Add these two stops to your summer reading journey
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao presents an opening into the duality that first-generation children experience growing up in the U.S. While the strong language and graphic imagery might not be appropriate for all readers, I still recommend this book because it provides a glimpse into this complex reality in a very humorous yet whimsical way as the reader grasps bits and pieces of Oscar's life. The book means a lot to me because it enables me to say that I was not alone growing up as the nerdy Latino kid who loved sci-fi, but someone else had a story that was like mine. Junot Diaz does an amazing job constructing a text that intertwines fiction with non-fiction through informative footnotes that litter his story with historical anecdotes. If you want to laugh, be challenged, and experience a text that provides a brief window into an uncommon world, picking up this book will provide all of this and much much more.
“Life changing” are the words that come to mind when I am asked to describe Malinche by Laura Esquivel. This text powerfully shaped my concept of what it means to be interconnected with the world we live, and my wife and I even used one of the passages in our wedding. Laura retells the story of La Malinche who is usually known as the translator of Cortes and destroyer of Mexico. Esquivel’s account is derived from La Malinche herself, and rekindles the other side of the story by reclaiming La Malinche's voice as one deserving attention. La Malinche creates a spiritual journey that relates indigenous beliefs with nature’s mysticism. Esquivel challenges the reader to rethink why we do what we do, and reminds us to appreciate the interconnectedness we have as human beings.
Hierald Kane-Osorto graduated from Messiah in 2006 with a B.A. in history with a world history concentration and currently serves as coordinator of Multicultural Programs. The greatest reading spot he has discovered is on the steps of one of the oldest Buddhist temples in Kathmandu, Nepal. There Hierald found a space to experience in a unique way the books that he reads.