Author Night Reading List
In partnership with Seminary Co-op Bookstores and other on-campus partners, International House was pleased to host some fascinating and insightful author programs during the 2022-2023 academic year through our Global Voices Lecture Series. See our Reading List below and follow the links to catch up on the discussions on our YouTube channel.
Don’t Look Back: A Memoir of War, Survival, and My Journey from Sudan to America, by Achut Deng
After a deadly attack in South Sudan left six-year-old Achut Deng without a family, she lived in refugee camps for ten years, until a refugee relocation program gave her the opportunity to move to the United States. When asked why she should be given a chance to leave the camp, Achut simply told the interviewer: I want life. But the chance at starting a new life in a new country came with a different set of challenges. Some of them equally deadly. Taught by the strong women in her life not to look back, Achut kept moving forward, overcoming one obstacle after another, facing each day with hope and faith in her future. Yet, just as Achut began to think of the US as her home, a tie to her old life resurfaced, and for the first time, she had no choice but to remember her past.
Restoring the Soul of Business: Staying Human in the Age of Data, by Rishad Tobaccowala
From old-fashioned bricks-and-mortars to cutting-edge startups, businesses are moving into uncharted territory as they determine how to move from an analog past to a digital future effectively. How can you make sure not to leave human instinct behind? Businesses are leaving behind traditional meetings in favor of virtual ones, transitioning from surveys and studies to analytics and algorithms. The startling and often unacknowledged truth is that the promise of digital transformation can only be realized when we find a way to balance it with the promise of people. In the end, it’s the people that matter, and companies must never forget the soul that drives them. Restoring the Soul of Business provides practical tools and techniques that every organization can and should implement and challenges you to move forward with the kind of balance that capitalizes transformation and produces one great success after another.
The Thorn Puller, by Hiromi Ito
The first novel to appear in English by award-winning author Hiromi Ito explores the absurdities, complexities, and challenges experienced by a woman caring for her two families: her husband and daughters in California and her aging parents in Japan. As the narrator shuttles back and forth between these two starkly different cultures, she creates a powerful and entertaining narrative about what it means to live and die in a globalized society. Ito has been described as a “shaman of poetry” because of her skill in allowing the voices of others to flow through her. Here she enriches her semi-autobiographical novel by channeling myriad voices drawn from Japanese folklore, poetry, literature, and pop culture. The result is a generic chimera—part poetry, part prose, part epic—a unique, transnational, polyvocal mode of storytelling. One throughline is a series of memories associated with the Buddhist bodhisattva Jizo, who helps to remove the “thorns” of human suffering.
At the Hour Between Dog and Wolf, by Tara Ison
This is the captivating story of a twelve-year-old Parisian Jewish girl in World War II France, living “in hiding” as a Catholic orphan with a family in a small village. When Danielle Marton’s father is killed during the early days of the German Occupation, her mother sends her to live in a quiet farming town near Limoges in Vichy France. Now called Marie-Jeanne Chantier, Danielle struggles to balance the truth of what’s happened to her family and her country with the lies she must tell to keep herself safe. At first, she’s bitter about being left behind by her mother, and horrified at having to milk the cow and memorize Catholic prayers for church. But as the years pass and the Occupation worsens, Danielle finds it easier to suppress her former life entirely, and Marie-Jeanne becomes less and less of an act. By the time she’s fifteen and there is talk amongst the now divided town of an Allied invasion, not only has Danielle lost the memories of her father’s face and the smell of her mother’s perfume, but her very self, transforming into a strict Catholic and an anti-Semitic, fervent disciple of fascism.
Mother Ocean Father Nation, by Nishant Batsha
On a small Pacific island, two siblings tune in to a breaking-news radio bulletin. It is 1985, and an Indian grocer has just been attacked by nativists aligned with the recent military coup. Now, fear and shock ripple through the island’s deeply rooted Indian community as racial tensions rise to the brink. Bhumi hears this news from her locked-down dorm room in the capital city. She is the intellectual standout of the family, an aspiring botanist on the path to success. But when her connection to a government official becomes a liability, she must flee her unstable home for California. Jaipal feels like the unnoticed sibling, always left to fend for himself. He avoids their father’s wrath as he manages the family store, distracted only by his hidden desires. Suddenly, he is presented with an opportunity—one that promises money and connection but may leave him vulnerable to the island’s escalating volatility. Mother Ocean Father Nation is an entrancing debut about how one family, at the mercy of a nation broken by legacies of power and oppression, forges a path to find a home once again.
I Have Something to Tell You, by Chasten Buttigieg
The young adult adaptation of the hopeful and refreshingly candid bestselling memoir by the husband of a former Democratic presidential candidate about growing up gay in his small Midwestern town. Completely rewritten with new stories, including resources for readers, parents, and teachers. Growing up, Chasten Glezman Buttigieg didn’t always fit in. He felt different from his father and brothers, who loved to hunt and go camping, and out of place in the rural, conservative small town where he lived. Back then, blending in was more important than feeling seen. So, when Chasten realized he was gay, he kept that part of himself hidden away for a long, painful time. With incredible bravery, and the support of his loved ones, Chasten eventually came out—and when he did, he learned that being true to himself was the most rewarding journey of all. Finding acceptance and self-love can seem like a tremendous challenge, but it’s never impossible. With honesty, courage, and warmth, Chasten relays his experience of growing up in America and embracing his identity, while inspiring young people across the country to do the same.
For even more reading, check out some of the titles that we’ve covered at our biweekly Book Club for graduate students recently.