Fall Nightstand Event

Posted on November 17, 2016. Filed under: Fiction, Nonfiction | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

During the fall “What’s on Your Nightstand” event at the Des Plaines campus, the following books were discussed.

Remember, if Oakton doesn’t own the book or our copy is checked out, you can request a copy to be sent from one of our consortium libraries for FREE! Most books take less than a week to arrive.

Fiction

9780062359988_p0_v8_s192x300Another Brooklyn
by Jacqueline Woodson

“Running into a long-ago friend sets memory from the 1970s in motion for August, transporting her to a time and a place where friendship was everything—until it wasn’t. For August and her girls, sharing confidences as they ambled through neighborhood streets, Brooklyn was a place where they believed that they were beautiful, talented, brilliant—a part of a future that belonged to them.

But beneath the hopeful veneer, there was another Brooklyn, a dangerous place where grown men reached for innocent girls in dark hallways, where ghosts haunted the night, where mothers disappeared. A world where madness was just a sunset away and fathers found hope in religion.

Like Louise Meriwether’s Daddy Was a Number Runner and Dorothy Allison’s Bastard Out of Carolina, Jacqueline Woodson’s Another Brooklyn heartbreakingly illuminates the formative time when childhood gives way to adulthood—the promise and peril of growing up—and exquisitely renders a powerful, indelible, and fleeting friendship that united four young lives” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

9780765370624_p0_v3_s192x3001Ender’s Game
by Orson Scott Card

“In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race’s next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew ‘Ender’ Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn’t make the cut—young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.

Ender’s skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister.

Is Ender the general Earth needs? But Ender is not the only result of the genetic experiments. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Ender’s two older siblings are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If, that is, the world survives” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

9781594634024_p0_v3_s192x300The Girl on the Train
by Paula Hawkins

“Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life — as she sees it — is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost. And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

9780553382563_p0_v1_s192x300I, Robot
by Isaac Asimov

“The three laws of Robotics:
1) A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm
2) A robot must obey orders givein to it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.
3) A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

With these three, simple directives, Isaac Asimov changed our perception of robots forever when he formulated the laws governing their behavior. In I, Robot, Asimov chronicles the development of the robot through a series of interlinked stories: from its primitive origins in the present to its ultimate perfection in the not-so-distant future–a future in which humanity itself may be rendered obsolete.

Here are stories of robots gone mad, of mind-read robots, and robots with a sense of humor. Of robot politicians, and robots who secretly run the world–all told with the dramatic blend of science fact and science fiction that has become Asmiov’s trademark” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

9781632157096_p0_v1_s192x300Monstress
written by Marjorie Liu
art by Sana Takeda

“Set in an alternate world of art deco beauty and steampunk horror, Monstress tells the epic story of Maika Halfwolf, a teenage survivor of a cataclysmic war between humans and their hated enemies, the Arcanics. In the face of oppression and terrible danger, Maika is both hunter and hunted, searching for answers about her mysterious past as those who seek to use her remain just one step behind … and all the while, the monster within begins to awaken…” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

9780743482752_p0_v1_s192x300Much Ado About Nothing
by William Shakespeare

“While staying at his friend Leonato’s home, Claudio falls in love with Hero, Leonato’s beautiful daughter, and they agree to marry. In the meantime, they decide to trick their friends Benedick and Beatrice who have nothing but insults for each other into falling in love as well.

However, Don John, the illegitimate brother of Leonato’s close friend Don Pedro, won’t stand for such happiness. He tricks Claudio into thinking Hero has been unfaithful. Claudio’s hasty overreaction and Leonato’s redemption of Hero wield all the tools of a romantic comedy, making a story that is, indeed, much ado about nothing” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

9780756404741_p0_v1_s192x300Name of the Wind
by Patrick Rothfuss

“The tale of Kvothe, from his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, to years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-riddled city, to his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a difficult and dangerous school of magic.

