My Most Recent Reads - August, 2015

August was yet another enjoyable reading month with twenty-one books devoured and some really good selections.  As usually, there's more that I want to talk about than I'm likely to write about, but feel free to inquire about any of the books listed if you want to know more. 

Redesigning America's Community Colleges: A Clearer Path to Student Success by Thomas Baily et al.

I wanted to really like this book.  There are some points to it that are valuable and think can help improve outcomes at community colleges.  In particular, the way it considers choice design and providing clearer pathways for students I think is incredibly useful to consider.  However, it flails when it talks about classroom design or even when it tries to accurately discuss the student populations.  It says that including the part-time faculty is important and yet makes mention of them on less than eight pages in the entire book; the rest of the time, the authors focus on full-time faculty in their remarks.  Most problematic is that it is simply too vague and simple.  It defines success as graduation but never provides what is a meaningful completion rate to acquire, which is useful to consider when even the authors note that more than half the students are likely to stop because of financial limitations and at least three out of five students are responsible for someone (a child, an ailing parent, etc).  I do think it's a relevant read for those who work in the realm of community college, but it has it is not necessarily a great book by any means.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

In this letter from a father to his son, Coates tries to explain the different world of racism that exists today than when he was growing up.  It's a complicated but well-worded communication that captures the nuances of the past and the present and what it means to be black in American.  Coates draws out the challenges that he faced and how his son must face challenges that echo but are different from his and he wonders just what it means to be a second generation college-educated African American in a country where there is an African American president as well as numerous reports of indiscriminate violence upon blacks by people in positions of power.  It is heart-wrenching, eloquent, and powerful--reading is a must for this one!

Fables, Vol. 22: Farewell by Bill Willingham

Bill Willingham - Fables Volume 22 Cover

Oh Bill Willingham--I know all things must end, but did you have to end Fables.  For over a decade, it has been my favorite graphic novel series.  Since I first read the firs trade, I have avidly followed the series, including the spin-off series (Jack of Fables, Literals, Fairest, Cinderella,), the book (Pete and Max), and even the crossovers (The Unwritten).  You created an amazing universe that was both intimately known and perversely foreign and made me (and so many others) fall in love with your renderings of characters, places, and events.  I know I am likely to re-read Fables several times over the span of my life, returning to a series that played with fiction in some many fantastic ways, I could teach a variety of different courses around the series.  Thank you for this ending...but also, damn you!

Here's my ongoing list of books read this year on GoodReads.  Also, here 2015's reading reflections thus far:


  • Redesigning America's Community Colleges: A Clearer Path to Student Success by Thomas Baily et al.


  • Running Like a Girl by Alexandra Heminsley
  • The Montauk Monster by Hunter Shea
  • Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect by Matthew Lieberman
  • Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One's Looking) by Christian Rudder
  • Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World's Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself by Rich  Roll
  • The Engaged Leader: A Strategy for Your Digital Transformation by Charlene  Li
  • They Thirst by Robert McCammon


  • Fables, Vol. 22: Farewell by Bill Willingham
  • Alex + Ada, Vol. 2 by Jonathan Luna
  • Alex + Ada, Vol. 1 by Jonathan Luna 
  • The Man Who Laughs by David Hine
  • Kinski by Gabriel Hardman
  • Sex Criminals, Vol. 2: Two Worlds, One Cop by Matt Fraction
  • The Wake by Scott Snyder
  • Guardians 3000, Vol. 1: Time After Time by Dan Abnett
  • Lumberjanes, Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy by Noelle Stevenson
  • The Boxer: The True Story of Holocaust Survivor Harry Haft by Reinhard Kleist
  • ApocalyptiGirl: An Aria for the End Times by Andrew MacLean
  • The Undertaking of Lily Chen by Danica Novgorodoff
  • Monsters! and Other Stories by Gustavo Duarte
  • Fatherland: A Family History by Nina Bunjevac

So what have you been reading lately?  What would you recommend?

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