Fall 2015 Book List

Fall 2015 BOOK GROUP SELECTIONS

FACULTY & STAFF: Pick out a book from the list below.  We’ll purchase it, help you join a group, and treat you to lunch! DEADLINE to sign up is September 30.

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It is important that you select a first and second choice from the following titles. Occasionally a title becomes unavailable. Having a second choice will help us serve you better. Sign up as a group of 5-7 or join an open group.  If the book your group wants to read is not here please recommend it here.

BY POPULAR REQUEST: Books will be delivered to Department Secretaries for dissemination to faculty & staff

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander (Non-fiction)

Once in a great while a book comes along that changes the way we see the world and helps to fuel a nationwide social movement. The New Jim Crow is such a book. Praised by Harvard Law professor Lani Guinier as "brave and bold," this book directly challenges the notion that the election of Barack Obama signals a new era of colorblindness. With dazzling candor, legal scholar Michelle Alexander argues that "we have not ended racial caste in America; we have merely redesigned it." By targeting black men through the War on Drugs and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control—relegating millions to a permanent second-class status—even as it formally adheres to the principle of colorblindness. In the words of Benjamin Todd Jealous, president and CEO of the NAACP, this book is a "call to action."  Called "stunning" by Pulitzer Prize–winning historian David Levering Lewis, "invaluable" by the Daily Kos, "explosive" by Kirkus, and "profoundly necessary" by the Miami Herald, this updated and revised paperback edition of The New Jim Crow, now with a foreword by Cornel West, is a must-read for all people of conscience.

Future Crimes by Marc Goodman (Non-fiction)

Technological advances have benefited our world in immeasurable ways, but there is an ominous flipside. Criminals are often the earliest, and most innovative, adopters of technology and modern times have led to modern crimes. Today's criminals are stealing identities, draining online bank-accounts and wiping out computer servers. It's disturbingly easy to activate baby cam monitors to spy on families, pacemakers can be hacked to deliver a lethal jolt, and thieves are analyzing your social media in order to determine the best time for a home invasion. Meanwhile, 3D printers produce AK-47s, terrorists can download the recipe for the Ebola virus, and drug cartels are building drones. This is just the beginning of the tsunami of technological threats coming our way. In Future Crimes, Marc Goodman rips opens his database of hundreds of real cases to give us front-row access to these impending perils. Reading like a sci-fi thriller, but based in startling fact, Goodman raises tough questions about the expanding role of technology in our lives. Future Crimes is a call to action for better security measures worldwide, but most importantly, will empower readers to protect themselves against these looming technological threats - before it's too late.

Disrupting the School-to-Prison Pipeline by Sofia Bahena, et al (Non-fiction)

The “school-to-prison pipeline” has received much attention in the education world over the past few years. A fast-growing and disturbing development, it describes a range of circumstances whereby “children are funneled out of public schools and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems.” Scholars, educators, parents, students, and organizers across the country have pointed to this shocking trend, insisting that it be identified and understood—and that it be addressed as an urgent matter by the larger community.  This new volume from the Harvard Educational Review features essays from scholars, educators, students, and community activists who are working to disrupt, reverse, and redirect the pipeline. Alongside these authors are contributions from the people most affected: youth and adults who have been incarcerated, or whose lives have been shaped by the school-to-prison pipeline. Through stories, essays, and poems, these individuals add to the book’s comprehensive portrait of how our education and justice systems function—and how they fail to serve the interests of many young people.

The Man Who Wasn't There by Anil Ananthaswamy (Non-Fiction)

We are learning about the self at a level of detail that Descartes (“I think therefore I am”) could never have imagined. Recent research into Alzheimer’s illuminates how memory creates your narrative self by using the same part of your brain for your past as for your future. But wait, those afflicted with Cotard’s syndrome think they are already dead; in a way, they believe that “I think therefore I am not.” Who—or what—can say that? Neuroscience has identified specific regions of the brain that, when they misfire, can cause the self to move back and forth between the body and a doppelgänger, or to leave the body entirely. So where in the brain, or mind, or body, is the self actually located? As Ananthaswamy elegantly reports, neuroscientists themselves now see that the elusive sense of self is both everywhere and nowhere in the human brain.

