Skip to content


Available now

Order it from REI here.  (Also available at other retailers!)

Advance praise for Pin Ups:

In Pin Ups, Yi Shun Lai takes an honest, introspective look at the challenges and barriers, race and class in particular, that women face in building a relationship to the outdoors. Using her own lived experience as a backdrop, Lai asks her readers to unearth “dedication, passion, and gumption” to experience the joys and wonders of being outside. Ultimately, her message is simple. “You are welcome here.” —Ruby McConnell, Author, A Woman’s Guide to the Wild.

I read Pin Ups in one exhilarating sitting. Yi Shun Lai asks herself, us, and Mother Nature, “who belongs outdoors.” Her exploration of these questions is packed with both insight and humor. Like a good hike, Pin Ups challenges and awes the reader, leaving us filled with gratitude at the summit. —Dolly Chugh (Author, The Person You Mean to Be; How Good People Fight Bias; Associate Professor, NYU Stern School of Business)

Pin Ups is a powerful, moving reflection on race and identity as told through sport. Self-effacing and funny, Yi Shun Lai interrogates and unpacks her teenage pursuit of outdoor sport, and the ways her goals have changed with experience. She asks hard questions: What do race, gender and class have to do with her desire to ski, run, bike and paddle? What is Taiwanese and what is American? What is her ideal of herself as a strong and athletic woman, and what is actually real? What do we decide, and what gets decided for us? As Lai defines the journey that has led to a hard-won sense of self, she forces us to consider ourselves and our own place in the world. We need untraditional stories of women of color more than ever before, and Lai’s story is original and essential. —Michael Copperman, Author, Teacher: Two Years in the Mississippi Delta


published by Shade Mountain Press

From the back cover: “Marty Wu, compulsive reader of advice manuals, is easily flustered. With a job she longs to quit and a formidable mother who’s impossible to please, she ricochets between the stress of New York and the warmth of extended family in Taiwan. Strewn with bi-cultural wisecracks, Marty’s diary reveals her anxieties and frustrations, her pipe dream to open a boutique costume shop, and her discovery of family secrets old and new.”

Semi-Finalist, 2017 Thurber Prize in American Humor


Your Country is Beautiful is a book of 10 flash essays and hand-drawn maps. Each provides a front-row seat to disaster relief through my work for ShelterBox, an international disaster relief agency. You can order it by e-mailing me directly: yishun(at)thegooddirt(dot)org. Each copy is $15. Half the purchase price goes back to ShelterBox USA. 

The Books Heading
Cover of book; woman riding on mountain bike down grassy slope


Subscribe to Reads & Eats, my newsletter written by me and paid, emerging, under-represented writers all about food. A new issue every month.

Newsletter Signup

Subscribe to Reads & Eats, my newsletter written by me and paid, emerging, under-represented writers all about food. A new issue every month.