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!

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.

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.

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: 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!

Movies @ Moffitt: In Pursuit of Silence

Movie poster for In Pursuit of Silence

In Pursuit of Silence
A film by Patrick Shen

Wednesday, May 1, 2019
Doors @ 6:30pm, show @ 7:00pm
405 Moffitt Library
Free; open to UCB students only (UCB student ID required)

In Pursuit of Silence is a meditative exploration of our relationship with silence, sound and the impact of noise on our lives. Beginning with an ode to John Cage’s ground-breaking composition 4’33”, In Pursuit of Silence takes us on an immersive cinematic journey around the globe– from a traditional tea ceremony in Kyoto, to the streets of the loudest city on the planet, Mumbai during the wild festival season – and inspires us to experience silence and celebrate the wonders of our world.

View the trailer and visit the website.

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!


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Please take our three-minute survey. Our mission is to support your research, and your feedback will help us better meet your needs.

WHEN: The survey opens April 15
WHERE: Take the survey here