Spring 2017 Book List
Eden's Outcasts: The Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Father by: John Matteson (Biography)
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Biography Louisa May Alcott is known universally. Yet during Louisa's youth, the famous Alcott was her father, Bronson?an eminent teacher and a friend of Emerson and Thoreau. He desired perfection, for the world and from his family. Louisa challenged him with her mercurial moods and yearnings for money and fame. The other prize she deeply coveted--her father's understanding--seemed hardest to win. This story of Bronson and Louisa's tense yet loving relationship adds dimensions to Louisa's life, her work, and the relationships of fathers and daughters.
The End of Average: How We Succeed in a World that Values Sameness by: Todd Rose (Non-Fiction)
Are you above average? Is your child an A student? Is your employee an introvert or an extrovert? Every day we are measured against the yardstick of averages, judged according to how closely we come to it or how far we deviate from it. The assumption that metrics comparing us to an average—like GPAs, personality test results, and performance review ratings—reveal something meaningful about our potential is so ingrained in our consciousness that we don’t even question it. That assumption, says Harvard’s Todd Rose, is spectacularly—and scientifically—wrong.
Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence by: Daniel Goleman (Non-Fiction)
In Focus, psychologist and journalist Daniel Goleman delves into the science of attention in all its varieties, presenting a long-overdue discussion of this little-noticed and underrated mental asset that matters enormously for how we navigate life. Attention works much like a muscle: use it poorly and it can wither; work it well and it grows. In an era of unstoppable distractions, Goleman persuasively argues that now more than ever we must learn to sharpen focus if we are to contend with, let alone thrive in, a complex world. Goleman analyzes attention research as a threesome: inner, other, and outer focus. He shows why high-performers need all three kinds of focus, as demonstrated by rich case studies from fields as diverse as competitive sports, education, the arts, and business. Those who excel rely on what Goleman calls smart practice that helps them improve habits, add new skills, and sustain excellence.
Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places by: Colin Dickey (Non-Fiction)
“The spectral map Dickey creates is as broad and packed as his book’s title implies . . . Ghostland amounts to a lively assemblage and smart analysis of dozens of haunting stories, some better known than others. In each chapter, Dickey spins riveting tales and then carefully unwinds these narratives, exposing the materials and motivations of their construction . . . The most fascinating moments in Ghostland are Dickey’s etymological musings and his many turns down unusual paths of American history . . . All of these are absorbing . . . With Ghostland, Dickey achieves a capacious geographical synthesis that is both intellectually intriguing and politically instructive.”—The New York Times Book Review
The Hours by: Michael Cunningham (Fiction)
In The Hours, Michael Cunningham, widely praised as one of the most gifted writers of his generation, draws inventively on the life and work of Virginia Woolf to tell the story of a group of contemporary characters struggling with the conflicting claims of love and inheritance, hope and despair. The narrative of Woolf's last days before her suicide early in World War II counterpoints the fictional stories of Samuel, a famous poet whose life has been shadowed by his talented and troubled mother, and his lifelong friend Clarissa, who strives to forge a balanced and rewarding life in spite of the demands of friends, lovers, and family.
I'd Rather Be in Charge: A Legendary Business Leader's Roadmap for Achieving Pride, Power, and Joy at Work by: Charlotte Beers (Non-Fiction) UWHEN book selection
Charlotte Beers is proof that women can achieve power, pride, and joy at work—despite the odds. In the highly competitive and often cutthroat world of advertising, Charlotte became the first female ever to head two giant, multinational advertising agencies. Today, Charlotte rates her current title—teacher—her most satisfying, as she travels through the United States and Europe educating women on how to ignite their own strengths. By chronicling both successes and mistakes, Charlotte proves that finding your own personal style of leadership is the only way to take charge, find satisfaction, and gain confidence in the ever-evolving workplace of today. I’d Rather Be in Charge is a master class for women who are ready to shatter their own glass ceilings.
I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was shot by the Taliban by: Malala Yousafzai (Memoir)
I Am Malala is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls' education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons. I Am Malala will make you believe in the power of one person's voice to inspire change in the world.
The Last Lion: Winston Spencer Churchill: Defender of the Realm by: William Manchester and Paul Reid (Biography)
Spanning the years 1940 to 1965, The Last Lion: Defender of the Realm begins shortly after Winston Churchill became prime minister—when Great Britain stood alone against the overwhelming might of Nazi Germany. In brilliant prose and informed by decades of research, William Manchester and Paul Reid recount how Churchill organized his nation’s military response and defense, convinced FDR to support the cause, and personified the “never surrender” ethos that helped win the war. We witness Churchill, driven from office, warning the world of the coming Soviet menace. And after his triumphant return to 10 Downing Street, we follow him as he pursues his final policy goal: a summit with President Dwight Eisenhower and Soviet leaders. And in the end, we experience Churchill’s last years, when he faces the end of his life with the same courage he brought to every battle he ever fought.
The Snow Child by: Eowyn Ivey (Fiction)
Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart--he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season's first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone--but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees. This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them.
The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by: Malcolm Gladwell (Non-Fiction)
The Tipping Point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a small but precisely targeted push cause a fashion trend, the popularity of a new product, or a drop in the crime rate. This widely acclaimed bestseller, in which Malcolm Gladwell explores and brilliantly illuminates the tipping point phenomenon, is already changing the way people throughout the world think about selling products and disseminating ideas.
White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son by: Tim Wise (Non-Fiction)
White Like Me is one-part memoir, one-part polemical essay collection. It is a personal examination of the way in which racial privilege shapes the daily lives of white Americans in every realm: employment, education, housing, criminal justice, and elsewhere. Using stories from his own life, Tim Wise demonstrates the ways in which racism not only burdens people of color, but also benefits, in relative terms, those who are “white like him.” He discusses how racial privilege can harm whites in the long run and make progressive social change less likely.
The Zookeeper's Wife: A War Story by: Diane Ackerman (Memoir)
A true story in which the keepers of the Warsaw Zoo saved hundreds of people from Nazi hands. After their zoo was bombed, Polish zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski managed to save over three hundred people from the Nazis by hiding refugees in the empty animal cages. With animal names for these "guests," and human names for the animals, it's no wonder that the zoo's code name became "The House Under a Crazy Star." Best-selling naturalist and acclaimed storyteller Diane Ackerman combines extensive research and an exuberant writing style to re-create this fascinating, true-life story?sharing Antonina's life as "the zookeeper's wife," while examining the disturbing obsessions at the core of Nazism.