Library News

Summer Reading

The Oxford Academy Summer Read 2019



Oxford Academy has developed a collection of titles related to the theme of “Space”. This collection spans media types such as online videos, graphic novels, biographies, poetry and art. This collection is categorized by length and type.


Choose option A, B, or C

A. For summer reading we recommend that each student select at least one work from “longer” and one work from “shorter or AV” (for a minimum of two selections).

B. Students may choose their own titles that relate to the theme and communicate with their English teacher for approval.

C. Make: The current issue of Make magazine has several space themed articles and projects and their website archive has a whole section dedicated to space. Coordinate with your teacher to complete a space-themed maker project.

Upon Oxford’s opening in September, we will dedicate part of the first week to gathering in groups to discuss our reading.


Ideas for Space Summer Read


Longer (novels, longer non-fiction, series)

Shorter (short stories, articles, graphic novels, etc…)

Poetry, Visual, AV

Martian Chronicles Ray Bradbury

Discover Magazine June 2019 - To the Moon and Back

Apollo 13

2001: A Space Odyssey Arthur C. Clark

How to Fake a Moon Landing: Exposing the Myths of Science Denial Darryl Cunningham (Graphic Novel)

Gravity

172 Hours on the Moon Johan Harstad

Who’s Out There? Jamie Shreeve National Geographic March 2019

The Martian

We Are the Ants Shaun David Hutchinson

The Space Issue National Geographic August 2017

Secrets of the Universe

The 5th Wave Rick Yancey

Through an Astronaut’s Eyes National Geographic March 2018

Poetry

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Douglas Adams

Out of this World: How Artists Imagine Planets Yet Unseen

The Habitat podcast: It's about people living in a simulated Martian habitat.

How I Killed Pluto and Why it Had it Coming Mike Brown

Moondust Could Cloud Our Lunar Ambitions (WIRED Magazine, June 2019)

Colbert and Neil deGrasse Tyson tackle astrophysics and much more

Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void Mike Brown

“No Moon and Flat Calm” A new short story about panic in space. By ELIZABETH BEAR

Twenty Thousand Hertz Podcast- Episode#65 The Voyager Golden Record This album is 11 billion miles away from Earth. Learn all about it.

Hidden Figures Margot Lee Shetterly

The Complete Science Fiction Treasury of H.G. Wells

Ender’s Game- Orson Scott Card

The System of the World- Isaac Newton (free online, amazon option)

New Books in the Library

New Books Winter 2019


Hope Nation: YA Authors Share Personal Moments of Inspiration

We all experience moments when we struggle to understand the state of the world, when we feel powerless and--in some cases--even hopeless. The teens of today are the caretakers of tomorrow, and yet it's difficult for many to find joy or comfort in such a turbulent society. But in trying times, words are power.

Some of today's most influential young adult authors come together in this highly personal collection of essays and original stories that offer moments of light in the darkness, and show that hope is a decision we all can make.


Black Enough: Stories of Being Young & Black in America

Edited by National Book Award finalist Ibi Zoboi, and featuring some of the most acclaimed bestselling Black authors writing for teens today—Black Enough is an essential collection of captivating stories about what it’s like to be young and Black in America.

Black is...sisters navigating their relationship at summer camp in Portland, Oregon, as written by Renée Watson.

Black is…three friends walking back from the community pool talking about nothing and everything, in a story by Jason Reynolds.

Black is…Nic Stone’s high-class beauty dating a boy her momma would never approve of.

Black is…two girls kissing in Justina Ireland’s story set in Maryland.

Black is urban and rural, wealthy and poor, mixed race, immigrants, and more—because there are countless ways to be Black enough.


Parkland Speaks Edited by Sarah Lerner

The students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School share their emotional journeys that began on February 14, 2018, and continue today. This revealing and unfiltered look at teens living in the wake of tragedy is a poignant representation of grief, anger, determination, healing and hope.

