#GGBookClub: Books & Bottles for Asian Pacific American Heritage Month
With the arrival of May, we're eager to celebrate the end of those April showers, an all new #GGBookClub, and Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month. We are extra stoked to highlight some of our favorite authors and producers whose heritage is rooted in 75 countries throughout Asia, as well as the Pacific Islands of Melanesia, Micronesia, and Polynesia, and who share that rich heritage with people around the world. Geonbae!
Age of Vice by Deepti Kapoor
Mars Shinshu Iwai 45 Whisky
New Delhi, 3 a.m. A speeding Mercedes jumps the curb and in the blink of an eye, five people are dead. It’s a rich man’s car, but when the dust settles there is no rich man at all, just a shell-shocked servant who cannot explain the strange series of events that led to this crime. Nor can he foresee the dark drama that is about to unfold. Deftly shifting through time and perspective in contemporary India, Age of Vice is an epic, action-packed story propelled by the seductive wealth, startling corruption, and bloodthirsty violence of the Wadia family — loved by some, loathed by others, feared by all. Unpack all the drama while sipping on this supple Japanese whisky with notes of honey, pear, vanilla, spice, citrus, and fruit woods. And if you’re feeling high spirited, make yourself a Japanese Whisky Highball!
Stay True by Hua Hsu
Soto Super Premium Sake 300ml
The son of Taiwanese immigrants, Hua becomes friends with Ken despite his first impressions – a Japanese American who was exactly like everyone else, with a passion for Dave Matthews, Abercrombie & Fitch, and his fraternity. Their friendship is built on late-night conversations over cigarettes, long drives along the California coast, and the successes and humiliations of everyday college life. And then violently, senselessly, Ken is gone, killed in a carjacking, not even three years after the day they first meet. Determined to hold on to all that was left of one of his closest friends—his memories—Hua turned to writing. A coming-of-age story that details both the ordinary and extraordinary, Stay True is a bracing memoir about growing up, and about moving through the world in search of meaning and belonging. This lush, premium sake is the perfect accompaniment with full, creamy notes of apple and melon and a smooth finish.
The Farm by Joanne Ramos
Hobo Wine Company Jeanne d'Arc 2022
Nestled in New York’s Hudson Valley is a luxury retreat boasting every amenity: organic meals, personal fitness trainers, daily massages—and all of it for free. In fact, you’re paid big money to stay here—more than you’ve ever dreamed of. The catch? For nine months, you cannot leave the grounds, your movements are monitored, and you are cut off from your former life while you dedicate yourself to the task of producing the perfect baby. For someone else. Jane, an immigrant from the Philippines, is in desperate search of a better future when she commits to being a “Host” at Golden Oaks—or the Farm, as residents call it. But now pregnant, fragile, and consumed with worry for her family, Jane is determined to reconnect with her life outside. Yet she cannot leave the Farm or she will lose the life-changing fee she’ll receive on the delivery of her child. Gripping, provocative, and heartbreaking, this book could only be paired with a wine that’s equally irresistible with a rebellious streak. This organic and biodynamic Chenin Blanc is a stunning orange wine with funky notes of button mushroom, citrus, and stone fruits.
Time Is a Mother by Ocean Vuong
Tozai Well of Wisdom Sake 720ml
In this deeply intimate second poetry collection, Ocean Vuong searches for life amongst the aftershocks of his mother’s death, embodying the paradox of sitting within grief while being determined to survive beyond it. Shifting through memory, and in concert with the themes of his novel On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous, Vuong contends with personal loss, the meaning of family, and the cost of being the product of an American war in America. At once vivid, brave, and propulsive, Vuong’s poems circle fragmented lives to find both restoration as well as the epicenter of the break. Full of insight and endurance, this collection is best paired with something equally evocative like Tozai Well of Wisdom. Dry and robust, this sake is medium-bodied with notes of apricot and a touch of grapefruit.
Your Driver Is Waiting by Priya Guns
Eigashima Shuzo Akashi White Oak Blended Japanese Whisky
In this electrifyingly fierce and funny social satire—inspired by the iconic 1970s film Taxi Driver—Damani is barely holding it together as she lives paycheck to paycheck in a basement, caring for her mom and driving for an app that is constantly cutting her take. The city is roiling in protests–everybody’s in solidarity with somebody–but while she keeps hearing that they’re fighting for change on behalf of people like her, she literally can’t afford to pay attention. Then she gives a ride to Jolene, who seems like she could be the perfect girlfriend–attentive, attractive, an ally–and their chemistry is off the charts. Jolene’s done the reading, she goes to every protest, and she says all the right things. So maybe Damani can look past the one thing that’s holding her back: she’s never dated anyone with money before, not to mention a white girl with money. But just as their romance intensifies and Damani finally lets her guard down, Jolene does something unforgivable, setting off an explosive chain of events. A wild, one-sitting read brimming with dark comedy, and piercing social commentary that needs a glass of lighter style Japanese whisky alongside it to bring some levity. Blended in the Scotch tradition with Japanese precision using malt and grain whiskies, Akashi White Oak Whisky is lightly peated with notes of vanilla, warm spices, and toasty cereal.