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Chaparral 2022-2023: 31.3 What Are You Reading?

GCC roundup column written by you!

  1. What are you reading (name and author and/or link if it’s on the web)?

  2. Would you recommend it?

  3. What do you like or find interesting about it?


Enjoy!

Won't Always Be Like This: a Graphic Memoir

I read It Won't Always Be Like This: a Graphic Memoir by Malaka Gharib. It is a touching and often funny coming-of-age comic book about the author/artist's experience visiting her dad in Egypt every summer in the 1990s and early 2000s. As an American kid who is half-Filipina and half-Egyptian, Gharib navigates the challenges of language barriers, feeling like an outsider, and getting to know her new stepmother and eventually her half-siblings. I loved this book as much as Gharib's first graphic memoir I Was Their American Dream. Both books beautifully and honestly illustrate the complexities of identity and culture, family and divorce, and growing up.

Margaret Lopez
Library

Devil House

Devil HouseI’m reading Devil House by John Darnielle.

Would you recommend it? Yes.

A fictional tale examining the True Crime genre, specifically the Satanic Panic back in the 80’s. Darnielle weaves a captivating tale, experimenting with narrative structure and language, which in the end leaves the reader wondering, “What the hell did I just read?” Books that make you think about stuff are cool.

Andy Stires
Learning Center

Your Three-Year-Old: Friend or Enemy, Your Seven-Year-Old: Life in Minor Key, and Bliss Montage

Your Three-Year-Old Your Seven-Year-Old

I am reading a few things at once. There is a series of child development books that cover a year of a child's life at a time that were written in the 1980s by Lousie Bates, PhD and still largely hold up, in spite of some outdated norms regarding gender roles and family structures. So, on my bedside is both Your Three-Year-Old: Friend or Enemy and Your-Seven-Year-Old: Life in Minor Key. They are remarkably accurate in the milestones they touch on, even dividing typical behavior before and after the half year mark. These books help parents who might feel mystified by their children's behavior or want to know what is typical developmentally. For example, my own three-year-old refers to almost anything in the past as having happened "last week," as in "No bath! I took one last week." And to my surprise, Bates covered in detail the many time-related phrases that are tried on by kids at this age. In fact, Bates claims, "in no area does he advance more rapidly in this active period than in his relationship to time" (94). I think these are worth adding to your collection if you have young children and can be purchased for not much more than the cost of shipping, online.

Bliss MontageOn the other end of the spectrum, I am reading Ling Ma's new short story collection, Bliss Montage. Ma is the author of Severance, which I didn't read, but was her well-received first novel. I discovered one of the stories "Peking Duck," in a New Yorker issue and was struck by the chilling, precise yet revealing language she used to describe her characters' inner lives. Her stories are grounded in imperfect and lonely worlds, and sometimes slide into the fantastical in a way that gets to an unspoken truth that drops you through the floor and leaves you there to ponder what just happened. The craft of writing as an artform is on full display in her work. I highly recommend!

Gabrielle Mitchell-Marell
English

A Very Punchable Face

A Very Punchable FaceListening to Colin Jost read his memoir A Very Punchable Face has been a highlight of my commute this month. People driving next to me must think I'm laughing maniacally at nothing, but this SNL head writer's memoir is hilarious. The chapter on his undergraduate experience at Harvard alone will have any academic cracking up. His chapter on his mom being a first responder on 9/11 will give you an inside look at the NYFD at the time. If you're looking for a witty and hilarious book on celebrity culture with social commentary, this is the one for you.

Michelle Stonis
History

Bad City: Peril and Power in the City of Angels

Paul Pringle is a Pulitzer Prize winning investigative journalist at the Los Angeles Times who spent years delving into various scandals related to USC. This nonfiction book covers his reporting and revealing to the public these scandals.

The first scandal involves Dr. Carmen Puliafito, the former dean of USC's prestigious medical school. Puliafito was using illegal drugs including meth, and helped to distribute drugs to a group of young addicts—while still serving as Dean.

The book then shifts to the work that Pringle and his LA Times colleagues did to uncover the widespread sexual abuse by Dr. George Tyndall at USC.

This is an incredible read about how a powerful institution such as USC had many scandals unfolding—and the lengths to which the university went to keep them out of the news.

Nadine Levyfield
Career Services

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