Here is a quick synopsis of each book that is up for selection for the One Book, One Harper program for 2014/15:
How Starbucks Saved My Life - Michael Gates Gill
In his fifties, Michael Gates Gill had it all: a big house in the suburbs, a loving family, and a top job at an ad agency with a six-figure salary. By the time he turned sixty, he had lost everything except his Ivy League education and his sense of entitlement.
One day as Gilll sat in a Manhattan Starbucks brooding about his misfortune and quickly dwindling list of options, a 28-year-old Starbucks manager named Crystal Thompson approached him, half joking, to offer him a job. With nothing to lose, he took it, and went from drinking coffee in a Brooks Brothers suit to serving it in a green uniform. For the first time in his life, Gill was a minority--the only older white guy working with a team of young African-Americans. He was forced to acknowledge his ingrained prejudices and admit to himself that, far from being beneath him, his new job was hard. And his younger coworkers, despite having half the education and twice the personal difficulties he'd ever faced, were running circles around him.
In How Starbucks Saved My Life, we step behind the counter of one of the world's best-known companies and discover how it all really works, who the baristas are, and what they love (and hate) about their jobs. Inside Starbucks, as Crystal and Gill's friendship grows, we see what wonders can happen when we reach out across race, class, and age divisions to help a fellow human being.
A Walk in Chicago - Alex Kotlowitz
Chicago is one of America’s most iconic, historic, and fascinating cities, as well as a major travel destination. For Alex Kotlowitz, an accidental Chicagoan, it is the perfect perch from which to peer into America’s heart. It’s a place, as one historian has said, of “messy vitalities,” a stew of contradictions: coarse yet gentle, idealistic yet restrained, grappling with its promise, alternately sure and unsure of itself.
Chicago, like America, is a kind of refuge for outsiders. It’s probably why Alex Kotlowitz found comfort there. He’s drawn to people on the outside who are trying to clean up—or at least make sense of—the mess on the inside. Perspective doesn’t come easy if you’re standing in the center. As with There Are No Children Here, Never a City So Real is not so much a tour of a place as a chronicle of its soul, its lifeblood. It is a tour of the people of Chicago, who have been the author’s guides into this city’s—and in a broader sense, this country’s—heart.
On the Outside Looking Indian - Rupinder Gill
Rupinder Gill was raised under the strict rules of her parents' Indian upbringing. While her friends were practicing their pliés, having slumber parties, and spending their summers at camp, Rupinder was cleaning, babysitting her siblings, and watching hours on end of American television. But at age 30, Rupinder realized how much she regretted her lack of childhood adventure.
Stepping away from an orderly life of tradition, Rupinder set put to finally experience the things she missed out on. From learning to swim and taking dance lessons, to going to Disney World, her growing to-do list soon became the ultimate trip down non-memory lane. What began as a desire to experience all that had been denied to her leads to a discovery of what it means to be happy, and the important lessons that are learned when we are at play. Reminiscent of Mindy Kaling, this is a warm funny memoir of the daughter of Indian immigrants learning to break free and find her own path.
1001 Afternoons in Chicago - Ben Hecht
In 1921, Ben Hecht wrote a column for the Chicago Daily News that his editor called “journalism extraordinary; journalism that invaded the realm of literature.” Hecht’s collection of sixty-four of these pieces, illustrated with striking pen drawings by Herman Rosse, is a timeless caricature of urban American life in the jazz age, updated with a new Introduction for the twenty-first century. From the glittering opulence of Michigan Avenue to the darkest ruminations of an escaped convict, from captains of industry to immigrant day laborers, Hecht captures 1920s Chicago in all its furor, intensity, and absurdity.
The Last Lecture - Randy Pausch
A lot of professors give talks titled "The Last Lecture." Professors are asked to consider their demise and to ruminate on what matters most to them.
When Randy Pausch, a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon, was asked to give such a lecture, he didn't have to imagine it as his last, since he had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. But the lecture he gave--"Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams"--wasn't about dying. It was about the importance of overcoming obstacles, of enabling the dreams of others, of seizing every moment (because "time is all you have...and you may find one day that you have less than you think"). It was a summation of everything Randy had come to believe. It was about living.
