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2021 Falmouth Book List

Summer 2021 Book Titles

Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by Max Tegmark
Nonfiction

How can we grow our prosperity through automation without leaving people lacking income or purpose? What career advice should we give today's kids? How can we make future AI systems more robust, so that they do what we want without crashing, malfunctioning or getting hacked? Should we fear an arms race in lethal autonomous weapons? Will machines eventually outsmart us at all tasks, replacing humans on the job market and perhaps altogether? Will AI help life flourish like never before or give us more power than we can handle? What sort of future do you want? This book empowers you to join what may be the most important conversation of our time. It doesn't shy away from the full range of viewpoints or from the most controversial issues--from superintelligence to meaning, consciousness and the ultimate physical limits on life in the cosmos.

Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor
Nonfiction

There is nothing more essential to our health and well-being than breathing: take air in, let it out, repeat twenty-five thousand times a day. Yet, as a species, humans have lost the ability to breathe correctly, with grave consequences.  Journalist James Nestor travels the world to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it. The answers aren't found in pulmonology labs, as we might expect, but in the muddy digs of ancient burial sites, secret Soviet facilities, New Jersey choir schools, and the smoggy streets of Sao Paulo. Nestor tracks down men and women exploring the hidden science behind ancient breathing practices like Pranayama, Sudarshan Kriya, and Tummo and teams up with pulmonary tinkerers to scientifically test long-held beliefs about how we breathe. Modern research is showing us that making even slight adjustments to the way we inhale and exhale can jump-start athletic performance; rejuvenate internal organs; halt snoring, asthma, and autoimmune disease; and even straighten scoliotic spines. Drawing on thousands of years of medical texts and recent cutting-edge studies in pulmonology, psychology, biochemistry, and human physiology, Breath turns the conventional wisdom of what we thought we knew about our most basic biological function on its head. You will never breathe the same again.

The Crisis of Connection: Roots, Consequences, and Solutions by Niobe Way (Editor)
Nonfiction

Since the beginning of the 21st century, people have become increasingly disconnected from themselves, each other, and the world around them. A "crisis of connection" stemming from growing alienation, social isolation, and fragmentation characterizes modern society. The signs of this crisis of connection are everywhere, from decreasing levels of empathy and trust, to burgeoning cases of suicide, depression and loneliness. The astronomical rise in inequality around the world has contributed to the critical nature of this moment.  To delve into the heart of the crisis, leading researchers and practitioners draw from the science of human connection to tell a five-part story about its roots, consequences, and solutions. In doing so, they reveal how we, in modern society, have been captive to a false story about who we are as human. This false narrative that takes individualism as a universal truth, has contributed to many of the problems that we currently face. The new story now emerging from across the human sciences underscores our social and emotional capacities and needs. The science also reveals the ways in which the privileging of the self over relationships and of individual success over the common good as well as the perpetuation of dehumanizing stereotypes have led to a crisis of connection that is now widespread. Finally, the practitioners in the volume present concrete solutions that show ways we can create a more just and humane world. The Crisis of Connection illuminates concrete pathways to enhancing our awareness of our common humanity, and offers important steps to coming together in unity, even across distances.

Forged by Reading: The Power of a Literate Life, by Kylene Beers 

Bestselling authors Kylene Beers and Robert E. Probst explore why independent reading is vital to the intellectual and developmental growth of students as citizens of our world and as architects of the future. Forged by Reading explores historic and timely topics through the context of literacy—literacy being the gateway to power and privilege—while serving as nothing short of a call to action. One that reminds educators of their critical hand in empowering readers to think, to seek curiosity and skepticism, to shape themselves and their ideas through evidence and reason, vision and imagination, and in doing so to forge themselves and our world through reading.

Book Love: Developing Depth, Stamina, and Passion in Adolescent Readers by Penny Kittle 

Penny Kittle wants us to face the hard truths every English teacher fears: too many kids don't read the assigned texts, and some even manage to slip by without having ever read a single book by the time they graduate. As middle and high school reading declines, college professors lament students' inability to comprehend and analyze complex texts, while the rest of us wonder: what do we lose as a society when so many of our high school graduates have no interest in reading anything? In Book Love Penny takes student apathy head on, first by recognizing why students don't read and then showing us that when we give kids books that are right for them, along with time to read and regular response to their thinking, we can create a pathway to satisfying reading that leads to more challenging literature and ultimately, a love of reading. With a clear eye on the reality of today's classrooms, Penny provides practical strategies and advice on: increasing volume, capacity, and complexity over time creating a balance of independent reading, text study, and novel study helping students deepen their thinking through writing about reading building a classroom library with themes that matter to 21st century kids. 

