Are you ready to fall into a good book? Check out our weekly reading lists, inspired by this list from Bookish. To keep you motivated, we’ll feature one of the categories each week in the e-newsletter along with suggestions from our collection. Happy Reading!
Call Me American: A Memoir by Adbi Nor Iftin
Abdi Nor Iftin first fell in love with America from afar. As a child, he learned English by listening to American pop and watching action films starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. When U.S. marines landed in Mogadishu to take on the warlords, Abdi cheered the arrival of these Americans, who seemed as heroic as those of the movies. Sporting American clothes and dance moves, he became known around Mogadishu as Abdi American, but when the radical Islamist group al-Shabaab rose to power in 2006, it became dangerous to celebrate Western culture. Desperate to make a living, Abdi used his language skills to post secret dispatches, which found an audience of worldwide listeners. Eventually, though, Abdi was forced to flee to Kenya. In an amazing stroke of luck, Abdi won entrance to the U.S. in the annual visa lottery, though his route to America did not come easily. Parts of his story were first heard on the BBC World Service and this American Life. Now a proud resident of Maine, on the path to citizenship, Abdi Nor Iftin’s dramatic, deeply stirring memoir is truly a story for our time: a vivid reminder of why America still beckons to those looking to make a better life.
As Chinese Americans reconcile competing beliefs about what constitutes success, virtue, power, and purpose, they hold a mirror up to their country in a time of deep flux. In searching, often personal essays that range from the meaning of Confucius to the role of Chinese Americans in shaping how we read the Constitution to why he hates the hyphen in “Chinese-American,” Eric Liu pieces together a sense of the Chinese American identity in these auspicious years for both countries. He considers his own public career in American media and government; his daughter’s efforts to hold and release aspects of her Chinese inheritance; and the still-recent history that made anyone Chinese in America seem foreign and disloyal until proven otherwise.
This Land is Our Land: An Immigrant’s Manifest by Suketu Mehta
A timely argument for why the United States and the West would benefit from accepting more immigrants. There are few subjects in American life that prompt more discussion and controversy than immigration. But do we really understand it? In This Land Is Our Land, the renowned author Suketu Mehta attacks the issue head-on. Drawing on his own experience as an Indian-born teenager growing up in New York City and on years of reporting around the world, Mehta subjects the worldwide anti-immigrant backlash to withering scrutiny.
An American Family: A Memoir of Hope and Sacrifice by Khizr Khan
The Pakistani immigrant turned U.S. citizen, Gold Star parent and popular DNC speaker documents the story of his family’s pursuit of the American dream, urging readers to respond to today’s tumultuous challenges by stepping forward and advocating on behalf of what they find most important.
Little Failure: A Memoir by Gary Shteyngart
The award-winning author of Super Sad True Story traces his uproarious experiences as a young bullied Jewish-Russian immigrant in Queens, his haphazard college pursuits and his initial forays into a literary career.
Americanah: A Novel by Ngozi Chimamanda Adichie
Separated by differing ambitions after falling in love in occupied Nigeria, beautiful Ifemelu experiences triumph and defeat in America, while Obinze endures an undocumented status in London until the pair is reunited in their homeland fifteen years later.