January 25, 2016

10 Recommended Reads from TED talkers

Looking for a good read to get you through the dreary days of mid-winter?  Here are ten titles recently recommended by TED speakers all available from Alloway Library.

Click on the title for information about the item in our library. (TWU Login may be required to access eBooks)

Literature


Foundation by Isaac Asimov (Print)
“Asimov was a masterful fringe thinker, and this first book in the Foundation series shows just how attuned he was to possible and plausible future scenarios. Although it’s 50 years old, Foundation is especially provocative reading given our current state of world affairs — in order to save humankind and the vast knowledge we have accumulated, the main character gathers the smartest thinkers and forms a secret society. But that doesn’t go exactly as planned, either.”
— Recommended by Amy Webb

The Essential Rumi by Jalal al-Din Rumi, translation by Coleman Barks (Print)
“It’s a book of poetry by a 13th-century Sufi poet who talks in most honest and transparent ways of all human emotions. The poems never failed to bring perspective in my daily life. And it always creates an immediate connection when I meet someone who has read it.”
— Recommended by Zainab Salbi

Fugitive Pieces: A Novel by Anne Michaels (Print)
“Anne Michaels’s poetic collage about love and loss and escaping the wounds of Europe to construct a fresh future in the New World remains one of the novels I’m always thrilled to recommend to friends — in part because I’m fairly sure they’re about to recommend it to me. It’s moving and beautiful and ageless, and nothing quite like it has ever been written.”
— Recommended by Pico Iyer

The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy (Print and eBook)
“This is cheating, because it’s a series of novels! Like so many great novels of the 19th and early 20th centuries, very little actually happens, but the characters and their world are painted so well, and so truthfully, that every page becomes a thing of almost unbearable beauty.”
— Recommended by Simon Anholt

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë (Print, eBook and video)
“I read this when I was eight. And I’ve read it a few times since, and watched it onscreen too. Nothing dulls it or stops me loving small, plain Jane, a Yorkshire lass like me, who had more spirit and fire in her 150 years ago than I probably do today, with all my modern freedoms and privilege. I love the story because it is a tale of a woman becoming free, while still being a classic love story. I mean, there’s even a madwoman in the attic. But I love Jane because I love Charlotte too: a woman who triumphed in a deeply patriarchal world, getting published and getting famous, while living in a cold, glum vicarage on the edge of the moors. Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights is seen as a trickier, better book by many, because they are fooled by the romance of Jane Eyre. Look behind that, and you find a character as complex and wonderful as any Cathy or Heathcliff, in little, plain Jane, who would always ‘rather be happy than dignified.’”
— Recommended by Rose George


Silence by Shusaku Endo (Print)
“Set in 17th-century Japan, this stark, impeccably structured novel revolves around a haunting question: How can God remain silent in the face of human suffering? Endo’s work traces the journey of Sebastian Rodrigues, a Portuguese Jesuit sent to minister to local Christians under violent state persecution — and to investigate reports of another priest’s apostasy. This deeply ambiguous work refuses to provide any easy answers to its central inquiry — it just raises another that readers, regardless of belief, will grapple with long after: How much are we willing to suffer to end the suffering of others?”
— Recommended by Noy Thrupkaew

Non-Fiction


After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory by Alasdair MacIntyre (Print)
Spheres of Justice: A Defense of Pluralism and Equality by Michael Walzer (print and eBook)
“I’d offer two books. They are masterful works of moral philosophy that have changed the way I think about justice, work and virtue. MacIntyre is not an easy read, but these two books changed my life.”
— Recommended by Barry Schwartz
 
Art as Experience by John Dewey (Print)
“I love that he pulls the aesthetic out of the rarified and into the everyday. He makes the point of art as absolutely accessible and essential.”
— Recommended by BJ Miller



Getting to Maybe: How the World Is Changed by Frances Westley
“Westley was my instructor in a conflict resolution course many years ago, and I have read this book multiple times. I learn something new each time. However, the main message I got from it when I read it the first time was that when trying to change the world (in whatever field you work with), it’s important to stop every once in a while and really think about what you are doing. It is OK to change plans, it is OK to change strategies, it is OK to revamp. Sometimes we are so deeply involved with what we do and the methods we use to reach our goals that we do not even see when it is not working.“
— Recommended by Patricia Medici


My Bondage and My Freedom by Frederick Douglass (eBook)
“‘No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man without at last finding the other end fastened about his own neck.’ To me, this quote perfectly illustrates the effect that slavery had on those who were raised to uphold its tenets. That a system can be a detriment even to those that may benefit from it I find incredibly poignant even in today’s society. It’s so important that we recognize the implications of our beliefs both in how they affect ourselves as well as others. My Bondage and My Freedom not only taught me about the cruel reality of slavery but also showed that in the most depraved systems humanity will seek to reach its potential no matter what obstacles are placed in its path.”
— Recommended by Zak Ebrahim



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