Hi all--i just posted on the Discussion Board. take a look and share your input
Thanks to all who offered their ideas for our March pick...keep them coming. Here are some of the titles discussed so far along with more ideas i got from browsing the bookstore last night--not yet a vote. I invite your feeback and suggestions and then I will come up with a list of 3 to vote.
these nonfiction books are out on paperback:
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba
Discarded motor parts, PVC pipe, and an old bicycle wheel may be junk to most people, but in the inspired hands of William Kamkwamba, they are instruments of opportunity. Growing up amid famine and poverty in rural Malawi, wind was one of the few abundant resources available, and the inventive fourteen-year-old saw its energy as a way to power his dreams. "With a windmill, we'd finally release ourselves from the troubles of darkness and hunger," he realized. "A windmill meant more than just power, it was freedom." Despite the biting jeers of village skeptics, young William devoted himself to borrowed textbooks and salvage yards in pursuit of a device that could produce an "electric wind." The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is an inspiring story of an indomitable will that refused to bend to doubt or circumstance. When the world seemed to be against him, William Kamkwamba set out to change it.
Strength in What Remains by Tracey Kidder
Strength in What Remains is an unlikely story about an unreasonable man. Deo was a young medical student who fled the genocidal civil war in Burundi in 1994 for the uncertainty of New York City. Against absurd odds--he arrived with little money and less English and slept in Central Park while delivering groceries for starvation wages--his own ambition and a few kind New Yorkers led him to Columbia University and, beyond that, to medical school and American citizenship. That his rise followed a familiar immigrant's path to success doesn't make it any less remarkable, but what gives Deo's story its particular power is that becoming an American citizen did not erase his connection to Burundi, in either his memory or his dreams for the future. Writing with the same modest but dogged empathy that made his recent Mountains Beyond Mountains (about Deo's colleague and mentor, Dr. Paul Farmer) a modern classic, Tracy Kidder follows Deo back to Burundi, where he recalls the horrors of his narrow escape from the war and begins to build a medical clinic where none had been before. Deo's terrible journey makes his story a hard one to tell; his tirelessly hopeful but clear-eyed efforts make it a gripping and inspiring one to read.
Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original by Robin Kelley
I doubt there will be a biography anytime soon that is as textured, thorough and knowing. . . The "genius of modern music" has gotten the passionate, and compassionate, advocate he deserves. --August Kleinzahler, New York Times Book Review
a short one...
The Marketplace of Ideas: Reform and Resistance in the American University by Louis Menand
The publication of The Marketplace of Ideas has precipitated a lively debate about the future of the American university system: what makes it so hard for colleges to decide which subjects are required? Why are so many academics against the concept of interdisciplinary studies? From his position at the heart of academe, Harvard professor Louis Menand thinks he's found the answer. Despite the vast social changes and technological advancements that have revolutionized the society at large, general principles of scholarly organization, curriculum, and philosophy have remained remarkably static. Sparking a long-overdue debate about the future of American education, The Marketplace of Ideas argues that twenty-first-century professors and students are essentially trying to function in a nineteenth-century system, and that the resulting conflict threatens to overshadow the basic pursuit of knowledge and truth.
The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America by Timothy Egan
National Book Award winner for The Worst Hard Time, spins a tremendous tale of Progressive-era America out of the 1910 blaze that burned across Montana, Idaho and Washington and put the fledgling U.S. Forest Service through a veritable trial by fire. Underfunded, understaffed, unsupported by Congress and President Taft and challenged by the robber barons that Taft's predecessor, Theodore Roosevelt, had worked so hard to oppose, the Forest Service was caught unprepared for the immense challenge. Egan shuttles back and forth between the national stage of politics and the conflicting visions of the nation's future, and the personal stories of the men and women who fought and died in the fire: rangers, soldiers, immigrant miners imported from all over the country to help the firefighting effort, prostitutes, railroad engineers and dozens others whose stories are painstakingly recreated from scraps of letters, newspaper articles, firsthand testimony, and Forest Service records. Egan brings a touching humanity to this story of valor and cowardice in the face of a national catastrophe, paying respectful attention to Roosevelt's great dream of conservation and of an America for the little man.
collection of essays...
Changing my Mind: Occasional Essays by Zadie Smith
"[These essays] reflect a lively, unselfconscious, rigorous, erudite, and earnestly open mind that's busy refining its view of life, literature, and a great deal in between."
-Los Angeles Times
Split into five sections-Reading, Being, Seeing, Feeling, and Remembering--Changing My Mind finds Zadie Smith casting an acute eye over material both personal and cultural. This engaging collection of essays-some published here for the first time-reveals Smith as a passionate and precise essayist, equally at home in the world of great books and bad movies, family and philosophy, British comedians and Italian divas. Whether writing on Katherine Hepburn, Kafka, Anna Magnani, or Zora Neale Hurston, she brings deft care to the art of criticism with a style both sympathetic and insightful. Changing My Mind is journalism at its most expansive, intelligent, and funny-a gift to readers and writers both.
books mentioned that are not yet out in paperback
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (due out in paper March 2011--might be a good May pick unless consensus is that we are willing to pay for hardcover)
Autobiography of Mark Twain Volume 1
Janice mentioned a nonfiction work about Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings...did you think of the title?
what do you want to read? send me your feedback, please. and stay safe and warm. happy winter!
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