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Recharge with Reading - Welcome!: Reading Lists for each Group

Reading Lists for Each Group



Dr. Jeffrey Senese: Into the Future

Theme: Into the Future

Technology is the greatest driver of the future, today. Put on your thinking cap and dive into some books to do some future casting of your own. Are the robots going to take over? Will Artificial Intelligence make major decisions for us? Join Dr. Jeffrey Senese as we read books about the future... of higher education, jobs, robots, and artificial intelligence! Where will you (and we) be in ten years? Let's do some reading!

List of books:

  • Kevin Kelly. The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future. Penguin Books, 2016
  • Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler. The Future is Faster Than You Think: How Converging Technologies Are Transforming Business, Industries and Our Lives. Simon and Schuster, 2020
  • Joseph Aoun. Robot-Proof: Higher Education in the Age of Artificial Intelligence. The MIT Press, 2017
  • Andres Oppenheimer. The Robots are Coming: The Future of Jobs in the Age of Automation. Vintage Books, 2019
  • Bryan Alexander. Academia Next: The Futures of Higher Education. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2020


Facilitator: Dr. Jeffrey Senese

Christine Woods and Jessica Graves: SCI FI

Theme: Unknown Worlds: Social Justice and Diversity in the Worlds of Science and Science Fiction


This reading group will feature books that focus on issues of social justice and diversity in the worlds of Science and Science Fiction.  Read the book or listen to the audio version of each book or story.  Monthly Zoom meetings will be led by facilitators Christine Woods and Jessica Graves.


List of Books:

  • October - Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Read for free online world of tomorrow in which capitalist civilization has been reconstituted through the most efficient scientific and psychological engineering, where the people are genetically designed to be passive, and consistently useful to the ruling class. Rated #3 on the American Library Association’s 2010 list of most challenged books, but history of controversy extends back to its publication for anti-religion, anti-family, and blasphemous content.   
  • November - Kindred a graphic novel by Octavia Butler, adapted and illustrated by Damian Duffy and John Jennings Award-winning graphic novel -- check it out at your local public library.  The story of Dana, a young black woman who is suddenly and inexplicably transported from her home in 1970s California to the pre–Civil War South. As she time-travels between worlds, one in which she is a free woman and one where she is part of her own complicated familial history on a southern plantation, she becomes frighteningly entangled in the lives of Rufus, a conflicted white slaveholder and one of Dana’s own ancestors, and the many people who are enslaved by him. 
  • January - Octavia's Brood: Science Fiction Stories from Social Justice Movements, edited by Walidah Imarisha, Adrienne Maree Brown. FREE online. The 1st anthology of short stories to explore connections between radical speculative fiction and movements for social change. Inject a healthy dose of imagination and innovation into our political practice and to try on new ways of understanding ourselves, the world around us, and all the selves and worlds that could be.  Named for Octavia Butler (author of Kindred), the first award-winning African American Science Fiction writer.   
  • February – Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly.  Available from your local public library.  Hidden Figures follows the interwoven accounts of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson and Christine Darden, four African American women who participated in some of NASA’s greatest successes. 
  • March – Quantum by Patricia Cornwell.  Available from your local public library.  On the eve of a top-secret space mission, Captain Calli Chase detects a tripped alarm in the tunnels deep below a NASA research center. A NASA pilot, quantum physicist, and cybercrime investigator, Calli knows that a looming blizzard and the government shutdown could provide the perfect cover for sabotage, with deadly consequences.  Captain Chase digs deep into her vast cybersecurity knowledge and her painful past, seeking answers to her twin’s conduct. She realizes that failure means catastrophe—not just for the space program but for the safety of the whole nation. 
  • April – Reader's Choice.  We will vote on the last book to read together.


Facilitators: Christine Woods and Jessica Graves

Viki Stoupenos, with Michelle Joy and Baye Ballew: Community, Sorority, Sisterhood

Theme: Community – Sorority - Sisterhood

List of Books:

  • First Read begins October 7, 2020: Thank You, My Sister by Cari Oleskewicz featured in the 2016 Sandhill Review pages 60-61. Very Short 2-page story to begin reading group (will be read by group facilitator to group at first meeting)
  • Second Read beginning December 1 and lasting throughout the month: Silver Sparrow novel/fiction by Tayari Jones with Group discussion of the novel available at public libraries for check out
  • Third Read beginning February 1, 2021: Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters First One hundred Years – autobiography  
  • Fourth & Fifth Reads beginning April 1, 2021: The Birth Order Book by Kevin Leman & Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters children’s folktale – available in many formats at most public libraries (also available in print at Cannon.) Book discussion at the end of the month.
  • Sixth Read beginning May 1, 2021 and through the month:  eBook available free in Cannon Memorial Library catalog – When the sun danced: myth, miracles, and modernity in early twentieth-century Portugal by Jeffrey Bennett with Book & Movie Discussion of 2020 film "Fatima."


Facilitators: Viki Stoupenos, Michelle Joy and Baye Ballew

Dr. Dan Dubois: Double Dog Dare You

Theme: Double Dog Dare You (to read this!)


The books I’ve chosen for this reading group are all examples of highly-acclaimed novels that have had lasting historical significance. They also each explore how power corrupts the hearts and minds of those who wield the most of it.