In these pages, you will come to know Kvothe as a notorious magician, an accomplished thief, a masterful musician, and an infamous assassin. But this book is so much more, for the story it tells reveals the truth behind Kvothe’s legend” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

9780062409201_p0_v5_s192x300News of the World
by Paulette Jiles

“In the wake of the Civil War, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels through northern Texas, giving live readings from newspapers to paying audiences hungry for news of the world. An elderly widower who has lived through three wars and fought in two of them, the captain enjoys his rootless, solitary existence.

In Wichita Falls, he is offered a $50 gold piece to deliver a young orphan to her relatives in San Antonio. Four years earlier, a band of Kiowa raiders killed Johanna’s parents and sister; sparing the little girl, they raised her as one of their own. Recently rescued by the U.S. army, the ten-year-old has once again been torn away from the only home she knows.

Their 400-mile journey south through unsettled territory and unforgiving terrain proves difficult and at times dangerous. Johanna has forgotten the English language, tries to escape at every opportunity, throws away her shoes, and refuses to act ‘civilized.’ Yet as the miles pass, the two lonely survivors tentatively begin to trust each other, forming a bond that marks the difference between life and death in this treacherous land” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

9780307887443_p0_v1_s192x300Ready Player One
by Ernest Cline

“In the year 2044, reality is an ugly place. The only time teenage Wade Watts really feels alive is when he’s jacked into the virtual utopia known as the OASIS. Wade’s devoted his life to studying the puzzles hidden within this world’s digital confines—puzzles that are based on their creator’s obsession with the pop culture of decades past and that promise massive power and fortune to whoever can unlock them.

But when Wade stumbles upon the first clue, he finds himself beset by players willing to kill to take this ultimate prize. The race is on, and if Wade’s going to survive, he’ll have to win—and confront the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

9780385542364_p0_v3_s192x300Underground Railroad
by Coleson Whitehead

“Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood—where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned—Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her.

Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted. In Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor—engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the city’s placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom (Barnes&Noble).

Nonfiction

9780544387669_p0_v3_s192x300The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America
by Michael Eric Dyson

“Michael Eric Dyson delivers a provocative exploration of the politics of race and the Obama presidency. Barack Obama’s presidency unfolded against the national traumas of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, and Walter Scott. The nation’s first African American president was careful to give few major race speeches, yet he faced criticism from all sides, including from African Americans. How has Obama’s race affected his presidency and the nation’s identity? Dyson explores whether Obama’s use of his own biracialism as a symbol has been driven by the president’s desire to avoid a painful moral reckoning on race. And he sheds light on identity issues within the black power structure, telling how Obama has spurned traditional black power brokers, significantly reducing their leverage. Perhaps most movingly, Dyson illuminates the transformative moments, especially in his second term, when Obama has publicly embraced his blackness and used it as a powerful lens onto America, black and white. President Obama’s own voice—from an Oval Office interview granted to Dyson for the book—along with that of Eric Holder, Al Sharpton, and Andrew Young, among others, adds depth to this tour of the nation’s first black presidency” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

9781137279002_p0_v4_s192x300End of Greatness: Why America Can’t Have (and Doesn’t Want) Another Great President
by Aaron David Midler

“There is one thing that has haunted all of America’s modern presidents: Americans’ expectations of greatness in the man and the office. While it was impossible for the Framers of the Constitution to predict the circumstances that would make America the greatest and most consequential power on Earth, the Founders never intended this spotlight on the presidency. Venerating our past great presidents has always been safe, compelling, and inspiring. But when it also tempts us with the possibilities of their return, it may not be so benign. The End of Greatness offers a new way to appreciate and evaluate the presidency, a mode of understanding that gives conventional achievement ratings their place but ultimately makes the counterintuitive argument that, in expecting greatness, we have made goodness simply impossible. This book looks at the concept of greatness in presidents–the ways in which it is essential to a nation and the ways in which it has been detrimental. Miller argues that greatness in presidents is an overrated virtue, one that eclipses–and perhaps even thwarts–the real contributions of our presidents” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

