Passing for Perfect: College Impostors and Other Model Minorities, erin Khuê Ninh (Temple University Press, 2021)
Passing for Perfect: College Impostors and Other Model Minorities, erin Khuê Ninh (Temple University Press, 2021)

In her engaging study, Passing for Perfect, erin Khuê Ninh considers the factors that drove college imposters such as Azia Kim—who pretended to be a Stanford freshman—and Jennifer Pan—who hired a hitman to kill her parents before they found out she had never received her high school diploma—to extreme lengths to appear successful. Why would someone make such an illogical choice? And how do they stage these lies so convincingly, and for so long?

Rabbit in the Moon, Heather Diamond (Camphor Press, May 2021)
Rabbit in the Moon, Heather Diamond (Camphor Press, May 2021)

Rabbit in the Moon is an honest, finely crafted meditation on intercultural marriage, the importance of family, and finding the courage to follow your dreams. Returning from a holiday course in Hawaii to her teaching job in Texas, Heather Diamond wonders if her whirlwind affair with Fred, an ethnomusicologist from Hong Kong, was a moment of madness. She is, after all, forty-five years old, married, a mother and grandmother.

In the Shelter of the Pine: A Memoir of Yanagisawa Yoshiyasu and Tokugawa Japan, Ōgimachi Machiko, GG Rowley (trans) (Columbia University Press, June 2021)
In the Shelter of the Pine: A Memoir of Yanagisawa Yoshiyasu and Tokugawa Japan, Ōgimachi Machiko, GG Rowley (trans) (Columbia University Press, June 2021)

In the early eighteenth century, the noblewoman Ōgimachi Machiko composed a memoir of Yanagisawa Yoshiyasu, the powerful samurai for whom she had served as a concubine for twenty years. Machiko assisted Yoshiyasu in his ascent to the rank of chief adjutant to the Tokugawa shogun. She kept him in good graces with the imperial court, enabled him to study poetry with aristocratic teachers and have his compositions read by the retired emperor, and gave birth to two of his sons. Writing after Yoshiyasu’s retirement, she recalled it all—from the glittering formal visits of the shogun and his entourage to the passage of the seasons as seen from her apartments in the Yanagisawa mansion.

Sapphire Promise: Based on a true story of loyalty, trust, and unfailing love, Sally Brandle (May 2021)
Sapphire Promise: Based on a true story of loyalty, trust, and unfailing love, Sally Brandle (Copper Horse Publishing, May 2021)

Loyalty to family. Trusting instincts. The will to survive. These virtues are deeply embedded in a mature Dutch teenager, Annika Wolter. Her attributes prove useful as she navigates typical coming-of-age insecurities and a blossoming romance with a handsome lieutenant in 1939 Batavia, Java.

Our Home in Myanmar: Four years in Yangon, Jessica Mudditt (March 2021)
Our Home in Myanmar: Four years in Yangon, Jessica Mudditt (March 2021)

Myanmar—shrouded in mystery, misunderstood and isolated for half a century. After a whirlwind romance in Bangladesh, Australian journalist Jessica Mudditt and her Bangladeshi husband Sherpa arrive in Yangon in 2012—just as the military junta is beginning to relax its ironclad grip on power.

The Values in Numbers: Reading Japanese Literature in a Global Information Age, Hoyt Long (Columbia University Press, June 2021)
The Values in Numbers: Reading Japanese Literature in a Global Information Age, Hoyt Long (Columbia University Press, June 2021)

Ideas about how to study and understand cultural history—particularly literature—are rapidly changing as new digital archives and tools for searching them become available. This is not the first information age, however, to challenge ideas about how and why we value literature and the role numbers might play in this process. The Values in Numbers tells the longer history of this evolving global conversation from the perspective of Japan and maps its potential futures for the study of Japanese literature and world literature more broadly.

China and the Cholera Pandemic Restructuring Society under Mao, Xiaoping Fang (University of Pittsburgh Press, April 2021)
China and the Cholera Pandemic: Restructuring Society under Mao, Xiaoping Fang (University of Pittsburgh Press, April 2021)

Mao Zedong’s Great Leap Forward campaign organized millions of Chinese peasants into communes in a misguided attempt to rapidly collectivize agriculture with disastrous effects. Catastrophic famine lingered as the global cholera pandemic of the early 1960s spread rampantly through the infected waters of southeastern coastal China. Confronted with a political crisis and the seventh global cholera pandemic in recorded history, the communist government committed to social restructuring in order to affirm its legitimacy and prevent transmission of the disease.