U.C. Berkeley Summer Reading 2000
Eugene Burdick (Political Science) is most famous for his other two books, Fail Safe and The Ugly American. But The Ninth Wave may be his most intriguing, especially for Californians. It mixes the early days of surfing with California politics. Hard to find, but a treasure.
Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts
Kingston (English) tells the story of her own and her mother's lives, in a beautiful, gripping account full of ghosts, strange visiting relatives, misunderstandings between parents and children, folktales, and insight into life in both China and the United States. Kingston plays with literary conventions and cultural symbols, ultimately questioning the fundamental boundaries between fiction and nonfiction. A "must read."
This first collection of short stories by English professor Leonard Michaels is a savage and funny look at love, sex, friendship, and New York. Although Michaels went on to greater fame with his novel, The Men's Club, the freshness and intensity of the stories in Going Places make this book special.
Stewart (English) wrote several well-known books (including Storm and Fire). Earth Abides is a science fiction novel about the people left to rebuild civilization after a plague has wiped out most of the world. Set in Berkeley and Oakland, it should be required reading for every student at Berkeley. You'll recognize the Bay Bridge and the Doe Library, among other things.
In this award-winning novel, we follow Jasmine herself from India to Iowa,
and learn a lot about identity and modern life along the way. Mukherjee
(English) captures the essence of how our world looks today. The Los Angeles
Times Book Review calls the novel "artful and arresting."
The Man with Night Sweats
Gunn's poetry is deceptive because he chooses to work in a rhymed, often playful form, but in this book he stabs his readers right in the heart with his personal, painful, but often redemptive cycle of poems on the AIDS pandemic. Gunn (English) never forgets the beauty of life, even while writing about painful situations.
Collected Poems, 1930-83
Miles (English) was one of the most well-known and respected writers on the Berkeley campus until her death in 1985. Her Collected Poems won the Leonore Marshall/Nation Poetry Prize and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Publishers Weekly calls her work "tough, colloquial, and wise."
This Nobel Laureate and Berkeley Professor Emeritus' poems are crucial to citizens of the world who care about history's effects on humanity. Milosz (Slavic), who writes in his native Polish language, has worked closely with translator Robert Hass for many years, and one of the most stunning results is this collection of poems.
Sun Under Wood: New Poems
The former U.S. Poet Laureate gives music and voice to the big issues of mid-life:
connection, communication, family, mortality. Many of these poems shine
with California perspective. Reading this book is like listening to a
wise friend: Hass (of English) meditates on the body, Berkeley, food,
aging, and marriage; the result is a lyric and stunning take on one man's
love for places and the people who give them a history.
The Pooh Perplex, a Freshman Casebook
A great satire on literary interpretation. Each character speaks for a particular school of literary analysis and presents a hilarious interpretation of Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends. It should be required reading for all literature majors (and Professors!). Hard to find, but worth the search. Crews is Professor Emeritus of English.
The Time Bind: When Work Becomes Home and Home Becomes Work
Hochschild (Sociology) looks at what happens when the converging pressures of post-feminist reality (You wanted equality? Good, go get a decent-paying, high-pressure job and keep the home front burning as well) meet two-career family issues. This is a thoughtful, political book that looks at some surprising issues, such as family members actually taking "refuge" in work, away from the pressures and heightened expectations of family life.
Women, and Chain Saws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film
Perhaps the only book by a Berkeley faculty member to be a finalist in the Bram Stoker Award, given by the Horror Writers Association. Clover (of Scandinavian and Rhetoric) does just what the title suggests: she discusses the role of both men and women in these movies. If you love "Scream," you'll find this book fascinating.
without Weeping: The Violence of Everyday Life in Brazil
This is a wrenching ethnographic account of the brevity of life in the favela, a typical market town, that reads like a novel, making a case for ethnography as an art form. Scheper-Hughes teaches in Anthropology.
and the Crater of Doom
A true-life, wonderfully readable detective story. Alvarez (Geology) is one of the group of Berkeley scientists who first proposed that dinosaurs were wiped out by the effects of a huge asteroid hitting the earth. This is the story of their search for the crater.
Women Novelists: the development of a tradition, 1892-1976
With this brilliant study, Christian (African American Studies) opened up a new genre, the study of literature by black women writers. It has led to an understanding and appreciation of writers like Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Zora Neale Hurston, and Paule Marshall, who have become, perhaps in large measure due to Christian's pioneer study, well known not only in this country but throughout the world.
of Age in the Milky Way
Every time someone has made a major discovery, social or religious upheaval
has followed. This book is a whirlwind trip through space, time, and what
people have believed about them, from prehistoric times right up until
today. Ferris is Professor Emeritus of Journalism.
Vampire: A Casebook
If you've ever wondered about the other vampires - not those in the movies - this book explains it all for you, from the origins of the idea of vampires to the various cultures that believe in them. Dundes teaches anthropology and folklore.
A History of Architecture: Settings and Rituals
Very readable history of world-wide architecture and urbanism that places the built environment in the context of the social and political (and not just stylistic) forces that shaped it.
We Live By
The thesis of this book is simple: metaphors are not simply figures of speech, but ways we look at the world. Lakoff (Linguistics) shows us that such common phrases as "spending time" and "wasting time" reveal more about us than we would think. "Time is money," after all.
Power: The Politics of Language
In this book, Lakoff (Linguistics) covers many aspects of our use of language, from the courtroom to the classroom. Although the topics may seem deep, Lakoff's style is open to all readers.
in the Storm so Long: The Aftermath of Slavery
Litwack (History) won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for this study. It is not the kind of history text most of us are used to, but an engaging work that draws on, among its many sources, diaries of slave-owners and interviews with ex-slaves.
Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America
Takaki's thesis is simple: everyone has contributed to America, and in this book, he covers many of those contributions, as well as the conflicts between the various groups that make up this country. Takaki teaches in Ethnic Studies.
The Cost of Caring
Based on ten years of research here at Cal, this is one of the earliest, most accessible and still most useful books on the topic of burnout. It is peppered with personal anecdotes, yet based on solid research. It's a great starting point for an increasingly important topic in the digital age. You might want to also try her more recent work on the subject, The Truth About Burnout: How Organizations Cause Personal Stress and What To Do About It. Maslach (Psychology) is the incoming chair of the Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate.
A Poet's Childhood
Jordan (African American Studies) tell us about her childhood in New York,
and the roots of her life as a poet, essayist, and novelist. It's hard
to recommend just one book by Jordan. Look also for her books of poetry
and of essays. This autobiography has just been published.
(C) 2010 by the Library, University of California, Berkeley.