This intimate collection includes poetry, eyewitness accounts, letters, speeches, journal entries, drawings, and photographs from the events of February 14 and its aftermath. Full of heartbreaking loss, a rally cry for change, and hope for a safe future, these artistic places will inspire readers to reflect on their own lives and the importance of valuing and protecting the ones you love.



Why Art? By Eleanor Davis

What is “Art”? It’s widely accepted that art serves an important function in society. But the concept falls under such an absurdly large umbrella and can manifest in so many different ways. Art can be self indulgent, goofy, serious, altruistic, evil, or expressive, or any number of other things. But how can it truly make lasting, positive change? In Why Art?, acclaimed graphic novelist Eleanor Davis (How To Be Happy) unpacks some of these concepts in ways both critical and positive, in an attempt to illuminate the highest possible potential an artwork might hope to achieve. A work of art unto itself, Davis leavens her exploration with a sense of humor and a thirst for challenging preconceptions of art worth of Magritte, instantly drawing the reader in as a willing accomplice in her quest.


Sabrina By Drnaso, Nick

Conspiracy theories, breakdown, murder: Everything’s gonna be all right―until it isn’t

When Sabrina disappears, an airman in the U.S. Air Force is drawn into a web of suppositions, wild theories, and outright lies. He reports to work every night in a bare, sterile fortress that serves as no protection from a situation that threatens the sanity of Teddy, his childhood friend and the boyfriend of the missing woman. Sabrina’s grieving sister, Sandra, struggles to fill her days as she waits in purgatory. After a videotape surfaces, we see devastation through a cinematic lens, as true tragedy is distorted when fringe thinkers and conspiracy theorists begin to interpret events to fit their own narratives.

The follow-up to Nick Drnaso’s Beverly, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Sabrina depicts a modern world devoid of personal interaction and responsibility, where relationships are stripped of intimacy through glowing computer screens. Presenting an indictment of our modern state, Drnaso contemplates the dangers of a fake-news climate. Timely and articulate, Sabrina leaves you gutted, searching for meaning in the aftermath of disaster.


Dry By Neal Shusterman & Jarrod Shusterman

When the California drought escalates to catastrophic proportions, one teen is forced to make life and death decisions for her family in this harrowing story of survival from New York Times bestselling author Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman.

The drought—or the Tap-Out, as everyone calls it—has been going on for a while now. Everyone’s lives have become an endless list of don’ts: don’t water the lawn, don’t fill up your pool, don’t take long showers.

Until the taps run dry.

Suddenly, Alyssa’s quiet suburban street spirals into a warzone of desperation; neighbors and families turned against each other on the hunt for water. And when her parents don’t return and her life—and the life of her brother—is threatened, Alyssa has to make impossible choices if she’s going to survive.


Bird Box By Josh Malerman

Written with the narrative tension of The Road and the exquisite terror of classic Stephen King, Bird Box is a propulsive, edge-of-your-seat horror thriller, set in an apocalyptic near-future world—a masterpiece of suspense from the brilliantly imaginative Josh Malerman.

Something is out there . . .

Something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.

Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remain, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, she has dreamed of fleeing to a place where they might be safe. Now, that the boy and girl are four, it is time to go. But the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat—blindfolded—with nothing to rely on but her wits and the children’s trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. And something is following them. But is it man, animal, or monster?

Engulfed in darkness, surrounded by sounds both familiar and frightening, Malorie embarks on a harrowing odyssey—a trip that takes her into an unseen world and back into the past, to the companions who once saved her. Under the guidance of the stalwart Tom, a motely group of strangers banded together against the unseen terror, creating order from the chaos. But when supplies ran low, they were forced to venture outside—and confront the ultimate question: in a world gone mad, who can really be trusted?

Interweaving past and present, Josh Malerman’s breathtaking debut is a horrific and gripping snapshot of a world unraveled that will have you racing to the final page.


Self Sufficiency for the 21st Century By Dick & James Strawbridge

With step-by-step guidance and techniques, Self Sufficiency for the 21st Century teaches you how to reduce waste, use wind and solar energy to power your home, and grow your own food. Learn how to make practice changes for a simpler, greener, and cleaner life.

