Summer Reading Series: Fantasy Novels

fantasy novels summer reading

by Taylor Follett

It’s a week of endings for many of us. The 2018/2019 school year is over, over 5000 students graduated on Saturday, and we finally know who sits on the Iron Throne. Game of Thrones has been a major part of popular culture for eight years—or twenty-two for book readers—and as of last night, it’s over. For those of us who have gotten used to epic battles, dragons, witches, and intricate fantasy plots, it’s a jarring return to reality.

Whether you’re mourning the end of this fantasy (TV) series, waiting for George R.R. Martin to finally release the next novel, thankful that people will finally stop talking about a show you don’t follow, or just want to escape your reality, the library has fantasy novels to fit the bill. 

Continue reading “Summer Reading Series: Fantasy Novels”

Summer reading: Lincoln in the Bardo

Book cover of Lincoln in the BardoLincoln in the Bardo
George Saunders

The book that immediately came to mind for me when I heard this year’s theme—”Between Worlds”—was the Man Booker Prize-winning novel, Lincoln in the Bardo, by George Saunders. The story is centered around the death of Willie Lincoln (the son of President Lincoln) and his journey through the Bardo, which is an intermediate world of sorts between death and the afterlife. I really liked this novel because it has a unique and effective format of multiple voices telling the story as well as a gripping plot that makes it very hard to put down.

I don’t usually do too much analysis when I read, but at the end of this one I found myself reflecting on how the book made me feel. It was definitely a page turner, and besides winning the aforementioned award, it has also received the Josh Chen seal of approval, a very high honor.

Class of 2019
Chemical Engineering Major

This book is part of the 2019 Berkeley Summer Reading List. Stay tuned for more weekly posts!


The Languages of Berkeley: An Online Exhibition

Rgyal rabs gsal ba’i me long is a famous historical work by Sakyapa Sonam Gyaltsen (1312-1375). The text presents Tibetan history such as the origins of the Tibetans, how dharma arrived in Tibet, when Lhasa became the main capital and the Jokhang and Ramoche temples were built. Sakyapa Sonam Gyaltsen was a ruler of Sakya which had a preeminent position in Tibet under the Yuan dynasty. He is considered the greatest Sakya scholar of the 14th century and served as ruler for a short term from 1344 to 1347.

According to McComas Taylor who authored the English translation, “It ranks among the great works of early Tibetan historiographical writing, but outshines all others in both the depth and breadth of its coverage. . . The text is a rich blend of history, legend, poetry, adventure and romance. It may properly be regarded as a literary work, albeit a morally and spiritually uplifting one.”  He writes further: “This text has been known by several names. The original Tibetan title, and the one that is most widely recognized, is Clear Mirror on Royal Genealogy, although in the final paragraph the author himself calls the work Clear Mirror on the History of the Dharma. The first wood-block edition was printed at the Tsuglagkhang in 1478 and is therefore known as the Lhasa redaction.”

Ever since China annexed Tibet as a province in 1951, the Tibetan language has been proscribed in schools in favor of Mandarin. [1] Tibetan Buddhism and its literature are thus at present maintained by a worldwide diaspora, drawing some strength from Tibetan communities of the southern Himalaya beyond the Chinese border. [2]. There are numerous (and mutually unintelligible dialects) of modern spoken Tibetan, and the study of these dialects — essential for the study of cultural practices such as pilgrimage — is becoming an area of research at several institutions, including UC Berkeley. [3] This historical text has been translated into Mongolian, German, and Chinese, and various sections have appeared in Italian and Russian.

Contribution by Susan Xue
Head, Information and Public Services &
Electronic Resources Librarian, C.V. Starr East Asian Library

Sources consulted:

  1. Garry, Jane, and Carl R. G. Rubino. Facts About the World’s Languages: An Encyclopedia of the World’s Major Languages, Past and Present. New York: H.W. Wilson, 2001.
  2. May, Stephen. Language and Minority Rights: Ethnicity, Nationalism and the Politics of Language. New York: Routledge, 2012.
  3. Institute for South Asia Studies, UC Berkeley,

Title: Rgyal rabs gsal ba’i me long
Title in English: Clear Mirror on Royal Genealogy
Author: Bsod-nams-rgyal-mtshan, Sakyapa Sonan Gyaltsen, 1312-1375.
Imprint: Pe cin: mi rigs dpe skrun khang, 2002.
Edition: Par gzhi 1
Language: Tibetan
Language Family: Sino-Tibetan
Source: Buddhist Digital Resource Center

Print editions at Berkeley:

The Languages of Berkeley [fan]
previous | about | next post 5/27/19

The Languages of Berkeley is a dynamic online sequential exhibition celebrating the diversity of languages that have advanced research, teaching and learning at the University of California, Berkeley. It is made possible with support from the UC Berkeley Library and is co-sponsored by the Berkeley Language Center (BLC).

Follow The Languages of Berkeley!
Subscribe by email

Construction at the Northern Regional Library Facility (NRLF)!