9780812973013_p0_v4_s192x300Mountains beyond Mountains
by Tracy Kidder

“…Kidder tells the true story of a gifted man who is in love with the world and has set out to do all he can to cure it. At the center of Mountains Beyond Mountains stands Paul Farmer. Doctor, Harvard professor, renowned infectious-disease specialist, anthropologist, the recipient of a MacArthur ‘genius’ grant, world-class Robin Hood, Farmer was brought up in a bus and on a boat, and in medical school found his life’s calling: to diagnose and cure infectious diseases and to bring the lifesaving tools of modern medicine to those who need them most.

This magnificent book shows how radical change can be fostered in situations that seem insurmountable, and it also shows how a meaningful life can be created, as Farmer—brilliant, charismatic, charming, both a leader in international health and a doctor who finds time to make house calls in Boston and the mountains of Haiti—blasts through convention to get results….

At the heart of this book is the example of a life based on hope, and on an understanding of the truth of the Haitian proverb ‘Beyond mountains there are mountains’: as you solve one problem, another problem presents itself, and so you go on and try to solve that one too”  (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

9781439127728_p0_v3_s192x300Presidents’ Club: Inside the World’s Most Exclusive Fraternity
by Nancy Gibbs

“The Presidents Club, established at Dwight Eisenhower’s inauguration by Harry Truman and Herbert Hoover, is a complicated place: its members are bound forever by the experience of the Oval Office and yet are eternal rivals for history’s favor. Among their secrets: How Jack Kennedy tried to blame Ike for the Bay of Pigs. How Ike quietly helped Reagan win his first race in 1966. How Richard Nixon conspired with Lyndon Johnson to get elected and then betrayed him. How Jerry Ford and Jimmy Carter turned a deep enmity into an alliance. The unspoken pact between a father and son named Bush. And the roots of the rivalry between Clinton and Barack Obama” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

9780804172486_p0_v1_s192x300Quartet: Orchestrating the Second American Revolution, 1783-1789
by Joseph Ellis

“We all know the famous opening phrase of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address: ‘Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this Continent a new Nation.’ The truth is different. In 1776, thirteen American colonies declared themselves independent states that only temporarily joined forces in order to defeat the British. Once victorious, they planned to go their separate ways. The triumph of the American Revolution was neither an ideological nor a political guarantee that the colonies would relinquish their independence and accept the creation of a federal government with power over their autonomy as states.

The Quartet is the story of this second American founding and of the men most responsible—George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison. These men, with the help of Robert Morris and Gouverneur Morris, shaped the contours of American history by diagnosing the systemic dysfunctions created by the Articles of Confederation, manipulating the political process to force the calling of the Constitutional Convention, conspiring to set the agenda in Philadelphia, orchestrating the debate in the state ratifying conventions, and, finally, drafting the Bill of Rights to assure state compliance with the constitutional settlement.

Ellis has given us a gripping and dramatic portrait of one of the most crucial and misconstrued periods in American history: the years between the end of the Revolution and the formation of the federal government” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

9780812977615_p0_v1_s192x300Strength in What Remains
by Tracy Kidder

“Tracy Kidder gives us the story of one man’s inspiring American journey and of the ordinary people who helped him, providing brilliant testament to the power of second chances. Deo arrives in the United States from Burundi in search of a new life. Having survived a civil war and genocide, he lands at JFK airport with two hundred dollars, no English, and no contacts. He ekes out a precarious existence delivering groceries, living in Central Park, and learning English by reading dictionaries in bookstores.

Then Deo begins to meet the strangers who will change his life, pointing him eventually in the direction of Columbia University, medical school, and a life devoted to healing. Kidder breaks new ground in telling this unforgettable story as he travels with Deo back over a turbulent life and shows us what it means to be fully human” (Descriptive content provided by Syndetics).

-posted by Gretchen Schneider

 

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