Arts & Entertainment Co-Editor
As the winter gloom of Isla Vista (I.V.) begins to fade away into spring, we welcome the changing of seasons with a new set of recommendations for the month!
March 1 not only marks the beginning of Women’s History Month, but also National Reading Month. The unofficial month-long holiday was named in honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday, which falls on March 2. A famous author of children’s books like “Green Eggs and Ham” and “The Cat in the Hat,” Seuss’s books were also recently called out for excessive use of racist stereotypical images. His works call to question the evaluation of the legacy of historical figures and how their content may still be harmful today.
So instead of making a list of problematic Dr. Seuss books to read this month, The Bottom Line offers you our own editor-approved list of books to read this year!
“The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” by Taylor Jenkins Reid
A book that went viral on BookTok, this is a historical fiction novel that tells the story of Evelyn Hugo, a famous actress who gives a final interview to Monique Grant. A thrilling tale full of mystery and plot twists, the book quite literally has you gripping the pages in search of more!
“Solito” by Javier Zamora
If you want to cry yourself to sleep, this is the book for you. A touching memoir about immigration and crossing the Mexican-American border, Zamora weaves together detail and emotion in such a way that you can’t help but be sucked into the story. It’s a very beautiful book and the choices Zamora makes in both language and style bring it to life.
“Ariadne” by Jennifer Saint
If you’ve read “The Song of Achilles” and “Circe” by Madeline Miller, then I promise you will love “Ariadne.” Just as the title implies, it is a lovely and tragic retelling of the Greek myth Ariadne. It brings to life a long-forgotten tale, with such powerful women at the center as they navigate their lives dictated by the myths.
“I’m Glad My Mom Died” by Jennette McCurdy
Both a funny and quite sad memoir, McCurdy takes us on a journey into her deepest thoughts. The book itself focuses on her career as a child actress in shows like iCarly and Sam & Cat, as well as her strained relationship with her abusive mother. It’s a very thoughtful and reflective piece that will always stand out amongst the books I’ve read.
“Exhalation: Stories” by Ted Chiang
A legendary Asian American writer, Chiang explores science fiction in his short story collection. As the book chosen for UC Santa Barbara (UCSB) Reads last year, each of the stories in “Exhalation” touches upon a different part of science fiction and the dangers and beauties that fall within. These thoughtful and sometimes haunting stories will leave you searching for more!
“Six of Crows” by Leigh Bardugo
If you know me, then you’ve most definitely heard me speak on the masterpiece that is the “Six of Crows” duology by fantasy author Leigh Bardugo. With incredible world-building and a diverse cast of characters, her books have been adapted into the Netflix series “Shadow and Bone” which combines both her “Shadow and Bone” and “Six of Crows” series. Season 2 will be released on March 16!
“All the Light We Cannot See” by Anthony Doerr
One of my favorite books ever, the story is set near the end of World War II. A blind French girl with a secret gem and a young German boy who is roped into the Nazis are taken on a beautiful but heartbreaking journey as France is liberated. Though both characters only meet briefly, their individual stories that ultimately tie together are beautiful and woven in so effortlessly.
“On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous” by Ocean Vuong
If you regularly read poetry, then the name Ocean Vuong won’t be unfamiliar to you! In all aspects of writing, from structure and form to style, Vuong’s work is hauntingly beautiful. Written as a letter to his mother who can’t read, it follows the story of the character Little Dog’s grandmother and mother and their struggles in wartorn Vietnam, and subsequently, immigrant America.
“Happy Cities” by Charles Montgomery
In this year’s UCSB Reads book, Montgomery explores all the things that make residents of cities happier! He explores the intersectionality of architecture, environment, social culture, historical assumptions and so much more. A very thought-provoking piece, Montgomery will also be giving a talk on his book on May 10 at Campbell Hall!
“The Sun and the Star” and the “Chalice of the Gods” From the World of Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan
Though these books aren’t out yet, they are highly anticipated reads for this year. The former, which captures the story of Nico DiAngelo and Will Solace, will be released on May 2 and the latter on September 26. Will Percy Jackson finally get the break he deserves? (Probably not.)