Staff Picks: Summer Reading Recommendations

There’s no better way to relax during the summer than getting lost in the pages of a great book. If you’re in need of reading recommendations, you’ve come to the right place! During the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing staff selections in fiction and nonfiction. Happy summer — and happy reading!

Reviewed by AJ Robinson, Islamic, Near Eastern, and South Asian Studies Librarian  

Lately, I have enriched my commute with audiobooks from Olin Library’s Neureuther Popular Literature collection. One of my favorites is Tahmima Anam’s A Golden Age (Harper Audio, 2008), a novel of family and belonging set during the Bangladesh War of Independence of 1971.

The protagonist, Rehana Haque, is a widow whose first loyalty is to her family, and who has little investment in nationalist politics. Her narrative centers around the daily rituals of homemaking, monitoring her children’s health, and especially food. Despite Rehana’s attempts to maintain normalcy and quiet amidst the violence of war, she finds herself drawn into the thick of the Revolutionary movement.

A Golden Age is also the story of a mother whose children are coming of age and asserting their independence. By interlacing personal and political drama, Anam gently prepares the reader for the difficult decisions that the characters must make and the pain of sacrifice. Madhur Jaffrey, the audiobook narrator of A Golden Age, conveys the emotion of both dialogue and narrative with her voice, making for an enjoyable listening experience. A Golden Age is the first volume in a trilogy by Anam. I look forward to reading the other books in the series, The Good Muslim and The Bones of Grace.

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