Be a part of this unique opportunityÂ for incoming students to read a bookÂ and spend time with a faculty member in a small groupÂ before classes begin!
Learn more about eachÂ bookÂ a Faculty Facilitator has chosen below. Then, register by clicking on the book title. Space is limited and spots will fill quickly. Visit our FAQ for more information.
Department: Educational Administration & Human Resource Development, College of Education & Human Resources
Brief Book Description: Exploring Leadership helps college students to understand that they are capable of being effective leaders and guides them in developing their leadership potential (amazon.com).
Why did you choose this book? College provides countless opportunities for new experiences and self-reflection. The purpose statement for Texas A&M University is “To develop leaders of character dedicated to serving the greater good.” This book will allow us to engage in a conversation about what kind of leader you want to be during your time at Texas A&M.
Name:Â Jodie Gary
Department:Â College of Nursing
Summer Book Selection: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (register by clicking here)
Brief Book Description: Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells- taken with her knowledge in 1951- became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for developing the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, and more. Henrietta’s cells have been bought and sold by the billions, yet she remains virtually unknown, and her family cannot afford health insurance. The book tells the story of the collision between ethics, race and medicine; of scientific discovery and faith healing; and of a daughter consumed with questions about the mother she never knew.
Why did you choose this book? As my career has been deeply embedded in healthcare, research, and the delivery of patient-centered care. This book embraces all three. I sit on the Institutional Review Board (IRB) for Texas A&M and this book outlines the history of ethics in human research. The book also brings the human side to the story and tells a piece of history to our journey in healthcare treatments.
Department: Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences
Brief Book Description: This book is an engrossing collection of essays by Atul Gawande, a surgeon and award-winning writer. The essays deal largely with uncertainties in medicine and the resulting dilemmas. Tales of patients’ and doctors’ experiences add suspense and enliven the discussion of issues. Among issues discussed are sources of medical error, roles of patients and doctors in medical decisions, and competing demands of medical education and patient care. Absorbing and thought-provoking reading!
Why did you choose this book? Some reasons I chose this book are the following: (1) It is well researched and crafted, combining narrative and exposition. (2) It integrates material from many fields, including areas in medicine and in liberal arts. (3) Its medical emphasis may especially appeal to students considering health-related careers. (4) Some of the issues addressed resemble ones the students are likely to face in college and beyond. (5) The book is engaging and readable. (6) It is readily available and inexpensive
Department:Â University Libraries
Summer Book Selection: Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error by Kathryn Schulz (register by clicking here)
Brief Book Description: Review from Booklist: “Hereâ€™s a fascinating counterpoint to the notion that making a mistake somehow diminishes you as a person. We shouldnâ€™t fear error, the author says; rather, we should embrace it because itâ€™s our capacity for making mistakes that makes us who we are. (â€śTo err is humanâ€ť isnâ€™t just an empty clichĂ©.) Schulz explores the nature of error: are big mistakes fundamentally different from small mistakes, or are they all essentially the same?”
Why did you choose this book? Your experience in college will be full of new experiences, some of which will be mistakes. But being wrong is hard. Learning how to deal with failure is an important part of your college experience, your academic development, and your growth as a human being. Join this reading group to explore how making mistakes can be a good thing. Talk about your fears with other Aggies and get started at A&M with a healthy outlook this fall.
Name:Â Thomas Halling
Department:Â Evans Subject Librarians, University Libraries
Summer Book Selection: The Prince by Nicolo Machiavelli (register by clicking here)
Brief Book Description: Written in the 1500’s, this work is one of the first works of modern political philosophy. It provides examples and insights to decision-making that weighs the value of different levels of ethics in striving for a goal, and compares the short-term to the long-term in areas of success and the loyalty of others.
Why did you choose this book? There are many paths to success in life. The same holds true in college. However, all paths come with a cost. We will examine some of the paths to leadership and relationship as described by the book, listing strengths and weaknesses of each. Then we will identify comparisons to different paths in college life, and discuss some of the skills and strategies that might be best suited to successfully navigate those paths, while being mindful of the risks and pitfalls that may also be present.
Purchase The PrinceÂ here.
Department:Â University Libraries
Brief Book Description: Success through failure? To Engineer is Human discusses the importance of understanding failure to improve future engineering designs. The book approaches that task through a number of high-profile engineering disasters and lessons learned. If you like a little history with your technology, Petroski delivers. If you plan to study engineering youâ€™ll probably run across Petroskiâ€™s writings and books at some point. While written in 1985 and a little dated, it is still required reading in some engineering courses.
Why did you choose this book? The idea of success through failure resonates with me. As a former chemist, I saw it on a regular basis in the lab while developing new products and continue to do so in my current social science research. More broadly, we often learn and grow more through our mistakes than our successes. On a different note, I enjoy reading about the history of technology and science. Petroskiâ€™s work touches on those topics in an interesting way.
Department:Â University Libraries
Brief Book Description: Following the life of O-Six a beautiful and alluring alpha female, Nate Blakeslee tells the spellbinding story of the reintroduction of wolves to Yellowstone National Park, the fierce backlash against it, and the larger story of culture clash in the West as cattle ranchers, hunters, and conservationists vie for control of the Yellowstoneâ€™s Lamar Valley.
