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Well-Read Women: Ilia Uy

Well-Read Women: Ilia Uy

Next up on the Well-Read Women series is a Fully Booked resident bookworm, Ayliya!

Ayliya is a graduate student dropout (that darn thesis!) but she believes life provides more than enough opportunities to learn—usually in the pages of a good book and through interactions with fellow human beings.  Midway through the pandemic last year, she bought a sewing machine and started making clothes as a creative and destressing activity. 

Why she thinks it's important to read women

Reading women validates that the lives women live are worth telling stories about, worth spending time with. It affirms that women are great storytellers and offer to the world a wider spectrum of experiences, perspectives and histories. I read women to know that I am not alone, not alone in vulnerability, not alone in struggle, not alone in joy, not alone in wonder.

Check out her recommended reads!

Recommended Reads by Ilia 

I Like to Watch by Emily Nussbaum

Female TV critics are rare creatures so it's a delight to read Emily Nussbaum's thoughtful perspective on television as a medium and an art form, bad fans, and "macho nonsense." Her ability to provide a nuanced understanding of grey areas is on full display in her essay on Joan Rivers' legacy called "Last Girl of Larchmont." This collection of essays is a must read for viewers passionate about the kinds of stories television can produce.


The Glass Hotel by Emily St. John Mandel

Like most people during the pandemic, I experience a spike in anxiety and sleeplessness, especially in the first few months. Picking up The Glass Hotel and reading Emily St. John Mandel's quiet but piercing prose provided a refuge. It was comforting to get lost in a story where the characters' worlds were also falling apart (through the collapse of a Ponzi scheme). I could sit together with these characters in mutual devastation. It made me feel less isolated. I would say this book is the perfect pandemic read.


The Art of Gathering by Priya Parker

Community is very important to me. Having grown up in church where activities—worship services, camps, bible study groups, workshops—were constant as well as working in marketing and events, I always understood that gatherings needed to be designed and guided. But Priya Parker deepened my understanding of how humans behave when we come together and how we can harness the power of togetherness to create more meaningful interactions and clearer courses of action. Everyone who does events in one form or another should read this book.


Sisters by Raina Telgemeier

I love reading middle grade narratives. Stories from the point of view of a child have a raw energy: because children don't yet have the emotional language to articulate their feelings, the reader can go through the journey with the character. Raina Telgemeier always brings a keen sense of humor in her work. She understands how human relationships can create friction as well as connectedness and presents these in both comedic and moving ways. Having two sisters of my own, Sisters has a special place in my heart.


The Undocumented Americans by Karla Cornejo Villavicencio

We've always been taught that journalism has to be clinically objective. But this approach to non-fiction storytelling has wrought the proliferation of lies and propaganda, reported verbatim, usually without context. Karla Cornejo Villavicencio shows a path forward for a kind of journalism that doesn't discount the writer's subjectivity and worldview but instead makes them transparent in the writing, another layer of context. This book is a testament to the strength, the trauma, the hope of immigrants.

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