For the past nine months I have been writing a memoir, that in fact, started as prose and has been written, in some form, over the last 40 years… I love the process of creative writing. The working title is “Lamps Without Shades: A Memoir of Mystical and Irreverent Incidents” and I am currently working with a professional editor to take it to the next stages. And I am looking forward to the day when I can announce that it has been published…
Going through this process has made me much mor appreciative of the number of my students and colleagues who are published authors. So, I wanted to honor their talents in this newsletter as part of a Summer Reading List.
Ben Wugraft, “Meat Planet”
Neither an advocate nor a critic of cultured meat, Benjamin Aldes Wurgaft spent five years researching the phenomenon. In Meat Planet, he reveals how debates about lab-grown meat reach beyond debates about food, examining the links between appetite, growth, and capitalism. Could satiating the growing appetite for meat actually lead to our undoing? Are we simply using one technology to undo the damage caused by another? Like all problems in our food system, the meat problem is not merely a problem of production. It is intrinsically social and political, and it demands that we examine questions of justice and desirable modes of living in a shared and finite world.
Angela Davis, “Angela Davis: An Autobiography”
Davis describes her journey from a childhood on Dynamite Hill in Birmingham, Alabama, to one of the most significant political trials of the century: from her political activity in a New York high school to her work with the US Communist Party, the Black Panther Party, and the Soledad Brothers; and from the faculty of the philosophy department at the University of California at Los Angeles to the FBI’s list of the "Ten Most Wanted Fugitives".
Read by Angela Davis herself, this autobiography, told with warmth, brilliance, humor, and conviction, is a classic account of a life in struggle, with echoes in our own time.
Leslie Larson, “Breaking Out of Bedlam”
Breaking Out of Bedlam captures the loneliness and secrets that lurk within families, the hardscrabble reality facing women with limited resources, and the resilience of a woman who survives, despite all the odds, through an unlikely combination of passion, humor, and faith.
“Tough-edged Cora Sledge, 82, is a reluctant resident of The Palisades nursing home—a ‘prison [where] your only crime is you lived too long.’ Her tell-all journal, recounting dramas at the home (thefts, love affairs, rivalries) and a tragedy buried in her past, is profane, harrowing, comical—and Cora’s voice is spot-on.”—AARP Magazine
Daren Main “Yoga and the Path of the Urban Mystic”
Everyday, millions of people roll out their yoga mats or sit on their meditation cushions in an effort to quiet the mind and heal the body. Some practice Iyengar yoga, while others practice vinyasa or restorative yoga—almost all who practice yoga have touched something deep within themselves and had their lives transformed by this ancient practice. In Yoga and the Path of the Urban Mystic, Darren Main offers a fresh, down-to-earth approach to the time-tested practice and philosophy of yoga. He shows us the way to apply the ancient wisdom of India to every aspect of life. From work and relationships, to death and dying—allowing even our busiest days to become powerful and mystical adventures, filled with all the wonder and magic that was once reserved for those living as monks and nuns.
Sabina & Eunice Moyle (illustrator) "SLOTH AND SMELL THE ROSES"
This pun-derful guide to mindfulness offers many fun teaching moments for kids and their caregivers, covering topics from taking deep breaths to acknowledging strong feelings and working to let them go. Filled with bright, adorable illustrations in Hello!Lucky’s inimitable style, this playful, sturdy board book is sure to give the preschool set much to ponder. As a bonus seek-and-find element, readers will find at least one rose on every spread—an additional reminder to stop and smell the roses!
Steve Petrow, “Stupid Things I Won’t Do When I’m Old”
In Stupid Things I Won't Do When I Get Old, Petrow candidly addresses the fears, frustrations, and stereotypes that accompany aging. He offers a blueprint for the new old age and an understanding that aging and illness are not the same. As he writes, "I meant the list to serve as a pointed reminder - to me - to make different choices when I eventually cross the threshold to 'old.'" Getting older is a privilege. This essential guide reveals how to do it with grace, wisdom, humor, and hope. And without hoarding.
Domonick Wegesin, “Breath In Calm: Yogic Breathing & Mindfulness Tools For Instant Anxiety Relief”
In Breathe in Calm, a neuroscientist and yoga expert offers powerful tips to help you identify when anxiety is rising, so you can stop feeling helpless and start being proactive. You’ll find calming tools—including yogic breathing, mindfulness, and acceptance—to actively soothe your nervous system and regulate your physical and emotional state. You’ll also learn ways to stay calm in the moment, develop confidence, and courageously move forward in pursuing the life you desire.
This anti-anxiety tool kit includes:
- Yogic breathing practices and easy postures to soothe the body and mind
- Mindfulness and acceptance tools to help you stay grounded and focused on what matters
- Tools to help you gain awareness of the habits driving your anxiety
- Kindness and compassion tools for self-care
- Tons of downloadable guided meditations and songs
Chris Delyani, “Best Man”
Frank Mercer is a forty-year-old high school math teacher, newly divorced from his husband and struggling to make his mortgage payments. He thinks his problems will be solved by a romance with his old friend Jonathan Butler, a man Frank has secretly admired for over twenty years. But Jonathan is engaged to Marcus Pierce, his unfaithful longtime boyfriend. When Jonathan asks Frank to serve as best man at his wedding, Frank must choose between supporting his friend and speaking from his heart... But which relationship is real, which relationship is fake? Their story leads them to ask themselves fundamental questions about love, friendship, and what it means to be true to one’s partner.
Gina Dent “Abolition Feminism Now” with Angela Y. Davis, Erica R. Meiners, and Beth E. Richie
As a politic and a practice, abolition increasingly shapes our political moment - halting the construction of new jails and propelling movements to divest from policing. Yet erased from this landscape are not only the central histories of feminist - usually queer, anti-capitalist, grassroots, and women of color - organizing that continue to cultivate abolition but a recognition of a stark reality: Abolition is our best response to endemic forms of state and interpersonal gender and sexual violence.
Amplifying the analysis and the theories of change generated from vibrant, community-based organizing, Abolition. Feminism. Now. surfaces necessary historical genealogies, key internationalist learnings, and everyday practices to grow our collective and flourishing present and futures.