For book lovers, summer means making a little extra time to fall in love with a new title or revisit an old favorite.
Incoming University of Texas at Austin freshmen are no exception, and the 12th annual Reading Round-up invites them to join a campus-wide book club that promises an introduction to the university they won’t soon forget. Not to mention it offers plenty of new entries for their must-read lists.
Reading Round-up shares professors’ picks for books they think new college students should read, from the classics to modern novels to practical nonfiction. Students in the Class of 2018 pick a book from the list, sign up online and read it before the fall semester begins. On Aug. 26, the day before classes start, faculty will lead small group discussions with the students who read their pick. (See the entire 52-title list here, which contains recommendations from faculty campus-wide.)
This year four College of Education faculty – James Patton, Mary Steinhardt, Keryn Pasch, and Leslie Moore – were tapped to suggest titles.
Educational psychology professor Leslie Moore, who led a discussion on the novel “A Thousand Splendid Suns” last year and will do so again this summer, says, “Having the opportunity to share this experience with curious, knowledgeable and prepared students is one of the privileges of academia.
“I had students with a variety of majors and backgrounds — from engineering to education — which added to the breadth of the discussion. If these students are representative of our future, UT is in great shape!”
A Thousand Splendid Suns
by Khaled Hosseini
Leslie Moore, Educational Psychology
An engrossing story of the fate and friendship of two women in modern Afghanistan. I chose this book because in our global society, it gives a personal face to a country that is now part of U.S. history. While reading about the hardships in the lives of men and women in Afghanistan, I learned about how important creating meaning in life is to people everywhere. This book starts as a slow read, but hang in there: it quickly becomes a page turner.
My Stroke of Insight
by Jill Bolte Taylor
Larry Abraham, Kinesiology and Health Education, Undergraduate Studies
The author is a Harvard-trained brain scientist who experienced a massive stroke and observed her own mind deteriorate. Her experience emphasizes the fascinating dichotomy between our “left and right brains,” since the right side of her brain was much less affected. Taylor’s compelling writing captures first-hand how the brain functions to control mental and physical action and how it recovers from such damage. This book is a good introduction for anyone interested in learning more about the brain; as a researcher in this area, I consider Taylor’s book a must read.
Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions
by Dan Ariely
Keryn Pasch, Kinesiology and Health Education
Why do we splurge on dinner but cut coupons to save twenty-five cents on a can of soup? Why do we go back for seconds at the buffet when we’re already full? While we want to believe that we make smart choices, MIT behavioral economist Dan Ariely shows us that not only do we make misguided decisions, we’re quite predictable about it, too. Through experiments and everyday anecdotes, Ariely demonstrates that invisible forces like emotions and social norms can skew our decision-making abilities on everything from choosing a partner to buying a car. Learn how to break the cycle of bad decisions and make better choices with this engaging read.
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business
by Charles Duhigg
Mary Steinhardt, Kinesiology and Health Education
Pulitzer Prize-winning business reporter Charles Duhigg explains why habits exist and how they can be changed. Duhigg presents a whole new understanding of human nature and its potential. Habits aren’t destiny and they can be changed. The Power of Habit contains an exhilarating argument: The key to exercising or studying regularly, being more productive, and achieving success is understanding how habits work. Come learn how to harness the power of habits to ensure your success at The University of Texas at Austin and prepare yourself to help transform lives for the benefit of society.
Change Your Life Through Travel
by Jillian Robinson
James Patton, Special Education
Travel can and will have an impact on your life in a variety of ways. This nonfiction book sets the backdrop for making travel more meaningful; our discussion of this book will spark your journeys.
(Adapted from “58 Books to Love This Summer (or Anytime)”.)
Photograph: Kate Ter Haar/Flickr