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Chaparral 2015-2016: 24.4 What Are You Reading?

What Are You Reading: A GCC Roundup!
Chaparral’s new roundup column, written by … you!

Editor's Note

Chaparral is publishing short blurbs about whatever GCC employees might be reading right now. Each respondent answered three short questions:

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?


The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

I'm reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by marie kondo (yes all lower case!)

I'm an extremely neat and organized person but after receiving this book as a gift I can see that I have some disgarding to do! Very interesting approach to getting things cleaned out and our attachment to belongings. My clothes and I have a date with destiny over Spring Break!

Casey Jones
Language Arts

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  1. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo (
  2. I would highly recommend it––even if you are lazy like me, it shows how simple tidying can be.
  3. The idea that we should only keep things that spark joy and then treat those things with respect has shifted my view on what sort of inanimate objects are important in my own household. Yay for What Are You Reading! It's so good.

Laura S. Stoltzfus-Brown
Speech Department

Teaching Men of Color in the Community College

I just finished reading Teaching Men of Color in the Community College by Wood, Harris and White as part of an online faculty training at Pierce College. (I teach at Glendale, Pierce and Santa Monica.) The book reinforced many of my teaching strategies while making me more aware of the cultural reasons why some students might be reluctant to ask for help or to speak up in class discussions.

Sharyn Obsatz
Mass Comm/Journalism instructor

Robert Ryman: Critical texts since 1967

I’ve been reading Robert Ryman: Critical texts since 1967 after seeing a recent New Yorker article about him and urging my Humanities 117 class to consider the artistic values inherent in painting in white only for five decades. “One could say he has both helped to end and to perpetuate painting,” claims editor Vittorio Colaizzi in his introduction to what the NYer called “ a thick volume of often gruelingly dense essays,” but it’s introduced me to some wildly differing, sometimes riveting, and often utterly hilarious takes on Ryman, his works, and art and painting.

The link to the NYer article "Shades of White":

Mike Falcon

Rainbow Rowell's books

I am currently reading Rainbow Rowell's books. I finished Fangirl and Eleanor and Park recently and plan to start reading Attachments. Rowell is the best young adult author I have read since Judy Blume. I recommend her work especially for high school and college students who have ever felt like an outcast or misfit.

Sarah Black
Instructional Services

Beasts of No Nation

I am reading Beasts of No Nationby Uzodinma Iweala. I highly recommend it with the caveat that you must have a tolerance for images of violence and humankind at its worst. It is gut-wrenching and at turns uplifting. It is a fictional glimpse into the life of the narrator, a child soldier in an African country. The language--nearly devoid of tenses--is challenging at first, but has an almost poetic cadence that I find rare and engaging.

Cheers, Nancy Getty

Trilogy by Jon Steele and The Fault in our Stars

I just finished a trilogy by Jon Steele.  It starts with The Watchers and moves into Angel City and then The Way of Sorrows. Amazingly divine. Read the trilogy once, and then started all over again.

Also just finished The Fault in our Stars written by John Green.  I heard the movie is not very good but the book is excellent.

Now reading The Island by Vicotria Hislop.  Bestseller.  Just into the first bit but so far I am enjoying it.

Elizabeth Barrett

Interpreter of Maladies

  1. Interpreter of Maladies, stories by Jhumpa Lahiri
  2. Highly recommend this 2000 Pulitzer Prize winning collection of short stories.
  3. The Wall Street Journal said it best: "Ms. Lahiri expertly captures the out-of-context lives of immigrants, expatriates, and first-generation Americans."

Michael Schilf
English Department

Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life

I'm currently reading Steve Martin's autobiography: Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life. It's brilliant. The most intelligent, witty, delightfully serious look at what it's like to be a comedian I've ever read. Two thumbs up. 

Lynn Dickinson
Language Arts

Crazy Horse, Unbroken, My Promised Land

Here are three of the books I read over Winter Break.

  1. Crazy Horse: The Strange Man of the Oglalas by Mari Sandoz I recommend reading this book if you are into the History of the American West. This book was written in a time frame that was much closer to the events than we are now. Also, the sources are often first hand reports. It is also fun to read some of the top writers in their fields from the Early 20th Century.
  2. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. I recommend reading this book if you are interested in local people. I found this book to be interesting in that it talked about a man's battles to survive and be a winner.
  3. My Promised Land by Ari Shavit I recommend reading this if you are looking for the skeletons in the closet of Israel's History. I found it interesting that people like to hide the truth, and then when confronted they talk. An interesting case of where the old cliche, "History is written by the victors' is true.

