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. 

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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!

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.

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Summer reading: Educated

Book cover for EducatedEducated
Tara Westover

This memoir is about the life of a woman growing up very secluded and closed off from society, and it covers her experience of going to college and learning about the world and how her thirst for knowledge led to her complete transformation as she moved away from her family and into the world.

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Manager Doe Library

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

Summer reading: Daughter of Fortune

Book cover for Daughter of Fortune

Daughter of Fortune
Isabel Allende

In this novel the main character goes through a major transformation in who she is as she travels during the Gold Rush from Chile to California, which were essentially two different worlds. This is an amazing book that I have read many times and it covers an interesting time in California history from a woman’s perspective.

Privileges Desk Operations
Manager Doe Library

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

Summer reading: The Fifth Season

Book cover of The Fifth SeasonThe Fifth Season
N.K. Jemisin

N.K. Jemisin’s The Fifth Season, the first installment of her Broken Earth trilogy, introduces us to a world much like our own but one in which society is constructed around surviving regular tectonic cataclysms, following a woman who has been forced to hide her identity across a broken land. As the earth cracks and shifts, humanity is forced to deal with both the physical catastrophe of a volcanic-induced climate disaster and the pressure to fall back on tribalism as survival becomes a struggle. Within this foreign yet familiar setting, Jemisin explores how people are trapped by and break down racial, sexual, geographical, and psychological barriers. There are parallels with our own world–humanity facing planetary climate disasters, discrimination based on otherness, increasing tribalism. However, the unique system of magic central to the story (which also teaches geology in the vivid way only fiction can) transports the reader to a new, fantastic place and helps the audience make sense of the people and forces at work in Jemisin’s world.

Summer English Language Studies

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

New Books Added to Graduate Services in April

Collected poems

Collected Poems by Robert Bly

Beard's Roman women

Beard’s Roman Women by Anthony Burgess with photographs by David Robinson edited with an introduction and notes by Graham Foster

The Black prince

The Black Prince by Adam Roberts Adapted from an original screenplay by Anthony Burgess

David Jones's The grail mass and other works

David Jones’s The Grail Mass And Other Works (Modernist Archives Series) edited by Thomas Goldpaugh and Jamie Callison

Gramophone, film, typewriter

Gramophone, Film, Typewriter by Friedrich A. Kittler translated with an introduction by Geoffrey Winthrop-Young and Michael Wutz

Image result for spekulative sinnlichkeit largier

Spekulative Sinnlichkeit: Kontemplation And Spekulation Im Mittelalter by Niklaus Largier


The poems/ Volume 3 The works of D.H. Lawrence / editorial board: Linda Bree, Paul Poplawski, John Worthen, Uncollected poems and early versions.

The Cambridge Edition Of The Works Of D.H. Lawrence The Poems Volume III: Uncollected Poems And Early Versions edited by Christopher Pollnitz

Billy Budd, sailor and other uncompleted writings : Billy Bud, sailor ; Weeds and wildings ; Parthenope ; Uncollected prose ; Uncollected poetry

The Writings Of Herman Melville: Billy Budd, Sailor And Other Uncompleted Writings edited by Harrison Hayford, Alma A. MacDougall, Robert A. Sandberg, and G. Thomas Tanselle

Enlisting faith : how the military chaplaincy shaped religion and state in modern America

Enlisting Faith: How The Military Chaplaincy Shaped Religion And State In Modern America by Ronit Y. Stahl

Imagining world order : literature and international law in early modern Europe, 1500-1800

Imagining World Order: Literature And International Law In Early Modern Europe, 1500-1800 by Chenxi Tang

Why should I write a poem now : the letters of Srinivas Rayaprol and William Carlos Williams, 1949-1958

Why Should I Write A Poem Now: The Letters Of Srinivas Rayaprol And William Carlos Williams, 1949-1958 edited by Graziano Kratli with a forward by Arvind Krishna Mehrotra and Afterward by Paul Mariani

Joventut: periódich catalanista: literatura, arts, ciencias

Joventut (Barcelona: Janer-Febrer, 1900) from HathiTrust

Few books and journals in the Library stay in the same place forever. Berkeley’s copy of the renowned Art Nouveau periodical, Joventut published between 1900 and 1906 and directed by Alexandre de Riquer and Lluís Vía under the auspices of the “Unio Catalanista” has recently migrated from the Art History/Classics Library to The Bancroft Library for safekeeping. Antiquarian bookdealer Peter Bernett describes the journal as “a major forum for the presentation and reviews of ‘modernista’ literature, criticism, theater, music, and visual art in Barcelona and greater Catalonia, as well as discussing current aesthetic trends in Europe.” An extension of the Renaixença cultural and literary movement with inspiration from the Pre-Raphaelites, it featured cutting edge art, architecture and literature. In its first year of publication it was the first review to reproduce a work by Picasso. The ornamental golden binding was inspired by Aubrey Beardsley’s The Yellow Book. Catalan poets, novelists and playwrights such as Jacint Verdaguer, Joaquim Ruyra, and Victor Català — who will soon be featured in The Languages of Berkeley online exhibition —were among the regular contributors.

Joventut has been digitized separately by the Biblioteca de Catalunya and the Getty Research Institute, available through the HathiTrust Digital Library and The Internet Archive.

Drawing by [Pablo] Ruiz Picasso in Joventut from HathiTrust

May 2 Lunch Poems: Student reading

The Morrison LibraryThursday, May 2
12:10 p.m. – 12:50 p.m.
Morrison Library in Doe Library
Admission Free

One of the year’s liveliest events, the student reading includes winners of the following prizes: Academy of American Poets, Cook, Rosenberg, and Yang, as well as students nominated by Berkeley’s creative writing faculty, Lunch Poems volunteers, and representatives from student publications.

Summer reading: There There

Book cover of There ThereThere There
Tommy Orange

The title of Tommy Orange’s novel, There There, references Gertrude Stein’s famous dismissal of Oakland: “there is no there there.” In so doing, Orange recasts Oakland as a destination; it’s not a place of departure but one of belonging and complicated affiliation for his sprawling cast of Native American characters. Indeed, Oakland draws with centripetal force an extended family to its core for a much-anticipated pow-wow, revealing a gritty, beautiful, and disturbing urban Indian landscape. The compelling characters and vivid descriptions reveal a profoundly different there there that will change the way readers see and think about Oakland, its people, its history, and its possible futures.

Ethnic Studies

Note: There There is this year’s “On the Same Page” pick for incoming freshmen. Tommy Orange will be appearing on campus on August 26 to discuss the book.

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