My Most Recent Reads - September 2016

There is lots to talk about this month.  If August had me reporting little in terms of books to talk about, September had them in abundance.  Even though I only read thirteen books this month, many of them hit high marks for consideration.  I'll limit myself to three but know that I'm happy to chat about any of them!

The Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire

Book cover to Pedagogy of the Opressed by Paulo Freire
For those not in the realms of education or social justice, you may not have stumbled upon this book.  But for those interested in such subjects (as well as politics, cultural studies, criminal justice, etc), then this is one of those essential classics.  Freire's theoretical and complex book may come in well under 200 pages, but it's still an intellectual journey.  Reading and processing it reminds me of reading Foucault's History of Sexuality Volume 1; I might have had better luck learning the native language it was published in and then trying to read the book.  It's dense but particularly chapter's two and three (there are only four chapters), I found to be the most useful.  Basically, Freire explains a way to reconsider how teaching and learning is done at a time and in a place where teaching was entirely one-directional and more part of a system of regulating minds than encouraging actual growth.  His writing is sometimes a bit to etherial and he could do better with more grounded examples or clarifications throughout, but as a work that makes an educator think about how he or she will look to those seeking education, this book will change one's philosophy of education.

Asking for It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture and What We Can Do about It by Kate Harding

In many ways this is a brutal book for many people.  For victims of rape and sexual assault, it confirms and explains what many of them have gone through in a culture that pays mere lipservice to victims of such violence.  For those who have never been directly involved, it's an eye-opening exploration into how many of us are likely to be complicit in sexual violence in our culture.  But equally important, it's an eloquent and strong critique that gives victims and allies the means of which to see the pernicious assumptions about sexual violence in our culture and to call it out when we see it.  Harding's accessible prose, wit, and drawing out of the different aspects of American society that create a rape culture blend together so well that the reader is left speechless.  It's one of those reads that I feel that everyone should read and even if it people disagree with it, we'd be a better society for having read.

Of Dice and Men: The Story of Dungeons & Dragons and the People Who Play It by David Ewalt

I was always fascinated with but never got the chance to explore playing Dungeons and Dragons and other role-playing games.  I did fall in love with role-playing games on video game systems and the fantasy genre for books, films, and comics so there was always a hope and interest in getting the chance to play, but the possibility never availed itself.  So reading Ewalt's book on the topic was informative and inspiring for the most part.  His history of the game from its birth to the current state of role-playing games coupled with his own personal journey towards, away, and back again to role-playing game made for a great story.  He does slip, a bit problematically I think, into representing that game as borderline addicting, a cliche that is long overdue and annoying when it comes to games and gaming in general.  But if you can disregard that element, the book has some great explanations and considerations about the power and engagement that role playing games.

Monthly reads for 2016 (and you can always look at all of my books that I've read on GoodReads)


  • Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire
  • DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education by Anya Kamenetz


  • Asking for It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture and What We Can Do about It by Kate Harding
  • What Lurks Beneath by Ryan Lockwood
  • The Bull and the Spear(Corum, #4) by Michael Moorcock
  • Of Dice and Men: The Story of Dungeons & Dragons and the People Who Play It by David Ewalt
  • Seinfeldia: How a Show About Nothing Changed Everything by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong
  • Women in the Material World by Faith D'Aluisio
  • Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces that Shape Behavior by Jonah Berger
  • The World According to Star Wars by Cass Sunstein
  • Reskilling America: Learning to Labor in the Twenty-First Century by Katherine Newman


  • Caveboy Dave: More Scrawny Than Brawny by Aaron Reynolds
  • The Beginning of the American Fall: A Comics Journalist Inside the Occupy Wall Street Movement by Stephanie McMilan

What about you reader?  What book recommendations do you have for me?

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