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Admire John McPhee, Bill Bryson, David Remnick, Thomas Merton, Richard Rohr and James Martin (and most open and curious minds)

16.8.17

Socrates

Socrates Was One Of The Smartest People Ever Lived. Here Are 24 Out Of His Most Important Quotes That Everyone Needs To Read

Socrates was a classical Greek philosopher credited as one of the founders of Western philosophy. He is an enigmatic figure known chiefly through the accounts of classical writers, especially the writings of his students Plato and Xenophon and the plays of his contemporary Aristophanes. Plato's dialogues are among the most comprehensive accounts of Socrates to survive from antiquity.
Socrates Was One Of The Smartest People Ever Lived. Here Are 24 Out Of His Most Important Quotes That Everyone Needs To Read

Through his portrayal in Plato's dialogues, Socrates has become renowned for his contribution to the field of ethics, and it is this Platonic Socrates who lends his name to the concepts of Socratic irony and the Socratic method, or elenchus. The latter remains a commonly used tool in a wide range of discussions, and is a type of pedagogy in which a series of questions is asked not only to draw individual answers, but also to encourage fundamental insight into the issue at hand. Plato's Socrates also made important and lasting contributions to the field of epistemology, and the influence of his ideas and approach remains a strong foundation for much western philosophy that followed.

Let us remember his wisdom by reading 24 famous quotes of his:


1) “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” 

2) “The unexamined life is not worth living.”

3) “There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.”

4) “I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think”

5) “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

6) “Strong minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, weak minds discuss people.”

7) “By all means marry; if you get a good wife, you’ll become happy; if you get a bad one, you’ll become a philosopher.”

8) “He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have.”

9) “If you don't get what you want, you suffer; if you get what you don't want, you suffer; even when you get exactly what you want, you still suffer because you can't hold on to it forever. Your mind is your predicament. It wants to be free of change. Free of pain, free of the obligations of life and death. But change is law and no amount of pretending will alter that reality.”

10) “Sometimes you put walls up not to keep people out, but to see who cares enough to break them down.”

11) “Wonder is the beginning of wisdom.”

12) “To find yourself, think for yourself.”

13) “Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel.”

14) “Know thyself.”

15) “Let him who would move the world first move himself.”

16) “The secret of happiness, you see, is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less.”

17) “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”

18) “I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world.”

19) “Prefer knowledge to wealth, for the one is transitory, the other perpetual.”

20) “understanding a question is half an answer”

21) “True wisdom comes to each of us when we realize how little we understand about life, ourselves, and the world around us”

22) “He is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature.”

23) “To be is to do”

24) “The mind is everything; what you think you become”

The Great Man That Was Toscanini | commentary

The Great Man That Was Toscanini | commentary



The conductors Bruno Walter and Arturo Toscanini probably at Leopoldskron Palace, Salzburg, Photograph around 1935 : Photo d'actualité

An Illustrated Fictional Day in the Real Lives of Alice B. Toklas and Gertrude Stein – Brain Pickings

An Illustrated Fictional Day in the Real Lives of Alice B. Toklas and Gertrude Stein – Brain Pickings



An Illustrated Fictional Day in the Real Lives of Alice B. Toklas and Gertrude Stein

11.8.17

From philosophy to psychoanalysis: a classic Freudian move | Aeon Essays

From philosophy to psychoanalysis: a classic Freudian move | Aeon Essays

Now I Am Become Death:John Hersey's Hiroshima | Literary Hub

Now I Am Become Death:John Hersey's Hiroshima | Literary Hub

Follow a Kayaker Through an Abandoned Shipwreck | Mental Floss

Follow a Kayaker Through an Abandoned Shipwreck | Mental Floss



Original image

Sun, sea, sand, text: the 10 hottest highbrow books for the beach | Books | The Guardian

Sun, sea, sand, text: the 10 hottest highbrow books for the beach | Books | The Guardian



New wave … Jennifer Jones and Jason Robards in the 1962 film adaptation of Tender is the Night.

