Interesting Reads

Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another's skin, another's voice, another's soul. Joyce Carol Oates

Those Who Save Us

Those Who Save Us

Title: Those Who Save Us

Author: Jenna Blum

For fifty years, Anna Schlemmer has refused to talk about her life in Germany during World War II. Her daughter, Trudy, was only three when she and her mother were liberated by an American soldier and went to live with him in Minnesota. Trudy's sole evidence of the past is an old photograph: a family portrait showing Anna, Trudy, and a Nazi officer, the Obersturmfuhrer of Buchenwald. Driven by the guilt of her heritage, Trudy, now a professor of German history, begins investigating the past and finally unearths the dramatic and heartbreaking truth of her mother's life. Combining a passionate, doomed love story, a vivid evocation of life during the war, and a poignant mother/daughter drama, Those Who Save Us is a profound exploration of what we endure to survive and the legacy of shame.


Writing Beyond Race

Writing Beyond Race: Living Theory and Practice

Title: Writing Beyond Race: Living Theory and Practice

Author: Bell Hooks

Grand Valley is a community of vibrant and diverse people, and our ability to live and work together as a productive healthy community is directly tied to our ability to recognize and respect our differences. Community advocate and feminist theory writer Bell Hooks calls out in her book (Writing Beyond Race, 2013) that we need to build a community of care to help reach across the boundaries of oppression. She continues to explain that the primary fear folks have of being with someone unlike themselves is the fear of conflict. The rise of a conflict in an environment without a strong relationship is likely to develop into individuals who are terrified of differences.  If you have a disagreement with someone you have a caring relationship with you will not be fearful of a conflict arising from it, because your relationship is strong enough to withstand the event. That is why our GVSU community should desire to explore our differences in order to build the caring relationships that in turn will bond us across our boundaries of differences, and help us not fear the conflict, but rather embrace the opportunity to understand our differences.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Title: "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time "
Author: Mark Haddon

Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, Christopher is autistic. Everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning for him. Routine, order and predictability shelter him from the messy, wider world. Then, at fifteen, Christopher’s carefully constructed world falls apart when he finds his neighbor’s dog, Wellington, impaled on a garden fork, and he is initially blamed for the killing.

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Author Biography:

MARK HADDON is a writer and illustrator of numerous award-winning children’s books and television screenplays. As a young man, Haddon worked with autistic individuals. He teaches creative writing for the Arvon Foundation and at Oxford University. He lives in Oxford, England.



Title: "Infidel"
Author: Ayaan Hirsi Ali

Infidel shows the coming of age of this distinguished political superstar and champion of free speech as well as the development of her beliefs, iron will, and extraordinary determination to fight injustice. Raised in a strict Muslim family, Hirsi Ali survived civil war, female mutilation, brutal beatings, adolescence as a devout believer during the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, and life in four troubled, unstable countries ruled largely by despots. She escaped from a forced marriage and sought asylum in the Netherlands, where she earned a college degree in political science, tried to help her tragically depressed sister adjust to the West, and fought for the rights of Muslim women and the reform of Islam as a member of Parliament. Under constant threat, demonized by reactionary Islamists and politicians, disowned by her father, and expelled from family and clan, she refuses to be silenced.

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I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced

I am Nujood, age 10 and Divorced

Title: "I am Nujood, age 10 and Divorced"
Author: Nujood Ali

Forced by her father to marry a man three times her age, young Nujood Ali was sent away from her parents and beloved sisters and made to live with her husband and his family in an isolated village in rural Yemen. There she suffered daily from physical and emotional abuse by her mother-in-law and nightly at the rough hands of her spouse. Flouting his oath to wait to have sexual relations with Nujood until she was no longer a child, he took her virginity on their wedding night. She was only ten years old.

Unable to endure the pain and distress any longer, Nujood fled—not for home, but to the courthouse of the capital, paying for a taxi ride with a few precious coins of bread money... 

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Title: "Zeitoun"
Author: Dave Eggers

The true story of one family, caught between America’s two biggest policy disasters: the war on terror and the response to Hurricane Katrina.

Abdulrahman and Kathy Zeitoun run a house-painting business in New Orleans. In August of 2005, as Hurricane Katrina approaches, Kathy evacuates with their four young children, leaving Zeitoun to watch over the business. In the days following the storm he travels the city by canoe, feeding abandoned animals and helping elderly neighbors. Then, on September 6th, police officers armed with M-16s arrest Zeitoun in his home. Told with eloquence and compassion, Zeitoun is a riveting account of one family’s unthinkable struggle with forces beyond wind and water.

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Everybody's Guide to People Watching

Everybody's Guide to People Watching

Title: "Everybody's Guide to People Watching "
Author: Aaron Wolfgang

Wolfgang's guide takes us step-by-step through the process of observing people, providing many illustrated examples of nonverbal expression through dozens of facial and full-body photographs of people from all racial and cultural backgrounds. It explains the origins and purpose of people watching, as well as how and where to do it, and presents many examples of culture-based differences in body language. Dr. Wolfgang also offers a variety of tests and assessment tools to measure or enhance our people watching skills.

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Interesting Reads