2020 Reading List

Whatever grand plans I originally had about the books I was going to read in 2020 went entirely out the window about halfway through March, along with many other plans. I still tried to focus on authors who were Black, indigenous, immigrant, queer or part of other marginalized groups, but when the libraries unexpectedly closed, my reading options was suddenly limited to whatever I bought from my local bookstore or was already in the house. These 42 books span 81 years, from 1939 to 2020. Several of the books link to comparisons of the original texts and film adaptations.

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Comparisons: The Joy Luck Club

The Joy Luck Club, the debut novel of American author Amy Tan, was published in 1989. It has been adapted into a stage play that premiered at New York’s Pan Asian Repertory Theater, as well as the 1994 drama film “The Joy Luck Club” directed by Wayne Wang. The film’s screenplay was written by Amy Tan and Academy Award-winning screenwriter Ronald Bass.

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Trapped in a Holding Pattern

Jose Robles was taken into custody by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials last month after living in Gethsemane Lutheran Church for over a year, seeking sanctuary from deportation. He had moved to the United States almost 20 years ago, started a small business with his brother in Lakewood, WA and established ties in his community with his family. When he was assaulted at gunpoint during a violent crime last year, Jose came forward and gave his testimony to Lakewood police; in return for his help, Lakewood officials denied his application for a U-1 visa, which is reserved for victims of violent crimes – the same kind of violent crime that Jose had assisted the police in their investigations. So what comes next for Jose Robles and his family?

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And There Was No One Left to Speak for Me

To say we are living in troubled times is an understatement. It’s easy to look back on history and say you would have recognized the warning signs and acted differently. Time seems to have softened the severity of toxic nationalism since 1945, and we are so self-assured that if it happened again, we would be ready to face it. But it’s happening right now across the United States, in my neighborhood and yours.

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