This modern manual is perfect for both urban and rural readers, covering eco projects, plant-by-plant and animal-by-animal identification, how to produce little or no waste and to remove our dependence upon fossil fuels, and so much more.

Self Sufficiency for the 21st Century shows you how to make practical changes with a big impact.

Our Magazine Collection

Oxford’s Magazine List

May 2019


Time May 20, 2019

Featured Article:

  • The Thinker - Elizabeth Warren invests in substance over style. Will that pay off with Democratic voters?
  • Dividing India - Facing re-election, Prime Minister Narendra Modi doubles down on fear.
  • Women v. Walmart - The retail giant faces a flurry of discrimination claims.


Time May 13, 2019

Featured Articles:

  • After the Report - President Trump leverages Robert Mueller’s probe for his 2020 campaign and beyond
  • The Mayor - Pete Buttigieg is a veteran, a Christian and the first openly gay man to make a serious bid for President. Inside his campaign to win over Trump voters.
  • Country of Two Nations - A quarter-century after the end of apartheid, the destructive divide in South Africa is economic.


Time April 29 / May 6, 2019

Featured Articles:

  • The 100 Most Influential People
    • Pioneers
    • Artists
    • Leaders
    • Titans
    • Icons

Harper’s June 2019

Featured Articles:

  • Is Poverty Necessary - An idea that won’t go away.
  • Downstream - The afterlife of American junk.
  • Stonewall at Fifty
  • The Military-Industrial Virus - How bloated budgets gut our defenses.
  • What it Means to be Alive - Decoding a father's farewell.
  • Warm, Weird, Effervescent - Lore Segal reinvents the immigrant novel.
  • The All-Seeing Eye - On Abbas Kiarostami.


The Atlantic May 2019

Featured Articles:

  • The Penance of Doc O - Lou Ortenzio was a trusted doctor who got his patients - and himself - hooked on opioids. Now he’s trying to rescue his community from an epidemic he helped start.
  • The Trouble with Dentistry - You likely don’t need to go to the dentists every six months. Those microcavities might heal without a filling. And you may want a second opinion before getting that root canal.
  • How Much Immigration is Too Much? - We need to make hard decisions now about what will truly benefit current and future Americans.
  • Kamala Harris Takes Her Shot - The senator from California has always been cautious, but since announcing her candidacy she’s grown bolder. Can a black woman win the presidency today?
  • Elegy from the American Century - In the 1990s, when Richard Holbrooke ended a war in the Balkans, American influence seemed poised to reach new heights. Instead, it began to decline. What happened?
  • Trump’s Second Term - If it comes to pass, it will be far more consequential than his first.
  • Why Young Adults are Talking Like 3-Year-Olds - Embracing your inner child is comforting and fun - and just might revitalize the English language.
  • The Big Question - What was the greatest act of courage?
  • The Death of the Pioneer Myth - America’s frontier once promised freedom, but a walled border demands a reckoning with loss.
  • Poets in the Press Box - The underappreciated literacy achievements of sportswriters on deadline.
  • The Problem with High-Minded Politics - John Adams and John Quincy Adam’s virtuous disdain for partisanship was at the root of their failures.
  • Art After Sexual Assault - Siri Hustvedt’s new novel explores fiction’s role in feminist consciousness-raising.
  • Walt Whitman's Guide to a Thriving Democracy - America had a mind shaped by its Founders, but the country needed the poet to discover its spirit.


