Summer Reading Series: LGBT+ Literature

summer reading lgbt literature cover pic

by Taylor Follett

June is Pride month! June 28, 2019 marks 50 years since the famous Stonewall Riot, one of the starting points for the gay liberation movement. Whether or not you’re attending a Pride parade or any other Pride month event, Pride month means that it’s time to make sure your reading list includes LGBT+ literature, and the library is here to help!

Kick it off with these novels that feature LGBT+ characters:

Continue reading “Summer Reading Series: LGBT+ Literature”

Summer reading: Passing

Book cover for Passing Passing
Nella Larsen

Passing is a short and insightful novel centering around two black women, one who passes for white in wealthy white society while the other does not by virtue of her more visibly black family. Larsen herself was a mixed-race woman who lived during the first half of the 20th century and struggled for most of her life with the fact that she couldn’t easily belong in white or black society. Passing is thoughtful and strange and, I felt, powerfully emotional in a way that leaves you thinking about the book after you’ve finished reading.

Class of 2020
Double major in English and Near Eastern Languages and Literatures

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


Cover of 1907 edition in Chinese and Mongolian script

The Thousand Character Classic (Chinese: 千字文), also known as the Thousand Character Text, is one of the earliest and most widespread basic literacy texts for the study of classical Chinese. The rhyming text was composed by learned and talented scholar Zhou Xingsi of the Southern Liang dynasty (502-557) and has been used ever since as a primer for teaching Chinese characters to children. It contains exactly one thousand non-redundant characters arranged into 250 four-character couplets. Not only is the form succinct and poetic, but the text also imparts traditional Chinese knowledge and wisdom. It was widely circulated in ancient Japan, Korea, and Vietnam. It has also been translated into several western languages, including English, Latin, German, Italian, and French. The New Mongolian Translation of the Thousand Character Classic contains Mongolian and Chinese text, as well as Manchu phonetic transcription. It is valuable for the study of Mongolian and Manchu phonology. The C.V. Starr East Asian Library owns a facsimile of the 1907 stone print edition. The original edition is held by the Harvard-Yenching Library and was recently digitized.

Mongolian is the language of a people who politically have emerged on the world stage after verily hundreds of years of imposed isolation, who geographically live on the vast open steppe that ranges from the Gobi to Siberia, who economically juggle an ancient tradition of pastoral nomadism with the development of national and private industry, who culturally know an eclectic, vibrant cosmopolitanism belied by their rugged open spaces, and who long ago established the largest contiguous empire the world has ever known.[1] UC Berkeley has a long tradition of Mongolian Studies reaching back to the early 20th century. In 1935, Ferdinand Lessing, a German scholar of Central Asia, was named the fourth Agassiz Professor of East Asian Studies and established this country’s first course in the Mongolian language, as well as courses on Mongolia’s Buddhist tradition. He also published the first scholarly Mongolian-English dictionary in 1960.[2] Mongolian studies continued to advance under the direction of Professor James Bosson, who taught at Berkeley from 1964 through 1996. He was also a renowned scholar for the Manchu and Tibetan languages. Students at Berkeley begin with Khalkha Mongolian, the standard language of Mongolia, in its context as a dialect of Mongolian language proper using Cyrillic script and introducing traditional script. They then advance to Literary Mongolian, its phonetics, grammar, vertical writing system and its relation to living spoken language.

With a generous gift from the government of Mongolia, UC Berkeley and the Institute of East Asian Studies launched the Mongolia Initiative in 2016. Mongolian is now being taught on campus for the first time in many years by Professor Brian Baumann who concentrates on Mongolian texts on Buddhism, history and culture. Funding from the U.S. Department of Education has also supported the language program and other research activities on Mongoliat as well as for enrichment of the Mongolian collection in the Library.