List of Books:

  • Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe - Uncle Tom’s Cabin was the greatest-selling American novel of its time, outselling every book but the Bible in the 19th century. Its visceral exposition of slavery in antebellum America heightened national conversations about the abounding evils caused by the country’s “peculiar institution.” 
  • Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad - written at the end of the 19th century, depicts the nature of European colonialism in Africa and offers an unsettling psychological portrait of the delusions that power and corruption can cause. 
  • Doctor Faustus by Thomas Mann - my personal favorite and likely the most challenging of the bunch, deploys a metaphor – the story of a gifted, ambitious composer – to explain why Mann’s fellow Germans allowed themselves to welcome in fascism and become obsessed with what he called the “phantasm of race.”  
  • Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell - the last in the series, Orwell's has had a recent resurgence in popularity, as authoritarianism has become more fashionable, propaganda more ubiquitous, and control over the role of history more contentious.  Orwell’s book is often misunderstood as merely a criticism of Stalinism and the Soviet Union – but that is far too narrow a reading of this classic. Like the other books in this series, Nineteen Eighty-Four is a reminder of how susceptible modern society is to extremism, demagoguery, and violence.


Facilitator: Dr. Dan Dubois

Dr. Tim Jussaume: Philosophy of Life (and Death)

Theme: The Science and Art of Medicine

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced all of us to confront our shared vulnerability to illness. While this may at first seem a dismal prospect, the books in this challenge all regard illness as an opportunity to confront the hard questions about life’s meaning and purpose. These books frame how we respond to illness – both individually and as a society – as a reflection of our deepest values. On the list are not only moving reflections on the experience of illness but several books by physician-authors on the science and art of medicine.


List of books:

  • Albert Camus, The Plague. Vintage, 1991. ISBN:  978-0679720218
  • Atul Gawande, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End. Picador, 2017. ISBN: 978-1250076229
  • Paul Kalanithi, When Breath Becomes Air. Random House, 2016. ISBN: 978-0812988406
  • Siddhartha Mukherjee, The Emperor of all Maladies: A Biography of Cancer. Scribner, 2011. ISBN: 978-1439170915
  • Lisa Sanders, Every Patient Tells a Story: Medical Mysteries and the Art of Diagnosis. Harmony, 2010. ISBN: 978-0767922470
  • Leo Tolstoy, The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Other Short Stories. Penguin, 2008. ISBN: 978-0140449617


Facilitator: Tim Jussaume

Dr. Pamela Lee: Women of Color

Theme: Women of Color

I invite you to join me in this challenge as we read five books by African American female writers. By no means is this list intended to represent the best or the most compelling works by women of color. These are just a few that speak to me. 

If you’d like to join me in this challenge, I urge you to read and to listen as well. The tone may be familiar to you…or maybe not. But if you listen, if you really listen, I think the stories of love and loss…politics…racism…sexism…struggle and perseverance just might resonate with you as well.


List of Books:

  • An American Marriage by Tayari Jones (available as an eBook on Hoopla, at most public Libraries)

  • Becoming by Michelle Obama 

  • Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly  (available as an eBook on OverDrive and Hoopla, at most public libraries)

  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker   

  • Halsey Street by Naima Coster


Facilitator: Dr. Pamela Lee

Dr. Ernest Luke McClees: Veterans' Experience

Theme: the Veteran Experience

List of Books:

  • Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging by Sebastian Junger  - This book is a critical look at post-traumatic stress disorder and the many challenges today’s returning veterans face in modern society. However, the argument made in the book might not be what you expect.
  • Billy Lynn’s Long Half-time Walk by Ben fountain - Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, this book has been described as “The Catch-22 of the Iraq War,” a satire set in Texas, highlighting the national disconnect between the war at   home and the war abroad.
  • eBook War Flower: My Life after Iraq by Brooke King An honest and raw account from Saint Leo University’s own is an example of being a woman in recent military service and combat and the effects in post-service life. Ultimately, in motherhood, King notes that shreds of wartime trauma being absorbed by those around her. 
  • Redeployment by Phil Klay - A 2014 National Book Award winner is made up of twelve stories written by a former U.S. Marine in Iraq. The wide array of stories includes navigating post-service relationships, attending college after being discharged, and moral injury.
  • Fire and Forget by Roy Scranton, editor and Matt Gallagher, editor This collection of stories was assembled as part of post-combat healing exercises. This collection is significant as many of the stories make little reference to service and concentrate on life after the military.
  • EAT THE APPLE by Matt Young - This selection highlights a phenomenon that is widely misunderstood in the non-veteran community. One may be proud of the aspect of their service while simultaneously being horrified by their military service.  


Facilitator: Dr. Ernest McClees

Amanda Forrester: Mujeres de Posibilidades: Mexican Authors

Theme: Mujeres de Posibilidades: Women Authors of Mexican Heritage


Women are possibilities and places. Places we know we belong and places we long to be. In this reading challenge, we will explore works by Mexican and Mexican American women who are concerned with contemporary language, roles, and struggles. And all the possibilities.


List of Books:

  • The Carrying by Ada Limón
  • I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez
  • Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz: Selected Works translated by Edith Gossman
  • Loose Woman by Sandra Cisneros
  • When My Brother Was an Aztec by Natalie Diaz


Facilitator: Amanda Forrester