ling Ma’s Severance is a haunting, post-apocalyptic novel of loss and survival.


The Library Book by Susan Orlean

Susan Orlean’s The Library Book is a fascinating investigation of a devastating fire at the Los Angeles Public Library, and also a love letter to libraries.

Vanessa Hua

Guest Editor

Vanessa Hua is an award-winning author and columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle. For two decades, she has been writing about Asia and the diaspora, filing stories from China, Burma, Panama, South Korea, and Ecuador. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, San Francisco Magazine, Washington Post, The Atlantic, and Newsweek, among other publications. She works and teaches at the Writers’ Grotto in San Francisco, and is on the faculty at the 2018 Mendocino Coast Writers Conference.

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