Popular Science Spring 2018

Featured Articles:

  • How We’ll Move
    • A bridge to the future
    • Earth’s quickest critters
    • Our last sips of oil
    • Humankind’s most daring journeys
    • The health effects of extreme sports
    • A brief history of road building
    • The footprints of ancient humans

Discover June 2019

Featured Articles:

  • To the Moon and Back:
    • When We Set Sail
    • Apollo, in Their Own Words
    • Training the First Lunar Scientists
    • Marking the Moon
    • Women Fight for Flight
    • The Science of Apollo
    • Framing History
    • Back to the Moon
  • Keep Dreaming - Curiosity and the desire to explore have always been in our DNA.
  • Connect the Dots - A woman’s sudden mania, furious note-taking and other strange behaviors leave her doctors in the dark.
  • The Real Drangonglass - More than a prop for the hit series Game of Thrones, obsidian plays a unique role in archaeology.
  • Digital Detox - A writer discovers how dependent she is on her mobile devices - and what happens when she ditches them.
  • Protecting Mars from … Ourselves - As human exploration of the Red Planet increases, is it time to rethink stringent rules about keeping it clean?
  • 20 Things You Didn’t Know About … Feet - Have you heard of the International Foot? It turns 60 in July. We take its measure, and much more.


Make April/May 2019

Projects:

  • Construct a Maslow CNC - Build a unique upright CNC router that cuts full 4’ x 8’ sheets but takes little floor space.
  • Build a Rescue Box - Help save lives at your beach or swimming hole - make a tamper-proof box for throwable “Rescue Sticks.”
  • Electronics Fun & Fundamentals: Jumping Mystery Box - Use simple sensors to detect 3D motion and trigger movements and sounds, no processor necessary.
  • Amateur Scientist: Ionizing Radiation - Measure the background radiation in your environment with a Geiger counter.
  • Sun-Fueled Fun - Solar panels + bilge pump = nonstop running water for boats, castles, and water fights.
  • Scrappy Circuits - Hack dollar-store tea lights to make affordable electronics modules for learning.
  • Garden Gizmos - 3D-print these gadgets to upgrade your green space.
  • Reproducible Ring - How one maker designed a custom 3D printed, robot-themed engagement ring.
  • Sound Blink - A unique DIY portable speaker and LED light show.


Wired May 2019

Featured Articles:

  • Dial in for Recovery - Could I break my addition to my phone via my phone?
  • The Power of Suggestion - How recommendation algorithms run the world.
  • An App of Our Own - When workers control the means of promotion.
  • Scandals. Backstabbing. Resignations. Reboots. Record Profits. Time Bombs. - At the start of 2018, Mark Zuckerberg set out to fix Facebook. Sixteen months later, here’s how that turned out.
  • Nevada by the Sea - A new fault is shaking up the tech industry’s latest frontier in the west - and only a small group of scientists is paying attention.


National Geographic May 2019

Featured Articles:

  • Modern Girls, Ancient Rite - A village in Spain welcomes spring in the same way it has for centuries, by placing a few chosen girls on flowery pedestals.
  • The Future of Dying in Style - We memorialize the dead with the tools of our times.
  • What Keeping Scientists from Vanquishing Ebola - Four reasons, that the extremely lethal virus is so hard to fight.
  • Toads’ Sex Life Hinges on Finding the Perfect Pool - Their choosiness may endanger them.
  • Finding Dignity in a Dirty Job - Bayakou perform an essential service that they hide from other Haitians.
  • Sea of Plastic - Plastic waste washes into the oceans at an average rate of about nine million tons a year. Much of it eventually breaks down into barely visible bits - microplastics, which are so abundant that larval fish are eating them in their first days of life.
  • Leonardo’s Enduring Brilliance - Five hundred years after his death, Leonardo da Vinci’s stunning creativity and foresight in science, the arts, and engineering continue to amaze us - and to inform modern work in the fields he studied so long ago.
  • A New Day in Mozambique - Gorongosa National Park recovers from war.
  • Smokejumpers - These elite crews parachute into forests to keep small fires from becoming major ones.


Smithsonian May 2019

Featured Articles:

  • The Cave Man Cometh - Recent discoveries suggest that far from being dumb brutes who simply vanished, Neanderthals bred with humans and created sophisticated cave paintings thousands of years before humans did.
  • At the Edge of the Ice - With their way of life threatened by climate change and technology, traditional Inuit people in Greenland cope as always - by adapting.
  • A Mystery in the Family - An Italian clan’s curious insensitivity to pain has piqued the interest of geneticists seeking a new understanding of physical suffering - and better ways to treat it
  • The Last of the Great American Hobos - Rail-hoppers, vagabonds, townies and tourists gather in Britt, Iowa, to pay tribute to a disappearing breed - the stubbornly self-reliant itinerant worker - and crown the Hobo King and Queen.

