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I know that you have already been bombarded with lots of reading for class, and snatching a little leisure from the rush of school work just sounds impossible. However, trust me because you will not regret your choice to pick up one of these books after shaving bits of time off everyday activities.

Lacci by Domenico Starnone

Opening with a series of letters from a wife, this unsettling novel brings up chaotic and complicated relationships, marriage, and parenthood. Having an affair is seemly justified by the fractures between the husband and the wife, yet there is no solid explanation for the emotions between them. Children are considered human bonding by the family, but sometimes they mess things up to another level throughout their lifetimes. Just like the cover portrays, what binds people together can rip them apart as well. Marriage is such a beautiful danger in this book.

No Longer Human by Osamu Dazai

No Longer Human is a much-needed literature piece to read, especially during this special period of time. The main character grew up in a wealthy family where he was not understood by his closest family members. He acted like a clown, flirted with too many women, and ended up in a lunatic asylum. At a very young age, he already knew that he was different from what was thought to be appropriate by society, but he was afraid of embracing himself with his uniqueness. He longed for attention. However, the assimilation of values in this world disappointed him and made him feel betrayed. 

Depression can destroy a person. Admittedly, it’s hard for us to understand what others are going through, yet our subconscious habits and behaviors could potentially be the last straw for others and for ourselves.

Exhalation: Stories by Ted Chiang

The nine short stories of this collection all blew me away. Ted utilizes tactful writing styles to manipulate various plots, and he brings together the concepts of a time machine, parallel universe, and artificial intelligence. Ted shows you a whole new fictional world he made just for you. Nevertheless, he is not just scratching the surface while touring you around. He drags you to dive deeper into the sea and reborn with a border mindset. His ideas lean towards reflecting philosophical dilemmas and introspection under the camouflage of science. Who are we? What made who we are? What if things turn out just as the novel says one day? My feelings were mixed after closing the book.

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri

Immigrants, revolutionaries, and conservatives have all lived their lives throughout turbulent circumstances, and they remain deeply affected by their roots. Lahiri is the best at depicting the complexity of immigrants in America, as her personal background gives her sharp insights into people’s confusion, love, and despair. Although the young brother, Udayan, passed a long time ago, his spirit continues to haunt everyone else. His older brother Subhash’s role as a “substitution” and his wife Guari’s struggles with adapting to a new life both reveal the naked truth of the complexity of their identities.

Happy reading!

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Zhilan is a current sophomore at Boston University. Being an extroverted introvert, she loves to cook healthy food, explore aesthetic coffee shops, and read mysteries.
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