My summer reading list: Ashley Truong

Ashley Truong
Fiction, 1st year

This summer I’ll be brushing up on the speculative fiction canon both past and present, particularly horror, as it’s relevant to my thesis project.

A Stranger in Olondria by Sofia Samatar — It’s rare to have books set in secondary worlds with people of color, let alone written by a person of color. I love the beautiful imagery in this book so far; plus it’s a book about reading! Readingception.

New England’s Gothic Literature: History and Folklore of the Supernatural from the Seventeenth Through the Twentieth Centuries by Faye Ringel — I’m appropriating New England folklore (particularly about witches) for my thesis project, so I wanted to start getting familiar with the subject.

Ghost Summer by Tananarive Due — This is a collection of horror short stories. Horror stories about and by people of color is also rare, even though, as the author says, it’s the perfect genre for distilling the real-life violence people of color experience. I love Ghost Summer because it doesn’t rely on gore to deliver some truly disturbing moments.

The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu — This has been billed as the epic Asian fantasy, at least at the moment. I’m not sure how much I’ll like it, but since I wanted to give it a shot because I want to support Asian American speculative fiction writers.

Parable of the Sower by Octavia E. Butler — I’m ashamed to be a speculative fiction writer who hasn’t read Octavia Butler, so I want to fix that this summer. Something that caught my attention during a panel about her at the AWP conference was when the speakers said that one of the most important aspects of her work are the relationships between characters. Parable of the Sower is one of her most well-known works, so I’m starting here.


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