The 2020 Asialink Summer Reading List

As we look to the end of the year, the Asialink Team is proud to present the books and podcasts – including those produced by the Asialink Group – that have inspired and influenced us in our journey over 2020. Here is our suggested summer reading for those who are committed to deepening their Asia knowledge and insights over the end of year break.

A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing

A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing by Jessie Tu (Allen & Unwin)

The story of a former child prodigy who uses men and sex to fill the void left by unfound fame, the novel's protagonist, much like Tu herself is the daughter of Taiwanese immigrants. Author Jessie Tu was keen to see the stories of women like herself told in Australian writing.

Classical Chinese Literature

Classical Chinese Literature: An Anthology of Translations From Antiquity to the Tang Dynasty by John Minford (Editor) and Joseph S.M.Lau (Editor)

The summation of more than two thousand years of Chinese literature, this compendium also features some of the most prominent Western writing on China from the last four hundred years.

Collisions- Fictions of the Future- an Anthology of Australian Writers of Colour

Collisions, Fiction of the Future: an Anthology of Australian Writers of Colour by Leah Jing McIntosh (Bloomsbury)

An anthology featuring the best pieces from Liminal Magazine’s inaugural fiction prize, Collisions features work from Indigenous writers and writers of colour from around Australia. The collection focuses on what the future may hold, and works to challenge the overwhelming whiteness of the Australian literary landscape.

Contest for the Indo-Pacific cover

Contest for the Indo-Pacific: Why China Won't Map the Future by Rory Medcalf (Black Inc)

Rory’s book is a powerful exploration of the Indo-Pacific construct, what it means, why it matters and how it will ultimately shape Australia’s future place in the world. It is also a geo-strategic argument for a new approach and collective action by Australia and other middle powers to a rising China and less engaged US which, Rory hopes, will ensure the future peace and stability of our region.

If diplomacy fails, Rory warns, the Indo-Pacific be the theatre of the first general war since 1945.

Eat the Buddha

Eat the Buddha: Life and Death in a Tibetan Town by Barbara Demick (Text Publishing)

Los Angeles Times journalist Barbara Demick travels to Aba, a small town on the eastern edge of Tibet, and tells a gripping story about the lives of the locals who find themselves longing for independence.

Last Days of the Mighty Mekong

Last Days of the Mighty Mekong by Brian Eyler (Bloomsbury)

Brian Eyler travels along the mighty waterway meeting locals through China and Vietnam whose lives are being forever transformed as the fragile ecosystem is reshaped by China's expansionist policies.

Loving Country- A Guide to Sacred Australia

Loving Country: A Guide to Sacred Australia by Bruce Pascoe & Vicky Shukuroglou (Hardie Grant)

A guide created in consultation with local communities, Loving Countries, takes readers on a journey through history, Dreaming stories, traditional culture, and the "importance of recognition and protection of place".

Man of Contradictions

Man of Contradictions: Joko Widodo and the Struggle to Remake Indonesia by Ben Bland (Penguin Australia)

Director of the Southeast Asia Program at the Lowy Institute, Ben Bland, takes a look at Indonesian President Joko Widodo and how he "embodies the fundamental contradictions of modern Indonesia", in the first English-language biography of the president.

The Mountains Sing

The Mountains Sing by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai (Bloomsbury)

Celebrated poet Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai's debut novel tells the multi-generational tale of the Tran family and Vietnam's turbulent modern history.

My Tidda, My Sister- Stories of Strength and Resilience from Australia’s First Women

My Tidda, My Sister: Stories of Strength and Resilience from Australia's First Women by Marlee Silva (Hardie Grant)

Host of the Tiddas 4 Tiddas podcast Marlee Silva brings together the voices of Indigenous women and girls to share and celebrate a sisterhood to inspire all Australian women.

Stone Sky Gold Mountain by Mirandi Riwoe

Stone Sky Gold Mountain by Mirandi Riwoe (UQP)

A multi-perspective novel, Stone Sky Gold Mountain, focuses on Gold Rush-era Australia and the Chinese migrants whose sacrifices often remain footnotes in Australian history.

Best We Could Do

The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir by Thi Bui (ABRAMS)

From debut author Thi Bui, a portrayal of one family's journey fleeing Vietnam, seeking a safer life at the end of the War.

The Embarrassed Colonialis

The Embarrassed Colonialist – A Lowy Institute Paper by Sean Dorney (Penguin Australia)

Sean Dorney looks at Papua New Guinea's performance since independence and argues that Australia has a historical and moral obligation to reconnect with the country.

Tiger Stone

Tiger Stone by Deryn Mansell (Walker Books Australia)

An original YA novel set in fourteenth century Java, Tiger Stone—written by former AEF staff member Deryn Mansell—is perfect for encouraging young Australians in learning about our northern neighbours.