My Favorite Read


Looking for some additions to your summer reading list? For this special literary issue, UCI Magazine asked several well-read Anteaters to tell us about their most-cherished titles.

Megan Cole
Editor-in-chief, New University

What is your favorite book?
Slouching Towards Bethlehem, by Joan Didion

Why?
Joan Didion’s writing style is completely inimitable, but she’s always great to read for inspiration. I go back to this book all the time. I admire the way Didion writes about California in this collection. Even 50 years after the book was written, in the midst of the late-’60s counterculture movement, her observations about our state are timeless.

When did you first read it?
Fittingly, I read it all the way through for the first time last year, on a reporting trip to San Francisco.


Howard Gillman
Chancellor

What is your favorite book?
Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy

Why?
It’s flawless and timeless and captures an extraordinary range of human experience with unparalleled empathy for the human condition.

When did you first read it?
In my late 30s, with just about enough life behind me to appreciate Tolstoy’s accomplishment.


Jack Langson
Trustee, UCI Foundation

What is your favorite book?
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Why?
Reading this book is like sharing time in person with one of the most interesting Americans who has ever lived. Imagine you had the chance to have dinner with Benjamin Franklin, and after dinner you asked him to tell some of his experiences and the life lessons learned.

When did you first read it?
In my youth


Shanaz Langson
Trustee, UCI Foundation

What is your favorite book?
The first two installments of the Century Trilogy, Fall of Giants and Winter of the World, by Ken Follett

Why?
I loved the first two volumes for how they depicted the globe’s interconnectivity and shared the destinies of people from the five countries in the story.

When did you first read it?
I read them both in 2014.


Gary Lynch
Professor of psychiatry & human behavior

What is your favorite book?
Ulysses, by James Joyce

Why?
Nothing else quite captures for me how a sense of mystery enriches the human experience. I go back to it for a jolt of perspective, excitement and optimism when the daily grind starts draining color from the world.

When did you first read it?
I first read Ulysses in college – after that, it was a different novel each time I picked it up. Magic!


Lorelei Tanji
University librarian

What is your favorite book?
The Three-Year Swim Club: The Untold Story of Maui’s Sugar Ditch Kids and Their Quest for Olympic Glory, by Julie Checkoway

Why?
This book tells the true story of a teacher who trained several students, who were children of Hawaiian sugar cane plantation workers, to become world-class swimmers by swimming in irrigation ditches. The book describes the discrimination, racism, fear and economic hardships that immigrants and local people faced during the period before, during and after WWII. So many of these issues are still relevant today.

When did you first read it?
I read it last year, after Alison Regan, UCI’s assistant university librarian for public services, gave me a copy. Both of my parents were born in Hawaii, so this book was particularly meaningful. After I read it, I passed it along to my mother. All good books should be shared!