Mother Earth News June/July 2019

Featured Articles:

  • Firsthand Reports: Zero-Energy Retreat - Two families banded together to build an energy-efficient getaway in the mountains for themselves as well as renters.
  • Green Gazette: Agrovoltaic Opportunities - Updates on combining solar power and livestock, repair cafes, Buy Nothing groups, and more.
  • Bring Garden Movement into Your Life - Move with intention through your garden routine to stretch and strengthen your muscles.
  • Faith-Based Farming - Joel explores how his spiritual principles inform his stewardship of animals, plants and the land.
  • Get Charged Up with Off-Grid Battery Options - This expert advice will help you pick the best battery bank to power your property.
  • Country Lore - Readers’ tips on building your own hay baler; simple mosquito repellent; expanding the uses of your riding mower; and more.


Art News Spring 2019

Featured Articles:

  • Current Affairs - To save the ailing oceans, TBA21-Academy turns to art and science.
  • Take Me Apart - Wu Tsang’s art questions everything we think we know about identity.
  • Out Side In - In his arresting work, Lyle Ashton Harris looks to the past for new ways forward.
  • Serious Play - Nayland Blake’s gifts from the Department of Transformation.
  • Stonewall at 50: A Roundtable


Independent School Spring 2019

Featured Articles:

  • Innovating From the Other Side - Unleashing the power of demand-side thinking with NAIS Strategy Lab.
  • The Whole Works - Seeing school as more than the sum of its part.
  • All That Remains - Could honoring the past be key to embracing the future?
  • Growth Start - The seven principles of Living Curriculum.
  • Room for More - An exploration of classroom space.
  • Going Beyond - When waiting for buy-in can be a roadblock.
  • Reading Room - Books about women who were ahead of their time.
  • The Conversation - Embracing change in the college process.






Book Trailers

What's Mrs. Gilman reading?

Fall 2018

Little Fire Everywhere By Celeste Ng

From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture-perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives.

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned – from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren – an enigmatic artist and single mother – who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town--and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia's past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.

Little Fires Everywhere explores the weight of secrets, the nature of art and identity, and the ferocious pull of motherhood – and the danger of believing that following the rules can avert disaster.

Spring 2018


Before We Were Yours Lisa Wingate

Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family's Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge--until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children's Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents--but they quickly realize the dark truth. At the mercy of the facility's cruel director, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together in a world of danger and uncertainty.

Aiken, South Carolina, present day. Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career as a federal prosecutor, a handsome fiancé, and a lavish wedding on the horizon. But when Avery returns home to help her father weather a health crisis, a chance encounter leaves her with uncomfortable questions and compels her to take a journey through her family's long-hidden history, on a path that will ultimately lead either to devastation or to redemption.

Based on one of America's most notorious real-life scandals--in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country--Lisa Wingate's riveting, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we belong.


February 2018

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini


Khaled Hosseini, the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, has written a new novel about how we love, how we take care of one another, and how the choices we make resonate through generations. In this tale revolving around not just parents and children but brothers and sisters, cousins and caretakers, Hosseini explores the many ways in which families nurture, wound, betray, honor, and sacrifice for one another; and how often we are surprised by the actions of those closest to us, at the times that matter most. Following its characters and the ramifications of their lives and choices and loves around the globe—from Kabul to Paris to San Francisco to the Greek island of Tinos—the story expands gradually outward, becoming more emotionally complex and powerful with each turning page.