Contribution by Jianye He
Librarian for the Chinese Collections, C.V. Starr East Asian Library

Sources consulted

  1. Buddhist Studies Courses, UC Berkeley
  2. History of Mongolian Studies at UC Berkeley

新譯蒙漢千字文 = Sin-e orčiγuluγsan mongγol irgen mingγan üsüg bui
Title in English: The New Mongolian Translation of the Thousand Character Classic
Author: Zhou, Xingsi, d. 521.
Imprint: Beijing : Zhen bei shi yin guan, Guangxu ding wei, 1907.
Edition:  n/a
Language: Mongolian
Language Family:  Mongolic
Source: Harvard College Library Harvard-Yenching Library

Print editions at Berkeley:

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New Books in Literature

Now that the sun is finally out, it’s the perfect time to relax out on Memorial Glade with a new book, and the library’s new acquisitions are wonderful candidates. The books we recently received have something for everyone—whether you’re looking for poetry, prose, or criticism.

Check out the rest of the new acquisitions!

Want a book that we don’t have in the library? Request it here.

Summer reading: The Sympathizer

Book cover for The SympathizerThe Sympathizer
Viet Thanh Nguyen

The Sympathizer is a fast-paced, action-packed novel that follows the path of “The Captain,” an undercover agent for the Viet Cong, who has spent years as a General’s assistant in the South Vietnamese army. His journey takes him from a life fighting on both sides of the Vietnamese conflict to a life as refugee in the United States, then back to Vietnam once again. Nguyen explores the difficult subject of the Vietnam War with masterful storytelling that keeps you on the edge of your seat. Nguyen strikes a delicate balance of telling the story of “The American War,” as the Vietnamese refer to it, from both sides of the conflict.

College Writing Programs

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

Summer reading: So You Want to Talk About Race

Book cover of So You Want to Talk About Race So You Want to Talk About Race
Ijeoma Oluo

It’s a fantastic read because (1) she is skilled at breaking down both the overt and covert systems that have influenced difficult race conversations in this country, and because (2) it’s quite readable where other books sometimes can be too academic-feeling for some readers.

In terms of matching the theme of Between Worlds: it’s kind of on the nose. The world of white people in the USA, and the discussions of race that white people have been taught to have over the past centuries, are often extraordinarily separate from those of people of color in this country. This book is a wonderful tool for bridging those worlds.

College Adviser
College of Letters and Science

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

New Books Added to Graduate Services in May

Ontology and dialectics : 1960/61

Ontology And Dialectics 1960/61 by Theodor W. Adorno edited by Rolf Tiedemann and translated by Nicholas Walker

The fire next time

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin with photographs by Steve Schapiro

Don't hide the madness

Don’t Hide The Madness: William S. Burroughs In Conversation With Allen Ginsberg edited by Steven Taylor

The annotated big sleep

The Annotated Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler edited by Owen Hill, Pamela Jackson, and Anthony Dean Rizzuto with an introduction by Jonathan Lethem

Heart of darkness

Heart Of Darkness by Joseph Conrad edited by Owen Knowles and Allan H. Simmons

Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer : the Cat-burglars

Mungojerrie And Rumpelteazer: The Cat Burglars by T.S. Eliot and illustrated by Arthur Robins

Someone : the pragmatics of misfit sexualities, from Colette to Hervé Guibert

Someone: The Pragmatics Of Misfit Sexualities, From Colette To Herve Guibert by Michael Lucey

Silence, joy : a selection of writings

Silence, Joy: A Selection Of Writings by Thomas Merton edited by Christopher Wait

Image result for orwell on freedom

Orwell On Freedom by George Orwell with an introduction by Kamila Shamsie

Summer Reading Series: UC Berkeley Reading List

summer reading list cover

by Taylor Follett

Each year, UC Berkeley releases a reading list for summer with selections curated from the campus community. This year’s theme, “Between The Worlds,” includes books which consider what it means to be “between,” whether that is between identities, between cultures, between life and death, or even between humanity and nature.

Continue reading “Summer Reading Series: UC Berkeley Reading List”

Summer reading: Cantora

Book cover of CantoraCantora
Silvia López-Medina

Cantora is a first novel by Sylvia López-Medina about four generations of Mexican (and later, Mexican-American) women as they make their way through life on both sides of the border. It was inspired by her own family history and shows their struggle between keeping traditions and adapting to their new home in California. Each generation overcomes a different set of problems. I loved it so much that I immediately read her second book, Seguiria, and was saddened to learn that her third remains unfinished because she died in a car accident.

Academic Coordinator (retired)
Graduate School of Education

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