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Chaparral 2022-2023: 31.4 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?


Pretty Bitches

Pretty BitchesAvailable in the GCC LibraryI recently read a new book available at the GCC library called Pretty Bitches, edited by Lizzie Skurnick. It's a collection of essays on being called "crazy, angry, bossy, frumpy, feisty, and all the other words that are used to undermine women," as its subtitle explains. Readers will most definitely be able to connect with at least a few of the essays written by a diverse group of women including Tanzila Ahmed, Meg Wolitzer, Beth Bich Minh Nguyen, Jennifer Weiner, Carina Chocano, and more. If you have ever been called intimidating, ambitious, lucky, or sweet—but not necessarily in a good way—this book is for you.

Margaret Lopez

The Invention of Science

The Invention of ScienceThe Invention of Science: A New History of the Scientific Revolution by David Wootton

It is a long book, dense in content, and highly informative. The author covers a tremendous amount on each page, referencing modern and ancient philosophy and philosophers, bookkeeping, cartography, perspective painting, Christianity, Islam, and many scientists, mathematicians, and artists including Vitruvius, Robert Hooke, Kepler, Galileo, Newton, Lavoisier, Copernicus, Leonardo da Vinci, and Descartes. Passing references and chapter subjects also include Gertrude Stein, Shakespeare, Jonathan Swift, and Wittgenstein, and I'm not quite halfway through the book! Most interesting so far has been the author's analysis of language and the invention of the words 'fact', 'discovery', and 'experiment' to mean what they mean to us today, as well as a few pages on Giordano Bruno.

There is enough material in The Invention of Science to merit several books, thus my criticism is only that the reader can get lost in a forest of people, ideas, and arguments over a few hundred years, without a clear path to make sense of it all. Also, there is a dispiriting lack of women discussed among the discoverers, including Sophia Brahe, whose brother Tycho is partially credited with igniting the Scientific Revolution and with whom Sophia worked on astronomical observations. Of course, hundreds to thousands of women between the 1500–1700s were eager to experiment and interpret natural laws and understand natural phenomena (and likely did so), but were purposefully excluded by men, denied education, and systematically sidelined and silenced. The repercussions of the Scientific Revolution were worldwide and truly revolutionary. Unfortunately, we need only the fact that the Taliban has banned girls going to high school and college in Afghanistan to remind us that no worldwide Women's Revolution has enabled women's equal participation in scientific discovery.

Jann Vendetti

The Lives We Actually Have

If Kate Bowler writes it, then I read it—multiple times.

Dr. Kate Bowler is an Associate Professor of the History of Christianity at Duke Divinity School, a best-selling author, and a popular podcast host on Everything Happens with Kate Bowler. At 35 and parenting a toddler, she was unexpectedly diagnosed with Stage IV cancer. This shifted her meticulously crafted academic life to one that reexamined her research and beliefs, one full of "garbage days" and finding joy in ordinary moments. Recently published in February 2023, The Lives We Actually Have is Bowler's latest work and was written during the upside-down reality of the pandemic. The short blessings remind us to be present in the moment and give ourselves grace for being human in the midst of the lives we actually have—ones with dishes in the sink, bills to be paid, and beautifully fleeting moments full of wonder. 

Michelle Stonis

Rabbit, Run

Rabbit, RunCurrently reading Rabbit, Run by John UpdikeAvailable in the GCC Library

I would recommend it for anyone who likes a good, poetic style and has no problem with reprehensible characters.

The imagism in the prose is beautiful.

Daniel Sprankle


In This Grave Hour

In This Grave HourI'm currently reading the Maisie Dobbs series by Jacqueline Winspear. I just finished the 13th book in the series, called In This Grave Hour. I love these mysteries because the main character defies gender roles and launches out as a psychologist and investigator in post-WWI era London (and now the series is moving into WWII era), and the way she solves mysteries is a fascinating look into the spiritual aspects of being human. It's also humbling to read about how British citizens were willing to sacrifice so much to do their part for their country in back-to-back wars. Very moving. 

Wendy Tanagho 

Fighting for Space

Fighting for SpaceFighting for Space: Two Pilots and Their Historic Battle for Female Spaceflight by Amy Shira Teitel

I recommend this book, especially if you are into women’s history, flight history, and/or anything to do with the space race.

I visited the Air and Space Museum (this art historian’s favorite museum) when I had some downtime in Washington D.C. I was really impressed with the effort made by the curators there to share the contributions made by women in aviation, space flight, astronomy, and physics. I saw Jackie Cochran’s plane that set eight world records for speed, altitude, and distance flying and was so intrigued, that I wanted to buy a book about her. I was thrilled to see several biographies in the bookstore and I chose this one because not only is it about her life, but Jerrie Cobb’s life, too (if you watched “For All Mankind” this is the real woman the character Molly Cobb was based on). The writing is engaging and the history is fascinating.

Emily Haraldson
Art History

The Master and Margarita

The Master and MargaritaThe Master and Margarita by Mikhail BulgakovAvailable in the GCC Library

Would you recommend it? Absolutely!

I’ve been wanting to read this book for 20 years and finally got around to it. It was definitely worth the wait. I don’t want to say too much about it. It’s one of those stories you need to experience without knowing anything going in. It’s so strange and wonderful. Great characters, including a talking cat! I’ll be revisiting this novel in again, hopefully sooner than 20 years.

Andy Stires
Learning Center

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