What Does Hollis Wong-Wear Suggest Reading This Summer?
In an enduring effort to promote reading and literacy, the IE features summer reading suggestions from remarkable people in our community. We hope our readers will be inspired to pick up a book and share it with others this season. In this installment, we asked Hollis Wong-Wear, Seattle-based spoken word poet/hip-hop artist, Blue Scholars manager, actor and songstress fronting electro-pop trio of Flavr Blue, to share her current favorites. Here are her reasons for recommending these five.
1. “China in Ten Words” by Yu Hua
“I loved this examination of Chinese society and culture from the perspective of a writer who grew up during the Cultural Revolution and now writes in the hyper-developing Communist-Capitalist hybrid that is China,” said Wong-Wear. “He uses language as touchstones for anecdotes and social analysis, and I learned a lot from his insights, which are beautifully and lyrically written.
2. “Another Country” by James Baldwin
“This novel knocked me dead. It is lush and heartbreaking, daring and racy — and a modern American literary classic.”
3. “Safe As Houses” by Marie-Helene Bertino
“This collection of short stories is both bizarre and endearing. It made me laugh out loud and swell with emotion, and it also made me re-read page after page trying to make sense of it.”
4. “1Q84” by Haruki Murakami
“I’m a Murakami junkie and while The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle is still my all time favorite, I loved plunging into the seductive and kaleidoscopic world woven in 1Q84.”
5. “Gender & Sexuality for Beginners” by Jaimee Garbacik
“A brand-spanking new, illustrated … guide to the complex and multi-faceted history of gender and sexual identity by a Seattle writer. This book smartly presents heroic achievements and troubling issues of today with lots of facts in accessible language that’s great for teenagers and adults alike, particularly to ignite conversations.”