Whistling Vivaldi: How Stereotypes Affect Us and What We Can Do by Claude M. Steele
Despite recommendations from friends I put off reading this book, fearing it would be didactic and a slog. However, it's a surprisingly easy read with a first-person touch. And, yet it packs a powerful message about race in the U.S. Also has insights for us in the classroom.
1. Vanity Fair, by William Makepeace Thackeray.
2. This is a long, 19th century novel. It's almost 800 pages, so you need to be willing to commit to it. I tried reading it when I was 13 years old and again in my 30s (I'm well over that now), and I just couldn't get into it. It was written, as did Dickens, as magazine installments, so it rambles a bit, and I think Thackeray may have been paid by the word, so it may be wordier than it needs to be. However, now that I'm willing to put in the time, I'm finding it a great book.
3. It's a book of manners, full of wry, subtle, British humor. I'm sure I'm missing part of it, but it doesn't take much to be really funny. Even the names he uses for the characters are a crack-up. Not surprisingly, there are a lot of British class issues that we as 21st century Americans might find quaint, but Thackeray is definitely taking a stab at the whole thing from top to bottom.
I read The Shadow of the Wind, an amazing novel by Carlos Ruiz Zafon and I highly recommend it! It's a thriller, a historical novel and a story of love and enigma making it suspenseful and enchanting. If you like Garcia Marquez and Umberto Eco you will love The Shadow of the Wind. The story is set in bookshop in Barcelona in the mid forties and revolves around a book that the protagonist chooses in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a library that specializes in books that have been forgotten by the world, waiting for someone to care to read them again.
I am currently reading Beyond Culture by Edward T. Hall. It’s a must-read in the age of multiculturalism. If you’re tired of listening to people lecture about culture like they’re on a cooking show, you’ll breathe a sighs of relief as you turn the pages.
I am reading two books relevant to our faculty and our world today:
1. Not in God's Name: Confronting Religious Violence by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks (highest ranking rabbi of the British Commonwealth for 14 years). It is a highly informative and fearless explanation of the need to stop assuming that any one religion is the reason people are violent and carefully studies the history of the abuse of religion as an excuse for violence, including his own religion. We need more voices like him.
2. There Was and There Was Not by Meline Toumani. "A Journey Trough Hate and Possibility in Turkey, Armenia, and Beyond." I have read much about Armenia and the story of the Armenians in my 30 plus years as a faculty member at Glendale College..... and I think this one is an absolute must for educators who interact with Armenian students and American students of Armenian ancestry..... whether on the "front lines" in ESL or in any subject area. This is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Professor Emeritus, Credit ESL
I am reading Leading Gracefully by Monique Svazlian Tallon. She is an inspiring individual, great coach, and the CEO of Highest Path Consulting (firstname.lastname@example.org).
I am reading a book called My Holiday in North Korea by Wendy Simmons.
It gives us a close look into the author's 10 days vacation in North Korea, and how insane this country is now. It makes me feel sorry and sad for the people in that country and also feel how blessed we are actually living a free life without the oppression, fear, suffering everyday. I recommend the book because it is interesting and a easy read.
I read about 4-5 books a week ranging from audiobook format to kindle to actual book. I’m working on a book myself to be completed this summer so a lot of this is research/interest but there’s some fun fiction in there too. These are books I’m actively reading and/or finishing up here before my trip back to West Africa where I will be presenting my work and research.
I would highly recommend all books especially the West African fiction—brilliantly written and adventure-inducing. There’s currently an African Wax Fabric exhibition up at The Fowler Museum that has a lot of the authors’ work featured above—extensive research and VERY enthralling as it exhibit hosts many rare fabric pieces.
Notes on my reading list:
A Generation of Sociopaths: How the Baby Boomers Betrayed America by Bruce Cannon Gibney
Downloaded the book for it’s provocative title but it’s really an attempt to make sense of Boomer voting trends, policy and elected officials. Particularly it’s eye opening in regards to academia—our student loan corporatist models now in action and a psychological analysis of this generation especially the affluent parts.
The Sellout: A Novel by Paul Beatty
Good to peruse while reading other books on racism in America and in particular the millennial aspects of social justice via social media and the Internet.
Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
It’s Neil Gaiman—I read everything he publishes.
Kumasi Realism, 1951–2007: An African Modernism by Atta Kwami
I’m curating an exhibition in Los Angeles called Diasporagasm—a take on art made by black bodies but not necessarily “black Art” Several artists in this book will be in this exhibition. Kumasi in particular has a rich history of being the first city in Ghana populated by American blacks fleeing America and now has many black people from all over the diaspora. I will be in Kumasi this summer meeting with academics and artists as Kumasi also houses Ghana’s prestigious KUNST school of art.
South of Pico: African American Artists in Los Angeles in the 1960s and 1970s by Kellie Jones
Many artists in this book are mentors of mine—a good contemporary study of black art in Los Angeles during a boom of black art.
White Innocence: Paradoxes of Colonialism and Race by Gloria Wekker
Furthering my study of neocolonialism and white fragility in diasporic countries. This offers consumable realities and workarounds for having discussions about race and colonialism.
The Handbook of Yoruba Religious Concepts by Karade Baba ifa
A breakdown of Yoruba religious culture as our own celebrity figures like Beyoncé use iconography from this culture in their work.
The Joys of Motherhood: A Novel by Emecheta Buchi, Robin Stéphane
A great West African fiction on motherhood as told by various women in Ghana throughout this family’s generation.
The Adinkra dictionary: A visual primer on the lingual of Adinkra by Bruce Willis
This is a rare find—it has every visual representation of Adinkra symbols in an easily accessible dictionary/encyclopedia format IN COLOR in some incidences.
Pattern in Circulation: Cloth, Gender and Materiality in West Africa by Nina Sylvanus
My own research is taking me back to West Africa (Morocco, Senegal, The Gambia, Nigeria, Benin, Togo and Ghana) to follow the wax fabric trading done entirely by women in the markets. This is a great academic text with a plethora of research on the trade industry and it’s relation to West African women.
Ghana on the Go: African Mobility in the age of Motor Transportation by Jennifer Hart
Written by a friend and colleague who studies the taxi trade in Ghana and how mobility has advanced the cultures in Ghana—a fascinating read on a topic many of us in Western civilizations take for granted.
Onions Art My Husband: Survival and Accumulation by West African Market Women by Clark Gracia
An in depth academic analysis of West African market women—again an intense interest of mine and a topic of research for my work. West African women are entities worth studying as patriarchal trends we see here in the West are not practiced in West Africa—women carry much more respect and authority in the markets.
Lonely Planet Bali and Lombok by Ryan Ver Berkmoes
Research for my trip to Bali this summer with GCC’s study abroad program. Also handy for the Batik printers I will be working with there. Batik originated in Indonesia and assimilated to the Dutch who brought it into the slave trade in West Africa.
Lonely Planet Israel & the Palestinian Territories
Great for first time travelers to Israel.
Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness by William Styron
An autobiography of someone living with bi-polar disorder and suicidal ideation—how to live with someone struggling with this and support them.
The Holy Koran of the Moorish Science Temple of America by Drew Ali
Personal research into a religious movement that predates the Islam of Malcolm X but that founders of this Islam drew from—my great grandfather was part of this movement and many members changed their American slave names to “Bey” my attempt at tracing the origins of my name and relation to African Americans.
Individualism: A Reader by Smith, George H. Moore, Marilyn, Powell
A more academic approach circumventing the erroneous yet popular topics of Ayn Rand’s flavor of Individualism. I use concepts in this book to teach Individualist Group working techniques—very millennial approaches to collaboration and working in groups.