Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, the dystopian novel about a dark time in America’s future and those who resist, leads this year’s summer reading list at UC Berkeley.
The annual list is based on recommendations by faculty, staff and students. This year’s theme is Fiat Lux, the campus motto, in honor of its 150th birthday.
“On this year’s list, you’ll find a splendid array of fiction, memoir, journalism, history, and engaging research to choose from that offer journeys of discovery and inspiration; narratives of personal transformation and insight; moments of humor and deep humanity; and stories of dark, difficult times in personal or societal history where people found their way to ‘light’ of different kinds,” writes Michael Larkin, a lecturer in the College Writing Programs, and Tim Dilworth, a coordinator with the library, in introducing this year’s selections.
Though published 33 years ago, “Handmaid” maintains its potency, especially in the current #MeToo era, and has spawned a movie, an opera and the current TV series. It tops the reading list because it’s also been selected for this coming fall’s On the Same Page program and is to be read by all incoming freshmen to give them a common topic of discussion when they land on campus.
Among other titles on the list are Bich Minh Nguyen’s memoir Stealing Buddha’s Dinner; R.O. Kwon’s Electric Literature list, 46 Books by Women of Color to Read in 2018; Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood; and Susannah Cahalan’s Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness.