Patrisse Khan-Cullors tells a raw, beautifully written story that starts with her upbringing in impoverished, black, LA and continues through her journey of self-discovery to her founding of the Black Lives Matter movement.
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet tells part of Seattle’s story of Japanese Internment through the perspective of a Chinese American boy. This novel is interesting because of its perspective - what does it mean to be Japanese? What does it mean to be American? What does it mean to be an Asian American?
Pachinko follows the story of a young Korean woman who, through circumstances that are partly her fault (but very difficult), immigrates to Japan. It follows the woman and the lives of those connected to her from pre-WWII into the modern era. This novel is a vivid and emotional depiction of the hardships and terrors that Korean immigrants faced in Japan - themes of identity, family, responsibility and perseverance ring true today.
There isn't much of a plot to this funny little novel - instead it's a bunch of funny stories pieced together with beautiful descriptions of the Greek countryside that the author (Gerald Durrell) experienced growing up. I highly recommend to anyone who dreams of living in a foreign land, or who is looking to fall in love with reading again.
A surprisingly feminist novel for its time, Middlemarch depicts the lives of 'good country people' focusing on two characters - Dorothea and Lydgate - as they navigate unhappy marriages. Eliot focuses on depicting the pitfalls and realities of marriage and of following one's vocational dreams.
The true-life story of a man who worked within the system to save the lives of thousands of Jews during the Holocaust. Based off of excerpts and stories from the Jewish people that were saved because of his actions. More famously known for the award-winning movie.
An eloquent college professor gives his dying insights on life, death, morality and everything inbetween. Incredibly wise, uplifting and funny, this book details the relationship between the professor, Morrie, and his old student, Mitch.
Adapted from her TED Talk, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie creates a clear definition of what it means to be feminist. Lays it all out on the table and you either accept her word as truth or you don't.
We Should All Be Feminists, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The Joy Luck Club
Joy Luck Club, the definitive, original, Asian American literature. This book details the lives of four Chinese-American women and their mothers, in the modern setting of San Francisco. In a lot of ways, it perfectly captures what it means to be an immigrant, or to have an immigrant parent - the relationships are lovely and painful and real and this is a must-read, especially for anyone of Asian background (such as myself).