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With the fall semester kicking in, I have barely found time to do any of my hobbies, especially reading. For those who are looking to add to their fall 2021 reading list, here are a few titles that I’m on a mission to finish before the end of the semester not to mention a few reads I’ve thoroughly enjoyed in the past: 

Invisible Cities

I grabbed this one off the “Librarian’s Choice” shelf at Pegasus Bookstore, and I have to agree with the librarians on this one. I’ve already started this book and the narrative is just incredible. It’s somewhere between poetry and prose, with each page talking about a different city without following a strict storyline. The book is about Marco Polo retelling his travels to Kublai Khan’s dynasty.

Little Women

I’ve heard this book is a timeless classic. Reading just the first few pages, I can tell it’s certainly older (published in 1868), but it seems to combine coming-of-age and slice-of-life, particularly focusing on womanhood. I’ve heard it’s easy to get invested in the characters, and they even involve some romantic plots. It seems like a good read for more of a pick-me-up, as it’s not super heavy or difficult to understand (unlike Invisible Cities, which I’ve had to read pages multiple times). 

Joy Luck Club

As someone who is currently taking two Asian American and Diaspora Studies classes this semester, including Gender and Generation as well as Asian Americans in Education, I feel a bit surprised with myself for not having already read this book. For those of you who are looking for Asian American literature, Joy Luck Club is one of the most popular books describing the lives of Chinese immigrant families and their American-born children. Though I haven’t read it yet, I’m excited to read a book that hopefully addresses generational and gender dynamics (and the interplay between the two).  

Beloved

Beloved by Toni Morrison is one of the best books of all time and an absolute must-read.  The main character, Sethe, is a Black woman who has escaped slavery, and the book addresses some of the deep psychological trauma of slavery on individuals. I wish I had more of a literature background so I could have a deeper understanding of the literary devices used, but the choices of metaphors are exceptional.  

On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous

I read this for my Asian American LGBT English class, and I was blown away by Ocean Vuong’s storytelling ability. The story reveals a deep connection between an immigrant mother and her son in the face of discrimination while addressing war trauma in Asian American refugees. This book probably isn’t a book everyone can relate to, and even though I couldn’t relate to many aspects of it, I still ended up reflecting on a lot more of my own experiences as a result.

Freshman in EECS at UC Berkeley
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