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    Viet Thanh Nguyen

    Top Ten Books

    After emigrating from Vietnam with his parents as a child, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sympathizer and its upcoming sequel The Committed, Viet Thanh Nguyen spent hours immersed at the local public library in rural Pennsylvania, where his family was relocated. "I vividly remember Curious George, Tintin, Encyclopedia Brown and the Hardy Boys," Nguyen recalls. Now, as a father to Ellison, 7, and Simone, 1, Nguyen is revisiting both the classics he remembers from his youth and books he overlooked. "I remember not being attracted to books like Madeline, Babar and Where the Wild Things Are " he says, "whereas I find them more interesting now. Many of these books bear the marks of their time, for good and bad, and I do read some of them with Ellison and try to contextualize them if necessary."  His daughter Simone, meanwhile "can almost say 'book' and has her own library, which she loves to delve into. She picks out favorite books, holds them on her lap, and turns the pages. I’m happy that I’ve developed a culture of reading for them." Though Nguyen is predictably busy as a novelist, the critic-at-large at The Los Angeles Times and a professor of English at the University of Southern California, he makes sure to involve himself in the literary world of his children too. "Although I have a limited interest in the children’s versions of superhero stories that my son loves. But his passion for Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Captain Underpants, The Bad Guys, Hilo, and Dogman have brought those books to me, which I think are great. I wish I had had them when I was a kid. They’re great stories and they don’t come with the racial and colonial baggage of the books I had. I’m looking forward to the young adult world of literature that he’ll expose me to." Below are Viet's favorite books, available to purchase individually or as a set. See the full list...

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    Zoe Lister-Jones


    Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret

    Judy Blume

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    Misty Copeland


    Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story

    Kevin Noble Maillard

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    Michael Ian Black


    From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

    E.L. Konigsburg

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