The following list of books was curated by Emilie Codega, one of Baker Library's Information Research Specialists, and is intended to help you get to know your immersion location through the lens of storytelling.


Beneath the Lions Gaze by Maaza Mengiste (2010; Fiction)
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Mengiste’s novel of the early years of Ethiopia’s revolution begins in 1974 as student demonstrations and famine lead to the overthrow of Emperor Haile Selassie by the military. She creates an intimate portrait of an extended family, and it is through their eyes that we see the revolution unfolding – and descending into chaos and brutality. (Source: The Guardian)

The Magic of Saida by MG Vassanji (2012; Fiction) 
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The story of an African/Indian man who returns to the town of his birth in search of the girl he once loved—and the sense of self that has always eluded him. This novel incorporates a capsule history of east Africa, from precolonial times, through years of resistance and accommodation, and past the postcolonial conflicts; an account of religious conflict; a chronicle of emigration and dislocation; and a vivid examination of contemporary life in Tanzania. (Source: The Globe & Mail)

Londoners: The Days and Nights of London Now - As Told by Those Who Love It, Hate It, Live It, Left It and Long for It, Edited by Craig Taylor (2011; Nonfiction)
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In the style of Studs Terkel (Working, Hard Times, The Good War) and Dave Isay (Listening Is an Act of Love), Londoners offers up  the stories, the gripes, the memories, and the dreams of those in the great and vibrant British metropolis who “love it, hate it, live it, left it, and long for it,” from a West End rickshaw driver to a Soldier of the Guard at Buckingham Palace to a recovering heroin addict seeing Big Ben for the very first time. (Source: Publisher, Harper Collins) 

City of Quartz: Excavating the Future in Los Angeles, by Mike Davis (1990; Nonfiction)
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In this captivating history, Davis exposes the social forces behind Los Angeles’ development into the jumble of contradictions it is today. Packed with thought-provoking musings on why LA is regarded as simultaneously a utopia and a dystopia, Davis’ tome still generates controversy and discussion almost 25 years after it was published. (Source: Barnes & Noble)

After Dark by Haruki Murakami (2007; Fiction)
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Set in Tokyo during the witching hours between midnight and dawn, the novel features two sisters--Eri, a fashion model slumbering her way into oblivion, and Mari, a young student soon led from solitary reading at an anonymous Denny's toward people whose lives are radically alien to her own. (Source: Publisher, Alfred A. Knopf) 


Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China by Evan Osnos (2014; Nonfiction)
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A vibrant, colorful, and revelatory inner history of China during a moment of profound transformation. From abroad, we often see China as a caricature: a nation of pragmatic plutocrats and ruthlessly dedicated students destined to rule the global economy--or an addled Goliath, riddled with corruption and on the edge of stagnation. What we don't see is how both powerful and ordinary people are remaking their lives as their country dramatically changes. As the Beijing correspondent for The New Yorker, Evan Osnos was on the ground in China for years, witness to profound political, economic, and cultural upheaval. (Source: Publisher, Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

Green Island by Shawna Yang Ryan (2013; fiction)
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February 28, 1947: Trapped inside the family home amid an uprising that has rocked Taipei, Dr. Tsai delivers his youngest daughter, the unnamed narrator of Green Island, just after midnight as the city is plunged into martial law. In the following weeks, as the Chinese Nationalists act to crush the opposition, Dr. Tsai becomes one of the many thousands of people dragged away from their families and thrown into prison. His return, after more than a decade, is marked by alienation from his loved ones and paranoia among his community — conflicts that loom over the growing bond he forms with his youngest daughter. Years later, this troubled past follows her to the United States, where, as a mother and a wife, she too is forced to decide between what is right and what might save her family — the same choice she witnessed her father make many years before.  (Source: Knopf, publisher).