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In the back corner of Chelsea Market, there’s a small bookstore situated in between the pastry shops and ice cream parlors. I had initially gone to Chelsea Market in search of some good eats, but instead, I ended up stumbling into that bookstore. There, for the first time in a while, I picked up books that I was drawn to purely out of my own interests. After coming to college, finding time to read a book of my choosing has been on the bottom of my to-do list, but, to be honest, being in the bookstore made me realize how much I missed reading for pleasure, and I almost felt guilty for neglecting one of my favorite hobbies for so long.

I get it—with the required readings for school and the many responsibilities of being a college student, it’s hard to find time to sit down and read a good book, but I believe that reading can do so much for clearing your mind, reducing your stress and elevating your mood. With the onset of fall, what better time than now to pick up some good reads for the coming winter season? Below are some of my suggestions that I hope you consider when compiling your reading list.  

1. Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger

I first received a copy of Nine Stories as a gift from my best friend, and since then, I have read it countless times. All of the stories in the collection are brilliant and will leave you asking critical questions about the characters and the many unanticipated endings of the stories. This book is overall not long, and all of the stories are relatively short, so I highly recommend it for those looking for a quick read.

2. Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

This historical novel brings the journey of Sunja, a young girl, who chooses to leave her motherland, Korea, to ensure a better future for her husband and child in Japan. Sunja’s growth as a character throughout the book comes at the expense of great hardship and struggle, but her sacrifice reflects that of many Zain Chi Koreans during the early 1900s. Pachinko is fully immersed with heart-throbbing longings for home and security, and it calls for readers to grapple with what it means to fall in love, find a sense of belonging and discover one’s identity.

3. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

With the recent release of the trailer for the movie adaptation of this book, it’s important that we, as audiences, read the original. The major themes of this book—courage, activism, camaraderie and identity—are more relevant now than ever. Starr’s story will leave you deeply emotional and, at times, pained, but it will also equally leave you healed, inspired and hopeful.  

4. Cannery Row by John Steinbeck

In this book, Steinbeck tells the story of a small community of individuals who live in Monterey Bay, California during the Great Depression. The highlight of this book is undoubtedly the characters developed by Steinbeck (I can guarantee you that you will end up with a favorite!). This stylistic and entertaining book is perfect for those looking for a mellow and heartwarming read.

Grace Lim

Columbia Barnard '22

I am a first year at Columbia University studying sociology and east asian languages and cultures. In my free time, I enjoy cafe hopping and trying all things green tea!
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