Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo


Updated Published
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UC Berkeley chapter.

Unpopular opinion: I wish my professors added their own books to the course syllabus. So many of my professors have written fascinating books or published troves of articles, but never assign them as required readings. So when I’m looking for a book to add to my reading list, I often find myself on the faculty page of department websites looking for an interesting read. I haven’t necessarily had the opportunity to take a class with each of these professors, but here are some of their books I’ve recently added to my reading list. 

1. Geek sublime: the beauty of code, the code of beauty by vikram chandra

Personally, I deeply resonate with the questions Chandra pursues in Geek Sublime as I study both english and data science. For instance, how is writing code similar to writing literature? A cross between a memoir and a critical essay, Chandra’s latest book promises a unique perspective on the topic.

2. why we sleep: unlocking the power of sleep and dreams by matthew walker

As a self-diagnosed insomniac, Walker’s New York Times bestseller earned its rightful place at the top of my reading list. Why We Sleep seems to hold the answers to all my sleep questions and problems. Pick up this book in between your own class readings, or better yet, right before you go to bed! 

3. the social archaeology of food: thinking about eating from prehistory to the present by christine hastorF

I can’t lie, I was most drawn to this book by its title. With a special interest in food, agriculture, archaeology, and social complexity, Hastorf explores how food shaped human society at a global level. This book makes me want to take more classes in the athropology department!

4. incomplete nature: how mind emerged from matter by terrence deacon

Also a professor in the anthropology department, Deacon’s research focuses on brain development and evolution. In Incomplete Nature, the author looks at the gaps in scientific theories that “leave it absurd that we exist” and proposes an alternative theory. This may be far from a leisurely read, but I added it to my reading list to learn something new!

5. train music by cecil giscombe

If you love poetry, this book deserves a spot on your reading list. More specifically, Train Music touches on racial and gender conflicts across American landscapes through poetry, prose, and pictures. Since Giscombe wrote this book while traveling by train, I might just read his book on the Amtrak home on my next break. 

Thalia Colarian

UC Berkeley '24

Thalia is a sophomore at UC Berkeley majoring in English and minoring in Armenian Studies. When she’s not reading or writing, you can catch her binging the newest series on Netflix, blasting Taylor Swift’s entire discography on repeat, or on a battery-draining phone call with her sister. Thalia is passionate about writing in whatever form possible; her favorite things to write include poetry, short fiction, and personal essays. Her Campus allows Thalia the creative freedom to explore her interests on paper and grow as a writer.