Samantha’s Non-Academic Book Recommendations

Samantha Dalal
2 min readAug 1, 2022


For the past two years, I’ve tried to commit to reading more and watching less. I’ll keep a running list of books I’m reading along with a short summary and a recommendation for each here.

The Warmth of Other Suns — Isabel Wilkerson

I really enjoyed this historical non-fiction. It is told in a parallel narrative manner and traces the lives of three African Americans after the Great Migration. In my opinion, Wilkerson does a great job of weaving together historical context with deeply personal stories. The book is quite long, but captivating the whole way through. I highly recommend this one: 9/10.

The Poppy Wars Trilogy–R.F Kuang

I loved this trilogy!! Kuang does an amazing job of telling a story of colonialism, sovereignty, and dignity through a fantasy lens. The main character is nuanced and moral ambiguity is a central theme throughout all three novels. I would highly recommend this book for people who love fantasy but want something more serious and grounded in historical events: 10/10.

The Iron Widow–Xiran Jay Zhao

I was disappointed by this book; It came highly recommended and had great reviews on GoodReads. While I did enjoy the subversive message of the book, the writing felt flat and left much to be desired. The characters all seemed to fit into the same archetypes and the dialogue was a bit cringe at times. While the ending had a solid plot twist, it was not enough to redeem the book in my opinion: 4/10.