UT editors’ picks: Books

Our editors suggest some of their favorite books to read while students are ‘safer at home’

Tahiti Salinas, Staff Reporter

As the spring semester converts to online classes and “safe at home” regulations are put in place, there is more free time for us at home. During these times, it is important to stay busy and find activities to do.

In this series, the University Times editors will give their favorite or “go-to” books, music, movies and television show recommendations for you to enjoy while at home. 

Marisa Martinez, Editor-in-Chief:

“Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austin and “Like Water for Chocolate” by Laura Esquivel

My go-to read is always Jane Austin’s “Pride and Prejudice.” It’s a good book to spend hours on and really puts into perspective how the dating culture in the 1800s was so fragile and strange. 

Classism comes into play throughout the book which, when comparing it to modern times, is an element that is hard to ignore. All in all, it’s a great read. Especially if you’ve just read a book that wasn’t very good. I tend to use it as a palate cleanser.

My second favorite is Laura Esquivel’s “Like Water for Chocolate.” This was the first novel I related to as a young Latina. One can’t help but feel encompassed by Esquivel’s magical realism style of writing. 

The way food is connected to every aspect of Tita De La Garza’s life makes this book as comforting as what’s being cooked within it. It’s an easier read than most, which makes it ideal for those who crave quality writing but haven’t dove into a book for a while.

Isaac Gutierrez, Digital Editor:

“The Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka

If I were to host a book club, much like Oprah does, the first book I’d include is a literary classic:  “The Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka. I love its zany premise at face-value and how fast it implants you into the world. 

A guy wakes up one morning to find himself transformed into a giant roach. The themes are heavy in the book, which offers many different interpretations. Also, this book and author are favorites of the teacher who inspired me and fueled my love of writing. 

Brennan Hernandez, Digital Editor & Production Manager:

“Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema” by Laura Mulvey 

I first found out about Mulvey after reading articles on film theories. I wanted to understand how the theoretical lens applied to films and how they’re reflective of society. That’s where I found Mulvey’s section in “Film Theory and Criticism,” by Leo Brady and Marshall Cohen. 

Mulvey talks about how the media reinforces societal norms and can be used as a form of political weapon. She touches on the psychological, societal and ideological theories that influence consumers into thinking certain ways. It’s a great read to better understand how to intake media and to be cautious of certain entertainment that further pushes hegemonized ideologies. 

Adrian Bennett de Avila, Sports Editor: 

“Myth Adventures” series by Robert Asprin

I have fond memories of the “Myth Adventures” series of which I read frequently as a kid. When I return to them now as an adult, I find new things to appreciate, including snarky witticisms, which were lost on me when I was younger. I would describe the series as a fantasy/comedy, but they are so uniquely bizarre, I feel that description doesn’t do the story any justice. 

My sales pitch is this: the first book in the series opens with our protagonist, named Skeeve, who is both aspiring thief and sorcerer in training, being left alone with a recently summoned demon his master called upon prior to being assassinated. From there, Skeeve and the demon embark on zany adventures. ‘Nuff said.    

If it sounds like that might tickle your fancy, the first book in the series is titled: “Another Fine Myth.”

Joshua Letona, Entertainment Managing Editor:

“Guardians of the Galaxy” Vol. 1-4 (2008-2010) and “The Thanos Imperative” (2010-2011) by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning 

I spent a lot of time reading comic book issues of characters like Iron Man and Captain America, but none of them stuck like the 2008 revamp of “Guardians of the Galaxy.” The series ran only 25 issues with a six-part finale in “The Thanos Imperative,” wrapping up the story arcs set up.

The story follows Peter Quill/Star-Lord as he struggles to put a team together, full of fan-favorite characters like Rocket Raccoon and Groot, to guard the universe against the Universal Church of Truth. The religious cult worships a cosmic tear in the universe, leaking out dangerous monsters the Guardians must stop.

For me, this was everything I was looking for in a comic series, but it was the writing here that was key. Abnett and Lanning have a real grasp of their characters by giving them emotional depth, but also manage to keep things fun and weird. It’s a wild space ride with epic action, humor and lovable characters. 

All the characters you’ve seen on film are here, on top of so many more like a telepathic Russian space dog named Cosmo.

The comic shifts art direction a lot, but makes for interesting interpretations every couple issues that are all beautifully drawn. The series was sadly cut short, but the finale brings an emotional end that puts the whole universe at stake. As the story came to a close, the final panel brought me to tears.

Richard Tzul, News Managing Editor:

“Aquaman” (The New 52) Vol. 1-4 (2011-2014) by Geoff Johns 

This comic book run by writer Geoff Johns and various artists is the greatest collection of Aquaman stories ever published in the character’s 75-plus year history. 

Thanks to the charismatic and masculine portrayal of the character by Jason Mamoa, the King of Atlantis is finally getting the love he deserves instead of the “talk-to-fish” jokes, which sunk his reputation for years. However, before the 2018 live action picture, Johns essentially revamped the character for the 21st century — making Arthur Curry the noble badass royalty that he is. 

Serving as a reboot, the half-human-half-Atlantean’s origin is retold in flashbacks while progressing his present day story of fighting to protect the sea and the so-called surface world — neither of which accept him for who he is. 

The mythology, the compelling characters and the gorgeous art will delight anyone — regardless if they’re a regular comic reader or not. If you’re still not convinced Aquaman is cool enough to read, here he fights the Justice League solo. I won’t spoil the details of this epic battle… but let’s just say Superman didn’t see that coming.

Fernanda Hernandez, La Nota Dorada Editor:

“The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho

“The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho is my all time favorite book. It takes you on a journey of self discovery. It reminded me to always stay true to who you are even when situations might make you change and make decisions I never thought I’d make. 

This book also motivated me to go out there and discover new cultures and people. Ultimately, the book’s journey inspired me to face obstacles, knowing I’ll get through them.

Brian Delgado, Photo Editor:

“A Thousand Splendid Suns” by Khaled Hosseini 

From the author who wrote “A Kite Runner,” this book captures the soul & essence of Afghanistan’s tragic history through two women, both born a generation apart. Their lives cross under the same marriage proposal from a man named Rasheed. 

This book uses Afghanistan’s own history as a milestone for the story and shows how the main characters become affected by these circumstances. Most of all, Hosseini captures what it truly means to be human and how we learn to love and appreciate, despite life’s challenges. 

While reading this selection of books, remember to stay safe, continue to wash your hands and keep yourself busy while you’re “safer at home.”

Stay tuned for more stories in this series.