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari (Non-Fiction)

From a renowned historian comes a groundbreaking narrative of humanity’s creation and evolution—a #1 international bestseller—that explores the ways in which biology and history have defined us and enhanced our understanding of what it means to be “human.”  One hundred thousand years ago, at least six different species of humans inhabited Earth. Yet today there is only one—homo sapiens. What happened to the others? And what may happen to us?  Most books about the history of humanity pursue either a historical or a biological approach, but Dr. Yuval Noah Harari breaks the mold with this highly original book that begins about 70,000 years ago with the appearance of modern cognition. From examining the role evolving humans have played in the global ecosystem to charting the rise of empires, Sapiens integrates history and science to reconsider accepted narratives, connect past developments with contemporary concerns, and examine specific events within the context of larger ideas.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates (Memoir)

In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?  Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son. Coates shares with his son—and readers—the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children’s lives were taken as American plunder. Beautifully woven from personal narrative, reimagined history, and fresh, emotionally charged reportage, Between the World and Me clearly illuminates the past, bracingly confronts our present, and offers a transcendent vision for a way forward.

The Road to Character by David Brooks (Non-Fiction)

With the wisdom, humor, curiosity, and sharp insights that have brought millions of readers to his New York Times column and his previous bestsellers, David Brooks has consistently illuminated our daily lives in surprising and original ways. In The Social Animal, he explored the neuroscience of human connection and how we can flourish together. Now, in The Road to Character, he focuses on the deeper values that should inform our lives. Responding to what he calls the culture of the Big Me, which emphasizes external success, Brooks challenges us, and himself, to rebalance the scales between our “résumé virtues”—achieving wealth, fame, and status—and our “eulogy virtues,” those that exist at the core of our being: kindness, bravery, honesty, or faithfulness, focusing on what kind of relationships we have formed.   Blending psychology, politics, spirituality, and confessional, The Road to Character provides an opportunity for us to rethink our priorities, and strive to build rich inner lives marked by humility and moral depth.

The Heart of Higher Education by Palmer and Zajonc (Non-Fiction) 

A call to advance integrative teaching and learning in higher education. From Parker Palmer, best-selling author of The Courage to Teach, and Arthur Zajonc, professor of physics at Amherst College and director of the academic program of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, comes this call to revisit the roots and reclaim the vision of higher education. The Heart of Higher Education proposes an approach to teaching and learning that honors the whole human being mind, heart, and spirit an essential integration if we hope to address the complex issues of our time. The book offers a rich interplay of analysis, theory, and proposals for action from two educators and writers who have contributed to developing the field of integrative education over the past few decades.

The Known World by Edward P. Jones (Fiction)

The Known World tells the story of Henry Townsend, a black farmer and former slave who falls under the tutelage of William Robbins, the most powerful man in Manchester County, Virginia. Making certain he never circumvents the law, Townsend runs his affairs with unusual discipline. But when death takes him unexpectedly, his widow, Caldonia, can't uphold the estate's order, and chaos ensues. Jones has woven a footnote of history into an epic that takes an unflinching look at slavery in all its moral complexities.

Mindful Leadership by Maria Gonzalez (Non-Fiction)

If you thought leading a team or organization meant simply creating and implementing a financial plan, delegating responsibility, and watching the bottom line, well, you're only partly right. True leadership comes from within, a place of deep calm and focus, that allows you to respond to any situation as it arises. In Mindful Leadership, you'll learn how to draw on those inner reserves through Mindfulness Meditation, a tool you can use to achieve focus and clarity, reduce stress, and develop the presence of mind to meet any number of challenges.

Education for Critical Consciousness by Paulo Freire (Non-Fiction)

Famous for his advocacy of 'critical pedagogy', Paulo Freire was Latin America's foremost educationalist, a thinker and writer whose work and ideas continue to exert enormous influence in education throughout the world today. Education for Critical Consciousness is the main statement of Freire's revolutionary method of education. It takes the life situation of the learner as its starting point and the raising of consciousness and the overcoming of obstacles as its goals. For Freire, man's striving for his own humanity requires the changing of structures which dehumanize both the oppressor and the oppressed.

Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America by Jill Leovy (Non-Fiction) 

Here is the kaleidoscopic story of the quintessential, but mostly ignored, American murder—a “ghettoside” killing, one young black man slaying another—and a brilliant and driven cadre of detectives whose creed is to pursue justice for forgotten victims at all costs.Ghettoside is a fast-paced narrative of a devastating crime, an intimate portrait of detectives and a community bonded in tragedy, and a surprising new lens into the great subject of why murder happens in our cities—and how the epidemic of killings might yet be stopped.

David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and The Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell (Non-Fiction)

In David and Goliath, Malcolm Gladwell challenges how we think about obstacles and disadvantages, offering a new interpretation of what it means to be discriminated against, suffer from a disability, lose a parent, attend a mediocre school, or endure any number of other apparent setbacks.  In the tradition of Gladwell's previous bestsellers-The Tipping PointBlinkOutliers and What the Dog Saw–David and Goliath draws upon history, psychology and powerful story-telling to reshape the way we think of the world around us.

Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee (Fiction)

From Harper Lee comes a landmark new novel set two decades after her beloved Pulitzer Prize–winning masterpiece, To Kill a Mockingbird. Featuring many of the iconic characters from To Kill a MockingbirdGo Set a Watchman perfectly captures a young woman, and a world, in painful yet necessary transition out of the illusions of the past—a journey that can only be guided by one's own conscience. Written in the mid-1950s, Go Set a Watchman imparts a fuller, richer understanding and appreciation of Harper Lee. Here is an unforgettable novel of wisdom, humanity, passion, humor, and effortless precision—a profoundly affecting work of art that is both wonderfully evocative of another era and relevant to our own times. It not only confirms the enduring brilliance of To Kill a Mockingbird, but also serves as its essential companion, adding depth, context, and new meaning to an American classic.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr (Fiction)

From the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr, the beautiful, stunningly ambitious instant New York Times bestseller about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II. Doerr’s “stunning sense of physical detail and gorgeous metaphors” (San Francisco Chronicle) are dazzling. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, he illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, a National Book Award finalist, All the Light We Cannot See is a magnificent, deeply moving novel from a writer “whose sentences never fail to thrill” (Los Angeles Times).

Women and Leadership in Higher Education by Karen A. Longman and Susan R. Madsen (Non-Fiction)

Women and Leadership in Higher Education is the first volume in a new series of books (Women and Leadership: Research, Theory, and Practice) that will be published in upcoming years to inform leadership scholars and practitioners. This book links theory, research, and practice of women's leadership in various higher education contexts and offers suggestions for future leadership development strategies. This volume focuses on the field of higher education, particularly within the context of the United States-a sector that serves a majority of students at all degree levels who are women, yet lacks parity by women in senior leadership roles.

The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi (Fiction)

Three very different characters—an orphaned Texan teen marooned in Phoenix; the “water knife” Angel from Las Vegas who will break any law he needs to in order to pave the way for his boss to gain the water rights she wants; and journalist Lucy Monroe, who has adopted drought-decimated Phoenix as her own—thrust Bacigalupi’s near-future tale through violence and betrayal toward a blockbuster conclusion that could well be one of the best endings of the year. Murder and torture are everyday events in dusty Phoenix, which is loosely controlled by a sociopathic crime lord, a Chinese construction company that’s offering the only jobs in town, Californian interests, and Las Vegas’ shadowy water knives—former criminals and ex-military who enforce the water rights bought or extorted by their powerful boss. When a rumor surfaces of water rights so senior that they would trump all existing rights and give Phoenix a chance to bloom instead of continue its rampant slide into death by drought, the race is on to find the rights, and no one will survive unharmed. Bleak, troubling, and at the same time deeply hopeful as Bacigalupi’s complex characters define and defend their loyalties, The Water Knife delivers a final scene as unexpected as it is satisfying. – Adrian Liang

PLEASE NOTE: The Teaching and Learning Forum will provide one book to each person who participates in a Book Group each semester. If you wish to join more than one group per semester, you will need to pay for any additional books and lunches. You may also preview the books at the Teaching and Learning Forum Office in Library Room 057 before the registration deadline.