What We Are Reading Today: Changing the Game

What We Are Reading Today: Changing the Game
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Updated 29 November 2023
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What We Are Reading Today: Changing the Game

What We Are Reading Today: Changing the Game

Author: Nancy Weiss Malkiel

As provost and then president of Princeton University, William G. Bowen (1933–2016) took on the biggest and most complex challenges confronting higher education: cost disease, inclusion, affirmative action, college access, and college completion. Later, as president of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, he took his vision for higher education—and the strategies for accomplishing that vision—to a larger arena. 

In “Changing the Game,” drawing on deep archival research and hundreds of interviews, Nancy Weiss Malkiel argues that Bowen was the most consequential higher education leader of his generation.


What We Are Reading Today: LatinoLand

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Updated 02 March 2024
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What We Are Reading Today: LatinoLand

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Author: Marie Arana

“LatinoLand,” by Marie Arana, explores the diverse politics and historical roots of Hispanic Americans.
It is a compelling and insightful exploration into the diverse tapestry of Latino culture in the US.
Arana, with her profound understanding and personal connection to the Latino experience, crafts a narrative that is both illuminative and deeply resonant.
The book is not just a mere compilation of statistics and historical facts; it’s a vibrant journey through the lives, struggles, and triumphs of the Latino community.
Arana draws on her own experience as the daughter of an American mother and Peruvian father who came to the US at age nine, straddling two worlds, as many Latinos do.
She delves into the socio-political challenges facing Latino Americans, from immigration policies to economic disparities, without losing sight of the individual stories that illuminate these issues.
Arana’s work shines in its celebration of the cultural contributions of Latino Americans to the fabric of American society.
The book “unabashedly celebrates Latino resilience and character and shows us why we must understand the fastest-growing minority in America,” said a review on Goodreads.com.

 


What We Are Reading Today: Grief Is for People

What We Are Reading Today: Grief Is for People
Updated 29 February 2024
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What We Are Reading Today: Grief Is for People

What We Are Reading Today: Grief Is for People

Author: Sloane Crosley

In her new memoir, “Grief Is for People,” Sloane Crosley works through the death of a beloved friend and mentor.

“Grief Is for People” is Crosley’s eighth book (counting the novel she co-wrote under a pen name and the anthology she edited) and her first memoir.

It is a deeply moving and surprisingly suspenseful portrait of friendship and a book about loss packed with verve for life. 

Crosley is one of our most renowned observers of contemporary behavior, and now the pathos that has been ever present in her trademark wit is on full display. 

After the pain and confusion of losing her closest friend to suicide, Crosley looks for answers in friends, philosophy, and art, hoping for a framework more valuable than the unavoidable stages of grief.

“The book looks at several forms of loss and the grief we experience,” said a review on Goodreads.com.

A two-time finalist for the Thurber Prize for American Humor, Crosley’s work has been selected for numerous anthologies.


What We Are Reading Today: ‘The Metamorphosis’ by Franz Kafka

What We Are Reading Today: ‘The Metamorphosis’ by Franz Kafka
Updated 29 February 2024
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What We Are Reading Today: ‘The Metamorphosis’ by Franz Kafka

What We Are Reading Today: ‘The Metamorphosis’ by Franz Kafka

Franz Kafka’s novella “The Metamorphosis,” published in 1915, tells the story of Gregor Samsa, a salesman who wakes up one day and discovers that he has transformed into an insect.
His mother and sister are repulsed by his new form, while his father becomes hostile and abusive. Gregor is confined to his room, becoming increasingly isolated from the outside world.
As the days pass, Gregor’s family struggles to adjust to their new circumstances. They take on jobs to make ends meet because Gregor was the sole breadwinner before his transformation. Their lives become consumed by the practicalities of survival, and they begin to view Gregor as little more than a burden.
Kafka explores the absurdity and futility of human existence. Gregor’s transformation is used as a metaphor for the isolation and insignificance that many individuals experience in their lives.
The book also delves into the complexities of family relationships. Gregor’s family initially relies on him for support, but his transformation exposes their own weaknesses and flaws. The novella highlights the strain familial obligations can place on individuals and the potential for resentment and abandonment.
Similar to the majority of Kafka’s writings, “The Metamorphosis” can be read in a single sitting.
Kafka’s writing is renowned for its combination of realism and surrealism, lending his stories a distinct and captivating quality.
The novella, widely considered a literary masterpiece, leaves readers with many unanswered questions.
Kafka’s intentionally ambiguous conclusion leaves room for interpretation and reflection on the themes explored throughout the narrative.
Kafka is known for several other notable works including “The Trial,” “The Castle,” and “The Judgement.”


What We Are Reading Today: To Build a Black Future

What We Are Reading Today: To Build a Black Future
Updated 28 February 2024
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What We Are Reading Today: To Build a Black Future

What We Are Reading Today: To Build a Black Future

Author: Christopher Paul Harris

When #BlackLivesMatter emerged in 2013, it animated the most consequential Black-led mobilization since the civil rights and Black power era.

Today, the hashtag turned rallying cry is but one expression of a radical reorientation toward Black politics, protest, and political thought.

“To Build a Black Future” examines the spirit and significance of this insurgency, offering a revelatory account of a new political culture—responsive to pain, suffused with joy, and premised on care—emerging from the centuries-long arc of Black rebellion, a tradition that traces back to the Black slave.


What We Are Reading Today: Horizon Work

What We Are Reading Today: Horizon Work
Updated 27 February 2024
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What We Are Reading Today: Horizon Work

What We Are Reading Today: Horizon Work

Author: Adriana Petryna 

As carbon dioxide emissions continue to rise, Earth’s fragile ecosystems are growing increasingly unstable and unpredictable.

“Horizon Work” explores how climate change is disrupting our fundamental ability to project how the environment will act over time, and how these rapidly faltering predictions are colliding with the dangerous new realities of emergency response.

Anthropologist Adriana Petryna examines the climate crisis through the lens of “horizoning,” a mode of reckoning that considers unnatural disasters against a horizon of expectation in which people and societies can act.