December CultureCAT: Cultural Flow and Immigration
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To start, I will say that my recommendations and suggestions are heavily US-biased, so apologies in advance. I hope others will contribute recommendations for books about immigration and migration to other countries.
Stories of immigration and migration show us both the best and the worst of the world - whether it’s the family choosing to start a new life elsewhere and finding happiness and success (however they might define it) or the young person forced to flee his homeland due to natural disaster or conflict. They are stories of what could be and what is, aspirational, inspirational, and cautionary. They show us the range of human emotion and experience, give us glimpses into other cultures and societies, and help us reflect on our own.
I think this is a great theme, encompassing as it does so many wonderful books, both fiction and nonfiction. I’ve put together some lists which, obviously, are in no way exhaustive. I’ve starred the ones I’ve read and loved, and I’ve included links to some other lists and resources for anyone interested in finding more great reads.
*Academy Street by Mary Costello
Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue
Small Island by Andrea Levy
*The Jaguar's Children by John Vaillant
The Free World by David Bezmozgis
My Antonia by Willa Cather
Where Women Are Kings by Christie Watson
The Leavers by Lisa Ko
Hearts and Minds by Amanda Craig
A Good American by Alex George
Snow Hunters by Paul Yoon
*Brooklyn by Colm Toibin
The Road Home by Rose Tremain
Giants in the Earth by O.E. Rolvaag
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Brick Lane by Monica Ali
*The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henriquez
*Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
The Last Gift by Abdulrazak Gurnah
97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement by Jane Ziegelman
The New Kids: Big Dreams and Brave Journeys at a High School for Immigrant Teens by Brooke Hauser
Strength in What Remains by Tracy Kidder
*Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt
The Devil's Highway by Luis Alberto Urrea
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman
To See and See Again: A Life in Iran and America by Tara Bahrampour
The Immigrant Experience Through Literature
Coming to America: 50 Greatest Works of Immigration Literature
Top 10 Books About Migrants
17 Books That Perfectly Capture the Immigrant Experience
12 Nonfiction Books About Immigration
I'd like to add a recommendation. It's a migration within the US, and it made my favourites list a couple of years ago:
The Warmth of Other Suns / Isabel Wilkerson.
>8 Jackie_K: Yeah, I just checked my library doesn't have it. :-( It would have to be an ILL, so it might wait a bit longer, after all.
>5 LibraryCin: - I also loved The Warmth of Other Suns. I would love to get some more recommendations for books about internal migrations, whether in the US or elsewhere...
>6 LibraryCin: - That looks like a great list! And it reminds me I also have the Trigiani on my Kindle...
>7 Jackie_K: - I was hoping there might be a few suggestions for reads about the current situation in Europe with migrants crossing from Africa.
>8 Jackie_K: - I'd not heard of Bury Me Standing and I know so little about the Gypsies, I'll be adding it to my wish list.
>10 katiekrug: More general books on migration, not Europe specifically, but including Europe as well as North America, and also on my TBR, are Jeremy Harding's Border Vigils: Keeping Migrants out of the Rich World, and Reece Jones' Violent Borders: Refugees and the Right to Move. If I get the chance I'd also like to read one of those, but having possibly overcommitted myself in the November CATs I might start the month finishing off my November reads first.
I've got Brick Lane slated for this theme, and I'm still looking around to figure out if I have some fitting nonfiction :)
For something completely different: I liked Merle Kröger’s Havarie (in German, but there is an English translation titled “Collision“).
I'm finally going to pick up immigrants, a French graphic "novel" collecting 13 accounts of immigrants to France, interpreted by graphic artists, with the support of historians and amnesty international.
I've also just remembered another book on my TBR that would work for this theme - The Good Immigrant, edited by Nikesh Shukla.
>11 Jackie_K: and >17 Jackie_K: - Thanks for those suggestions, Jackie!
>12 whitewavedarling: - I'm contemplating Brick Lane as well, Jennifer. I've had my copy for ages...
>13 DeltaQueen50: - I hope you like The Jaguar's Children, Judy. It was a very powerful read.
>14 sushicat: - Oh my goodness, sushi, you're right! I read and loved Exit West earlier this year. It would be a great read for this month. Also, Home Fire has some interesting themes related to immigration and assimilation...
>15 sushicat: and >16 sushicat: - Hooray for more suggestions! The graphic novel sounds especially interesting to me.
I wanted to mention explicitly, though I think some of the suggestions already made have implied it, that "immigration" can take many forms, and any interpretation of it is welcome - "legal" immigration, internal migration, refugee and migrant journeys, etc. It's a topic obviously much in the news, in very different ways, from the US to Europe to Myanmar/Bangladesh, and Australia, just to name a few.
I'm going to join in with an historical GN, Gone To Amerikay by Derek McCulloch.
I just got Exit West from the library, so I'm in. And it's one of you Dirty Dozen. Bonus!
And I just got another perfect candidate from the library: Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe by Kapka Kassabova
>25 sushicat: - Excellent! I think Charlotte (charl08) in the 75ers group recently read that.
I am so excited about all the great book ideas being shared here!
I was trying to think of something and realized that my current read, In the Midst of Winter by Isabel Allende would fit here.
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