Crows

Birdology by Sy Montgomery. Crows have an undeserved reputation. Generally viewed as ominous and distasteful, they are in fact very clever, and use tools, including using cars to crack the shells of walnuts: 

"Through the centuries, many people have found members of the crow family 'as unappealing as cockroaches and as undeserving of sympathy,' writes Candace Savage in her book on crow intel­ligence, Bird Brains. While most people can summon admiration for some of the more colorful members of the family Corvidae -- like the familiar blue jay and the stunningly iridescent, blue-headed green jay of Mexico and South America -- the majority of the family is black, and these species elicit the same suspicions as do black cats, black sheep, and black hats. The preju­dice is reflected in our language: after all, a large group of crows is called a murder; a flock of ravens, an unkindness. The same sentiment is reflected in art: American realist landscape painter Winslow Homer's iconic 1893 Fox Huntdepicts the popular nineteenth-century notion of crows as symbols of doom. In the painting, two low-flying crows harass a red fox as he makes his way over a snowy landscape, while in the background more crows lurk ominously. In life, corvids and canids often team up as hunting part­ners -- ravens lead wolves to prey, which the wolves can open with their teeth so the ravens can partake. 

"But in Homer's painting, the crows are chasing and frightening the fox, and the viewer wants to shoo the birds away. And despite the fact that the most famous quote of his writing career is attributed to a raven, even Edgar Allan Poe considered the whole crow family 'grim, ungainly, ghastly, gaunt, and ominous.' As we humans do, crows and ravens eat carcasses, though they don't get theirs at the supermarket; farmers are incensed when the birds feed on dead and dying livestock (animals who, if healthy, the farmers would kill and eat themselves). Around the world, crows are accused of harassing livestock, raiding crops, and spreading garbage (who put the garbage there in the first place?). In 1989, the British House of Lords rose in outrage against a proposal that corvids should receive some sort of protection, like other birds. One lawmaker cried out in reply, 'Capital punishment for the thieving and murderous magpie!' (But what if all the ravens -- fellow corvids -- left the Tower of London? Legend warns this would spell the fall of the Kingdom, and to prevent such a catastrophe, the nation employs a royal raven keeper.) ...


Winslow Homer. The Fox Hunt, 1893.
"But as one of the world's top crow researchers, Cornell's Kevin McGowan, points out, 'These birds aren't a gang of nasty villains. These birds are just birds. American crows are among the most family-oriented birds in the world!' But they do suffer from a PR problem, exacerbated by the fact that they feed on the corpses of farm animals and, especially on the battlefield, people. Because of this, crows and their relatives have been associated in much of European mythology with cruelty, death, and disease.
'Even in these large flocks, crows don't represent a health hazard at all,' McGowan stresses. They do not spread disease to people. ... Crows do more good than harm to human food crops. In her book, Savage cites a study from New York State that found only 1 percent of crows' summer diet was field corn. ...
"In the wild, in the laboratory, and in the city, crows and their relatives turn out to be expert tool users. Wild New Caledonian crows of the South Pacific not only use tools, and not only make tools, but will use two different tools in succession if they deem it necessary to accomplish their goal. The birds were caught on tiny, bird borne video cameras using their bills to whittle twigs into hooks and tearing leaves into barbed probes. Sometimes they used one after another to fish a particular bug from a crevice. 

"In the city, crows go even further: they manage to use human tools to their ends. ... Walnuts are a crop new to Japan, but lately groves seem to be springing up everywhere. Crows find walnuts tasty and nutritious, but the shells are hard to open. The solution: crows pluck the nuts from the trees, then fly to perch on the traffic signal at the nearest traffic intersection. When the light is red, they fly down and place the nuts in the front of waiting cars. When the light turns green, the cars run them over, cracking the hard shells. When the light turns red again and the cars stop, the crows fly down to safely eat the nutmeats."