October/November 2017

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Wells

The Glass Castle is a remarkable memoir of resilience and redemption, and a revelatory look into a family at once deeply dysfunctional and uniquely vibrant. When sober, Jeannette’s brilliant and charismatic father captured his children’s imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and how to embrace life fearlessly. But when he drank, he was dishonest and destructive. Her mother was a free spirit who abhorred the idea of domesticity and didn’t want the responsibility of raising a family.

The Walls children learned to take care of themselves. They fed, clothed, and protected one another, and eventually found their way to New York. Their parents followed them, choosing to be homeless even as their children prospered.


The Glass Castle is truly astonishing—a memoir permeated by the intense love of a peculiar but loyal family.

September 2017

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

Christina Baker Kline’s Orphan Train is an unforgettable story of friendship and second chances that highlights a little-known but historically significant movement in America’s past—and it includes a special PS section for book clubs featuring insights, interviews, and more.

Penobscot Indian Molly Ayer is close to “aging out” out of the foster care system. A community service position helping an elderly woman clean out her home is the only thing keeping Molly out of juvie and worse...

As she helps Vivian sort through her possessions and memories, Molly learns that she and Vivian aren’t as different as they seem to be. A young Irish immigrant orphaned in New York City, Vivian was put on a train to the Midwest with hundreds of other children whose destinies would be determined by luck and chance.

Molly discovers that she has the power to help Vivian find answers to mysteries that have haunted her for her entire life—answers that will ultimately free them both.

Rich in detail and epic in scope, Orphan Train is a powerful novel of upheaval and resilience, of unexpected friendship, and of the secrets we carry that keep us from finding out who we are.

May 2017

I am currently reading Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

Sisters. Strangers. Survivors.

More than twenty years ago, Claire and Lydia’s teenaged sister Julia vanished without a trace. The two women have not spoken since, and now their lives could not be more different. Claire is the glamorous trophy wife of an Atlanta millionaire. Lydia, a single mother, dates an ex-con and struggles to make ends meet. But neither has recovered from the horror and heartbreak of their shared loss—a devastating wound that's cruelly ripped open when Claire's husband is killed.

The disappearance of a teenage girl and the murder of a middle-aged man, almost a quarter-century apart: what could connect them? Forming a wary truce, the surviving sisters look to the past to find the truth, unearthing the secrets that destroyed their family all those years ago . . . and uncovering the possibility of redemption, and revenge, where they least expect it.

April 2017

I am currently reading The Shack By William P. Young


Mackenzie Allen Philips' youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later in the midst of his Great Sadness, Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend. Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack's world forever.

March 2017

I am currently reading The Zookeepers Wife by Diane Ackerman

A true story in which the keepers of the Warsaw Zoo saved hundreds of people from Nazi hands.

After their zoo was bombed, Polish zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski managed to save over three hundred people from the Nazis by hiding refugees in the empty animal cages. With animal names for these "guests," and human names for the animals, it's no wonder that the zoo's code name became "The House Under a Crazy Star." Best-selling naturalist and acclaimed storyteller Diane Ackerman combines extensive research and an exuberant writing style to re-create this fascinating, true-life story―sharing Antonina's life as "the zookeeper's wife," while examining the disturbing obsessions at the core of Nazism.

February 2017

I am currently reading Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years’ experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she’s been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?

Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy’s counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family—especially her teenage son—as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other’s trust, and come to see that what they’ve been taught their whole lives about others—and themselves—might be wrong.


January 2017

I am currently reading When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

At the age of thirty-six, on the verge of completing a decade’s worth of training as a neurosurgeon, Paul Kalanithi was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. One day he was a doctor treating the dying, and the next he was a patient struggling to live. And just like that, the future he and his wife had imagined evaporated. When Breath Becomes Air chronicles Kalanithi’s transformation from a naïve medical student “possessed,” as he wrote, “by the question of what, given that all organisms die, makes a virtuous and meaningful life” into a neurosurgeon at Stanford working in the brain, the most critical place for human identity, and finally into a patient and new father confronting his own mortality.

