Books That Inspire 2009

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Junot Diaz

I know, I know: a second-generation immigrant picking a first-generation immigrant. Give me a minute and I’ll explain myself. To say this book is just about a fat Dominican super-nerd (an oxymoron, if there ever was one) is to leave out numerous American experiences: rebelling against your parents to later discover that they know far more (and have experienced more) than we ever could, or living in a government-caused state-of-terror (sound familiar?). Those are just a few themes found in The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. And, yes, it’s also about an immigrant picking another immigrant; but in the end, what’s more American than immigrants?

Armando Celayo
Research Assistant
Joe C. and Carole Kerr McClendon Honors College