The 2012/13 Edmonds CC Community Read with author Jaime Ford of “Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and sweet" was a huge success thanks to campus and community support! To keep this momentum going, we want to give you the opportunity to vote on which book you’d like to see as the Community Read for next year.
How do you vote? It's simple! Please take a few minutes to read each description and then click on the link below to vote.
Imagine being asked to pull a gun on a stranger. Or having a gun shoved in your face by the man you call step dad Envision feeling so depressed you cut yourself repeatedly or down a bottle of pills to make the pain go away. Consider what it takes to tell your parents that you are transgender, or what it feels like to have the dad you love addicted to meth. We Are Absolutely Not Okay is a collection of unsparing true stories written by fourteen teenagers who have experienced life at its darkest but have made it through and are now picking up the pieces. By writing and sharing their stories, they are coping with their past and seizing their future. They are also reaching out to other teenagers-to let them know that they are not alone and that even if their life now is Absolutely Not Okay, they have the power within themselves to make it better.
The central character is Cal Stephanides, who is raised a female but around age 15 realizes that something is very different about her. It turns out that she actually is a hermaphrodite, and Cal decides to live from then on as a man. Middlesex could have simply portrayed this story as Cal's fictional autobiography, but the story digs much deeper than that. Author Jeffrey Eugenides uses Cal's transformation as a metaphor for the entire immigrant experience in America as seen through multiple generations of the Stephanides family. Not simply about sexual roles in society, Middlesex is about the immigrant experience in the United States and the forging of new identities.
Every schoolchild learns about the mutually beneficial dance of honeybees and flowers: The bee collects nectar and pollen to make honey and, in the process, spreads the flowers’ genes far and wide. In The Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan ingeniously demonstrates how people and domesticated plants have formed a similarly reciprocal relationship. He masterfully links four fundamental human desires—sweetness, beauty, intoxication, and control—with the plants that satisfy them: the apple, the tulip, marijuana, and the potato. In telling the stories of four familiar species, Pollan illustrates how the plants have evolved to satisfy humankind’s most basic yearnings. And just as we’ve benefited from these plants, we have also done well by them. The sweetness of apples, for example, induced the early Americans to spread the species, giving the tree a whole new continent in which to blossom. So who is really domesticating whom?
Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells—taken without her knowledge in 1951—became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, in vitro fertilization, and more. Soon to be made into an HBO movie by Oprah Winfrey and Alan Ball, this New York Times bestseller takes readers on an extraordinary journey, from the “colored” ward of Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1950s to stark white laboratories with freezers filled with HeLa cells, from Henrietta’s small, dying hometown of Clover, Virginia, to East Baltimore today, where her children and grandchildren live and struggle with the legacy of her cells. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks tells a riveting story of the collision between ethics, race, and medicine; of scientific discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew. It’s a story inextricably connected to the dark history of experimentation on African Americans, the birth of bioethics, and the legal battles over whether we control the stuff we’re made of.
Oscar is a sweet but disastrously overweight ghetto nerd who—from the New Jersey home he shares with his old world mother and rebellious sister—dreams of becoming the Dominican J.R.R. Tolkien and, most of all, finding love. But Oscar may never get what he wants. Blame the fukú—a curse that has haunted Oscar’s family for generations, following them on their epic journey from Santo Domingo to the USA. Encapsulating Dominican-American history, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao opens our eyes to an astonishing vision of the contemporary American experience and explores the endless human capacity to persevere—and risk it all—in the name of love.
The Happiness Project is one of the most thoughtful works on happiness to have emerged from the recent explosion of interest in the subject. Rubin weaves together philosophy, scientific research, history, analysis, and real-life experiences as she explains what worked for her—and what didn’t. Her conclusions are sometimes counter-intuitive – for example, she finds that money can buy happiness, when spent correctly – but they resonate with readers of all backgrounds. Filled with practical advice, sharp insight, charm, and humor, The Happiness Project manages to be illuminating yet entertaining, profound yet compulsively readable. But The Happiness Project isn’t just an engaging and provocative book. Gretchen’s passion for her subject jumps off the page, and reading a few chapters of this book will inspire you to start your own happiness project. Gretchen has a wide, enthusiastic following, and her idea for a “happiness project” no longer describes just a book or a blog; it’s a movement. Happiness Project groups have sprung up from Los Angeles to Enid, Oklahoma to Boston, where people meet to discuss their own happiness projects.
The author is a principle investigator for the Cascade Wildlife Monitoring Project that provided for the first indisputable documentation of the return of wolves to the state of Washington five years ago. Up to a dozen different packs are now found throughout much of Washington, even in Teanaway near Cle Elum, just a 90 minute drive from heart of Seattle. Dave takes readers on the journey of a wildlife tracker and photographer to see first-hand the wolf packs that have reestablished themselves not just in Washington but throughout the Pacific Northwest. The book is an adventure narrative with compelling photographs, combined with a scientific overview of the ecological role of wolves in various ecosystems, and an intriguing analysis of the controversy provoked by the return of North America's iconic social carnivore to our landscapes. Dave provides narrative and photographic evidence of wolves fishing for salmon and scavenging marine mammals, illustrating that an up close and personal study of wolves in the land of salmon adds significantly to our understanding of this carnivore on a global scale.
Thank you for voting! If you have additional ideas for our Community Read, feel free to nominate a book choice of your own here. We would love to hear from you!