I hold a PhD in Educational Sciences. I am mainly interested in curriculum development and instructional strategies in low-resource contexts for immigrant students.
In my doctoral dissertation research, I carried out a mixed methods comparative study on the language education for newly arrived migrant students in their transition to national education systems in Turkey and Germany.
Reading fiction has always helped me organize my thoughts. I really enjoy sharing what I read with small notes. Here is my fiction bookshelf.
Podyum (original in Turkish and available in several languages) by Mehmet Murat Somer. This book shifts its focus towards the lives of supermodels, painting a vivid picture of the popular culture and nightlife in Turkey during the early 2000s. While I acknowledge the skillful writing in this book, I must admit that, in my opinion, it doesn't quite reach the level set by Holding.
Holding (original in Turkish and available in several languages) by Mehmet Murat Somer. After bidding farewell to my doctoral dissertation, I sought a captivating story to unwind and ease my mind. Holding presents the tale of an affluent family. While the author discloses it as a work of pure fiction, I can't help but notice its striking resemblances to one of the wealthiest families in Turkey. Nevertheless, I found myself enamored by Somer's writing style and the intricacies of the characters. This book is undoubtedly a must-read.
Kuru Kız (Turkish) by Ayfer Tunç. I guess this relatively short book has stirred debates among the ardent readers of Ayfer Tunç. Whereas some were disappointed, others sustained their commitment to her fiction. I follow her works closely, but I do not define myself as a dedicated reader. Kuru Kız did not meet my expectations, either. The story was indeed promising, but the characters remained quite flat as if the book had to be written under time pressure.
Blindness by José Saramago. Until my visit to Saramago museum in Lisbon, I realized that I had missed meeting with his fiction. Blindness depicts an apocalyptic world and its destructing consequences where almost everyone blinds in masses. It is a brilliant story but I am happy to have read it after COVID-19 pandemic. Otherwise, it might inflict deep anxieties.
Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney. Youth, racing heart(s), and hesitant intimacies. With this debut novel and her plain style, she has implied her gigantic footsteps. Very nice to meet you, Rooney!
Ülker Abla (Turkish) by Seray Şahiner. I am an avid reader of Seray Şahiner, a very promising Turkish story writer / novelist. The plots in her books mainly revolve around oppressed, abused female characters in poverty. This book recounts the story of Ülker - who is indeed a spin-off character from Şahiner's most famous book, Antabus (Turkish). The idea sounds excellent, but Ülker Abla has come into being overall no different than a weekly magazine article. For me, it lacks depth and a refined style as if it were written in a hurry.
İmtiyaz - Yahut Cici Kızlara Bir Roman (Turkish) by Sezen Ünlüönen. I dived into this book when it was highly suggested by some people whose gut and vision I trust. The plot, which is centered around a main female character, hints itself a story of love and disappointments but ends with a feminist move, which unfortunately sounds too cliché.
Osman (Turkish) by Ayfer Tunç. I think Ayfer Tunç has presented an incredible character - Osman - to Turkish literature. I swallowed the 500-pages book in a relatively short time. You travel across various state of minds and witness how an affluent man, his close circle and a generation ruin their lives. Ayfer Tunç also shows how truth unfolds itself in different ways! It is a magnificent story. I am sure it will be in many languages soon and probably on screen sometime in the future.
Here is my non-fiction bookshelf. They help me polish some skills and gain perspectives.
Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport. The title is self-explanatory. We live in a world where we are constantly distracted by multiple sources. This book has evolved into a quintessential guide that not only delineates the major sources of distraction but also offers concrete strategies to reorient yourself and remain focused.
On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Non-fiction by William Zinsser. A close friend of mine gifted this book while I was writing my doctoral dissertation. He is a person who is well aware of the value of good writing skills, so did I trust his gut. The book is quite useful for identifying key strategies to create straightforward and impactful texts.
- "Crafting the formal learning landscape in language instruction for newly arrived migrant students", @Next Generation Literacies Conference in Hamburg, January 2024.
- "Super-diverse characteristics of newly arrived migrant students in language instruction: Evidence from Turkey and Germany", @AERA Annual Meeting in Philadelphia, April 2024.