Cultivating Genius: An Equity Framework for Culturally and Historically Responsive Literacy by Dr. Gholdy E. Muhammad 

In Cultivating Genius, Dr. Gholdy E. Muhammad presents a four-layered equity framework—one that is grounded in history and restores excellence in literacy education. The framework is essential and universal for all students, especially youth of color, who traditionally have been marginalized in learning standards, school policies, and classroom practices. The equity framework will help educators teach and lead toward the following learning goals or pursuits: Identity Development—Helping youth to make sense of themselves and others; Skill Development— Developing proficiencies across the academic disciplines; Intellectual Development—Gaining knowledge and becoming smarter; Criticality—Learning and developing the ability to read texts (including print and social contexts) to understand power, equity, and anti-oppression. When these four learning pursuits are taught together—through the Historically Responsive Literacy Framework, all students receive profound opportunities for personal, intellectual, and academic success. Muhammad provides probing, self-reflective questions for teachers, leaders, and teacher educators as well as sample culturally and historically responsive sample plans and text sets across grades and content areas. In this book, Muhammad presents practical approaches to cultivate the genius in students and within teachers.

The Power of Different: The Link Between Disorder and Genius by Gail SaltzIn 
Nonfiction

The Power of Different, psychiatrist and bestselling author Gail Saltz examines the latest scientific discoveries, profiles famous geniuses who have been diagnosed with all manner of brain “problems”―including learning disabilities, ADD, anxiety, Depression, Bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and Autism―and tells the stories of lay individuals to demonstrate how specific deficits in certain areas of the brain are directly associated with the potential for great talent. Saltz shows how the very conditions that cause people to experience difficulty at school, in social situations, at home, or at work, are inextricably bound to creative, disciplinary, artistic, empathetic, and cognitive abilities.

Call Me American: The Extraordinary True Story of a Young Somali Immigrant by Abdi Nor Iftin 
Young Adult [YA] Edition Memoir

When U.S. marines landed in Mogadishu to take on the warlords, Abdi cheered the arrival of these Americans, who seemed as heroic as those of the movies. Sporting American clothes and dance moves, he became known around Mogadishu as Abdi American, but when the radical Islamist group al-Shabaab rose to power in 2006, it became dangerous to celebrate Western culture. Desperate to make a living, Abdi used his language skills to post secret dispatches, which found an audience of worldwide listeners. Eventually, though, Abdi was forced to flee to Kenya. In an amazing stroke of luck, Abdi won entrance to the U.S. in the annual visa lottery, though his route to America did not come easily. Parts of his story were first heard on the BBC World Service and This American Life. Now a proud resident of MAINE, on the path to citizenship, Abdi Nor Iftin's dramatic, deeply stirring memoir is truly a story for our time.

Sigh, Gone: A Misfit's Memoir of Great Books, Punk Rock, and the Fight to Fit In by Phuc Tran
Memoir

In 1975, during the fall of Saigon, Phuc Tran immigrates to America along with his family. By sheer chance they land in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, a small town where the Trans struggle to assimilate into their new life. In this coming-of-age memoir told through the themes of great books such as The Metamorphosis, The Scarlet Letter, The Iliad, and more, Tran navigates the push and pull of finding and accepting himself despite the challenges of immigration, feelings of isolation, and teenage rebellion, all while attempting to meet the rigid expectations set by his immigrant parents.  [Tran lives and works in MAINE]

Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family by Amy Ellis Nutt
Biography

From the Pulitzer Prize–winning science reporter for The Washington Post . . .When Wayne and Kelly Maines adopted identical twin boys, they thought their lives were complete. But it wasn’t long before they noticed a marked difference between Jonas and his brother, Wyatt. Jonas preferred sports and trucks and many of the things little boys were “supposed” to like; but Wyatt liked princess dolls and dress-up and playing Little Mermaid. By the time the twins were toddlers, confusion over Wyatt’s insistence that he was female began to tear the family apart. In the years that followed, the Maineses came to question their long-held views on gender and identity, to accept and embrace Wyatt’s transition to Nicole, and to undergo an emotionally wrenching transformation of their own that would change all their lives forever. [The Maines twins grew up in Portland, MAINE]

Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, by Isabel Wilkerson
Nonfiction

Beyond race, class, or other factors, there is a powerful caste system that influences people’s lives and behavior and the nation’s fate. Linking the caste systems of America, India, and Nazi Germany, Wilkerson explores eight pillars that underlie caste systems across civilizations, including divine will, bloodlines, stigma, and more. Using riveting stories about people—including Martin Luther King, Jr., baseball’s Satchel Paige, a single father and his toddler son, Wilkerson herself, and many others—she shows the ways that the insidious undertow of caste is experienced every day. She documents how the Nazis studied the racial systems in America to plan their out-cast of the Jews; she discusses why the cruel logic of caste requires that there be a bottom rung for those in the middle to measure themselves against; she writes about the surprising health costs of caste, in depression and life expectancy, and the effects of this hierarchy on our culture and politics. Finally, she points forward to ways America can move beyond the artificial and destructive separations of human divisions, toward hope in our common humanity.

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett 
Novel

The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it's not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it's everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Many years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters' storylines intersect? Looking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person's decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins