Showing posts with label Tips for Students. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tips for Students. Show all posts

Monday, July 1, 2013

Favorite Freebies on Amazon Part 2 of 2: Horror & Sci-Fi Edition

So last Friday, I talked a bit about my favorite ways of finding free ebooks on Amazon.  I saw that a lot of people visited the site and shared it with others (thank you!).  I hope part 2 is equally rewarding.  In particular, I've focused on Science-fiction, fantasy, and horror.  So enjoy and let me know what you may have found that I didn't know about!

A couple other places that I found that regular post free Kindle books include:

There is of course, the Free Book Collections site on Amazon itself.  There's also Freebook Sifter, which sorts books into categories for you to explore better than the Amazon interface.

There's also these Twitter accounts that are fairly prodigious in their outpouring:
EbooksAddict
FKBT Blog
Free eBooks Daily
Free Kindle Books
Free Kindle Ebooks
Free Kindle eBooks
Free Kindle Fiction
FreeKindleEBooks.com
Kindle Free Books
Hundred Zeros

And here are some more of my favorites "free" purchases that I've found on Amazon, including some very popular science-fiction, fantasy, and horror authors.

SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY
Sentiment, Inc.
Poul William Anderson
Poul William Anderson titles.

Looking Backward 2000-1887.
Edward Bellamy
Edward Bellamy titles.

The Dueling Machine.
Ben Bova
Ben Bova titles.

The Planet Savers.
Marion Zimmer Bradley

The Monster Men.
Edgar Rice Burroughs
Edgar Rice Burroughs titles.

Invaders from the Infinite.
John Wood Campbell
John Wood Campbell titles.

Let'Em Breathe Space.
Lester Del Rey
Lester Del Rey titles.

The Hanging Stranger.
Philip K. Dick
Philip K. Dick titles.

Northworld Trilogy.
David Drake
David Drake titles.

Rastignac the Devil.
Philip José Farmer

The Misplaced Battleship.
Harry Harrison
Harry Harrison titles.

Operation Haystack.
Frank Herbert
Frank Herbert titles.

Wool - Part One.
Hugh Howey

The Moon is Green.
Fritz Leiber
Fritz Leiber titles.

News from Nowhere, or, an Epoch of Rest : being some chapters from a utopian romance.
William Morris

The Time Traders.
Andre Norton
Andre Norton titles.

The Hated.
Frederik Pohl
Frederick Pohl titles.

Starman's Quest.
Robert Silverberg

Empire.
Clifford D. Simak
Clifton D. Simak titles.

The Big Trip Up Yonder.
Kurt Vonnegut

On Basilisk Station (Honor Harrington).
David Weber
David Weber titles.

The Invisible Man.
H. G. Wells
H. G. Wells titles.



HORROR
Famous Modern Ghost Stories Anthology.
Various

The Book of Were-Wolves.
S. Baring-Gould
S. Baring-Gould titles.

The Collected Works of Ambrose Bierce, Volume 1.
Ambrose Bierce
Ambrose Bierce titles.

The Wendigo.
Algernon Blackwood
Algernon Blackwood titles.

This Crowded Earth.
Robert Bloch

The Dark Star.
Robert W. Chambers
Robert W. Chambers titles.

The Sword of Welleran and Other Stories.
Lord Dunsany
Lord Dunsany titles.

The Screaming.
Jack Kilborn
Jack Kilborn (A.K.A. J. A. Konrath regularly has his titles for free on Amazon).

A Stable for Nightmares or Weird Tales.
Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu titles.

The Great God Pan.
Arthur Machen
Arthur Machen titles.

Varney the Vampire Or the Feast of Blood.
Thomas Preskett Prest

Frankenstein.
Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
Mary Shelley titles.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Robert Louis Stevenson
Robert Louis Stevenson titles.

Dracula.
Bram Stoker
Bram Stoker titles.

So what are some of the interesting treasures you've discovered on Amazon for free?


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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Favorite Freebies on Amazon Part 1 of 2

So I have never bought the Amazon Kindle.  When it first came out, I was curious but dubious.  And I never found a full need for it in my life (this coming from someone trying to read 365 books this year).  However, when Amazon released the Kindle as an App for use on smartphones, tablets and even computers, I found myself signing up for it and beginning my journey down ebooks.  In the interim, I've bought over 850 ebooks on Amazon, but I have spent a total of $0.00.  You read that right.  I spent nothing, but now I have some 850+ books in my Kindle app (Note:  When I started this blog post, I had about 800 but over the course of researching, I added 50 more books).

Tips and Tricks to Searching Amazon

Freebies to be found on Amazon.
So how do you find these awesome books.  The simplest way is to go to Amazon itself.  Type an author into the search engine.  On the search results page, click "Books" (or "Kindle Store" if it shows up--it doesn't always depending on your search).  On the right screen, click the drop down menu "Sort By" and select "Price: Low to High."  Depending on the author, particularly if it is contemporary, it is likely to wield poor results.  If it is a work in the public domain, it's much more likely to be found on Amazon  for free.  This means practically all works written before 1923.  From 1923 and beyond, it gets a bit trickier but there are still lots of works to be found.  (A follow up post will show some science-fiction,  fantasy, and horror that is available from after 1923).  You can also search by genre name and title and then sort by low to high.

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought.  On most product pages on Amazon, there is a row of icons and products of "Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought..."  There can be anywhere between 1 to 16 subpages that you can scroll through.  I find this is also a good opportunity to move through related products since in addition to the product item, the price is also posted.

OneHundredFreeBooks.  This is one of the many sites and apps out there that will inform you of the latest free books on Amazon.  I like it because it has a webpage but also updates on its Facebook page several times a day.

Twitter Hashtags.  Twitter is also a great place to look for hashtags related to "free" "Amazon" and/or "Kindle" and you'll find daily numerous tweets of various free ebooks.




Below are listed some of the purchases that I've made over the last 2 years of book-buying on Amazon. I link to the product page but then also when relevant, a listing to the author's works sorted by price from low to high so you can see what else is offered by the author.  As of June 27, 2013, all the links work, but that's the other thing to consider is that some items come and go.  Enjoy and come back (or subscribe via email or RSS) to catch Part 2 of this listing wherein I cover a good amount of classic sci-fi, fantasy, and horror.  The categories below are Classic Literature, Cooking and Homestead, Fairy Tales, and Miscellaneous.

CLASSIC LITERATURE

Babylonian and Assyrian Literature.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum  free on Amazon Kindle.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
L. Frank Baum
L. Frank Baum titles.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
Lewis Carroll
Lewis Carroll titles.

The Awakening and Selected Short Stories.
Kate Chopin
Kate Chopin titles.

The Last of the Mohicans; A narrative of 1757.
James Fenimore Cooper
James Fenimore Cooper titles.

The Red Badge of Courage.
Stephen Crane

A Christmas Carol.
Charles Dickens
Charles Dickens titles.

Poems by Emily Dickinson, Series One.
Emily Dickinson
Emily Dickinson titles.

The Idiot.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Fyodor Dostoyevsky titles.

The Lost World.
Arthur Conan Doyle
Arthur Conan Doyle titles.

The Souls of Black Folk.
W. E. B. Du Bois
W. E. B. Du Bois titles.

The Man in the Iron Mask.
Alexandre Dumas
Alexandre Dumas titles.

This Side of Paradise.
F.Scott Fitzgerald
F Scott Fitzgerald titles.

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin.
Benjamin Franklin

The Scarlet Letter.
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Nathaniel Hawthorne titles.

Leviathan.
Thomas Hobbes

The Odyssey.
Homer
Homer titles.

A Treatise of Human Nature.
David Hume
David Hume titles.

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl Written by Herself.
Harriet Ann Jacobs

Ulysses.
James Joyce
James Joyce titles.

The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling free on Amazon Kindle.
The Jungle Book.
Rudyard Kipling
Rudyard Kipling titles.

Sons and Lovers.
D. H. Lawrence
D. H. Lawrence titles.

Love of Life and Other Stories.
Jack London
Jack London titles.

The Prince.
Niccolo Machiavelli
Niccolo Machiavelli titles.

Maha-bharata The Epic of Ancient India Condensed into English Verse.

Moby Dick: or, the White Whale.
Herman Melville
Herman Melville titles.

Beyond Good and Evil.
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche titles.

The Yellow Wallpaper.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Charlotte Perkins Gilman titles.

The Persian Literature, Comprising The Shah Nameh, The Rubaiyat, The Divan, and The Gulistan, Volume 1.

The Republic.
Plato
Plato titles.

The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket.
Edgar Allan Poe
Edgar Allan Poe titles.

The Argonautica.
Apollonius Rhodius

King Richard III.
William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare titles.

King Coal : a Novel.
Upton Sinclair
Upton Sinclair titles.

An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations.
Adam Smith

Oedipus Trilogy.
Sophocles

Walden.
Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau titles.

Democracy in America - Volume 1.
Alexis de Tocqueville
Alexis de Tocqueville titles.

Anna Karenina.
Leo Tolstoy
Leo Tolstoy titles.

Life on the Mississippi.
Mark Twain
Mark Twain titles.

A Journey to the Centre of the Earth.
Jules Verne
Jules Verne titles.

The Aeneid of Virgil.
Virgil

Up from Slavery: an autobiography.
Booker T. Washington
Booker T. Washington titles.

Leaves of Grass free on Amazon Kindle.
Leaves of Grass.
Walt Whitman
Walt Whitman titles.

The Picture of Dorian Gray.
Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde titles.

Faust.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe titles.

FOOD AND HOMESTEAD

100 Year Old Recipes You Can Still Make Today: HOMEMADE CANDIES.
Kirsten Anderberg

Things To Do While Avoiding Things To Do: And 56 More Fun Lists for Procrastinators.
Mark J. Asher

Basically Bread, The Fundamentals of Making Great Bread.
John Barnes

Best Ever Fruit Cobbler & Crisp Recipes (Best Ever Recipes Series).
Lori Burke

The American Frugal Housewife.
Lydia Maria Francis Child

Survival 101: The Essential Guide to Saving Your Own Life in a Disaster.
Marcus Duke

Smart School Time Recipes: The Breakfast, Snack, and Lunchbox Cookbook for Healthy Kids and Adults.
Alisa Marie Fleming

The Wonders of Kale: "Green it Up" with New and Unique Recipes!
Meigyn Gabryelle

Homemade Quirk

Create your dream garden (52 Brilliant Ideas).
Infinite Ideas
Infinite Ideas titles.

Incredible Cardboard!
Instructables Authors
Instructables titles.

Culinary Herbs: Their Cultivation Harvesting Curing and Uses.
M. G. (Maurice Grenville) Kains

Survival Guide for Beginners.
Vitaly Pedchenko

Home Vegetable Gardening -a Complete and Practical Guide to the Planting and Care of All Vegetables, Fruits and Berries Worth Growing for Home Use.
F. P. Rockwell

Survival Tactics.
Al Sevcik

Woodcraft and Camping.
George Washington Sears

The 30 Minute Wine Expert: Amaze Your Friends with Your Wine Expertise.
Michael Sullivan

All About Coffee.
William H. Ukers
/ref=kinw_myk_ro_title

Knots, Splices and Rope Work: A Practical Treatise.
A. Hyatt (Alpheus Hyatt) Verrill

FAIRY TALES


More Fairy Tales titles.

MISCELLANEOUS

Well Played 2.0: Video Games, Value and Meaning.
Drew Davidson
/ref=kinw_myk_ro_title

It's a Dog's Life, Snoopy!
Charles M. Schulz

How I Found Livingstone.
Sir Henry M. Stanley

United States Presidents' Inaugural Speeches.
United States' Presidents

Charles River Editors (Titles change often but lots of free history stuff).

So where else do you find free ebooks for the Kindle or elsewhere?

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Students: Why You're Smarter Than You Think

One of the biggest challenges I encounter in teaching is seeing students determined to believe that they are poor learners in general or within the particular field of study they are encountering (in my case: literature or history).  It's frustrating because as someone vested in their learning and learning in general, I know that it's not an innate inability to do the work but more often, their mindset that inhibits them.  In fact, too often I see students believing they are not good enough at a subject matter and abandon it without really knowing if they enjoy it or not (nevermind whether they are good at it--whatever that may mean).  
Cast of the 1939 Wizard of Oz
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_
Wizard_of_Oz_Garland_Lahr_Haley_Bolger_1939.jpg

I teach college level students.  They run the gamut from being just released from the imprisoning and often detrimental high school to having been away from school for decades.  Either way, they enter the classroom with some trepidation; even those that believe they are strong learners (whatever that means!).  They often enter the class with the assumption that I (as instructor) am the "expert" and therein have all the right answers (I don't.).  It would be amusing, if it were so problematic for their own learning.  The role of the "instructor" and  our current conception and execution of learner in contemporary education still holds that the instructor is the authoritative known-all, be-all; the Great Oz if you will.  The best of us (and I'm not implying that I am part of the "best") know that we are more human behind the curtain, than giant monstrous projection.  

Teachers, instructors, facilitators, we are more like Dorothy.  We got some advice from strangers one day when we awoke in a fascinating world that we were intrigued by.  Those strangers sent us down a path to get our ultimate answers and though we strayed along the way, we continue to find the answers we're seeking (though ever rarely reach the true end of that path).  That path is the discipline we study, enjoy and find value in.  

Off onto the Yellow Brick Road

So if I could say anything to my students about their learning and get them out of the frame of feeling they are poor learners or incapable of doing great work, I'd tell them something like this:  

What happens when you get interested in something?  Be it a TV Show, a musician, an artistic style, a style of fighting, a local sports team, a new style of cooking, a model of car, a new knitting design, a new phone model, a sequel to your favorite video game, etc, how do you react to this interest?  

You seek out more information about it, you fiddle with it, you ask others for insight on it, you read about it, you tweet about it, you get into arguments about it, you fight for it.  You become invested in it.  And that investment consists of using your power (physical, mental, financial, relational, etc) to get closer to it.  To know it better.  

That energy expended--it's all in the name of learning. Learning is coming to know something or someone.  And you do this constantly in your life.  In fact, you love to learn.  You love to study too; all that time and energy put in trying to understand that interest--is studying.  You love getting one step closer to the object of your attention because learning in itself is rewarding.  In fact, in many ways, you will often pay (in time, money, attention) to get to know your interest better.  You're willing to sacrifice bits and parts of yourself to get to know it better.  

That "aha!" moment when you figure out something new about the object of your attention on your own; it's awesome.  That moment brings you closer to the object of your desire in some abstract way.  Knowing all the stats about your favorite baseball team does not bring you physically closer to the team, but it does bring you intellectually closer and there's an inherent reward in that.  There is reward and benefits in learning.  You are intrinsically rewarded for getting to know it better. 

You sometimes forget that you're a constant learner.  You sometimes forget that the difference between learning in your life is not any different than learning in a classroom.  The major difference is that you may not come to the subject matter with much interest beyond that the course stands as a barrier between you and your end goal (a grade, a degree, a job, etc).  But if you take the time to consider that the same intrinsic rewards that await you in those things you have sought out to study can also be found in these subject matters, you'll find there is value in getting to know it better.  

Some of the most interesting and rewarding experiences await when you find a way to put down your guard about learning and what you can and can't learn.  It opens up a world where the only thing that limits you and your learning is time.  Time to find all the things that you want to get to know better.


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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Recent Post on LETS Blog: Using Google Docs

I’ve been using Google Docs more and more with each semester.  I find it a great tool for organizing my work, files, and student work.  It’s pretty easy to set up, to organize, and to keep track of students and their work.  Since it is attached to the student’s school email and all done online, it avoids issues of compatibility and software issues.  The most software they’ll need is an updated web browser.  Any browser works well, but you can expect some wonkiness.

For the rest of the article, click on through to the LETS Blog.

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Sure, I'll Do That: Where Volunteering Has Led Me

Volunteering has been a strong part of my life since I was young.  In high school, I volunteered for a summer as a junior counselor at a YMCA camp.  Granted at age 14 and in hindsight, it sounds more like free labor and a summer babysitter for my parents, but it was also giving back to the camp that I had gotten so much out of while growing up (and of course, caused so much trouble at too—which still leaves me to wonder why they thought it was a good idea for me to be a counselor).   In my senior year of high school, my favorite teacher (Mr. Metropolis!) required us to volunteer 20+ hours in his AP US History course.  In volunteering, he required us to keep a log to account for our volunteering and experiences.  Sure enough, while volunteering at one event (which brought me back to my elementary school), I chanced upon a conversation with a woman from a local under-funded pre-school.  My conversation with her led me to volunteer at the school for much the rest of the school year, doing more than the minimum required time and continuing to volunteer there for several years after.  With all of these volunteering experiences, they laid a foundation for me to get a job as after school daycare counselor at a different YMCA in college.  The lessons and experienced gained in these volunteering gigs lead to a range of opportunities throughout my life from working in residential programs to running a youth leadership program to running a bookclub for kids.  

Audiobooks and Volunteering

In hindsight, I see the pattern happen again and again.  I volunteer to do something and it opens up a range of new opportunities.   Audiobooks are a great example.  For those that don’t know, I’m a bit of an audiobook evangelist.  I will at some point in our interactions, try to sell you on audiobooks.  I’ve listened to thousands of them in my life and thoroughly enjoy a good narrated story.  So back after graduating college, I was just as much an audiobook nut and just saw it as an unexplored field for many.  I wanted to get involved.  So I looked about and found a site dedicated to audiobooks:  Audiobook Café.  The site is no longer up (and no, I promise it wasn’t me).  In a desire to get involved, I emailed the site’s executive and said, “Hey, I’ll do whatever—can I volunteer for you.”  They took me on as traffic coordinator; basically, I had to try to get traffic directed to the site (and apparently, I didn’t do it enough, so maybe it is my fault).  Eventually, they let me write about audiobooks and reviewing them for the site (and for that, they did pay me).  Though as the site’s finances began to fall through, they helped me secure reviewer gigs at two magazines (and that eventually expanded to three).  Just over a decade from when I started that venture, I have professionally written over 800 audiobook reviews, conducted over a dozen interviews with people in the industry, and written several articles on the subject matter.  My interest went even further and I eventually presented at the National Popular Culture Association’s annual conference (2009) on the subject of audiobooks (and Stephen King).  

Comics and Volunteering

Comics took a similar venture.  As I got involved in reviewing audiobooks, I became curious about reviewing graphic novels and so contacted several sites to write graphic novel reviews for including CurledUp.com and BookLoons.com.  The general editors of these sites were kind and welcoming, took me in and helped me get started, providing support when needed and good editorial feedback where needed.  At the same time, I was in grad school and a peer of mine made me aware of the fact that I could in fact study comics to some degree (Thanks Tad!).  As I finished grad school and continued to review graphic novels, I also started teaching at the college level.  So with the background I had developed through education and volunteering, I offered up the idea of teaching a course on comics.  This was successful enough that I have taught it 4 colleges and universities in the Greater Boston area and regularly teach it at North Shore Community College.

So why all this talk about volunteering?  Well, two weeks ago, I did it again.  Rather about 2 months ago, I did it.  I’ll back up.  As I stepped into my new position at North Shore Community College, I wanted to make contacts and learn more about the different elements of instructional design.  In particular, I’ve been interested in games and education.  This led me eventually to learn about Media Grid:  Immersive Education.  I quickly joined the site and then also saw that a conference in Boston in early June.  Knowing that I couldn’t get the funds for access to the conference, I contacted the organization to ask if I could volunteer and work at the conference in exchange for access.  They agreed and the doors were opened.  The experience opened up a great range of ideas and learning, as well as opened up contacts with a variety of interesting and great people.  As the conference came to a close, the organizers asked if I would like to stay on for future conferences and help out.  It was really kind and pretty cool as they made clear that they appreciated the effort and enthusiasm that I showed.   So all this has me thinking, where will this lead me?

It’s true that I’m not volunteering out of a true sense of charity.  I’m volunteering because I’m interested and want more out of wherever it is that I’m volunteering.  But I’m also not advancing my volunteering as a sign of sainthood (though the audiobook gods may be grateful for my singlehanded efforts to convert at least 20 people I know to regularly use audiobooks).  Rather, I’m reflecting on the ways that volunteering has given me ample opportunity to further explore and profit (initially in an intellectual sense but later in a monetary and reputational sense) from the subject of my attention.

Where has your volunteering lead you?


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Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Right to Fail at College

Success is possible in the 21st century without post-high school training or education, but it’s increasingly unlikely.  (Success is hard to define; but in this context, I am largely thinking success in terms of employment and compensation; that is not the final say on success, there are many other ways of valuing and understanding success as the Happiness Index indicates.   With the context of employment and compensation, I then would say that success is being gainfully employed in a way that is not directly exploitative to one’s mental and physical health while simultaneously covering one’s needs and a reasonable amount of extra compensation for savings and basic upkeep of one’s life; it’s vague, but that’s largely because success will look different for everyone).  In the globalized interconnected world, more training is needed to fulfill the more complex jobs of that world and we are not giving people a good opportunity to fulfill those jobs (or their own potential for that matter).

In an ideal world, I would love to see advance education given the same access level as elementary, middle, and high school.  I can only see a more educated population being better for us.  After all, as Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn point out in Half the Sky with regards to women, when you optimize your population, the return on productivity, invention, and economic expansion is significant.  But that’s unlikely—at least in the US.  If recognizing reasonable access to healthcare in a world where our understanding and ways of healing are extremely complex (and highly industrialized) is something enough to cause uproars and claims of “socialism”, then recognizing how costly and inaccessible college education is for many, despite their need for it in order to be successful, is not going to fly either.  And that’s a shame.

Appreciating Failure in Education

So, my compromise—or rather what’s been toiling in my head a lot of late is failure.  My failures, students’ failures, our culture’s failures.   Kathryn Schulz’s take “On being wrong” makes me rethink education in many ways while Brené Brown’s "Listening to shame" is equally humbling.  But taken together is this idea that we miss some great opportunities to fail and learn.  So many of our greatest lessons are from failure and recognizing the things that we are ashamed of about ourselves.  We never get to have these conversations—because we’re too worried about being wrong and being ashamed.  But there’s such powerful learning right there.  That’s where this is leading me—recognizing that some students will need to fail and that we should give them the opportunity to fail…free of charge.

The income gap between people with advance education and those without is significant.  In recent years, a college degree equals an increase of nearly 70% in the big picture. Whether intuitively or factually, many people realize this and set off to college whether they can afford it or not.  And a lot do not succeed for a variety of reasons.  But failure results in not just lost time, poor grades, expulsion, etc, it results in significant financial lost that the student will have to pay back (if school loans were involved) or has lost.  That’s a serious hit when one considers the cost of the course, books, transportation/parking, time spent in and out of class, etc.  Even at a community college, the direct costs could run upwards of $600-800 and another $600-1000 in indirect costs for just one course.  That calculation is based upon the following:
  • The course is about $500
  • The course text is about $100
  • Transportation at least $1-5 per visit depending upon resources
  • 40 hours of class time that could be spent work at minimum wage $300, 
  • $600-900 for additional class work outside the classroom that the student could be earning money.
 That’s what a student needs to put in (well, multiplied by 35-38 courses), if the student is going to potentially get the return of an income 70% higher than a non-college graduate.  The financial burden of that hits lower income students disproportionately and unfairly, particularly if the student fails (and the challenges for poorer students to succeed entails many more obstacles as well).

Let me tell you about Jane.  Jane wasn’t ready for college.  But she had no way of really knowing that until she got into college.  She had not yet developed the intellectual skills to discuss the material at a level which proved competency nor did she have the communication skills that are reasonably expected at the college level.  But she did know she needed more for her life in terms of work; especially after being laid off.  Enter a unversity that encouraged her to enroll at their school (and though in this case, it was a for-profit school who has been under fire for its “recruitment” tactics, this happens in various ways at nonprofit schools as well).  But Jane couldn’t afford it—they showed her how to apply for loans and encouraged her to fulfill her dreams, get the education, and make a lot of money.  Money was tight, but with the loans, she could afford going to college.  So she did.  And she failed.  So now that Jane has failed, she’s not moving up in any economic sense and is left to now start paying for those school loans, limiting her options even further.

That seems wrong to me.  Yes, Jane wasn’t ready for college and someone might have been able to see that ahead of time, but there are many out there who just won’t know until they are there.  There are many who have to try college to know that they are not ready for it.  There are others who will never try college because of the prohibitive costs or that they are not intellectually ready for the challenge (only to find out that they are).  I don’t think we will get to a point where advance education is the right that we recognize secondary education to be, but I think we should recognize at least the opportunity to try (and even fail) at higher education without penalty is worth exploring.
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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Not All Vehicles (or Degrees) Are the Same

In the last post, I discussed the ways that college education is like a car.  In extending this analogy, I also want to talk about elements of the vehicle (degree) that again, not all students really consider. 

Vehicles can indicate a great many things about a person.  Some of these things might be true and some may not; and often, the car-owner’s opportunity to explain choices comes when being asked.  The person driving a new Porsche might be perceived as financially stable and potentially successful while the one driving a beat-up shitbox be poor or a slob.  The person driving the hybrid might be understood as an environmentalist or an elitist.  Driving a big-truck and tailgating people could be understood as aggressive and anti-social behavior or someone in a rush.  The clichés and stereotypes are endless; we all know them. 

A person’s degree (and the transcript, resume, etc) are going to be interpreted in many different ways, often well-before the person has a chance to defend it by a prospective employer, admissions office, etc.  That is, the degree and work in college comes with its own sense of assumptions and thoughts.  Many of which are inaccurate, but may still hold up.  For instance, a B average at an elite Ivy League school is going to be understood differently than a “B” average as a state school or community college. 

So we come to the problem at hand.  Not all degrees are equal.  Not all will open doors.  But that’s not the only problem.  Each year, the college degree becomes LESS valuable in our economy.  With 1.5 million people graduating annually with a college degree, which means the market value of a degree is substantially less.  Meanwhile, of course, the price of college continues to go up

We’re putting more money into college while the same time our education is becoming less valuable and all the while, the particular schools we go to are weighted differently.  It’s enough to send one fleeing from college and seeking alternatives and bypassing it altogether.  But if that isn’t enough to send you fleeing from the college scene (and I hope it’s not), then the question is, what can one do to improve the odds?  How do I as a student, distinguish myself above and beyond the 1.5 million others I will graduate and the millions others already with degrees. 

My thoughts on this are purely from personal experiences (my own, my friends, my family, former and present students etc). 

1.  Engage with every class.

    Some classes are required; some are choices depending on the degree.  But make it a point to take as much from each class as possible.  After all, you are paying with your time and money, get as much from the course as possible whether it is directly related to your life or not.

2.  Do the work.  

    Half-assing your way through college is clearly possible.  Many people do it in various capacities (and who am I kidding; I did my fair share of that in college).  But doing the work and doing it to its full capacity will provide you with a range of skills (such as planning and attention to detail beyond whatever the specific skills the assignment is working).

3.  Learn why you are doing the work you’re doing.

    Why are certain courses required?  Why does the instructor require or expect certain things from you?  These things are often found the school’s publications (such as student guides, syllabi, etc) and you should take the time to understand WHY; it provides you with a clearer purpose.

4.  Ask questions.

Whether your instructors like it or not, it is important to and your right to question the work and its purpose.  In fact, if it’s not clear why you are doing certain work, you should ask.  If you don’t have a clear connection, then it’s even harder to be motivated to actually do it.  So ask for clarifications about why you’re doing what you’re doing.

5.  Reflect at the end of the semester.

    Most semesters, you have been studying several different subjects for a significant amount of time.  You’ve taken in a lot of information and (hopefully) gained a good amount of skills in a very short time.  At the end of the semester (or a week or two after finals; before you sell your books back), take a few hours and review what you’ve learned and studied that semester.  The purpose is two fold.  The first is a method of congratulations; observing everything you’ve accomplished.  The other is to reinforce what you’ve learned and reinforce the different connections your brain has formed over the last few months. 

6.  Take advantages of school opportunities (events, lectures, presentations, etc).

    Don’t’ treat school as a place to take classes and go back to your life.  There are ample opportunities and things to experience on campus; much of which you are paying for with your tuition and fees anyways and might as well take advantage of regardless.  Plays, lectures, presentations, parties, and the like are available almost any day of the week on a campus.  Keep your ears and eyes open to such opportunities and go to them.  They’re often free; sometimes include free food; and can be both fun and educating—not a bad way to spend an evening.

7.   Get involved in group organizations and clubs.

    Like #6, this one is important because it gets you in more contact with your peers and others within your college.  Also, it allows you to explore an interest.  Most schools have myriad groups and clubs and there’s always something you can support, participate or attend that will benefit yourself and your college community. 

8.  Make connections with instructors.

    They’re human (most of them are, I swear!).  They don’t want to see you as automatons and it’s in your interest that you make yourself a human being in their eyes.  Not just for the course, but beyond.  Building strong connections with all your instructors will result not only in a pool of people for you to get recommendations from but it also widens your professional network.  There have been several times where past instructors have been the key to getting new jobs or exploring new opportunities for me and many others.  But most importantly, instructors teach because they enjoy the classroom dynamic and they like to know their students; it makes the experience for both instructor and student more valuable. 

9.  Make it a point to meet people within your field and beyond your field.

    Like #8, meeting people within your field at the school and beyond is in your best interest to keep up with and get ahead in your field.  Learn to meet and interact with the faculty in your field but also don’t hesitate to engage others in fields that are not yours, particularly if it is something you are interested in, but not necessarily directly studying.  The fact is just because you are going for Degree in Subject X, does not guarantee you will get a job in Subject X and having contacts in Subject Y or W (both of which may be similar to Subject X) may prove useful in the long run. 

10.  Pace yourself.

    Everyone wants to get done sooner than later.  Students pile up lots of classes each semester and push to get it all done and over with.  Unfortunately, this tends to invoke the fable of the tortoise and the hare.  The student who believes they can get through it all, often takes 6 or so courses and ends up scrambling the first 2 months of the semester; doing poorly in all courses.  Finally, the student drops 1-2 of the courses (adding another W to their transcript), just in time to manage only doing marginally decent in the remaining classes.  Don’t rush your education; go at a pace that allows you to do well in your work.  Otherwise, you’re wasting time (in all those classes you withdraw from) and money (the books, extra commuting, re-taking the courses). 

As I said, these aren’t sure-fire ways to distinguish yourself, but they certainly help and turn your education more into just a degree; but something meaningful to you as a person.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Of Cars and Education; Things I Wish I Realized In College

A college education is like a car.  We own and use cars for a variety of reasons including (but not limited to):

  1. Travelling more efficiently (essentially reclaiming time)
  2. Getting to new places (Not entirely the same as reclaiming time—and that will make sense below).
  3. It is a requirement of where we live/work (Living in certain suburbs, it does become a practical requirement and some jobs do require or provide a vehicle).
  4. Cruising about to enjoy the sights (That is, merely enjoying the act of driving and what it offers).

Before any of that can happen though, one needs a license, first.  The license is a great achievement; it indicates some sense of competency in driving (This is the same with a high school diploma or GED certificate.).  It doesn’t imply you will automatically get a car or that you will be a masterful driver; but merely that the state has deemed you knowledgeable to drive a vehicle (The student has proven a certain level of competency but it doesn’t guarantee the opportunity to get a college education).  

Not All Students Start At the Same Place

However, just like when people get behind the wheel, not all drivers are equal (Not all students start off at the same place).  Some are great drivers; some are not.  Some need to pay extreme attention to all details of driving; others manage to consistently text and drive at the same time (Some people do well without trying; others don’t and need to devote even more time than the average student).  While some of this is within the driver’s control, a significant amount isn’t.  The driver will be influenced by how much time he or she had in training (Students—and often parents—who have put more time and energy into their education are more likely to have initially better results).  Her or his skills will be in part powered by how much her socio-economic forces helped her or him to be prepared for the driving environment (Students’ background can affect how prepared they are for college as well as how much actual time and resources they can dedicate to the endeavor).  Of course, there’s also a lot that is beyond the driver’s control.  The good driver is still subject to and influenced by a variety of structural forces such as police enforcement, roadway signage and lights, traffic flow, etc, and chance such as other negligent drivers, weather, car problems, etc (Even good students are going to be impacted by tuition hikes, mistakes made by school administrators, or faculty, schedule conflicts, etc) .  And finally, the driver is responsible for a variety of technical, bureaucratic, and financial upkeep in order to keep driving which includes renewing licenses, registering vehicles, filling the gas tank, getting/performing oil changes and other car maintenance, regular inspections, car insurance and the like (Students too need to consistently register, acquire books, check in with advisors, etc).

So let’s look at the reasons for getting a car (or college education.

1.  Travelling more efficiently (essentially reclaiming time)

    Drivers often own a car because it saves time; it frees them to do more things they want to do without using public transportation, their own legs, or other (perceived) slower modes of transporation.  However, a certain investment of time and money is needed in order to acquire the car that includes the aforementioned license, researching and purchasing a car, registering it, and the various financial and technical upkeep.  For some, this means having to work even more and cancelling out some of the reclaimed time.

    Students often look at college as an investment to improve their financial situation.  That is, this investment of work and effort should result in a larger return for their work.   Getting better paid means they can afford more things and or work less (get more out of less work is essentially reclaiming time). But students don’t often realize that this is an investment; which entails time, money, and risk.  There is no guarantee that education will result in improved financial opportunities (more on this later). 

2.  Getting to new places.

    Though this is similar to the above, it’s not exactly the same.  The above is generalized; a car will make coming and going to any place quicker.  But here, there is often a specific direction,  destination, or opportunities afforded to car-owners.  The car will allow one to go to drive in theaters, do a road trip, pick up hitchhikers, actually drive-through a drive through (granted, not all of these are glorious and exciting, but the idea is that the car opens up new places to you; even new associations such as AAA).  This could also be understood as car-culture and its possibilities.

    Similarly, students often approach their degree in these clear terms.  A teaching degree will allow me to teach; a business degree will open up positions in business.  But a degree, will also open up different opportunities and access a potentially different culture with its own set of expectations, restrictions, and prospects.  Again, the degree here is a potential door-opener, but not a guarantee.  A teaching degree won’t guarantee a teaching job will appear (or that you will be the most qualified applicant).  The degree opens up a student’s choices, but that doesn’t mean the opportunities will necessarily be there (or their degree alone will provide for them). 

3.  It is a requirement of where we live/work (Living in certain suburbs, it does become a practical requirement and some jobs do require or provide a vehicle).

    Some jobs require vehicles.  Often pizza delivery jobs require the person to have a car.  Taxi-cab drivers need a car (whether their own or companies).  In many suburbs, living without a vehicle is extremely difficult to the point of impossibility.  In this case, the car (or whatever vehicle) becomes central in order to properly perform the job.  Without it, the person is rendered useless or at least severely unqualified.

    Here again, the degree as a requirement to work can be seen within the nursing field and engineering.  Equally, some jobs require the degree within a certain amount of time of work; such as teachers being required to get their Master’s Degree within a few years of starting their job (if they don’t outright require it before they start teaching).

4.  Cruising about to enjoy the sights (That is, merely enjoying the act of driving and what it offers).

    Some people love to drive.  Put them in a car and they’ll go.  They’ll enjoy just the act of driving; in a car, moving about the roads; feeling the beautiful machinery at work under their fingertips; enjoying the breeze of movement.  To them, the mere act of driving is rewarding and pleasurable.

    At this level, these are students who appreciate the intellectual challenges and elements that college has to offer.  They see the apparatus (car/college) as means of stimulation and engagement with their own inner world.  For some, they are life-long learners and simply appreciate the ways in which college can play a role in that view.  For others, they learn within college what it means to be engaged with intellectually and realize how rewarding it can be.

    Granted, many see this last one as one that’s afforded to those who have the leisure and resources to merely focus on the act of self-enlightenment.  That is, within it, there are hints of classism.  I’m not entirely sure I believe that, or rather, it doesn’t have to be the case.  In fact, I would encourage students to always keep this measure at the back of their heads as they move through their education.  In the end, college is important and is hopefully useful in the first three ways, but can (and should) also be a time in which the student as a person develops and grows; learning not only about the world around them, but his or herself as well.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Recommended Reading - 2011

Here is my most updated list of Recommended Readings. I’ve broken them down into general categories and listed them alphabetically by author’s last name.  Without a doubt, I’ve missed a few and I’m sure some are bound to raise an eyebrow.

LITERATURE

  • I'm Not Scared by Ammaniti, Niccolò
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Bradbury, Ray
  • A Clockwork Orange by Burgess, Anthony
  • The Awakening by Chopin, Kate
  • The Good Earth by Buck, Pearl S.
  • The Souls of Black Folk by DuBois, W.E.B.
  • The Count of Monte Cristo by Dumas, Alexandre
  • The Three Musketeers by Dumas, Alexandre
  • Invisible Man by Ellison, Ralph
  • Beowulf translated by Seamus Heaney
  • Bartleby and Benito Cereno by Melville, Herman
  • The Odyssey by Homer
  •  The Iliad by Homer
  • Brave New World by Huxley, Aldous
  • The Metamorphosis by Kafka, Franz
  • The Poisonwood Bible by Kingsolver, Barbara
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Lee, Harper
  • Mary Reilly by Martin, Valerie
  • Beloved by Morrison, Toni
  • Lolita by Nabokov, Vladimir
  • Animal Farm  by Orwell, George
  • 1984 by Orwell, George
  • The Bell Jar by Plath, Sylvia
  • Twelve Angry Men by Rose, Reginald
  • The Jungle by Sinclair, Upton
  • Frankenstein by Shelley, Mary
  • A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Smith, Betty
  • Of Mice and Men by Steinbeck, John
  • Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Stevenson, Robert Louis
  • Dracula by Stoker, Bram
  • Pudd'nhead Wilson by Twain, Mark
  • The Color Purple by Walker, Alice

HISTORY

  • On Monsters: An Unnatural History of Our Worst Fears by Asma, Stephen T.
  • Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Diamond, Jared
  • Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq by Kinzer, Stephen
  • Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong by Loewen, James W.
  • A People's History of the United States: 1492 to Present by Zinn, Howard

CULTURE, POPULAR CULTURE, AND POLITICS

  • Free: The Future of a Radical Price by Anderson, Chris
  • NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children by Bronson, Po
  • The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement by Brooks, David
  • The Invisible Gorilla: And Other Ways Our Intuitions Deceive Us by Chabris, Christopher
  • Popular Culture: An Introduction by Freccero, Carla
  • The Shallows: What the Internet Is Doing to Our Brains by Carr, Nicholas G.
  • Bright-sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America by Ehrenreich, Barbara
  • Wrong: Why Experts Keep Failing Us and How to Know When Not to Trust Them by Freedman, David H.
  • The Science of Fear: Why We Fear the Things We Shouldn't--and Put Ourselves in Greater Danger by Gardner, Dan
  • The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things by Glassner, Barry
  • Consuming the Romantic Utopia: Love and the Cultural Contradictions of Capitalism by Illouz, Eva
  • Whose Freedom?: The Battle over America's Most Important Idea by Lakoff, George
  • Don't Think of an Elephant: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate--The Essential Guide for Progressives by Lakoff, George
  • Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Happy and How They Can Change the World by McGonigal, Jane
  • Culture, Self, and Meaning by Munck, Victor C. de
  • Inventing Reality: The Politics of News Media by Parenti, Michael
  • Inside the Mouse: Work and Play at Disney World, The Project on Disney by Project on Disney
  • Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know--And Doesn't by Prothero, Stephen R
  • Reality Hunger: A Manifesto by Shields, David
  • Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age by Shirky, Clay
  • The Truth About Lies by Shea, Andy
  • Inventing Popular Culture: From Folklore to Globalization by Storey, John
  • Planet Simpson: How a Cartoon Masterpiece Defined a Generation by Turner, Chris
  • Our Inner Ape: A Leading Primatologist Explains Why We Are Who We Are by Waal, Frans de

SOCIAL JUSTICE

  • The Coke Machine by Blanding, Michael
  • "They Take Our Jobs!": and 20 Other Myths about Immigration by Chomsky, Aviva
  • Ecology of Fear: Los Angeles and the Imagination of Disaster by Davis, Mike
  • Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Ehrenreich, Barbara
  • This Land Is Their Land: Reports from a Divided Nation by Ehrenreich, Barbara
  • The Assault on Reason by Gore, Al
  • We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families: Stories from Rwanda by Gourevitch, Philip
  • There Is No Me Without You: One Woman's Odyssey to Rescue Africa's Children by Greene, Melissa Fay
  • Black Like Me by Griffin, John Howard
  • Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being and Why No One Saw It Coming by Hawken, Paul
  • Me to We: Finding Meaning in a Material World by Kielburger, Craig The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism by Klein, Naomi
  • Savage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools by Kozol, Jonathan
  •  The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America by Kozol, Jonathan
  • Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Kristof, Nicholas D.
  • We Are All the Same: A Story of a Boy's Courage and a Mother's Love by Wooten, James T.

FOOD/CONSUMERISM/ENVIRONMENT

  • No Impact Man: The Adventures of a Guilty Liberal Who Attempts to Save the Planet, and the Discoveries He Makes About Himself and Our Way of Life in the Process by Beavan, Colin The Vertical Farm by Despommier, Dickson
  • Twinkie, Deconstructed: My Journey to Discover How the Ingredients Found in Processed Foods Are Grown, Mined (Yes, Mined), and Manipulated Into What America Eats by Ettlinger, Steve
  • Eating Animals by Foer, Jonathan Safran
  • The Wal-Mart Effect: How the World's Most Powerful Company Really Works--and How It's Transforming the American Economy by Fishman, Charles
  • Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution--and How It Can Renew America by Friedman, Thomas L.
  • Ecological Intelligence: How Knowing the Hidden Impacts of What We Buy Can Change Everything by Daniel Goleman
  • Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Kingsolver, Barbara
  • The Story of Stuff: How Our Obsession with Stuff is Trashing the Planet, Our Communities, and our Health—and a Vision for Change by Leonard, Annie
  • The Face on Your Plate: The Truth About Food by Masson, Jeffrey Moussaieff Green Metropolis: What the City Can Teach the Country About True Sustainability  by Owen, David
  • The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Pollan, Michael
  • In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto by Pollan, Michael
  • The End of Food by Roberts, Paul
  • Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture by Shell, Ellen Ruppel
  • Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal by Schlosser, Eric
  • Maxed Out: Hard Times, Easy Credit and the Era of Predatory Lenders by Scurlock, James D
  • $20 Per Gallon: How the Rising Cost of Gasoline Will Radically Change Our Lives by Steiner, Christopher
  • Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think by Wansink, Brian