In this book, Randy Pausch has combined the humor, inspiration and intelligence that made his lecture such a phenomenon and given it an indelible form. It is a book that will be shared for generations to come!
The Warmth of Other Suns - Isabel Wilkerson
With stunning historical detail, Wilkerson tells this story through the lives of three unique individuals: Ida Mae Gladney, who in 1937 left sharecropping and prejudice in Mississippi for Chicago, where she achieved quiet blue-collar success and, in old age, voted for Barack Obama when he ran for an Illinois Senate seat; sharp and quick-tempered George Starling, who in 1945 fled Florida for Harlem, where he endangered his job fighting for civil rights, saw his family fall, and finally found peace in God; and Robert Foster, who left Louisiana in 1953 to pursue a medical career, the personal physician to Ray Charles as part of a glitteringly successful medical career, which allowed him to purchase a grand home where he often threw exuberant parties.
Wilkerson brilliantly captures their first treacherous and exhausting cross-country trips by car and train and their new lives in colonies that grew into ghettos, as well as how they changed these cities with southern food, faith, and culture and improved them with discipline, drive, and hard work. Both a riveting microcosm and a major assessment, The Warmth of Other Suns is a bold, remarkable, and riveting work, a superb account of an “unrecognized immigration” within our own land.
The Greatest Generation - Tom Brokaw
In this superb book, Tom Brokaw goes out into America, to tell through the stories of individual men and women the story of a generation. America's citizen heroes and heroines who came of age during the Great Depression and the Second World War and went on to build modern America. This generation was united not only by a common purpose, but also by common values--duty, honor, economy, courage, service, love of family and country, and, above all, responsibility for oneself. In this book, you will meet people whose everyday lives reveal how a generation persevered through war, and were trained by it, and then went on to create interesting and useful lives and the America we have today.
Next Thursday, Nov. 14th, J Theatre will host Harriet Washington, the best-selling author of the book, Medical Apartheid: the dark history of medical experimentation on Black Americans, from Colonial Times to the Present.
This event delves into the reasons behind the distrust of places like Johns Hopkins, where Henrietta Lacks was treated for cancer.
Pick up your ticket at the box office! The event is FREE for Harper students, $5 for faculty, staff & seniors, and $7 general admission.
We're beginning to collect books for our annual Children's Book Drive! Please see the flier below for more information:
Want to figure out how to write a novel in a month? Come to our presentations (FREE!) next week in the library classroom, F231, for some tutelage on how to get started. Don't forget to sign up for this year's NaNoWriMo!
Banned Books Week was great! Not only were the presentations fantastically informative, but the drama presentation that was held on the quad this year was attended by over 50 students and faculty!
Congrats to the Guess the Banned Book contest winner, David Roznovjak, whose name was chosen at random among the others who guess the book correctly; it was The Grapes of Wrath.
Please check out the Banned Books Week Art Contest, which you can still sign up for! It will be held on October 31st, and you can vote for your favorite drawing, painting, photograph, etc during Nov. 4th - 8th.
Josh Sunderbruch talks about censorship in textbooks, and how private entities can shape what we learn about.
Kevin Long's Drama Club presents The Laramie Project.
Therese Hart gives a presentation on the novel Catch-22, and why it has been banned in many places.
Stephanie Norris speaks about The Canterbury Tales, and explains why this book has been banned.
The first OBOH event for the year was on September 17th, where we welcomed the grandchildren of Henrietta Lacks- the woman the book The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks was centered on. Check out the pictures from the SOLD OUT event!
A view of the stage.
Great crowd! It was a full house!
David Lacks explains more of the background of what happened to Henrietta's cells.
David and Kimberly Lacks were asked several questions from out moderator, Dr. Stephanie Norris, and our audience members.
The line for the book signing after the event.
A few audience members get their copies of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks signed by David Lacks and Kimberly Lacks.
Thanks for coming out to celebrate the library during Welcome Week! Here are the pictures of our very own library zombies, jailbirds and Huck Finns- enjoy!