District Book Talks
2022 Falmouth Staff Summer Book Talks
Reading is central to learning, and books provide a depth and focus that is not always achieved in articles, podcasts, or websites.
The summer book selections strive to enhance our understanding of:
- The changing world for which we are preparing our students
- The diverse stories and experiences our students, our colleagues, our neighbors, ourselves
- The ways we can optimize learning and well-being for our students and ourselves
Thank you to the many staff members who recommended titles for 2022 Book Talks. We received many recommendations for excellent titles spanning a variety of topics and experiences. This year’s list was crafted based on recommendations, reviews, and topic variety.
We’ll have an opportunity to reconnect with one another across the district, and share thoughts about the books during our August in-service days.
The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green (memoir/essays)
In this remarkable symphony of essays adapted and expanded from his groundbreaking podcast, bestselling author John Green reviews different facets of the human-centered planet on a five-star scale. John Green’s gift for storytelling shines throughout this masterful collection. The Anthropocene Reviewed is an open-hearted exploration of the paths we forge and an unironic celebration of falling in love with the world.
The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters by Priya Parker (nonfiction)
In The Art of Gathering, Priya Parker argues that the gatherings in our lives are lackluster and unproductive--which they don't have to be. We rely too much on routine and the conventions of gatherings when we should focus on distinctiveness and the people involved. At a time when coming together is more important than ever, Parker sets forth a human-centered approach to gathering that will help everyone create meaningful, memorable experiences, large and small, for work and for play.
Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner (memoir)
In this exquisite story of family, food, grief, and endurance, Michelle Zauner proves herself far more than a dazzling singer, songwriter, and guitarist. With humor and heart, she tells of growing up one of the few Asian American kids at her school in Eugene, Oregon; of struggling with her mother's particular, high expectations of her; of a painful adolescence; of treasured months spent in her grandmother's tiny apartment in Seoul, where she and her mother would bond, late at night, over heaping plates of food.
Digital Minimalism by Cal Newport (nonfiction)
Minimalism is the art of knowing how much is just enough. Digital minimalism applies this idea to our personal technology. It's the key to living a focused life in an increasingly noisy world.In this timely and enlightening book, the bestselling author of Deep Work introduces a philosophy for technology use that has already improved countless lives.
Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley (young adult fiction)
As a biracial, unenrolled tribal member and the product of a scandal, Daunis Fontaine has never quite fit in—both in her hometown and on the nearby Ojibwe reservation. When her family is struck by tragedy, Daunis puts her dreams on hold to care for her fragile mother. The only bright spot is meeting Jamie, the charming new recruit on her brother’s hockey team. After Daunis witnesses a shocking murder that thrusts her into a criminal investigation, she agrees to go undercover. But the deceptions—and deaths—keep piling up and soon the threat strikes too close to home. How far will she go to protect her community if it means tearing apart the only world she’s ever known?
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (fiction)
A novel of breathtaking sweep and emotional power that traces three hundred years in Ghana and along the way also becomes a truly great American novel. Extraordinary for its exquisite language, its implacable sorrow, its soaring beauty, and for its monumental portrait of the forces that shape families and nations, Homegoing heralds the arrival of a major new voice in contemporary fiction.
How the Word is Passed by Clint Smith (nonfiction)
Beginning in his hometown of New Orleans, Clint Smith leads the reader on an unforgettable tour of monuments and landmarks—those that are honest about the past and those that are not—that offer an intergenerational story of how slavery has been central in shaping our nation's collective history, and ourselves.
Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro (fiction)
From her place in the store, Klara, an Artificial Friend with outstanding observational qualities, watches carefully the behavior of those who come in to browse, and of those who pass on the street outside. She remains hopeful that a customer will soon choose her, but when the possibility emerges that her circumstances may change forever, Klara is warned not to invest too much in the promises of humans. In Klara and the Sun, Kazuo Ishiguro looks at our rapidly changing modern world through the eyes of an unforgettable narrator to explore a fundamental question: what does it mean to love?
The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative by Florence Williams (nonfiction)
From forest trails in Korea, to islands in Finland, to eucalyptus groves in California, Florence Williams investigates the science behind nature’s positive effects on the brain. Delving into brand-new research, she uncovers the powers of the natural world to improve health, promote reflection and innovation, and strengthen our relationships. As our modern lives shift dramatically indoors, these ideas―and the answers they yield―are more urgent than ever.
One Life by Megan Rapinoe (autobiography)
Megan Rapinoe, Olympic gold medalist and two-time Women's World Cup champion, has become a galvanizing force for social change; here, she urges all of us to take up the mantle, with actions big and small, to continue the fight for justice and equality.
The Person You Mean to Be: How Good People Fight Bias by Dolly Chugh (nonfiction)
Dolly reveals the surprising causes of inequality, grounded in the "psychology of good people.” Using her research findings in unconscious bias as well as work across psychology, sociology, economics, political science, and other disciplines, she offers practical tools to respectfully and effectively talk politics with family, to be a better colleague to people who don’t look like you, and to avoid being a well-intentioned barrier to equality.
So You Want to Talk About Race by Iljeoma Oluo (nonfiction)
Ijeoma Oluo guides readers of all races through subjects ranging from police brutality and cultural appropriation to the model minority myth in an attempt to make the seemingly impossible possible: honest conversations about race, and about how racism infects every aspect of American life.
Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain by John Ratey (nonfiction)
In Spark, John J. Ratey, M.D., embarks upon a fascinating and entertaining journey through the mind-body connection, presenting startling research to prove that exercise is truly our best defense against everything from depression to ADD to addiction to aggression to menopause to Alzheimer's.
Thanks for the Feedback: The Art and Science of Receiving Feedback Well by Douglas Stone (nonfiction)
In Thanks for the Feedback, the authors explain why receiving feedback is so crucial yet so challenging, offering a simple framework and powerful tools to help us take on life’s blizzard of offhand comments, annual evaluations, and unsolicited input with curiosity and grace. They blend the latest insights from neuroscience and psychology with practical, hard-headed advice.
Why Fish Don’t Exist: A Story of Loss, Love, and the Hidden Order of Life by Lulu Miller (nonfiction)
A wondrous debut from an extraordinary new voice in nonfiction, Why Fish Don’t Exist is a dark and astonishing tale of love, chaos, scientific obsession, and—possibly—even murder. Part biography, part memoir, part scientific adventure, Why Fish Don’t Exist reads like a fable about how to persevere in a world where chaos will always prevail.
Book descriptions are from the publishers.