Naked Ladies and Weird, Invisible Men | Literary Hub

Naked Ladies and Weird, Invisible Men | Literary Hub



10.8.17

Chelsea Manning Is A Glowing Beauty In New Vogue Profile | HuffPost

Chelsea Manning Is A Glowing Beauty In New Vogue Profile | HuffPost



Satire


What to do on Saturday night is a philosophical problem. Notwithstanding the scheduling idiosyncrasies created by our “flexible” economy, it remains the time of week we are least able to avoid asking ourselves: What do we want? Under normal circumstances, the answers are as various as our moods—we want to eat, we want to dance, we want to watch an old horror film on 35mm while drinking a microbrew. But in the months following the 2016 presidential election, at least among the demographic that tends to read this magazine, everyone began to answer the question the same way: we wanted comedy. More specifically, we wanted Saturday Night Live.
We wanted to watch Alec Baldwin play Donald Trump as if he had facial neuralgia. We wanted to watch Melissa McCarthy play Sean Spicer spitting up gum and shouting down CNN reporters. We wanted to watch Steve Bannon as the Grim Reaper and Kellyanne Conway as a raving lunatic. We wanted to watch these things over and over, and then we wanted to commiserate for the rest of the week about how perfectly the skits had captured our new political (un)reality. “It’s funny because it’s true,” people said to one another, not quite sure what they meant—or, a popular variation: “It would be funny, if it weren’t so true.”
You could summarize the message of these skits in your sleep: Trump is an ignorant and childish stooge. Also, he’s narcissistic and greedy. So is everyone who works under or voted for him, except for the ones, like Bannon, who are less ignorant than evil. The obviousness of such points could sometimes be embarrassing. Yet it did not seem terrible, at such a time, to take some comfort in the obvious and familiar. We could do what we pleased with our Saturday nights, after all. And besides, where was the harm in a little laughter?
The worries began almost immediately. Not only Saturday Night Live but Samantha Bee, John Oliver, Seth Meyers, Stephen Colbert and the rest of the late-night hosts all kept playing endless variations on the same theme. Some warned that the joke was getting old—and what would we laugh at next? Others cautioned that satire was becoming the opiate of the resistance: sure, it made us feel good, but it was no substitute for calling our senators or boycotting Uber. Still others accused this kind of comedy of being a contributing toxin to the noxious political environment that thoughtful people, in their better-medicated moments, claimed they wanted to clean up. (“How did our politics get so poisonous?” asked Stephen Colbert on his election-night special; then he went back to making jokes about the president fellating Vladimir Putin.)
Such worries may be legitimate, but they risk distracting us from an underlying continuity. The formula that succeeded on Saturday nights—and soon on every other night of the week as well—can be traced back to the moment when Jon Stewart took over The Daily Show in 1999. Stewart became the face of a generation (its characteristic expression was a disbelieving smirk) who had graduated from their liberal colleges into a country run by George W. Bush and his impossibly inept henchmen. For them (for us!), it was a great relief to discover a nightly news report that did not feel the need to equivocate, or use respectful language, when discussing Dick Cheney’s delusional promises or Karl Rove’s blatant lies. When an aide to the president, later revealed to be Rove, accused reporter Ron Suskind in 2004 of being part of the “reality-based community,” we disagreed: the Washington press corps were rarely intrepid enough to tell us what was really happening; Stewart, on the other hand, broke it down for us, with entertaining punchlines, every night.
The indispensable premise of The Daily Show’s humor was that its anchor and its audience were on the same side—the side of the sober, the rational, the scientifically literate—in a cultural and political war against a group of people portrayed sometimes as malicious, sometimes as ignorant and sometimes as insane. (What else was the “Rally to Restore Sanity” besides an attempt to delineate a politics of the mentally fit?) Most often, the overt targets of Stewart’s satire, as of the SNL skits following the election, were politicians, but these targets could never be fully separated from the voters they represented. The link was made explicit in the often-hilarious segments where “correspondents” were sent out into the American hinterlands. The humor of these segments—Samantha Bee reporting from a tobacco farm in Kentucky, or Ed Helms covering the Cooter Festival in central Florida—would have been impossible without the chasm that separated Comedy Central’s audience so completely from the subject of its mockery that the subject could be counted on to have never watched, or even heard of, The Daily Show.
Whether measured by market share or the accrual of cultural capital, the formula proved a winner, and has since become ubiquitous. Samantha Bee now hosts her own popular show on TBS, while another of the early correspondents, Stephen Colbert, hosts The Late Show on CBS. Perhaps to greater long-term consequence, ascendant left-liberal commentators like Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes routinely pepper their “serious” news programs with clips from their satirical counterparts. Indeed by the middle of Bush’s second term, Comedy Central and MSNBC had become, especially from the hours of 9 p.m. to 12 p.m., all but indistinguishable from one another, however much their star talent labored to deny it. (Stewart persisted in using the line that he was just an entertainer long past its expiration date. Meanwhile Keith Olbermann’s Bush-era “special comments” would be timeless masterpieces—“thus forgive me for reading Murrow in full”—if only Olbermann had been aware they were comedic.)
These developments might be interpreted as harmless, or even as a harbinger of liberalism’s imminent triumph, had they not been accompanied by a cascade of electoral defeats. As it happens, it is hard not to draw a connection between the role these shows played in reinforcing their audience’s hunch that they represent the vanguard of an enlightened civilization, and the abandonment of the Democratic Party by large swaths of the country. Just as importantly, the last election would seem to have proved, if it still needed proving, that Manichean satire and incredulous outrage can be adapted for many purposes, including reactionary or retrograde ones. Trump’s own act remains resolutely pre-Stewart—a blend of Rodney Dangerfield one-liners and sloppy slapstick—but the hard-right websites that helped clear the way for his rise, like Breitbart or the Daily Caller, employ humor much as The Daily Show and The Colbert Report did, to separate the sane from the insane.
The memes and hashtags shared by right-wing pundits may be more vulgar and less fact-based than their liberal counterparts. But these are matters of manners: in either case, the success of the joke depends on how effectively it demeans the portion of the population who is not in on it.
Likewise with the weekly leftist podcast Chapo Trap House, which began early in 2016 and rapidly became a popular clubhouse for Bernie Sanders devotees. Chapo’s style, as the show’s hosts never tire of pointing out, is more boorish than that of Trevor Noah or John Oliver, and its ridicule is aimed just as often at liberal targets—Hillary Clinton, Jonathan Chait, Ta-Nehisi Coates—as at right-wing ones. But it can be difficult to tell the difference between the Very Serious Liberal arrogance that the Chapo hosts like to lampoon, and their own didactic self-certainty. Quoted just after the election in a profile for the New Yorker, one of the podcast’s hosts, Will Menaker, spoke of his intention to declare “eternal, holy war on the Democratic Party.” Another host, Felix Biederman, said, “The Democratic leadership has to be purged. Our mission statement, for the time being, is to paint these targets.” The quotations make explicit what might otherwise be obscured by the show’s ironic-dirtbag shtick: the Chapo hosts see themselves as moral and ideological crusaders. What exactly they are crusading for can get a bit hazy—it appears to involve the conviction that Marx was right and Foucault wrong, and a $15 minimum wage. What needs no explanation is that their cause is the righteous one.
The point is not that partisan political commentary is always pointless or juvenile, nor even that there is anything inherently foolish about spending our Saturday nights watching cartoonish impersonations of our cartoonish president. Every political movement has ways of distinguishing between insiders and outsiders: satire and ridicule are among the most humane of them. And there have been times, as during the early years of the Bush presidency, where jokes were among the best tools for helping to cut through the residue of sclerotic habit. There have even been times where “laughtivism,” as the term was coined by Serbian activists working to depose Serbian president Slobodan Miloševic in the Nineties, has played a non-trivial role in political transformation.
But it is worth asking, given our current predicament, whether doubling down on the Adorables vs. Deplorables routine is the best we can do. If this routine had the political power that is sometimes claimed for it, then our current president could never have survived his first Republican primary debate, much less the March for Science. More plausibly, its increasingly strident manifestations—over the line or not, what was Kathy Griffin’s joke?—suggest that it is fast becoming yet another product of our feelings of powerlessness and frustration. There will always be an appetite for comedy that tells its audience someone else is to blame. Traditionally, though, the higher honor has been given to another kind of humor: one where the most intractable adversary is ourselves.
As an art form, comedy was institutionalized in ancient Greece, where it was often considered in tandem with its dramatic doppelgänger, tragedy. In his 1967 study Tragedy and Comedy, the critic Walter Kerr argued that comedy seems “not only to follow tragedy but also to derive from it.” Kerr meant this in the first place quite literally: in the Greek polis, tragedies were customarily performed in a series of three dramatic plays (the Oresteia, the Prometheia, the Oedipus trilogy), after which followed a fourth performance, a “satyr” play, written by the same author and treating the same material mockingly as opposed to solemnly. But he also means something like what Socrates was getting at when he suggested, at the end of Plato’s Symposium, that a skillful playwright should be able to write both comedy and tragedy. Not only does comedy share a subject matter with tragedy; it also, just like tragedy, asks us to endure the unendurable. “Laughter,” writes Kerr, “is an inadequate response to what is truly funny.”
The greatest twentieth-century comedian of what is truly funny was the Irish novelist and playwright Samuel Beckett. Beckett risked his life as a minor participant in the French Resistance during World War II, but he resisted the temptation to turn his art into a polemic against the times. The most recognizable of his novels and plays can be described without reference to history or culture of any kind: four people bantering on a doomed boat, one in a wheelchair and two in garbage cans (Endgame); a vagrant lying in a bed formerly occupied by his mother, determined to “speak of the things that are left … [and] finish dying” (Molloy); a clown sitting in the desert, unable—and then unwilling—to seize the carafe of water that dangles just outside his reach (Act Without Words I); a husband crawling around the perimeter of a steadily growing mound of sand, under which lies his half-buried wife (Happy Days).
In Beckett’s most famous play, Waiting for Godot, two tramps put off hanging themselves while they “wait and see what he”—Godot, that is—has to say to them. While Vladimir and Estragon wait by a gnarled tree, they bicker about hope, salvation, their memories of yesterday and their forecasts for tomorrow. A third figure, Pozzo, passes by, chiding them for their preoccupation with chronology. “Have you not done tormenting me with your accursed time!” he shouts at them. “One day he went dumb, one day I went blind, one day we’ll go deaf, one day we were born, one day we shall die, the same day, the same second, is that not enough for you?” Subsequent events reinforce Pozzo’s insistence on the futility of seeking to bring narrative order to our experience, although they also testify to our inability to stop trying. At the end of each day (and each act), Vladimir and Estragon determine to leave their chosen spot; each time the stage directions indicate that they “do not move.”
Surely it is no accident that such a play should have been written in the middle of the twentieth century, by a European playwright who was more than familiar with the dangers of excessive ambition, whether in politics or in art. Yet the drama’s enduring resonance comes from its depiction of a circumstance in which ambition is less a threat than an impossibility. There are neither friends nor enemies, neither adorables nor deplorables, on Beckett’s stage, only human beings who barely believe their own propaganda. (“Estragon: We’ve no rights any more? Vladimir: You’d make me laugh if it wasn’t prohibited.”) The play’s satirical target is the faith, which even the characters themselves acknowledge to be farcical, that we might, with enough intelligence and wit, be able to secure some satisfaction from the world. (“Estragon: I was dreaming I was happy. Vladimir: That passed the time.”)
Belying their supposed fidelity to evidence-based reasoning, the appeal of our late-night comedians and commentators is predicated on this very faith. Earnestly they persist, with much of their audience, in believing that the right fact, the right truth exposed, the right turn of phrase, will help to bring about the future they desire. They may yet be proven right—who can say? But surely they distract us from what is truly funny.
Estragon: Didi?
Vladimir: Yes.
Estragon: I can’t go on like this.
Vladimir: That’s what you think.

Wolves, wheat and wool: in search of old England | The Spectator

Wolves, wheat and wool: in search of old England | The Spectator



Sheep being milked in a pen. (From the Luttrell Psalter, English School, 14th century)

9.8.17

Books

Brian Eno Lists 20 Books for Rebuilding Civilization & 59 Books For Building Your Intellectual World



eno books
Artist and music producer Brian Eno wrote one of my very favorite books: A Year with Swollen Appendices, which takes the form of his personal diary of the year 1995 with essayistic chapters (the "swollen appendices") on topics like "edge culture," generative music, new ways of singing, pretension, CD-ROMs (a relevant topic back then), and payment structures for recording artists (a relevant topic again today). It also includes a fair bit of Eno's correspondence with Stewart Brand, once editor of the Whole Earth Catalog and now president of the Long Now Foundation, "a counterpoint to today's accelerating culture" meant to "help make long-term thinking more common" and "creatively foster responsibility in the framework of the next 10,000 years."


It so happens that Eno now sits on the Long Now Foundation’s board and has had a hand in some of its projects. Naturally, he contributed suggested reading material to the foundation's Manual of Civilization, a collection of books humanity could use to rebuild civilization, should it need rebuilding. Eno's full list, which spans history, politics, philosophy, sociology, architecture, design, nature, and literature, runs as follows:
If you'd like to know more books that have shaped Eno's thinking, do pick up a copy of A Year with Swollen Appendices. Like all the best diarists, Eno makes plenty of references to his day-to-day reading material, and at the very end — beyond the last swollen appendix — he includes a bibliography, on which you'll find more from Christopher Alexander, a reappearance of Rorty's Contingency, Irony and Solidarity, and even Steward Brand's own How Buildings Learn (on a television version of which the two would collaborate):

PBK Reading List




What makes summer truly great? Carving out time for leisurely reading, whether it’s by the pool, at the beach, on a plane – or even just in your own living room.

The Phi Beta Kappa Society’s 2017 Summer Reading List offers a selection of books that will deepen your love of learning and let you explore a wide range of topics from an illustrated history of controversial philosophers to a Shakespearean troupe clinging to scraps of civilization in a post-apocalyptic world. The list (including links and summaries from Goodreads) is a mix of new and classic books chosen by fellow Phi Beta Kappa members via Facebookand recommendations from our alumni book clubs around the country.
 
