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Chaparral 2018-2019: 27.6 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?

Race, Class, Gender

Dr. Richard Cortes Lends His Expertise for Student Centered Article

As California community colleges prepare to adopt the new AB 705 regulations in English and Math sequences, as well as utilize new assessment guidelines, alongside the constantly evolving guided pathways movement, an article in the 10th edition of Race, Class, & Gender: Intersections and Inequalities, edited by Margaret L. Andersen and Patricia Hill Collins, reminds us all that regardless of how we evolve and change, our focus needs to always be on the needs of our students and what will help them to be successful.

The article titled, “Academic Resilience Among Undocumented Latino Students,” is co-written by William Perez, Roberta Espinoza, Karina Ramos, Heidi M. Coronado, and Richard Cortes. If you look closely, one name jumps out to me. It is the name of one of my colleagues, Dr. Richard Cortes. As a seasoned academic counselor, a faculty member, an active community member, and an alert parent, Dr. Cortes has lent his expertise on the subject of student resilience among numerous challenges. One of the article’s main hypotheses is “… that undocumented students with high levels of risk factors, but also high levels of both personal and environmental protective factors, would have higher academic outcomes than students who have similar levels of risk factors, but lower levels of both personal and environmental protective factors” (324).

In the study, 110 undocumented Latino students participated, spanning across the United States, including high school, community college, and university students (324). The students participated in a three-part online survey containing various elements pertaining to academic achievement, demographic information, and a section on values and coping tools (324-325).

I will not give away the results, but I can state that the article is informative and well-written, leaving you with a sense of hope among challenges, such as “loss of close relationships, housing problems, a sense of isolation, obtaining legal documents, going through the acculturation process, learning the English language, negotiating their ethnic identity, changing family roles, and adjusting to the schooling experience…” (322).

Congratulations, Dr. Cortes on the publication of this article.

Nare Garibyan

Dark Money

Dark Money by Jane Mayer

I would recommend it wholeheartedly.

Interesting to learn how wealthy families influence our rules, regulations and laws that govern us and our country. 

Jonn Aque


We Eat What?

We Eat What? A Cultural Encyclopedia of Unusual Foods in The United States edited by Jonathon Deutsch.

This book was recommended to me by the fantastic people who work in the Glendale College Library.

I read all about different types of foods we eat here in the United States and their origins. Additionally, there are recipes for most of the items if you wish to try your hand at cooking them.

If food interests you, you may wish to read this book.

Brian Reff
Culinary Arts and Hotel and Restaurant Management

Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self

What am I reading?

Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self by Claire Tomalin

Would I recommend it? Definitely.

What do you like or find interesting about it? Tomalin takes readers on a voyage to 17th century England while telling the story of Samuel Pepys through passages from the secret diary he kept for a decade. She creates a compelling narrative full of eccentric, vivid characters that readers might find in a novel by Dickens.

Andrea Zollman


I am in the middle of Volume 8 of Revival, an ongoing horror graphic novel series written by Tim Seeley with art by Mike Norton.

Would you recommend it?

You bet. Revival looks at the isolation of a Wisconsin community wrecked by the dead coming back to life. Overjoyed that their loved ones have returned, the small-town residents – isolated by government authorities surrounding and enforcing a barbed-wired perimeter around the town – ask themselves whether this is a miracle or a curse. Dana Cypress, a local police officer, takes it upon herself to investigate, beginning with finding who is responsible for murdering her newly-revived sister Em. Soon there are sightings of “glowing men.”

The revived dead are not George Romero’s slow walkers or the swarming express-infected like in 28 Days Later (You can tell a lot about a person by their choice of which they prefer). The Revival dead are more like your students on the first day back from Spring Break: They respond to their name and move about seemingly normal, but there is a glazed, absent look in their eyes. Norton – the artist – does not use shades of black shadows to create spooky feeling; on the contrary, moonlit nights in Revival seem to have a greater and brighter color range than during the day. I have learned that the modern-day small town is not the Andy Griffith Show anymore (if it ever was). Characters come from all types. Like in other great zombie stories, a single event forces people of all body types, sexual orientations, ethnicities (there are Native-American and Hmong communities), politics, and economics to finally take a good look at and understand their neighbor.

Paul Vera
Credit ESL

Dangling Man

I'm re-reading Dangling Man, Saul Bellow's first novel. He's been one of my favorite authors for many years. Dangling Man is an unusual short novel. The protagonist is very different from the New York intellectual characters Bellow has built his career upon. This novel is set during WW II, and carries a tremendous sense of urgency and tension. The format is unusual too. It's written in a daily diary format, giving the reader a sense of peeking over the shoulder of the main character as he writes it ... day by tension-filled day.

Mike Kimmel

Far from the Madding Crowd, The Library Book, and My Italian Bulldozer

Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

It's very 19th century (originally written in 1874), and the language is wonderfully descriptive. I find it an engrossing story with well-developed characters. There's plenty of humor along with the pathos of the story of a sheep farmer in rural England.

I had to read a Hardy novel of my choice in high school and chose Tess of the d'Urbervilles, which I found difficult to get through. I decided to try Hardy again, this time with a novel I'd heard would be easier. It's been a real pleasure! I saw the movie a long time ago and don't remember it, but watching the movie before reading the book might be interesting. 

The Library Book by Susan Orlean

If one was in LA during the downtown library fire in 1986, is a librarian (like me), or just loves libraries, it's a good read.

Orlean is not a librarian; she's a journalist, so it's a journalistic description of the fire. The writing is great, and she tells the story well. I know some of my LAPL friends don't much like the book, but I think it gives a more in-depth view of the inner workings of the library, the fire, and the arsonist than just having read about it in the LA Times.

My Italian Bulldozer by Alexander McCall Smith

Alexander McCall Smith also wrote the #1 Ladies Detective Agency novels, and if you liked those, I think you'll like this. It's in no way a detective novel, but it has the same story-telling that moves along, great character descriptions, and his characteristic lightheartedness. The main character needs to rent a car on a holiday weekend, and no cars are available in Pisa, so he takes the only thing available, a bulldozer. That kind of humor is throughout. It takes place in Tuscany, so the landscape descriptions are worth the read. I almost finished it on flights to and from Kansas City; it's a pretty quick read.

The characters that people this novel are all interesting. They're complicated and definitely not one-dimensional, but they're all pretty nice too. It's even hard to dislike the shallow ex-girlfriend who broke the main character's heart and pushes him to Italy to write his next book. I needed a lighter book and had enjoyed the author's #1 Ladies Detective Agency books, so I thought I'd try another, and it's a joy to read.

Emily Bergman

Glendale Community College | 1500 North Verdugo Road, Glendale, California 91208 | Tel: 818.240.1000  
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