Skip to Main Content


Events & Programs for Adults 18+

falcon's bookshelf masthead

September 2023 • Semira Taheri, Professor of English

What is your favorite genre? Which do you avoid?
My favorite genres to read are: suspense, mystery, historical fiction, nonfiction. magical realism, and humor. I avoid reading science fiction.

Sapiens book coverWhat book is currently sitting on your nightstand?
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind: I am fascinated with this non-fiction book which discusses the major stages of human history; the unique description and visuals makes it an amazing book and not just a history book. The author skillfully discusses the impact of prehistoric Sapiens on human species and also the impact of our action on the world around us.

What’s the last great book you read? The last book you recommended to everyone you know?funny in farsi book cover
Funny in Farsi: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America: It’s a portrait of Iranian immigrants and trying to fit in with the American culture and values. In a humorous tone, the author describes the clashes between the two cultures and eventually learns that “you don’t have to be American to fit it in; embrace who you are and your culture.” It is definitely a lesson I would like my students to remember and it is an inspiration of “iBelong” presentations in my classes last semester.

Describe your ideal reading experience (when, what, where, how).
My ideal reading experience would be sitting in the balcony of a cabin on top of the mountains in spring/ summer time with the view of either the Canadian Rockies or Smoky Mountains in Tennessee. These two places have amazing and breathtaking views.

night diary book coverDo you have a favorite book no one else has heard of? 
The Night Diary: a fascinating reading where the main character is in search for her identity and where she belongs. 

Which writers – novelists, playwrights, critics, journalists, poets – working today do you admire most?
Katharine B. Soper, she is the author of Steps Out of Time: One Woman's Journey on the Camino. Christiane Amanpour: Journalist.

What’s the last book you read that made you laugh?city of thieves book cover
City of Thieves: A story of adventure and survival and a coming of age in a humorous tone; it’s an amazing story and truly entertaining

What’s the most interesting thing that you learned from a book recently? 
Funny in Farsi: embrace who you are and your culture; you don’t have to be like the majority of people in the society to fit in.

harry potter book coverWhat book might people be surprised to find on your bookshelf?
Harry Potter books! The only fantasy novels I have ever read. My daughter and I are reading the books and enjoying the imagination and magical journey of the books.

my antonia book coverWho is your favorite fictional hero or heroine? Your favorite antihero or villain?
Ántonia Shimerda, the protagonist in My Antonia. She is an independent character who faces difficult circumstances after her emigration. She is also trapped in cultural differences that makes her feel like an outsider. Her refusal to sacrifice her independence makes her to stand out.

What kind of reader were you as a child? Which childhood books and authors stick with you the most?
I was an avid reader and used to read stories by Agatha Christie. I was fascinated by two main characters: Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple. The captivating conclusion and descriptive details are fascinating.

Have your reading tastes changed over time?
I used to read romance novels but I am not into this genre anymore.

You’re organizing a literary dinner party. Which three writers, dead or alive, do you invite?
Maya Angelou, Ernest Hemingway, and Yuval Noah Harari

a piece of the world book cover
What book would you most like to see turned into a movie or TV series that hasn’t already been adapted?A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline