My Most Recent Reads - October 2016

No physical books read this month and that's no surprise.  We're in month two of the semester and that I'm writing coherent sentences is considered a win, right?  However, this month was an amazing month for some powerful and impressive books.   I talk about a couple here, but I would encourage you to check out my full Goodreads list to see the others as many of them were powerful and worth the read! 


Context: Further Selected Essays on Productivity, Creativity, Parenting, and Politics in the 21st Century by Cory Doctorow


Word cloud of this blog post's words in the shape of a person reading a book.
Cory Doctorow continues to impress me and many others with his thoughts on what it means to be a creator in the 21st century.  This collection of essays (which you can download for free on his website) brings together a lot of his different works that he's written for his blog and elsewhere about the nature of copyright, open source living, and censorship.  At its center are questions about how do we as a culture decide to empower creators new and old and what does it mean to create in a technological world wherein replication can happen without significant costs.  Doctorow makes a strong case to move in the direction of openness for all creators, believing that this will be more empowering than limiting.  What's also interesting about this book is the ways in which Doctorow illustrates how he is often collaborative with not just other writers but with fans and people who appreciate his work.  In total, the book provides a great look at how one can think about being a creator in a very mindful and engaging way. 



Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better by Clive Thompson


Thompson dives into the ongoing debate about how technology is impacting humankind with a fascinating look at how the relationship between humans and technologies tends to improve and enhance outcomes in many different ways.  He doesn't negate that technologies has limitations and can make things more complicated (e.g. we can now record everything but find nothing), but there are many more areas that he argues well that technology enhances life and meaning for people from the way we play games to how we understand and approach education to how it improves our ways of communicating.  It's not necessarily a particularly better book than many of the other ones out there that make similar arguments but it does introduce some different research and materials than what's been said.  


Grit: Passion, Perseverance, and the Science of Success by Angela Duckworth


Duckworth's book has gotten to be pretty popular by now and it's no wonder given the topic and her means of exploring it.  The first challenge of this book is that the reader is likely to be constantly comparing their experience to those in the book and wondering about their level of grit.  That's ok--just let it happy.  But more importantly, Duckworth's book provides a range of ways of understanding what grit is and how it can be developed in everyone.  It's a powerful book to help us think differently about what it is that we look for in developing youth as well as how we foster better outcomes for everyone.  If you are looking for a way to understand some of the ways in which we as humans can do great things or want a better sense of how one can improve their approaches for self development or development of others, this would be an ideal book to start with.  

For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood... and the Rest of Y'all Too: Reality Pedagogy and Urban Education by Christopher Edmin


Edmin's book shows the depths and methods needed to go in order to institute transformative teaching and learning in a classroom that engages all students.  He names his approach reality-based pedagogy and its core idea is that it is impossible to teach students if you do not embed their realities into the classroom; altering how one may teach, how power is negotiated, and what it means to demonstrate learning.  Clearly from the title, there is a specific context to which he is speaking, but the application of his approach can potentially open up any classroom (e.g. it's easy to imagine how this could play out in a rural environment).  He explores his pedagogy through his own triumphs and setbacks as he aims to help his students channel their enthusiasm and interest into productive learning experiences that reflect what he hopes they will learn with how it fits within their worlds.  It's a powerful book that in many ways takes the ideas of Paulo Freire and Lisa Delpit and demonstrates particular ways one can execute them in the classroom.


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


AUDIOBOOKS


  • Passing by Nella Parsen
  • Context: Further Selected Essays on Productivity, Creativity, Parenting, and Politics in the 21st Century by Cory Doctorow
  • Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement by Angela Y. Davis
  • Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better by Clive Thompson
  • Grit: Passion, Perseverance, and the Science of Success by Angela Duckworth
  • For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood... and the Rest of Y'all Too: Reality Pedagogy and Urban Education by Christopher Edmin
  • Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant
  • Feminism and Pop Culture by Andi Zeisler
  • Spontaneous by Aaron Starmer
  • The Mis-Education of the Negro by Carter G. Woodson
  • Soul at the White Heat: Inspiration, Obsession, and the Writing Life by Joyce Carol Oates

GRAPHIC NOVELS

  • The Walking Dead, Vol. 26: Call to Arms by Robert Kirkman
  • Southern Bastards, Vol. 3: Homecoming by Jason Aaron


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


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

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