SHI REVIEWED | Go Set A Watchman

Atticus Finch is racist. That’s the shocking revelation in Harper Lee’s sequel to the beloved classic To Kill a Mockingbird. Through a modernist blurring of the first person and third person omniscient, Lee brings 26-year old Jean Louise (remember Scout?) from New York City back home to Maycomb for a visit. Yes, the same sleepy Maycomb that she grew up in; the town whose all-white jury her father Atticus faced 17 years ago to defend an innocent black man accused of rape. Fast forward to the present: The South is in uproar over the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Ed ruling mandating school desegregation.

SHI REVIEWED | Nabokov’s “Pnin”

Vladimir Nabokov first appeared to me as a stranger’s name on a Cornell t-shirt. A quick search online showed me that he’s a big deal—big enough to be printed on the same shirt as Ginsburg, Sagan and Morrison. Curious about his work, I found his novel Pnin at Olin Library. My first puzzle was learning how to pronounce the title. According to Nabokov from an interview, “To get the ‘pn’ right, try the combination ‘Up North,’ or still better ‘Up, Nina!’, leaving out the initial ‘u.’ Pnorth, Pnina, Pmn.

SHI REVIEWED | The Three Body Problem (Part II)

Nestled in the Milky Way Galaxy four light-years away from the Earth, Trisolaris is a planet in a three-star solar system. The stars move in erratic orbits that follow no clear patterns—this is the classic “three body problem.” No civilization in Trisolaran history has been able to predict—and thus survive—the chaotic eras caused by these unpredictable orbits. The present Trisolarans, recognizing this, have begun their search for another home in the universe. Meanwhile, on Earth, our protagonist Ye makes contact with the Trisolarans via the opening of SETI communication channels. Her message is short, but it sets the course for the collision of the two worlds: “Come here!

SHI REVIEWED | The Three Body Problem (Part I)

I am not a sci-fi person, but I started reading The Three Body Problem due to several timely developments. Over winter break, I visited my friend in China and learned that this is the “Hunger Games” equivalent of what’s trending in China. This semester, I decided to take Astronomy to fulfill a distribution requirement. Two weeks ago, NASA announced the discovery of seven earth-sized exoplanets around a nearby star. I couldn’t have picked a better moment to read and review this book.

SHI REVIEWED | Underground Railroad Part II

This review continues where the first one left off. The protagonist Cora arrives in North Carolina, where she hides in the home of Martin, an abolitionist, awaiting word to continue travel on the Underground Railroad. Cora’s home is a nook of a false ceiling in Martin’s attic. In the heat of the North Carolina summer, she sits and waits until midnight when Martin feels that it is safe enough to bring her food and allow her time to stretch in the attic. Her solitary confinement continues for months, with no word about the railroad.


This blog series is a first and a last. It is a first because it features book reviews, something I have never attempted to do outside of class. My project requires regular reading and meaningful commentary. I consider doing one well to be a personal accomplishment. To do both well is my goal.