Please be advised that the NRLF building expansion project will commence at the end of May. The projected completion date of the fourth shelving module is fall of 2020.

Because the construction site is on the west side of the building complex, we expect minimal disruption to our daily operation. Library users will continue to have access to the reading room during our normal business hours, Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., except university holidays.

Noise: Construction noise should be moderate.

Traffic and Parking: All construction-related traffic to the Richmond Field Station (RFS) will be routed through an alternate access gate, so access to the RFS through the main entrance, as well as parking at NRLF, should not be affected.

Dust and Dirt: We anticipate minimal impact. The contractor will have dust control measures in place.

Security: The contractor will put up a fence that will demarcate the construction area, as well as signage in strategic places. Please be mindful and stay safe when you enter or leave NRLF or the field station.

Mark Daniells’ Garden Island III & Stream of Dreams & Lisa Horner’s Muir Beach Overlook

Garden Island III Stream of Dreams Muir Beach Overlook

By Monique

The vibrant tropical, very large Mark Daniels prints brought joy and beauty to our home. The beautifully framed prints were also a conversation piece as I enjoyed letting guests know that I borrowed it from my school library. We had a different one each academic year. One year we had a Lisa Horner vivid linocut of Muir Beach Overlook, a Bay Area nature treasure. I finally asked my husband to take a look at the collection and paired the Daniels print with an intriguing geometrical abstract.

Joy and beauty and all from the library! Can’t wait for Fall to pick out our art for the year.  Thank you Morrison Library Graphic Arts Loan Collection!

Auguste Lepere’s Storm on the Sand Dune & Herlinde Spahr’s Aeneid 7/12

Storm on the Sand Dune Aeneid 7/12

By Anonymous

Among my favorite aspects of living with the prints from the GALC was being able to
look up at them while reading or studying. They offered a continuous point
of reference for my thinking–that is, as an aesthetic pattern that helped
to center my thoughts. Having them over the course of a year also led me to
reflect on why I had chosen these particular prints at the beginning of the
year–it helped me to think about my own personal changes over the course of
two semesters–which in turn changed my perception of the art. All in all,
it was an incredible experience, and I’m very grateful for the GALC! I’ll
definitely be borrowing art again next year.

Professor Emeritus T.J. Clark’s “Heaven on Earth: Painting and the Life to Come”

Heaven on earth

The latest publication from Modern Art Professor Emeritus T.J. Clark is now available to check out from the Main Stacks in Doe Memorial Library.

From the Thames & Hudson website:

“The idea of heaven on earth haunts the human imagination. The day will come, say believers, when the pain and confusion of mortal life will give way to a transfigured community. Such a vision of the world seems indelible. Even politics, some reckon, has not escaped from the realm of the sacred: its dreams of the future still borrow their imagery from the prophets. In Heaven on Earth, T. J. Clark sets out to investigate the very different ways painting has given form to the dream of God’s kingdom come. He goes back to the late Middle Ages and Renaissance – to Giotto in Padua, Bruegel facing the horrors of religious war, Poussin painting the Sacraments, Veronese unfolding the human comedy. Was it to painting’s advantage, is Clark’s question, that in an age of enforced orthodoxy (threats of hellfire, burnings at the stake) artists could reflect on the powers and limitations of religion without putting their thoughts into words?

At the heart of the book stands Bruegel’s ironic but tender picture of The Land of Cockaigne, but also Veronese’s inscrutable Allegory of Love. The story ends with Picasso’s Fall of Icarus, made for UNESCO in 1958, which already seems to signal – perhaps to prescribe – an age when all futures are dead.”

More French ebooks through OpenEdition

The Library has recently added 731 titles mostly in French but also Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and English to its ebook holdings through OpenEdition — an interdisciplinary open access initiative in France. Now, more than 4,700 academic ebooks in the humanities and social sciences are discoverable through the portal or through the Library’s catalogs permitting researchers to benefit from a range of DRM-free formats, some optimized specifically for e-readers, tablets, and smart phones (ePub, PDF, etc.). OpenEdition’s Freemium program makes it possible for UC Berkeley to participate in an acquisitions policy that supports openness and sustainable development of scholarly resources such as these.

Visit OpenEdition to read even more open access ebooks.

An Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month Reading List

Asian Pacific American Lit

by Taylor Follett

May is Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month! While the official website contains audio and visual resources, as well as selected digital exhibitions and collections, you can also honor Asian/Pacific American Heritage at home—or at the library. UC Berkeley’s library has a significant amount of fiction and non-fiction works by Asian and Pacific American authors. Where to start? These works come highly recommended! A few have had hugely popular adaptations, turned up in a lot of book clubs, or are well-known as Pulitzer Prize winners, and they might be a good starting place for readers starting fresh. If you’ve already read novels like Kevin Kwan’s Crazy Rich Asians trilogy or Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Sympathizer, the following works are just as compelling.

Continue reading “An Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month Reading List”