GENDER/SEX/SEXUALITY

  • Woman: An Intimate Geography by Angier, Natalie
  • The Feminine Mistake by Leslie Bennetts
  • Gay New York: Gender, Urban Culture, and the Making of the Gay Male World, 1890-1940 by Chauncey, George
  • Men, Women, and Chain Saws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film by Clover, Carol J.
  • Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America by D'Emilio, John
  • Sex for One: The Joy of Selfloving by Dodson, Betty
  • The Ethical Slut by Easton, Dossie
  • The Vagina Monologues  by Ensler, Eve
  • Transgender Warriors : Making History from Joan of Arc to Dennis Rodman by Feinberg, Leslie
  • Sexing the Body: Gender Politics and the Construction of Sexuality by Fausto-Sterling, Anne Anatomy of Love: A Natural History of Mating, Marriage, and Why We Stray by Fisher, Helen
  • Freaks Talk Back: Tabloid Talk Shows and Sexual Nonconformity by Gamson, Joshua
  • City of Eros: New York City, Prostitution, and the Commercialization of Sex, 1790-1920 by Gilfoyle, Timothy J.
  • The Survivor's Guide to Sex: How to Have an Empowered Sex Life After Child Sexual Abuse by Staci Haines
  • The Technology of Orgasm: "Hysteria," the Vibrator, and Women's Sexual Satisfaction by Maines, Rachel P.
  • How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States by Meyerowitz, Joanne J.
  • Symposium by Plato
  • Sex, Time, and Power: How Women's Sexuality Shaped Human Evolution  by Shlain, Leonard
  • Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls by Simmons, Rachel
  • Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election That Changed Everything for American Women by Traister, Rebecca

GENRE AND MODERN FICTION

  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Entire series) by Adams, Douglas
  • The Robot series by Isaac Asimov
  • The Foundation series by Isaac Asimov
  • Ender's Game by Card, Orson Scott
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? By Dick, Philip K.
  • A Scanner Darkly by Dick, Philip K.
  • Crooked Little Vein by Ellis, Warren
  • Stone Butch Blues by Feinberg, Leslie
  • Neverwhere by Gaiman, Neil
  • From the Notebooks of Dr. Brain by Faust, Minister
  • The Last King of Scotland by Foden, Giles
  • The Maltese Falcon by Hammett, Dashiell
  • Double Indemnity by Cain, James M.
  • The Wayfarer Redemption series by Sara Douglass
  • The Zombies of Lake Woebegotten by Geillor, Harrison
  • The Outsiders by Hinton, S.E
  • A Widow for One Year by Irving, John
  • The Body by King, Stephen
  • It by King, Stephen
  • Just After Sunset by King, Stephen
  • The Stand by King, Stephen
  • Let the Right One in by Lindqvist, John Ajvide
  • What Dreams May Come by Matheson, Richard
  • Fight Club by Palahniuk, Chuck
  • Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit by Quinn, Daniel
  • Q & A by Swarup, Vikas
  • The Hobbit by Tolkien, J.R.R.
  • Player Piano by Vonnegut, Kurt

BOOKS ABOUT COMICS

  • Superhero: The Secret Origin of a Genre by Coogan, Peter
  • Power of Comics: History, Form and Culture by Duncan, Randy
  • Comics & Sequential Art by Eisner, Will
  • The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic Book Scare and How It Changed America by Hajdu, David
  • Men Of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters, and the Birth of the Comic Book by Jones, Gerard
  • 99 Ways to Tell a Story: Exercises in Style by Madden, Matt
  • Batman Unauthorized: Vigilantes, Jokers, and Heroes in Gotham City by O'Neil, Dennis
  • Comic Books As History: The Narrative Art of Jack Jackson, Art Spiegelman, and Harvey Pekar by Witek, Joseph
  • The Man from Krypton: A Closer Look at Superman by Yeffeth, Glenn

MANGA

  • Parasyte by Hitoshi Iwaaki
  • Barefoot Gen by Nakazawa, Keiji
  • Akira by Katsuhiro Otomo
  • Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba
  • A Drifting Life by Tatsumi, Yoshihiro
  • Buddha by Osamu Tezuka
  • Ode To Kirihito by Osamu Tezuka
  • With the Light... Vol. 1: Raising an Autistic Child by Tobe, Keiko

GRAPHIC NOVELS

  • Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Bechdel, Alison
  • Powers by Brian Michael Bendis
  • Unwritten by Mike Carey
  • The Contract with God Trilogy by Eisner, Will
  • The Boys by Garth Ennis
  • Preacher by Garth Ennis
  • He Done Her Wrong by Gross, Milt
  • The Nightly News by Hickman, Jonathan
  • Transhuman by Hickman, Jonathan
  • Sandman by Neil Gaiman
  • The Cartoon History of the Universe/World by Larry Gonick
  • Homer’s The Odyssey by Hinds, Gareth
  • Shakespeare's King Lear by Gareth Hind
  • The Broadcast by Hobbs, Eric
  • The 9/11 Report: A Graphic Adaptation by Jacobson, Sid
  • Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman
  • Invincible by Robert Kirkman
  • Still I Rise: A Cartoon History of African Americans by Jr., Roland Owen Laird
  • The Complete Essex County by Lemire, Jeff
  • Museum Vaults: Excerpts from the Journal of an Expert by Mathieu, Marc-Antoine
  • Asterios Polyp by Mazzucchelli, David
  • Making Comics by McCloud, Scott
  • Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art by McCloud, Scott
  • Superman: Red Son by Millar, Mark
  • Batman: Year One by Miller, Frank
  • Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Miller, Frank
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen by Alan Moore
  • V for Vendetta by Moore, Alan
  • Watchmen by Alan Moore
  • Captain America: Truth by Morales, Robert
  • Remains by Niles, Steve
  • The Mammoth Book of Best Horror Comics by Normanton, Peter
  • Suspended In Language: Niels Bohr's Life, Discoveries, And The Century He Shaped by Ottaviani, Jim
  • Three Shadows by Pedrosa, Cyril
  • Renfield: A Tale of Madness by Reed, Gary
  • Lovecraft by Rodionoff, Hans
  • Earth X by Alex Ross & Jim Kreuger
  • Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi.
  • The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman
  • Rising Stars by J. Michael Straczynski
  • Disaster and Resistance: Political Comics by Tobocman, Seth
  • Understanding the Crash by Tobocman, Seth
  • Ex Machina by Brian K. Vaughan
  • Pride of Baghdad by Vaughan, Brian K.
  • Y: The Last Man  by Brian K. Vaughan
  • Irredeemable by Mark Waid
  • Kingdom Come by Waid, Mark
  • Graphic Witness: Four Wordless Graphic Novels by Frans Masereel, Lynd Ward, Giacomo Patri and Laurence Hyde ed. By George Walker
  • Fables by Bill Willingham
  • DMZ by Brian Woods
  • American Born Chinese by Yang, Gene Luen