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Chaparral 2015-2016: 24.3 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?


My Beloved World

I've been teaching at another college a book I chose for my syllabus: My Beloved World by Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor. It's a fabulous read- the usual American story of success by working hard, and pulling yourself up by the bootstraps, but with honesty, an insider's view of affirmative action, discrimination, Catholic education, living with childhood diabetes, being among the first from the Bronx projects to get to Princeton,then landing the top honors there which gets her to Yale Law School, describing how the extended family in New York and Puerto Rico (and friends) offers support when the nuclear family isn't able to , New York multiculturalism, and defending everyone from the crime cases in the New York's D.A'.s office to defending intellectual property rights of high-end Italian luxury firms.

I was attracted to reading this book after I saw an interview with her on t.v. Justice Sotomayor is a warm, sensitive, funny woman, and her book is a great read for faculty or students, and yes, in particular for minorities and women.

Marcia Walerstein-Sibony
Garfield Campus

In One Person, Circling the Sun, The Paris Wife, The Dark Sacred Night

In One Person 
by John Irving
I would recommend it.  A young man’s coming out in New England in the late 50’s early 60's.

Circling the Sun, Paula McLain NY Times Bestseller. Wonderful book.  Based on a true story of an amazing woman’s journey. Africa, the 1920’s, breaking the boundaries of tradition and traditional gender roles. Compelling.

Paula McLain also wrote The Paris Wife about the wife of Hemingway in Paris…another great read!

Now reading And The Dark Sacred Night by Julia Glass. Liking it so far! The journey of a man searching for himself by attempting to track down the father he never knew.

Elizabeth Barrett
Student Services

The Road to Character

A few months back I read The Road to Character by David Brooks.

I recommend it! It was the first of his books that I've read, and it was an edifying read, and even inspiring. He uses short biographies of famous historical figures who found success often later in life, but were guided by modesty and finding a life purpose that fills a gap or need in the larger world. Brooks uses these examples and individuals as a contrast to what he sees as our contemporary culture's recommendation for people to seek a purpose based on personal gain and self-actualization.

Gabrielle Mitchell-Marell
English Department

M Train

M Train by Patti Smith

This is named in part for the train Patti Smith takes from her apartment in Greenwich Village to her house in Far Rockaway as well as the railway of her memory leading to meditations on her life in Detroit with her late husband rocker Fred Sonic Smith. She stops along way to deliver—in one of the more whimsical passages—a lecture to the Continental Drift Club in Bremen, Germany, with a detour to Montagnola in Switzerland to snap a Polaroid of Hermann Hesse’s typewriter. While it’s not a travel book, this is an author whose mind is a pleasure to travel with. Easily the best prose writer to emerge from the rock era, Smith rightfully won the National Book Award for her last memoir, Just Friends, and this new installment is no disappointment. Woven into worldwide adventures, often embarked to trace the paths of writers she adores, are sojourns to favorite coffee shops where she writes and reads. I often learn of books I should read from writers I admire, and here Smith has turned me on to Haruki Murakami’s The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, which I am now immersed in. I was also led to listen once again to Smith’s 1975 album Horses. It’s as fresh as ever.

Michael Moreau
English Department

The Millionaire and the Bard

I'm reading The Millionaire and the Bard by Andrea Mays.
I highly recommend this book to anyone that is either 1. A lover of Shakespeare or 2. Has a passion they can't shake.

Here is the link to the NY Times Review:

Despite Henry Folger's status as a titan of business during the Gilded Age, he was a bit on the boring side. However, he had an all consuming passion that basically saved the works of Shakespeare from obscurity. Amazing!

Casey Jones
Language Arts Division

What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20

What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20 was recommended to me by a GCC colleague several months ago. I not only read it, have been suggesting it to friends, family, coworkers but I've personally purchased half-a dozen copies to give to the young college students in my life. (Of course, that was before I realized there's a PDF link to the entire book--which is just under 200 pages.)

And here's the PDF link:

Rosemarie Shamieh
Garfield Campus

The Goldfinch

  1. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
  2. Yes
  3. Wide ranging epic tale astonishingly well wrought.

Theodora Primes
Visual and Performing Arts Division

Letters to My Son: A Father's Wisdom on Manhood, Life, and Love

I’ve been reading Letters to My Son: A Father's Wisdom on Manhood, Life, and Love by Kent Nerburn. I’d recommend it to anyone with kids or students, and I’ve given some of the passages out to my students and kin to help talk about life’s deeper questions.

Paul Mayer
Noncredit ESL

God and the Astronomers

  1. Read God and the Astronomers by Robert Jastrow
  2. Certainly, any book is worth reading.
  3. For me, it’s nostalgic. I read it so long ago, and the title is among many of my lifetime favorites.  It is fun/interesting to see how some of the information has changed!

Frankie Strong
Governance Office

Man's Search for Meaning

I just finished reading Man's Search for Meaning by Vicktor Frankl. I'd been hearing insightful quotes from it all my life so I thought I'd experience the full original. It's amazing, powerful, significant and oddly inspiring, in the midst of great sadness. After that, I wanted something that would make me laugh, so this morning I started reading "Yes, Please!" by Amy Poehler. So far, it's also amazing, powerful, significant and oddly inspiring - but funny too. Funny is good sometimes.

Lynn Dickinson
Language Arts Division

Books by Jim Thompson

I recently re-discovered the books of legendary author, Jim Thompson. He was a crime novelist, born in 1964, and probably best-known for writing The Grifters, which the 1990 movie was based on. What's amazing about his writing is his ability to get inside the criminal mind.  I'd recommend him for anyone interested in criminal psychology, desperate characters, and suspenseful page turners.

Karen Knotts

Chaparral December 2015

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