Please comment on our Facebook page to tell us how many of these titles you have read as well as other titles you think we should keep in mind for future selections.
 
Thanks to our members for their many thoughtful suggestions, and here’s to a summer of great reading! 



               

            

The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen, (ΦBK, University of California, Berkeley)
The winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, The Sympathizer is a blistering exploration of identity and America, a gripping espionage novel, and a powerful story of love and friendship.

Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine 
In essay, image, and poetry, Citizen is a powerful testament to the individual and collective effects of racism in our contemporary, often named "post-race" society.

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, (ΦBK, DePauw University)
A suspenseful epic of one family's tragic undoing and remarkable reconstruction over the course of three decades in postcolonial Africa.

Heretics!: The Wondrous (and Dangerous) Beginnings of Modern Philosophy by Steven Nadler and Ben Nadler 
An illustrated history of the most contentious and controversial philosophers who fundamentally changed the way we look at the world, society, and ourselves. 

Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
Acclaimed scientist Hope Jahren tells a story about work, love, and the mountains that can be moved when those two things come together.

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel 
Following a Shakespearean troupe clinging to scraps of civilization in a post-apocalyptic world, Station Eleven tells a story about the relationships that sustain us, the ephemeral nature of fame, and the beauty of the world as we know it.

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss 
A high-action story written with a poet's hand, The Name of the Wind is the tale of the magically gifted young man who grows to be the most notorious wizard his world has ever seen.

Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness by Peter Godfrey-Smith
A leading philosopher of science and a scuba diver, Godfrey-Smith brings his parallel careers together in this books to tell a bold new story of how nature became aware of itself.

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra
In war-torn Chechnya, an intricate pattern of connections weaves together the pasts of three unlikely companions and unexpectedly decides their fate.

Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming by Paul Hawken 
The 100 most substantive solutions to reverse global warming, based on meticulous research by leading scientists and policymakers around the world. 

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Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders 
A thrilling exploration of death, grief, the powers of good and evil, the novel follows Abraham Lincoln after the death of his eleven year old son, Willie, at the dawn of the Civil War. 
   Discuss this with the DC Area Association in July at Nagomi Izakaya. More Information.

The Third Coast: When Chicago Built the American Dream
 by Thomas Dyja 
A cultural history of Chicago at midcentury, with its incredible mix of architects, politicians, musicians, writers, entrepreneurs, and actors who helped shape modern America. 
   Discuss this with the Chicago Association on July 9 at the Nix Restaurant Knickerbocker Hotel. RSVP.

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City
 by Matthew Desmond 
Based on years of embedded fieldwork and painstakingly gathered data, this masterful book transforms our understanding of extreme poverty and economic exploitation while providing fresh ideas for solving a devastating, uniquely American problem.
   Discuss this with the Boston Association on July 15 from 3:00 - 5:00 p.m. at Bourbon Coffee. RSVP.

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison 
Suspenseful and sardonic, narrated in a voice that takes in the symphonic range of the American language, black and white, Invisible Man is one of the most audacious and dazzling novels of our century.
   Discuss this with the New York Association on July 25 at 7:00 p.m. at The Winslow. RSVP.

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance 

From a former Marine and Yale Law School Graduate, a poignant account of growing up in a poor Appalachian town, that offers a broader, probing look at the struggles of America’s white working class.
   Discuss this with the Atlanta Association on September 9 from 5:00 - 6:30 p.m. at Javavino. RSVP.

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Ordinary Light
 by Tracy K. Smith, (ΦBK, Princeton University)
From new U.S. Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy K. Smith, a deeply moving memoir that explores coming-of-age and the meaning of home against a complex backdrop of race, faith, and the unbreakable bond between a mother and daughter.

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton, (ΦBK, Harvard University)
A cautionary tale about genetic engineering, the novel tells the story of the collapse of an amusement park showcasing genetically recreated dinosaurs.

The American Spirit: Who We Are and What We Stand For by David McCullough, (ΦBK, Yale University)
A timely collection of speeches by David McCullough, the most honored historian in the United States—winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, two National Book Awards, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, among many others—that reminds us of fundamental American principles.

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, (ΦBK, University of Tulsa)
The story of two competing youth gangs in Oklahoma whose rivalry turns deadly, The Outsiders is a dramatic and enduring work of fiction.

Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg, (ΦBK, Harvard University) 
A powerful, inspiring, and practical book about building resilience and moving forward after life’s inevitable setbacks.