Recommended Reads During Intersession
Co-sponsored by GMS Student Affairs and The Alumni Medical Library:
Enter the raffle to be 1 of 20 students to win a book from this list!
Raffle winners will be drawn at 12:00PM on December 15th. Winners must respond by the end of the day as to which book from the list they prefer and their full mailing address (so we can send it directly to you!)
Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe
By: Benjamin Alire Saenz
“Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship – the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.”
Punching the Air
“With spellbinding lyricism, award-winning author Ibi Zoboi and prison reform activist Yusef Salaam tell a moving and deeply profound story about how one boy is able to maintain his humanity and fight for the truth in a system designed to strip him of both.”
By: Gayl Jones
“A literary classic that remains vital to our understanding of the past, Corregidora is Gayl Jones’s powerful debut novel, examining womanhood, sexuality, and the psychological residue of slavery. Jones masterfully tells the story of Ursa, a Kentucky blues singer, who, in the wake of a tragic loss, confronts her maternal history and the legacy of Corregidora, the Portuguese slave master who fathered both her mother and grandmother.
Consumed and haunted by her hatred of the man who irrevocably shaped her life and the lives of her family, Ursa Corregidora must come to terms with a past that is never too distant from the present.”
This Is How It Always Is: A Novel
By: Laurie Frankel
“When Rosie and Penn and their four boys welcome the newest member of their family, no one is surprised it’s another baby boy. At least their large, loving, chaotic family knows what to expect.
But Claude is not like his brothers. One day he puts on a dress and refuses to take it off. He wants to bring a purse to kindergarten. He wants hair long enough to sit on. When he grows up, Claude says, he wants to be a girl.
Rosie and Penn aren’t panicked at first. Kids go through phases, after all, and make-believe is fun. But soon the entire family is keeping Claude’s secret. Until one day it explodes.”
Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019
“Four Hundred Souls is a unique one-volume “community” history of African Americans. The editors, Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain, have assembled ninety brilliant writers, each of whom takes on a five-year period of that four-hundred-year span. The writers explore their periods through a variety of techniques: historical essays, short stories, personal vignettes, and fiery polemics. They approach history from various perspectives: through the eyes of towering historical icons or the untold stories of ordinary people; through places, laws, and objects. While themes of resistance and struggle, of hope and reinvention, course through the book, this collection of diverse pieces from ninety different minds, reflecting ninety different perspectives, fundamentally deconstructs the idea that Africans in America are a monolith – instead it unlocks the startling range of experiences and ideas that have always existed within the community of Blackness.
This is a history that illuminates our past and gives us new ways of thinking about our future, written by the most vital and essential voices of our present.”
Crying in H Mart: A Memoir
By: Michelle Zauner
“In this exquisite story of family, food, grief, and endurance, Michelle Zauner proves herself far more than a dazzling singer, songwriter, and guitarist. With humor and heart, she tells of growing up one of the few Asian-American kids at her school in Eugene, Oregon; of struggling with her mother’s particular high expectations of her; of a painful adolescence; of treasured months spent in her grandmother’s tiny apartment in Seoul, where she and her mother would bond, late at night, over heaping plates of food. As she grew up, moving to the East Coast for college, finding work in the restaurant industry, and performing gigs with her fledgling band – and meeting the man who would become her husband – her Korean-ness began to feel ever more distant, even as she found the life she wanted to live. It was her mother’s diagnosis of terminal cancer, when Michelle was 25, that forced a reckoning with her identity and brought her to reclaim the gifts of taste, language, and history her mother had given her.
Vivacious and plainspoken, lyrical and honest, Zauner’s voice is as radiantly alive on the page as it is onstage. Rich with intimate anecdotes that will resonate widely, Crying in H Mart is a book to cherish, share, and enjoy many times.”
Once a Warrior: How One Veteran Found a New Mission Closer to Home
By: Jake Wood
“From Marine sniper Jake Wood, a riveting memoir of leading over 100,000 veterans to a life of renewed service, volunteering to battle, hurricanes, tornados, wildfires, pandemics, and civil wars, and inspiring onlookers as their unique military training saved lives and rebuilt our country.
When Jake Wood arrived in the States after two grueling tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, he watched his unit lose more men to suicide than to enemy hands overseas. Reeling, Jake looked for a way to direct their restlessness towards a new mission – and put their formidable skills to good use. When an earthquake struck Haiti in 2010, Jake had his answer. He convinced several fellow veterans to join him on a ragtag mission to provide desperately needed aid. Despite the high stakes, they were able to untangle complex problems quickly and keep calm under pressure.
In this raw, adrenaline-filled narrative, Jake recounts, how, over the past 10 years, he’s built the disaster response organization Team Rubicon, and seen the work provide a lifeline back to purpose for the heroes among us. Not only do these intrepid volunteers race against the clock to aid communities after Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Harvey, COVID-19, and hundreds of other disasters they also fight for something just as important – each other.