December 2016

I am currently reading Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are? by Frans de Waal

What separates your mind from an animal’s? Maybe you think it’s your ability to design tools, your sense of self, or your grasp of past and future―all traits that have helped us define ourselves as the planet’s preeminent species. But in recent decades, these claims have eroded, or even been disproven outright, by a revolution in the study of animal cognition. Take the way octopuses use coconut shells as tools; elephants that classify humans by age, gender, and language; or Ayumu, the young male chimpanzee at Kyoto University whose flash memory puts that of humans to shame. Based on research involving crows, dolphins, parrots, sheep, wasps, bats, whales, and of course chimpanzees and bonobos, Frans de Waal explores both the scope and the depth of animal intelligence. He offers a firsthand account of how science has stood traditional behaviorism on its head by revealing how smart animals really are, and how we’ve underestimated their abilities for too long.

November 2016

I am currently reading Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Playing on every teen’s passionate desire to look as good as everybody else, Scott Westerfeld (Midnighters) projects a future world in which a compulsory operation at sixteen wipes out physical differences and makes everyone pretty by conforming to an ideal standard of beauty. The "New Pretties" are then free to play and party, while the younger "Uglies" look on enviously and spend the time before their own transformations in plotting mischievous tricks against their elders. Tally Youngblood is one of the most daring of the Uglies, and her imaginative tricks have gotten her in trouble with the menacing department of Special Circumstances. She has yearned to be pretty, but since her best friend Shay ran away to the rumored rebel settlement of recalcitrant Uglies called The Smoke, Tally has been troubled. The authorities give her an impossible choice: either she follows Shay’s cryptic directions to The Smoke with the purpose of betraying the rebels, or she will never be allowed to become pretty. Hoping to rescue Shay, Tally sets off on the dangerous journey as a spy. But after finally reaching The Smoke she has a change of heart when her new lover David reveals to her the sinister secret behind becoming pretty. The fast-moving story is enlivened by many action sequences in the style of videogames, using intriguing inventions like hoverboards that use the rider’s skateboard skills to skim through the air, and bungee jackets that make wild downward plunges survivable -- and fun. Behind all the commotion is the disturbing vision of our own society -- the Rusties -- visible only in rusting ruins after a virus destroyed all petroleum. Teens will be entranced, and the cliffhanger ending will leave them gasping for the sequel. (Ages 12 and up) --Patty Campbell --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


October 2016

I am currently reading Relativity by Antonia Hayes

“Twelve-year-old Ethan Forsythe, an exceptionally talented boy obsessed with physics and astronomy, has been raised alone by his mother in Sydney, Australia. Claire, a former professional ballerina, has been a wonderful parent to Ethan, but he’s becoming increasingly curious about his father’s absence in his life. Claire is fiercely protective of her talented, vulnerable son—and of her own feelings. But when Ethan falls ill, tied to a tragic event that occurred during his infancy, her tightly-held world is split open.

Thousands of miles away on the western coast of Australia, Mark is trying to forget about the events that tore his family apart, but an unexpected call forces him to confront his past and return home. When Ethan secretly intercepts a letter from Mark to Claire, he unleashes long-suppressed forces that—like gravity—pull the three together again, testing the limits of love and forgiveness.”

September 2016

I am currently reading All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

"Marie-Laure lives with her father in Paris near the Museum of Natural History, where he works as the master of its thousands of locks. When she is six, Marie-Laure goes blind and her father builds a perfect miniature of their neighborhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. When she is twelve, the Nazis occupy Paris and father and daughter flee to the walled citadel of Saint-Malo, where Marie-Laure’s reclusive great-uncle lives in a tall house by the sea. With them they carry what might be the museum’s most valuable and dangerous jewel.

In a mining town in Germany, the orphan Werner grows up with his younger sister, enchanted by a crude radio they find. Werner becomes an expert at building and fixing these crucial new instruments, a talent that wins him a place at a brutal academy for Hitler Youth, then a special assignment to track the resistance. More and more aware of the human cost of his intelligence, Werner travels through the heart of the war and, finally, into Saint-Malo, where his story and Marie-Laure’s converge."