Culture and Society

My Late Summer and Fall Reading List

Today, I thought it might be a great change of pace to look ahead into what I will be reading soon instead of my usual book recommendation. Before I get into that, I want to share with you the qualities I look for in a prospective book.  

Here are the polka dot points:

  • Genre

For nonfiction, I tend to favor books about productivity, Zen buddhist minimalism, and anything having to do with cultivating creativity. For fiction, I get all Asian-excited if I find something whimsical. I’m always looking for this. (The first book of “The Magicians” comes to mind.) Otherwise, I try to find anything that is well-written and has a thoughtful and engaging story. Because I’m a weirdo, I also look for books that have anything to do with libraries and pianos, and I happen to have found some special ones.

  • A Separate World-View

I always try to seek out authors who are either people of color or who do not originate from America. The books that are considered classics have been generally written by white people (and largely white males). They often have Eurocentric and dare I say colonial sensibilities. Of course, many of them are actually great books, but I’ve read enough of them by now. I seek a broader perspective of the world and a multitude of sensibilities. This satisfies my curiosities much more fully.

  • Whimsy

I’ve mentioned this above, but this is something I always try to sniff out. It is hard to describe what I mean by this, but the best I can say is a book that expands the imagination joyfully.  The Harry Potter books might fall into this category, but they don’t necessarily have to be all that fantastical either.  There is a children’s book I love called “The Garden of Abdul Gasazi.” The illustrations and the story are whimsical but in a subtle, real-world, and mysterious sort of way. (In fact, many children’s books could easily be grouped into this category, but I look for one’s that are intended for adults too.)  

Now that you know what I look for, you have a better idea of where my sensibilities lie. For the rest of August and into September, I have a few books on my to-read list. 

Here they are in no particular order.

Nonfiction:

Breath by James Nestor

A World Without Email by Cal Newport

The Shallows by Nicholas Carr

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson

Fiction:

Summer Book by Tove Janssen

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

Bullet Train by Kotaro Isaka

The Conference of the Birds (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children, Book 5) by Ransom Riggs

The Desolations of Devil’s Acre (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children, Book 6) by Ransom Riggs

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet by David Mitchell

The Wikkeling by Steven Arntson


I am always open to book recommendations from anyone, especially those of you who have become familiar with what gets my Asian goose in a tizzy.

As you can see, I have a lot of reading to do, which is no more or less than usual.  

What books are you tackling for the rest of the year?

—Roqué

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