Once a Warrior provides a soaring look at what our veterans are capable of – and what might become of America’s next greatest generation.”
The Sawbones Book: The Horrifying, Hilarious Road to Modern Medicine
“Wondering whether eating powdered mummies might be just the thing to cure your ills? Tempted by those vintage ads suggesting you wear radioactive underpants for virility? Ever considered drilling a hole in your head to deal with those pesky headaches? Probably not. But for thousands of years, people have done things like this – and things that make radioactive underpants seem downright sensible! In their hit podcast, Sawbones, Sydnee and Justin McElroy breakdown the weird and wonderful way we got to modern healthcare. And some of the terrifying detours along the way.
Every week, Dr. Sydnee McElroy and her husband Justin amaze, amuse, and gross out (depending on the week) hundreds of thousands of avid listeners to their podcast, Sawbones. Consistently rated a top podcast on iTunes, with over 15 million total downloads, this rollicking journey through thousands of years of medical mishaps and miracles is not only hilarious but downright educational. While you may never even consider applying boiled weasel to your forehead (once the height of sophistication when it came to headache cures), you will almost certainly face some questionable medical advice in your everyday life (we’re looking at you, raw water!) and be better able to figure out if this is a miracle cure (it’s not) or a scam.”
A Little Life: A Novel
By: Hanya Yanagihara
“The transcendent story follows four college friends who move to New York City, buoyed by ambition: Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, an artist; Malcolm, an architect; and, at the center, Jude, a withdrawn, brilliant attorney haunted by an unspeakable past. Through decades of shared and separate lives, Jude’s suffering – and its impact on those who love him – raises questions about the limits of human endurance, the possibility for redemption, and the meaning of friendship.
Audible Studios recognized A Little Life’s potential as a truly remarkable listening experience from the moment we read the manuscript. We fought to produce it ourselves, so we could cast a narrator whose powerful performance mirrors the endurance of Yanagihara’s broken, beloved characters. Even Oliver Wyman’s resilience starts to crack at the end, making A Little Life feel thoroughly alive – and anything but small.”
Project Hail Mary
By: Andy Weir
“Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission – and if he fails, humanity and the Earth itself will perish.
Except that right now, he doesn’t know that. He can’t even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.
All he knows is that he’s been asleep for a very, very long time. And he’s just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company.
His crewmates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, he realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Alone on this tiny ship that’s been cobbled together by every government and space agency on the planet and hurled into the depths of space, it’s up to him to conquer an extinction-level threat to our species.
And thanks to an unexpected ally, he just might have a chance.
Part scientific mystery, part dazzling interstellar journey, Project Hail Mary is a tale of discovery, speculation, and survival to rival The Martian – while taking us to places it never dreamed of going.”
Recklessly Alive: What My Suicide Attempt Taught Me About God and Living Life to the Fullest
By: Sam Eaton
“Every 12.3 minutes someone completes suicide, and I was almost one of them. I had written letters, picked a day, and packed up all my belongings because I believed my life was worthless and disposable. What lies ahead of you is my journey from suicide attempt toward abundant life. I share it with you in hopes that you can see yourself or someone you love in my story and find the courage to start conversations about faith, mental health, depression, and suicide.
I am not a pastor, a deep-sea diver, an Avenger, or a mongoose whisperer. I have never sawed off my own arm, had my hand digested by a shark, or experienced any other amazing feat of humanity. I am just an average guy who found his world slipping away and—in a moment of extreme clarity—made the terrifying decision to stay and chase a life that is fully and recklessly alive.”
Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
By: Brené Brown
“Every day we experience the uncertainty, risks, and emotional exposure that define what it means to be vulnerable or to dare greatly. Based on 12 years of pioneering research, Dr. Brené Brown dispels the cultural myth that vulnerability is weakness and argues that it is, in truth, our most accurate measure of courage.
Brown explains how vulnerability is both the core of difficult emotions like fear, grief, and disappointment, and the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, empathy, innovation, and creativity. She writes: “When we shut ourselves off from vulnerability, we distance ourselves from the experiences that bring purpose and meaning to our lives.”
Daring Greatly is not about winning or losing. It’s about courage. In a world where “never enough” dominates and feeling afraid has become second nature, vulnerability is subversive. Uncomfortable. It’s even a little dangerous at times. And, without question, putting ourselves out there means there’s a far greater risk of getting criticized or feeling hurt. But when we step back and examine our lives, we will find that nothing is as uncomfortable, dangerous, and hurtful as standing on the outside of our lives looking in and wondering what it would be like if we had the courage to step into the arena – whether it’s a new relationship, an important meeting, the creative process, or a difficult family conversation. Daring Greatly is a practice and a powerful new vision for letting ourselves be seen.”
*Please note that all book summaries and book images are provided by Amazon Books.