Summer Reading in Pandemic Times

by Lira Luis (originally published in

Book Stacks Image by Lira Luis, inspired by Antonio Olivera's photo

Book Stacks Image by Lira Luis, inspired by Antonio Olivera’s photo

The current pandemic led to the grounding of all my business flights for the rest of the year. The good news is, while bleisure travel took me to faraway places pre-pandemic, so can a book, or two. The shorter commute between my balcony and living room during WFH (working from home) means more time to catch up on my summer reading. These are on my list:

Close-Up View of Froebel’s Kindergarten with Frank Lloyd Wright at the Drawing Table by Wally Rogers. This book is a deep dive into the method of learning in Friedrich Froebel’s Kindergarten and how it became the foundational influence on Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture.

Members Only by Sameer Pandya. It’s a novel that follows the experiences of Raj Bhatt, a brown man in America who is part of an elite membership club where the white members accused him of being a reverse racist, forcing him to navigate the complex space between black and white, while looking for meaning in membership and belonging.

Is Everyone Really Equal? by Robin DiAngelo. This is a professional education on understanding social justice that would allow deep reflection and ethical action.

Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning by Cathy Park Hong. Part of allyship is walking in someone else’s shoes and this is a personal narrative that recounts navigating the English language, feelings, poetry, artmaking, and family including female friendships through the lens of an Asian American.

Nikola Tesla and the Electrical Future by Iwan Rhys Morus. A timely book that examines the inventor-as-maverick-outsider persona of Nikola Tesla, against the backdrop of the age of innovation of his time with a strong clear vision of the future.

The Sympathizer: A Novel by Viet Thanh Nguyen. This is an espionage novel that won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and centers on the theme of Vietnam War, told through the story of an army captain, his love and life between America and Vietnam, including the communist cause.

How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi. This is probably the book of our time and demonstrates why it is not enough to not be racist. In an authentic equitable society most people would be antiracist and this book explains exactly how to be one.

Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do by Jennifer L. Eberhardt. The most important and timely message of this book is that we do not have to be racist to be biased, and this can be manifested in micro-actions and macro-actions that have lasting effects.

Architecture for Rapid Change and Scarce Resources by Sumita Singha. It’s a blueprint for professional practice on a local and global scale, in developed and developing countries, that addresses sustainability and social equity.

Blockchain: The Insights You Need from Harvard Business Review by Harvard Business Review. In order to fully grasp how to gain competitive advantage in our changing landscape of business and society, this book gives a foundational understanding of blockchain technology and what you need to be doing with it now, to come out ahead.

If you happen to read some of them, let me know what you think.



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