May’s Bookseller-Recommended Audiobooks

Libro.fm offers recommendations from real people: the dedicated indie booksellers working in our 1,400+ partner bookstores!

In celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, this month’s picks are all written by AAPI authors. You can also take a quiz to find an AAPI-authored audiobook, check out our AAPI audiobooks collection, and browse our directory of AAPI-owned bookstores. Below, find the audiobooks that booksellers are loving this month!


Fiction

Whereabouts

By Jhumpa Lahiri • Narrated by Susan Vinciotti Bonito

“The latest story from Jhumpa Lahiri is told gently, quietly. It’s about a woman, told in her own voice—filled with everyday commonalities that explain little and yet reveal much. The words are lovely, sad, sometimes hopeful, but often disappointed. The author has shared with us a vision of life lived by another and yet there’s something about her that is so familiar….Whether or not you follow the author’s work, you’ll treasure this small offering to life, to unknown love, to memory. It’s one to read over again many times. I know I will.”

Linda, Auntie’s Bookstore

Interior Chinatown

By Charles Yu • Narrated by Joel de la Fuente

“We all make choices throughout our lives, choosing different paths to follow, different roles to play. But who selects the options we choose from? Interior Chinatown is like a rapier taken to stereotypes that inhabit society’s attitudes towards Asian Americans….Interior Chinatown is a brilliant novel, one that challenged this reader in the best possible ways”

Martin, Green Apple Books

Gold Diggers

By Sanjena Sathian • Narrated by Rama Vallury

“Gold as a drug. Gold as a metaphor for the glittering hopes and burdens new immigrants put on their children’s shoulders. Gold as the thread weaving history, memory, and imagination, a meditation on how the past blends into the present. Gold as the object of an improbable heist. There is so much in this book, but it is first and foremost an extraordinarily good yarn, the story of two generations of American-Indian immigrants trying to become Americanized while clinging to a fetishized, culturally commodified India….It’s fun and fast-paced, except when you stop short for a sentence so evocative you want to dwell on it. A seriously good book by a seriously talented writer.”

Françoise, Shakespeare & Co

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous

By Ocean Vuong • Narrated by the author

“My words can’t do justice to how beautiful the language is in this book. Listening to the author read it was so raw and engaging. This book was emotionally painful in a lot of parts but just touched me on so many levels. Definitely the best book that I’ve listened to (and read) so far this year.”

Suzie, Tattered Cover

Short Stories

Land of Big Numbers

By Te-Ping Chen • Narrated by Lynn Chen, Christine Lakin, Eddy Lee, Christopher Naoki Lee, Matt Yang Kim, Katie Tang, Fiona Rene, and various narrators

“How can someone write about China? It’s a land of contradictions and multitudes seemingly impossible to tease apart. Te-ping Chen has managed to do just that with this slim and stunning short story collection. Each entry is a small glimpse into someone’s life; you will hunger for more. The book blends the real with the surreal to delicately touch on topics like technology, censorship, globalization, and conformity in surprising ways. The collection is like a perfect pearl: brilliant, gleaming and a little elusive.”

Samantha, Rediscovered Books

We Two Alone

By Jack Wang • Narrated by Feodor Chin & Natalie Naudus

“A stunning debut from a new voice in fiction. Multiple stories from all walks of the class spectrum during the 1920’s Chinese Diaspora. We Two Alone is a must-read for someone looking to explore more of their relationship with race and US history. ”

Kelso, Gibson’s Bookstore

Historical Fiction

The Tenth Muse

By Catherine Chung • Narrated by Cassandra Campbell

“Catherine Chung’s female protagonist is a mathematician, and it is thrilling to have a woman scientist who is a complex character in an even more complex novel. In trying to solve a math riddle, she ends up exploring the riddle of her own childhood, which is inextricably linked to one of the darkest episodes in human history. Catherine Chung has woven a rich tapestry mixing present and past, ambition, identity, and gender issues. A beautiful book.”

