thanh viet

Lots of people, including myself, have included “read more books” on their list of New Year’s Resolutions. So I thought I’d compile some book recommendations to provide you guys with inspiration! In no particular order, here’s a list of 101 books I’ve read and loved.

FICTION

  1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (my all-time favorite!)
  2. Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn
  3. The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
  4. Sabriel by Garth Nix
  5. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
  6. Room by Emma Donoghue
  7. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
  8. I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
  9. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
  10. The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
  11. The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom
  12. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
  13. Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill
  14. The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope
  15. Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales and Poems by Edgar Allan Poe
  16. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
  17. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  18. Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai
  19. Animal Farm by George Orwell
  20. Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith (an underrated but oh-so-beautiful book)
  21. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
  22. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  23. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
  24. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (duh)
  25. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
  26. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
  27. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  28. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
  29. The Odyssey by Homer (I recommend the Robert Fagles translation)
  30. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
  31. It by Stephen King
  32. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  33. All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
  34. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (even better if you can read it in the original French!)
  35. The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
  36. Savvy by Ingrid Law
  37. The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
  38. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  39. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
  40. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
  41. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  42. The Once and Future King by T.H. White
  43. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  44. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
  45. The Odds of Loving Grover Cleveland by Rebekah Crane
  46. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
  47. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
  48. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
  49. Hunger by Knut Hamsun
  50. Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper
  51. The World According to Garp by John Irving
  52. Macbeth by William Shakespeare
  53. The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway
  54. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (love, love, love!)
  55. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  56. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
  57. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  58. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  59. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
  60. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
  61. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  62. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  63. It’s Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini
  64. 1984 by George Orwell
  65. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  66. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
  67. The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg
  68. The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen
  69. It Can’t Happen Here by Sinclair Lewis (a book whose message is especially relevant in light of the recent election)
  70. Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran

NONFICTION/POETRY

  1. Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
  2. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
  3. Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be by Frank Bruni (a must-read for anyone stressed out about college admissions and the Ivy League hype)
  4. Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow
  5. The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida
  6. salt. by Nayyirah Waheed
  7. Killing the Rising Sun by Bill O'Reilly
  8. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  9. The Princess Saves Herself in this One by Amanda Lovelace
  10. The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
  11. Night by Elie Wiesel
  12. Ariel by Sylvia Plath
  13. Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance
  14. A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn
  15. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom (this is the memoir that baby memoirs want to be when they grow up)
  16. Cosmos by Carl Sagan
  17. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
  18. The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  19. The Ethics of Ambiguity by Simone de Beauvoir
  20. Black Skin, White Masks by Frantz Fanon
  21. How to Become a Straight‑A Student by Cal Newport
  22. The Color of Water by James McBride
  23. A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
  24. Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
  25. We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  26. The Road to Character by David Brooks
  27. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell (all of Gladwell’s books are great tbh)
  28. The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown
  29. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
  30. No Matter the Wreckage by Sarah Kay
  31. Our Numbered Days by Neil Hilborn

P.S. If you’re trying to read more in 2017, check out my posts about goal-setting and habits!


Thanks for reading! If you have questions, feedback, or post requests, feel free to drop me an ask.

+Click here for the rest of my original reference posts!

Sophia :)

buzzfeed.com
32 Essential Asian-American Writers You Need To Be Reading
May 7, 2015
By Jarry Lee

4/5 Stars.

The Sympathizer is above all an examination of duality. The narrator is a man of two minds—a half-French, half-Vietnamese communist double agent who arrives in America as a refugee following the Vietnam War. Here, he is torn between these competing parts of his own identity: communist and anti-communist, French and Vietnamese, foreign refugee and American.

As he so aptly states at one point, the Vietnam War is “the first war where the losers would write history instead of the victors.” The loser, of course, being America, which always seems to dominate the narrative. And so begins the examination of a different duality: as much as we Americans like to delude ourselves with stories of our altruistic interventionism and exceptionalism, the sobering reality is that there is no clear “right side of history” in regards to the Vietnam War.

And while America has striven to own this history in a myriad of ways—in our books, in our movies—The Sympathizer, importantly, shifts the perspective, giving a voice to the Vietnamese people.

In sharp, searingly clever prose, Nguyen presents a complex analysis of these various dualities. For those of us who have been fed white-washed versions of history in which America is always Doing the Right Thing, forever the Hero, The Sympathizer disrupts these delusions. It’s a social satire, a spy thriller, a critical commentary on American interventionism and exceptionalism.

But lest you think it’s merely a defense of Vietnamese Communism, it’s not: Nguyen is less concerned with taking sides than holding everyone appropriately accountable.

Alas, this is one of those books that I appreciated much more than I actively enjoyed reading. It’s brilliant, it’s a masterpiece—there’s no doubting that. But for me it was a laborious undertaking. The majority of it is told as a confession (our narrator having been captured) and stylistically this means long blocks of text, little dialogue, and no quotation marks. The story itself is often amusing, but sometimes tedious. And yet, the concept is vital and illuminating.

This is a 5-star book that was a 3-star experience for me, which is why I’m choosing to rate it in between.

The only problem with not talking to oneself was that oneself was the most fascinating conversational partner one could imagine. Nobody had more patience in listening to one than oneself, and while nobody knew one better than oneself, nobody misunderstood one more than oneself.
—  Viet Thanh Nguyen, The Sympathizer

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has announced the winners of this year’s fellowship — often better known as the “genius” grant — and the list includes a characteristically wide array of disciplines – we’re so excited for authors Viet Thanh Nguyen and Jesmyn Ward!

(Note: The foundation is among NPR’s financial supporters.)

Find our coverage here.

– Petra