COLUMN: Book Recommendations: Another Perspective


As the leaves change, the days get shorter, and the weather grows colder, settling down with a good book and a hot drink is the best way to pass the time.

There are a plethora of genres and subjects to choose from, however, there are three books in particular that college students (or anyone) should look into, which are not only interesting but quite useful in terms of broadening one’s knowledge about social subjects such as social inequality and immigration.

“The Best We Could Do” is a graphic memoir by Thi Bui, which takes place in the 1970s, and focuses on her life as it revolves around her children. After escaping South Vietnam, the family must experience what it means to be an immigrant and encounter various struggles and obstacles. The book’s skillful artistry in terms of drawing and a carefully written story makes it worth the read.

The novel gives the reader a rare perspective of what life is like as an immigrant and paints a picture of the struggles one must endure under such circumstances. It also describes what parenthood is like. All in all, this book is highly recommended for those who enjoy graphic novels and are looking for a heartwarming story.

“The Distance Between Us” by Reyna Grande is a memoir that illustrates to the reader what life is like as an immigrant having to travel from Mexico to the U.S. A father leaves his family in Mexico in search of occupational opportunities. While time passes, the father realizes that the pursuit of building a better life for his family back home is rather challenging, and so the mother of the family also joins him in the United States.

The story explains to the reader what life is like back home for the children that the couple left behind, and the experiences they gain once they are reunited. Like the previous book suggestion, this novel gives its readers a new take on life as an immigrant and the many details and feelings that people fair to consider when it comes to immigration.

“The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” is a novel by Rebecca Skloot unraveling the hidden image of Henrietta Lacks, and the origin of the HeLa cell. Lacks was an African-American woman who worked on the same tobacco farm in which her enslaved ancestors did before her. Her DNA was used for experimentation without her consent and eventually ended up making millions of dollars, as it had a part in developing things like gene mapping, cloning, exploring the effects of cancer and the atomic bomb, and creating the polio vaccine amongst several other innovations.

The novel explains the struggles that her family endure after learning about this fact and also explores the cruel world of experimentation on African-Americans. This is a very resourceful book because it tells the story of a legendary black woman whose DNA changed lives.

It is important to read books like these because they give the reader a rare perspective and useful insight into the common struggles in today’s world. It better prepares and empowers those who read such books to live in an, oftentimes, unfair society.