Francoise, Shakespeare & Co

The Night Tiger

By Yangsze Choo • Narrated by the author

The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo was the perfect book to kick off my 2020 reading! This novel has a little something for everyone… mystery, suspense, forbidden love and underdog characters to root for. The writing is as lush and vivid as the cover art (gorgeous right?)….I’d describe the novel as historical fiction (1930s colonial Malaysia) interwoven with mythology and ancient superstitions (unlucky numbers, unmatched sets, and weretigers). Throw in dancehalls, severed fingers, murder and food descriptions that make your mouth water and you have a book you won’t want to put down! ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫”

Leah, Aesop’s Fable

Run Me to Earth

By Paul Yoon • Narrated by Ramón de Ocampo

“This is Paul Yoon’s best work yet. While this is also his most chaotic book, the power of his writing can still be found in the quiet moments, in gestures toward reconciliation, forgiveness, or at least resolution. This novel is stunning in its rendering of our capacity for both savagery and tenderness. Yoon is one of our great masters, and Run Me to Earth is a masterwork.”

Joseph, Changing Hands

How Much of These Hills Is Gold

By C Pam Zhang • Narrated by Joel de la Fuente & Catherine Ho

“In the most inventive and fresh language I’ve seen in a long time, C Pam Zhang’s How Much of These Hills Is Gold, set during the American gold rush, tells the story of siblings Lucy and Sam as they wander the western expanse to give their father a proper burial. Zhang transforms the mythology of the American West and reclaims it through the eyes of first-generation Asian-Americans, tackling themes of race, immigration, and gender and creating a new narrative of a voice and people often left out of this pivotal historical period. Strange and surreal, this is a novel to read with care and gratitude.”

Chris, Books & Books

Romance

This Time Will Be Different

By Misa Sugiura • Narrated by Joy Osmanski

This Time Will Be Different was a pleasure to listen to, although the story wasn’t all sunshine and daisies…This book explores the pressure of living up to parents’ expectations (whether its to be heterosexual or high-achieving), rejecting the model minority stereotype and white saviorism, reparations for families of interned Japanese Americans, and normalizing abortion. It even hits the spot with a little romance. This Time Will Be Different is a symphony of complicated teen life.”

Mary, Raven Book Store

The Kiss Quotient

By Helen Hoang • Narrated by Carly Robins

“I am going to cry. Happy tears. I don’t think I’ve ever related to a character in romance quite so much as I do to Stella. And that is important. Helen gives voice to those who have been counted out of the romance genre for so long, and in such a way that is relatable, informative, and swoon-worthy. I also really enjoyed the premise of flipping Pretty Woman on its head. I’ll always take a fake dating trope, but something about this treatment really did it for me. I devoured it. Tropy in all the best ways, and real in all the rest, I truly hope The Kiss Quotient continues to gain readership and notoriety over years to come.”

Britt, Second Star to the Right

Mystery & Thriller

Miracle Creek

By Angie Kim • Narrated by Jennifer Lim

Miracle Creek is a courtroom drama with impeccable pacing, an original plot, and stellar writing. It’s also a remarkably empathetic book, exploring the ripple effects of causality and the urgent need to do right by each other in big and small ways, recognizing that even the best of us will fail once in a while. It is a lovely reminder that even when doing the right thing feels like swimming upstream, we never know what harm may be prevented and what good might come from our actions. A great read that deserves broad success.”

Sara, Hudson Booksellers

Your House Will Pay

By Steph Cha • Narrated by Greta Jung & Glenn Davis

“Riveting story of two families struggles as racial violence has forever bound them together.”

Mollie, HearthFire Books and Treats

Science Fiction & Fantasy

The Resisters

By Gish Jen • Narrated by William DeMeritt

“I finished The Resisters in a day. I don’t know how a book can be so devastating yet so miraculously wonderful at the same time. I was completely captivated by the family whose story Jen tells. The world she creates—set in near-future AutoAmerica—is so believable an outcome of what we see around us today that it feels as much prescient as imagined. A sort of cautionary tale, The Resisters is not only a book to love, it’s a book that’s important. I’m in awe.”

