Lauren (she/her) studied history, political science and ethnic studies at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon as well as film from Santa Barbara City College. She also has a masters in library science from UW. She loves all things PNW, film, horror, cooking/food, history, and BTS.
Ghost Music by An Yu is a wistful and thought-provoking book. Song Yan is living an unremarkable, simple life in Beijing as a piano teacher with her husband and mother-in-law, when boxes of mushrooms are suddenly being sent to their apartment every week from an unknown sender. The truths she discovers as a result sets her routine and everything she knows to be reality ablaze. This book urges us to reflect on who we are outside of our family, relationships, and career…outside of ourselves and our routines. I also love the jacket cover art–it’s quite whimsical!
The Hole by Hye-Young Pyun is utterly devastating and tragic. Oghi, a professor and PhD student had everything–until he has nothing. After waking up from a coma, we witness Oghi’s introspection of his life. This book is all about the terrifying what-ifs of living in the fragile state that is humankind. Although this story is painful in many ways, it allows us to see the beauty in the everyday and reminds us not to take our bright moments for granted. This book is not for the faint of heart.
Indelible City: Dispossession and Defiance in Hong Kong by Louisa Lim is a deeply personal reflection on the contested yet collective history, memory, and identity of Hong Kong from the ancient times through the Umbrella Movement of 2019. It is a deliberate reexamination of what it means to be a Hong Konger whether it be under British rule or China’s “One Country, Two Systems” policy. Lim created a meticulously researched and profoundly eye-opening piece of literature which is thoroughly engaging and necessary for our contemporary moment.
As a dark historical fantasy, Babel gives us a new look into the history of exploitation of the British empire. I enjoyed how this book shed light on the magical links between languages and how a single word can carry many meanings.