Eduwonk Holiday Book List!

If you’re like me you might not be entirely on top of your holiday shopping. And you might have some readers on your list. Here’s a few recent (and not so recent) books from the past few months that I’d highly recommend:

Hillbilly Elegy.  JD Vance’s memoir is a poignant reminder that the ‘who has it worse’ sweepstakes divides Americans when our politics should bring them together so solve the very real problems too many Americans face. There is a reason so many people are reading it.

Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen. C’mon, of course.

The Gatekeeper: Missy LeHand, FDR, and the Untold Story of the Partnership That Defined a Presidency. Great story.  LeHand is one of those people history buffs and Washington types remember but who get lost to the winds of popular history. Kathryn Smith’s work brings her back.

Hidden Computers: The Black Women Of NASA is a bit tricky to find but worth the hunt. I was fortunate enough to see some galleys earlier this year. Great piece of NASA history and more general history. Great book for young adults, in particular.

The Sellout: A Novel. If irony or acid writing is not your thing then stay away. Or, more bluntly, if you don’t get why Chris Rock doesn’t want to play campuses stay away. Otherwise, the Eduwife and I argue about American fiction but this book is a big strong point in her favor about its vibrancy. Won a Booker Prize.

The Righteous Mind. Pahara’s Kim Smith was on me to read more Jonathan Haidt. Good advice.

America Ascendant is a book I missed when it came out. Even though the country is taking a political turn Stan Greenberg’s ideas are still relevant – especially if Trump unleashes constructive political chaos that shuffles the two-party alignment.

Why Knowledge Matters. Agree with him or not if you work in education you have to engage with Don Hirsch’s ideas and the powerful ideas he raises about why liberalism and knowledge need each other and what that means.

Braving It: A Father, a Daughter, and an Unforgettable Journey into the Alaskan Wild. Devotees of The Last Alaskans TV show or people who spend time up around Fairbanks know of the legendary Heimo and Edna Korth and their uncompromising lifestyle in the Alaskan bush. Turns out their cousin is a great writer and this book explores he and his daughter’s adventures in the bush with the Korths and on a hiking/canoe trip in remote country. Great non-traditional parenting book and a great story in one.

Meat Eater. Steve Rinella’s writing is circulating more so I picked up his 2012 book. Good reminder where your food comes from and how some of the non-vegans amongst us see things. Bonus: perhaps a few good tips if things go badly in the Trump years.

The Iron Heel. Yeah, me too.

PS – a colleague and friend just sent me Evicted. I read the author’s New Yorker article and am interested to read the book but haven’t tucked in. Looks strong though. Obvious links between housing and school policy.

3 Replies to “Eduwonk Holiday Book List!”

  1. The Sellout was brilliant. Almost finished with Hillbilly Elegy. It’s a worthwhile read, but do wish he probed issues more deeply. Perhaps as Vance matures as a writer, that will emerge. Still an important voice.

    Adding to this list: The Underground Railroad. Couldn’t put it down.

  2. Amazed to see that there are lots of people like me who love to read books. The only thing that I do when i get holidays is reading books. Before getting a job, it was quite easy for me as I only used to read books or study. However, job is necessary for survival and with the daily routine of job, it is now tough for me to read books daily. But my love for books has purely dedicated my holidays and Sundays for book reading. The only thing that excites me for the weekend is that now I get time to read books.

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