Reading Recommendations from Review Staff

As students look ahead to a long-awaited and much-needed break, a few members of the Review staff have compiled a collection of their favorite books. We encourage you to get cozy with these five reads over the holidays.

The Next Great Migration: The Beauty and Terror of Life on the Move by Sonia Shah, OC ’90

The Next Great Migration, by science journalist and Oberlin alumna Sonia Shah, masterfully reframes the so-called current migration crisis as a potential solution to the ongoing and ever-worsening — not to mention aptly dubbed — climate crisis. From reverent descriptions of scientists who study the changing migrations of checkerspot butterflies, to those of immigrants who heroically cross the dense and deadly jungle of the Darien Gap, to the classical thinkers who have shaped the discourse on nativity and invasion, Shah’s words flow beautifully and challenge our society’s conditioned assumptions about migration.

–Kush Bulmer, News Editor

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

Released in the spring of 2021, Crying in H Mart is the debut memoir by songwriter, essayist, and Japanese Breakfast lead vocalist Michelle Zauner. Following the death of her mother, Zauner reflects on growing up in one of the few Asian-American families in Eugene, Oregon, in the 1980s and ’90s. The book examines her fraught relationship with her late mother and her disconnection from her Korean-American heritage as a result of her passing. In this deeply profound, insightful memoir, the reader sees Zauner reckon with self-hood as she sifts through hazy memories of painful adolescence, moments of vulnerability as her mother neared death, and formative family recipes. Brimming with emotional resonance and humor, Crying in H Mart offers a radiantly honest meditation on living with loss.

–Lilyanna D’Amato, Arts Editor

Published in April 2021, Michelle Zauner’s memoir, Crying in H Mart, offers insightful reflections on grief, identity, and belonging.

The Undocumented Americans by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio

In her novel The Undocumented Americans, writer and DACA recipient Karla Cornejo Villavicencio follows the lives of several undocumented Americans, from workers on the post-9/11 cleanup to residents dealing with environmental racism in Flint, MI. Each story she tells is deeply intertwined with her own, as she balances her journalistic duties with her empathy toward and involvement in her subjects’ lives, which ultimately paints a more holistic picture of each person she features. Cornejo Villavicencio’s book captures a range of emotions, from joy to rage, that makes every page of this book worth reading.”

–Ella Moxley, News Editor

Amateur: A True Story About What Makes a Man by Thomas Page McBee

Amateur: A True Story About What Makes a Man is a memoir by Thomas Page McBee, a trans man, about his journey in training for a charity box- ing match at Madison Square Garden. In this process, he struggles to find “what makes a man,” and explores the relationship between masculinity and violence. McBee speaks insightfully about the nuances of American masculinity and seeks to understand why men fight. In a society where men’s sports are often viewed as violent and as cultivating a culture where men cannot share their feelings, McBee offers a reflection on what it means to be a man and the broader dynamics of masculinity.

–Zoë Martin del Campo, Sports Editor

Amateur: A True Story About What Makes a Man follows Thomas Page McBee, a trans man, as he struggles to answer the question, “What sort of man should I be?”

The Monster Enters: COVID-19, Avian Flu and the Plagues of Capitalism by Mike Davis

Activist and author Mike Davis revisits his earlier book The Monster at Our Door to address the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in his 2020 book The Monster Enters. Davis writes an accessible and alarming account of the incidents that lead up to the COVID-19 pandemic, namely the series of zoonotic influenza outbreaks that have occurred in the last 20 years. This read is not for the faint of heart; Davis shares an unspoken history of assisted disease evolution and sheds light on the disturbing and often lethal consequences of global capitalism, but his book offers some much-needed context on our current circumstances. This book is perfect for any Obie hoping to get angry, fit in with their friends, and spur their communist awakening.

–Katie Kunka, Production Manager