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Shana E. Hadi
Shana '21 is a Managing Editor for Arts&Life who is studying computer science, English, and their many intersections. She is also an active night owl who enjoys green tea and flights of imagination (spurred from works like Ted Chiang’s “Exhalation"). When she’s not reading speculative fiction or attempting to write it well, she wonders if books are word sandwiches and their themes are different flavors of idea jam, and if that’s why they're so nourishing to the soul.

Book Bites: ‘Exit West’ is a bittersweet tale worth savoring

‘Exit West’ stunningly portrays the difficulties of emigration and the driving motivations behind those who choose to flee the countries of their birth. The novel begins in an unnamed city where refugees, militants and repressive government armies abound, and focuses on the developing love affair between Saeed and Nadia amidst their country being overrun with a civil war. From the start, they are two unlikely lovers: he lives with his parents, as per local custom since he is unmarried; she lives alone and drives a motorcycle, wearing a loose dark robe so “men don’t fuck with me.”

Ruby Sushi is sure to satisfy

A row of succulent fresh fish sits atop accompanying mounds of rice, sprinkled with orange tobiko and eel sauce and garnished with a dab of wasabi and thinly-sliced ginger. A nearby mug of hot tea wafts steam over your plate.

Boba Guys, bursting with flavor

A popular stop for delicious milk tea and house-made toppings, Boba Guys is easily accessible from Main Quad with a 25-minute walk, 15-minute Marguerite trip, or 7-minute bike ride. Located at Town & Country Village on El Camino Real, on the same journey you can pick up Trader Joe’s groceries for those late nights, purchase pints at Tin Pot Creamery, (window) shop at high-end boutiques, and even visit the UPS store.

A ‘coming of age’ for all ages

Whatever your relationship to literature, I hope we can at least agree on this: the coming-of-age story draws much of its appeal for how relatable its protagonists are to a young audience. It can reach the point where you come along for their journeys of self-discovery and survival.

Romanticism and its ripples

With two poetry collections and two novels spanning the Romantic era (c. 1800-1850), Reads writers Claire Francis and Shana Hadi respectively recommend these works that contemplate the intensity of emotion and the sublime beauty of nature within aesthetic experience, with references to their modern-day significance. “Poems” by Christina Rossetti An oldie but a goodie: 19th-century…

‘Monstress’ melds the marvelous and melancholic

Lysley Tenorio’s debut short story collection, “Monstress,” astonishes with its brilliance and profound insight into the human experience. Tenorio also places emphasis on truthfully depicting the complications of American and Filipino identities, and the struggle to unite them with a hyphen. Through his melodic prose, Tenorio — also a former Stegner Fellow at Stanford —…

Reflections from the Bay Area Book Festival

Over the weekend of May 4th and 5th, tens of thousands of readers gathered in downtown Berkeley, California, for the long-awaited Bay Area Book Festival. Hundreds of authors and speakers shared words of wisdom with eager fans in crowded auditoriums, with a free outdoor fair of rows of white-tipped tents showcasing publishers, literary organizations, authors…

Lasting notes from National Poetry Month

To celebrate the close of National Poetry Month, Reads writers gathered to rhapsodize on some of their favorite poems. Katherine Silk, Staff Writer “Daffodils” by William Wordsworth When I visited Williamsburg, Virginia, over spring break with a friend, one of the highlights for me included exclaiming in delight as I spotted patches of bright yellow…

‘What is Not Yours is Not Yours’ exquisitely enchants and eludes

Quoting Emily Dickinson, Helen Oyeyemi’s first short story collection, “What is Not Yours is Not Yours,” begins with the epigraph of “open me carefully” and swiftly delves into an exquisite unravelling of storytelling and reality. To great effect, Oyeyemi explores and broaches the boundaries of traditional narrative expectations, balancing fantasy and the surreal over a…

‘Selkie Stories are for Losers’ is a bittersweet winner

Sofia Samatar’s short story, “Selkie Stories are for Losers,” was a finalist for four major SFF awards in 2014 (the Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy and BSFA), but beyond this recognition, it offers an emotive portrayal of how we integrate stories in our lives during periods of loss. Samatar explores the old Scottish myth of the…

Leaf through these refreshing March reads

For all of the constant rain showers that help grow flowers, Reads writers share some of their favorite works exploring natural phenomena and environmental change. Katherine Silk, contributing writer “Emily of New Moon” (Lucy Maud Montgomery) “Anne of Green Gables” is a classic, but Lucy Maud Montgomery’s lesser-known counterpart, “Emily of New Moon,” is an…

Reading between the lines for love

In celebration of this season of love, Reads writers share some of their favorite works that delve into the human heart and explore the depths of friendship, romance and more.   Audrey Mitchell, Contributing Writer “The Time Traveller’s Wife”  (Audrey Niffenegger) “Had we but world enough, and time…” The first time Clare and Henry meet…

‘Her Body and Other Parties’ gives shape to female stories

Carmen Maria Machado’s debut collection of short stories, “Her Body and Other Parties,” oscillates between the horrifying and humorous, the fantastical and psychologically troubling, the uncanny and original. All eight stories feature women on the verge of becoming “madwomen in the attic,” challenging genre archetypes and traditional notions of femininity with inspiration from fairy tales,…

An ode to OverDrive

While I rarely wax poetic on non-reads, I’ll make an exception for OverDrive, an American-based distributor of digital content like ebooks and music. I credit OverDrive and its partnership with over 27,000 public libraries and schools (the Los Angeles Public Library, in my case) for increasing my access to ebooks at the low cost of…

A holiday trio of reads

In time for the holidays, Reads beat writers Katherine Silk, Claire Francis and Shana Hadi discuss several recommendations for winter break. Katherine Silk, Contributing Writer “Airborn” by Kenneth Oppel: If you’re looking for a fun, adventurous story to enrapture you over winter break, I’d joyfully recommend “Airborn.” The novel is set in an alternate past,…
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