Summer reading: The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Book cover of The Reluctant Fundamentalist
The Reluctant Fundamentalist
Mohsin Hamid

Moshid’s fascinating and insightful 2007 novel narrates the complex reaction of a Princeton-educated Pakistani to the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.

LISA GOLDBERG
Adjunct Professor of Economics and Statistics
Co-Director, Consortium for Data Analytics in Risk

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


Summer Reading: Everything Here is Beautiful

Book cover for everything here is beautiful
Everything Here is Beautiful
Mira T. Lee

This story is Ecuador and New York and Switzerland and Israel and China.

This story is sisters and lovers and friends and mothers and doctors and shop owners.

This story is today and a long time ago and maybe hopefully even the future.

This story is people entirely whole and entirely broken.

This story is all of us.

CHRISTINE MULLARKEY
Undergraduate Major Advisor
Psychology Student Services

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


Summer reading: The Overstory

Book cover for The Overstory
The Overstory
Richard Powers

I loved this novel even though reading it was bittersweet. It tells a narrative about several different people and families through the nearby trees that are important to them. There is a nice comparison of people-years vs. tree-years, people’s needs vs. nature’s needs. The book spans many years in these narratives though much of it takes place in the present day. The messages in the book will really resonate, I think, for those of us that feel a special kinship with the natural world.

MICHELLE DOUSKEY
Lecturer
Department of Chemistry

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


Summer reading: Killers of the Flower Moon

Book cover of Killers of the Flower Moon
Killers of the Flower Moon
David Grann

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI is a must read for all. David Grann traces a disturbing history of murders in 1920s Oklahoma revealing an institutionalized form of decimation of Native peoples. Simply stated, Killers of the Flower Moon presents a chilling chapter of US history and the Native struggle to survive in American society.

LISA C. PIERACCINI
History of Art
Ancient History & Native American Archaeology

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


Summer reading: Austerlitz

Book cover for Austerlitz
Austerlitz
W.G. Sebald

This is a fantastic read for the theme of “between worlds” as it is an unconventionally formatted novel (the novel itself lies between the worlds of fiction and non-fiction) and it recounts a man’s search for his lost early childhood–where he was an orphan sent to Great Britain from Prague via the Kindertransport movement. It’s an extremely well-written and evocative novel that recreates, via history, not just the character’s past, but the past of Europe and the repercussions of the Holocaust.

LISA C. PIERACCINI
History of Art
Ancient History & Native American Archaeology

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


Summer reading: The Displaced

Book cover for The Displaced
The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives
Edited by Viet Thanh Nguyen

In Spring 2019, the LEP Global Book Club read The Displaced, an anthology of personal stories by refugee writers, collected and edited by author Viet Thanh Nguyen. Reading their stories allows us greater insight into the often painful realities of millions of people in our current moment, enhancing our empathy towards others, while also challenging us to reflect on questions of our own identities, belonging, and our understandings of home.

MAYA MAHAJAN
Coordinator
Language Exchange Program
Student Learning Center

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


Summer reading: The Woman Warrior

Book cover for The Woman Warrior
The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts
Maxine Hong Kingston

For our first LEP Global Book Club read in Fall 2018, we selected Maxine Hong Kingston’s debut novel. Kingston illustrates her struggle of existing between worlds as the American-born daughter of Chinese immigrants. She expertly weaves together scenes from her own life growing up in America with her mother’s stories from China, providing insight into how culture, language, and family bonds shape our own identities.

MAYA MAHAJAN
Coordinator
Language Exchange Program
Student Learning Center

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


Summer reading: My Year of Rest and Relaxation

Book cover for My Year of Rest and Relaxation

My Year of Rest and Relaxation
Ottessa Moshfegh

The narrator of this novel, after some difficulties in her personal and professional life, decides that she is tired, and needs more sleep. What makes her unique, however, is she decides to spend a whole year doing nothing but sleeping. What follows is a whirlwind of theory, thought, and adventure, all while the narrator is barely conscious.

This is a fantastic story that made me think, and has stuck with me for some time. I especially like the concept of going through a cleansing period to a state of rebirth. A must read!

GABRIELLE PRINDLE
Class of ‘21
Industrial Engineering and Operations Research major

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


Summer reading: Disgrace

Book cover for DisgraceDisgrace
J.M. Coetzee

Disgrace is a novel set in post-apartheid South Africa and narrated by an unfavorable man who is unseated from his job as a professor due to an affair he has been having with (his assault of) a vulnerable student in his class. He then moves to live on the farm of his daughter Lucy, where the tensions of a society that has been unbalanced play out around him. Disgrace carefully explores how shifting power dynamics in the strict racial hierarchy of a racist society can intimately affect and alter individuals’ lives. From a writer’s perspective, Disgrace is absolutely fascinating in the way it depicts the blurring of lines between what is right and wrong, good and bad, just and unjust, and also in its portrayal of characters who are difficult to like but equally difficult to condemn.

ASMAA AHMED
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!


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.

ASMAA AHMED
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!