Brian Reff
Hospitality & Tourism

The Sympathizer, Room, and Brooklyn


Currently reading The Sympathizer, a novel by Viet Thanh Nguyen. A first novel by a locally based writer. Just finished two amazing books by Irish writers, "Room" by Emma Donoghue and "Brooklyn" by Colm Toibin. "Brooklyn" is just a beautifully written novel by a master of prose and "Room" by Emma Donoghue is a book that the phrase "i couldn't put it down" seems to have been created for. All three books are highly recommended. Happy reading.

Chef Mark A. Forde
Culinary Arts 

War of the Whales

I am reading War of the Whales by Josh Horwitz. I highly recommend this non-fiction book for anyone having a passion for whales, conservation, and national security. I find it interesting that one may have to choose between protecting the environment or protecting the country. 

Franky Telles
Oceanography and Geology

Stress Test

I just finished Stress Test by Timothy Geithner.

It's his personal account of dealing with the financial crisis that following the bursting of the housing bubble.  He got a lot of criticism while serving at head of the NY Fed and then as Obama's Treasury Secretary, but his book is a very honest account of what happened and puts the whole historical episode (and his role in it) into perspective.  It's easy reading and you don't need to be a finance expert to understand it. Geithner got a bad rap but, in fact, helped keep the US and world economy from going through something that could well have been worse that the depression of the 1930s. Over time, I believe the historical treatment of this period will come around to that view.

For anyone who wants to know what happened and why, what was done to counter it, how the system has been strengthened and how it remains vulnerable to another crisis, this is the best book I've read bar none.

Well, the book The Big Short is also great, but that talks more about the stupidity that got us int the mess, not the job it took to get us out of it, which is what Geithner's book is really about.

Daniel Brotman
Social Sciences

Billion Dollar Spy

I just finished David Hoffman's Billion Dollar Spy. It's the true story of how the United States gathered intelligence to manufacture the stealth bomber, among other things.

I highly recommend it. It's fast-paced, accessible, informative and entertaining. 

Julia Bricklin

Books written by Jeffrey Archer

I am sharing a series of books written by Jeffrey Archer, including Only Time Will Tell with my husband through audiobooks!

Theresa Lorch

A Brain Is Born

A Brain Is Born, by John D. Pledger, D.O., O.M.M.  Fascinating reading.  Traces the development of the brain and spinal cord from gestation to birth, evaluation of newborns, and treatment of brain and spinal cord.  The "His Dark Materials" trilogy by Philip Pullman.  Just finished "Northern Lights" and "The Subtle Knife."  Starting "The Amber Spyglass."  A wonderful fantasy series involving parallel universes.  Got the books for my teen and preteen nieces, and am enjoying them myself.  And "Rogue Warrior: Task Force Blue," by Richard Marcinko -- a novel fraught with political intrigue and skullduggery.  

Charlene Worthley
ESL Noncredit

Fisher, Boy, Healing, Skeptic

I am currently reading four books:

The Fisher King and the Handless Maiden: Understanding the Wounded Feeling Function in Masculine and Feminine Psychology
Author: Robert A. Johnson

The book is about what the noted Jungian psychologist calls “our wounded feeling function.” Our capacity to value and to give worth to something or someone is seriously lacking and consequently, regardless of how many toys we can buy, we behave more like the walking dead than like glorious human beings. Johnson’s approach is unusual and the book’s 100 pages are easy to read.

The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog And Other Stories from a Child Psychiatrist's Notebook--What Traumatized Children Can Teach Us About Loss, Love, and Healing
Authors: Bruce Perry, Maia Szalavitz

A real page-turner that will show you how a child psychiatrist translates the latest developments in neuroscience into healing traumatized children. You’ll understand why both traditional and non-traditional forms of therapy usually fail to heal trauma that occurred in early childhood. The children he writes about do not come across as mere case studies. You’ll be amazed at how well-written a book this is.

Healing Developmental Trauma: How Early Trauma Affects Self-Regulation, Self-Image, and the Capacity for Relationship
Authors: Laurence Heller, Aline LaPierre

Even though you’ll have to get used to reading specialized terms as you are introduced to a specific therapeutic model that tries to do away with the medical model of disease, this book is surprisingly easy to read and can serve as a foundation upon which to frame a solid understanding of why human beings have such a “profound ambivalence about connection” to others and to self.

Portrait of a Past-Life Skeptic: The True Story of a Police Detective's Reincarnation
Author: Robert Snow

The author, an Indianapolis police captain, investigates his own memories of a past life lived as an artist with the same tools that he would use to investigate a crime scene. Really unusual!

Dominique Margolis
English Lab

Chaparral March 2016

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