Why did you choose this book? This is a fascinating story of the struggle for survival of the wolf and the preservation of a beloved national park, as hunters and cattlemen see their way of life vanishing. The larger story of the underlying culture clash is reflective of the greater cultural and political divides seen across America today. Looking closely at the historical, cultural and scientific context of the conflict can help us build understanding and empathy despite the issues that divide us as a country.
Department:Â Philosophy, College of Liberal Arts
Summer Book Selection: The Handmaid’s TaleÂ by Margaret AtwoodÂ (register by clicking here)
Brief Book Description: Set in the near future in the Republic of Gilead, formally the United States, The Handmaidâ€™s Tale is told in the first person by Offred, one of the handmaids. The Republic was formed via a violent revolution whereby a fundamentalist Christian movement takes over after killing the president and most of congress. The movementâ€™s stated aim is to â€śrestore orderâ€ť especially in light of the declining birth rates, which is claimed to have left many women in the Republic barren. Thought to be fertile by the Republic, the handmaids are a group of women designated to bear children for the elite couples.
Why did you choose this book? I chose this book because it is a book I have taught many times in my Introduction to Womenâ€™s and Gender Studies courses. The feedback from those classes indicate that the students wished they had read the book earlier in their college experience. My high school age daughter read this with great interest. It is a book that raises many pressing questions with regard to how we think about: relationships, religion, sexuality, women, freedom, security, and lawâ€”so many themes that concern college age women and that they often wish to discuss with peers but do have a space provided to do so. (It is now a popular television series airing on HULUâ€”so it is also timely).
Purchase Â The Handmaid’s TaleÂ here.
Department:Â University Libraries
Summer Book Selection:Â The Things They Carried by Tim O’BrienÂ (register by clicking here)
Brief Book Description: The Things They Carried is a classic collection of short stories about the Vietnam War. It was written by Tim Oâ€™Brien, himself a Vietnam veteran. In this collection, Oâ€™Brien explores issues such as camaraderie, memory, duty, honor, and truth as they relate to Vietnam, combat, and reintegration into civilian life.
Why did you choose this book? Although The Things They Carried is one of the most important works of literature about Vietnam, this book also carries significant personal meaning for me as an Iraq war veteran. This book is one of the things that I chose to carry with me when I deployed. And, although this book is focused on the military, its exploration of the complicated nature of memory, duty, and truth makes it relevant to civilians and service members alike.
Purchase The Things They CarriedÂ here.
Department:Â Biology, College of Science
Summer Book Selection: The Demon in the Freezer by Richard Preston (register by clicking here)
Brief Book Description: The Demon in the Freezer is a nonfiction book about the eradication of the smallpox virus and its potential use as a bioterrorism weapon. The book is an entertaining read written for the public about the people involved in ridding the world of smallpox and their success and failures along the way. Itâ€™s interesting that people from all walks of life contributed to the fight. You will also read about the workings of the CDC and the U.S. anthrax scare of 2001. The “Demon in the Freezer” is the frozen stocks of smallpox that are now found only at the CDC and in Russia- should these stocks be destroyed or maintained for the sake of science-read and see what you think!
Why did you choose this book? I assign this book to my medical microbiology class and students come to class talking about the book before any assignments have been given. It covers the historical events of a disease that has been eradicated and the importance of vaccines in the process. Destruction of the frozen stocks of smallpox in the freezer is a complex situation. You will find yourself weighing each new piece of evidence and wavering on your final verdict- you are going to enjoy science!
Purchase The Demon in the FreezerÂ here.
Department:Â Hispanic Studies, College of Liberal Arts
Brief Book Description: Jorge Ramos, an Emmy award-winning journalist, is a household name for Latinos in the United States. As Univisionâ€™s anchorman, he has delivered trusted news to millions of Spanish-speaking viewers for thirty years. And yet, in 2015, when he confronted a presidential candidate about his immigration policies at a press conference, the candidate not only refused to respond, but had him removed. By combining research and personal experience, Ramos examines what it means to be an immigrant in today’s America.
Why did you choose this book? Immigrants find themselves in a contradictory and tenuous position today. Celebrated as the epitome of the American dream while simultaneously blamed for the country’s ills, their stories are often in the third person. Yet, for millions of foreign-born Americans, immigration is not an abstract issue but a lived experience. I chose this book because, as an immigrant myself, I wanted to share a first person account of what it means to be a stranger in a land we once thought familiar.
Department:Â Computer Science and Engineering, College of Engineering
Summer Book Selection: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (register by clicking here)
Brief Book Description: Seconds before the Earth is demolished to make way for a galactic freeway, Arthur Dent is plucked off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher for the revised edition of The Hitchhikerâ€™s Guide to the Galaxy who, for the last fifteen years, has been posing as an out-of-work actor. Why are we born? Why do we die? Why do we spend so much time between wearing digital watches? For all the answers, stick your thumb to the stars. And don’t forget to bring a towel!
Why did you choose this book? When Elon Musk’s Tesla Roadster was launched into space on the maiden flight of the Falcon Heavy rocket in February 2018, it had the words DON’T PANIC on the dashboard display and carried a copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and a towel. The book is as hilarious and relevant today as when it was originally published nearly 40 years ago, perhaps even more so. It is both irreverent and deeply thought-provoking and is worth reading many times. I hope you will join me!