who are asian pacific america's most influential authors?

So get this. The Library of Congress recently kicked off its multiyear "Celebration of the Book" with an exhibition, Books That Shaped America, exploring "the important and varied ways that books influence our lives." Yaaaay. I love books.

That's great and all, but of the 88 books selected for this list, not one represents work by Asian Pacific Americans. This doesn't really come as a surprise. But it does afford us an opportunity to talk about whose work could have made the list.

With the help of book blogger Terry Hong, the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Program came up with a list of 53 influential authors from Asian Pacific America. It's by no means comprehensive, but intended more as a starting point. Take a look at the initial list of "pioneer" writers:
Carlos Bulosan
Theresa Hak-Kyung Cha
Jeffery Paul Chan
Diana Chang
Iris Chang
Nien Cheng
Frank Chin
Louis Chu
Anita Desai
Momoko Iko
Suyin Han
Le Ly Hayslip
Maxine Hong Kingston
Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston
Younghill Kang
Richard E. Kim
Joy Kogawa
Him Mark Lai
C.Y. Lee
Li-Young Lee
Mary Paik Lee
Genny Lim
Shirley Geok-Lin Lim
Bette Bao Lord
Ruthanne Lum McCunn
Toshio Mori
Dhan Gopal Mukerji
Bharati Mukherjee
Franklin Odo
John Okada
Mine Okubo
Gary Pak
Ronald Toshiyuki Takaki
Bienvenido Santos
Monica Sone
Cathy Song
Sin Far Sui
Stephen Sumida
Amy Tan
Eleanor Wong Telemaque
Yoshiko Uchida
Jade Snow Wong
Nellie Wong
Shawn Wong
Merle Woo
Mitsuye Yamada
Hisaye Yamamoto
Wakako Yamauchi
Taro Yashima
John Yau
Connie Young Yu
Judy Yung
Helen Zia
Again, this is obviously far from definitive. I hear that in addition to this "Pioneer" list, two more longer lists of authors ("Contemporary" and "Up-and-Coming") are in the works too.

Consider it a conversation starter; a way of joining the national conversation about books that have influenced our lives. Who should be included on this list? What books shaped your America? Leave a comment on the Smithsonian BookDragon Facebook page.

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