Carole, Harvard Book Store

Severance

By Ling Ma • Narrated by Nancy Wu

“Candace Chen is a first-generation Chinese millennial immigrant who tries to make a life in New York City by succumbing to the role of the office drone who helps create cheap bibles. But when Shen Fever—a plague that causes its victims to perform a rote task until death—hits, only a few survive, including Candace. She soon finds herself in a cult-like band of other survivors heading to the Midwest while also trying to come to terms with her past and the unknowns of her future. With dark humor, sharp intelligence, and compassion, Ling Ma has written a well-constructed, biting satire of capitalism and a moving glimpse into the roles of memory, place, and identity in a life.”

Kelsey, The Dial Bookshop

Young Adult

Frankly in Love

By David Yoon • Narrated by Raymond J. Lee

Frankly in Love is a breathtaking, sit-on-the-floor-sobbing, smile-till-your-face-hurts whirlwind of a novel. David Yoon’s writing is extraordinary: carefree and playful, yet deep and resonating. Embedded throughout are gems that encapsulate the humanity of being young, being in love, and discovering who you are and who you aren’t. Not only is this a compelling and engrossing story of love and growing up, it powerfully hits many notes regarding race, family, and biases. I know this will be a book that will continue to resonate with me for a long time, and I can’t wait to share it so that it will stick in other readers’ hearts, too.”

The Downstairs Girl

By Stacey Lee • Narrated by Emily Woo Zeller

“I never expected to love The Downstairs Girl as much as I did. This book has it all—love, romance, family secrets, and a delightful, well-crafted story….The writing was the star of this lovely story. The words and Southern expressions were music to my ears. I highly recommend this witty, insightful, cleverly-written book. The narration was nothing less than brilliant.”

Melinda, Buttonwood Books and Toys

Nonfiction

The Souls of Yellow Folk

By Wesley Yang • Narrated by David Shih

“For the title of his debut collection of essays on race, gender, and American society, Wesley Yang invokes W.E.B. Du Bois’s 1903 classic study of race in America. These 13 essays explore the ways in which the American dream shapes and distorts an assortment of people: chefs, strivers, pickup artists, and school shooters. Included here is ‘Paper Tigers,’ Yang’s personal, National Magazine Award–winning look at Asian-American overachievers. As Yang’s avid followers already know, his laser scrutiny spares no one—not even Yang himself.”

Bookshop Santa Cruz

Made in China

By Amelia Pang • Narrated by Nancy Wu

“This powerful story arises from an improbable source: a crude, hand-written note slipped into Halloween merchandise made in China, a note that leads Pang on a search for its author and introduces her to the nightmare life of Chinese prison labor, so-called re-education camps, the worst horrors of living in a police state, and lives destroyed just for being an independent thinker. The toll on individuals is foregrounded here and summons us to be humane to all.”

Susan, MainStreet BookEnds of Warner

Biography & Memoir

Crying in H Mart

By Michelle Zauner • Narrated by the author

“I was struck by just how much I loved this book for how it walks through grief not as a way to leave it behind, but as a way to remember its exact shape. I’m grateful for its funny, self-deprecating, and wise observations, and for its difficult beauty.”

Steve, Parnassus Books

House of Sticks

By Ly Tran • Narrated by the author

“This coming of age memoir is gripping with it’s straight forward prose about a family immigration story from Vietnam to Queens, NY. Ly Tran gives a new voice to what it means to inhabit two vastly different cultures while trying to find one’s identity. This book is so timely and gives a reader the inside lens and empathy to feel the challenges of overcoming poverty, racism, and trauma. I will be recommending this Memoir to those who enjoyed Educated and Hidden Valley Road.”

Kathy, Buttonwood Books and Toys

Looking for more?

Check out our wider list of bookseller picks, the top 100 bestsellers, and the pre-order bestseller list!

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Kelsey Norris is a writer and former bookseller currently based in DC. She enjoys travel, outdoor activities with her pup, and overcommitting to DIY projects. Find more of her work at www.kelseynorris.com.

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