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Oswego Reading Initiative

The Oswego Reading Initiative is an annual project asking the campus community to read one book over the summer. To accompany the selection, a series of programs, including cultural events and talks are planned to facilitate discussion and involvement around the title.


This year's ORI event will take place on Wednesday, September 25 at 7pm in the Marano Campus Center Auditorium.


ORI 2024 Selection:


Which Side Are You On

By: Ryan Lee Wong

How can we live with integrity and pleasure in this world of police brutality and racism? An Asian American activist is challenged by his mother to face this question in this powerful—and funny—debut novel of generational change, a mother’s secret, and an activist’s coming-of-age

Twenty-one-year-old Reed is fed up. Angry about the killing of a Black man by an Asian American NYPD officer, he wants to drop out of college and devote himself to the Black Lives Matter movement. But would that truly bring him closer to the moral life he seeks?

In a series of intimate, charged conversations, his mother—once the leader of a Korean-Black coalition—demands that he rethink his outrage, and along with it, what it means to be an organizer, a student, an ally, an American, and a son. As Reed zips around his hometown of Los Angeles with his mother, searching and questioning, he faces a revelation that will change everything.

Inspired by his family’s roots in activism, Ryan Lee Wong offers an extraordinary debut novel for readers of Anthony Veasna So, Rachel Kushner, and Michelle Zauner: a book that is as humorous as it is profound, a celebration of seeking a life that is both virtuous and fun, an ode to mothering and being mothered.

Ryan Lee Wong is author of the novel Which Side Are You On.


He was born and raised in Los Angeles, the son of a fifth-generation Chinese American father and a Korean immigrant mother. Ryan organized the exhibitions Serve the People at Interference Archive and Roots at Chinese American Museum, both focused on the Asian American movements of the 1970s. A Kundiman Fellow, he holds an MFA in Fiction from Rutgers-Newark and served on the Board of the Jerome Foundation.


He is currently the Administrative Director of Brooklyn Zen Center, which oversees Ancestral Heart Temple, a residential training center where he lived for two years. At BZC, he’s facilitated workshops on undoing patriarchy and for BIPOC practitioners, and received jukai (ethical precepts) in 2019.


He writes and speaks regularly on the intersections of diaspora, Buddhism, and the arts.