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December-June Reading List

December-June Reading List

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Aim to get through a book every two weeks

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The Dorito Effect

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2015 | Mark Schatzker

Rated by 1 people

A lively and important argument from an award-winning journalist proving that the key to reversing America’s health crisis lies in the overlooked link between nutrition and flavor. In The Dorito Effect, Mark Schatzker shows us how our approach to the nation’s number one public health crisis has gotten it wrong. The epidemics of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes are not tied to the overabundance of fat or carbs or any other specific nutrient. Instead, we have been led astray by the growing divide between flavor—the tastes we crave—and the underlying nutrition. Since the late 1940s, we have been slowly leeching flavor out of the food we grow. Those perfectly round, red tomatoes that grace our supermarket aisles today are mostly water, and the big breasted chickens on our dinner plates grow three times faster than they used to, leaving them dry and tasteless. Simultaneously, we have taken great leaps forward in technology, allowing us to produce in the lab the very flavors that are being lost on the farm. Thanks to this largely invisible epidemic, seemingly healthy food is becoming more like junk food: highly craveable but nutritionally empty. We have unknowingly interfered with an ancient chemical language—flavor—that evolved to guide our nutrition, not destroy it. With in-depth historical and scientific research, The Dorito Effect casts the food crisis in a fascinating new light, weaving an enthralling tale of how we got to this point and where we are headed. We’ve been telling ourselves that our addiction to flavor is the problem, but it is actually the solution. We are on the cusp of a new revolution in agriculture that will allow us to eat healthier and live longer by enjoying flavor the way nature intended.

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An American Marriage

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2018 | Tayari Jones

Rated by 16 people

THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER! OPRAH'S BOOK CLUB 2018 SELECTION LONGLISTED FOR THE 2018 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR FICTION "One of my favorite parts of summer is deciding what to read when things slow down just a bit, whether it's on a vacation with family or just a quiet afternoon . . . An American Marriage by Tayari Jones is a moving portrayal of the effects of a wrongful conviction on a young African-American couple." --Barack Obama "Haunting . . . Beautifully written." --The New York Times Book Review "Brilliant and heartbreaking . . . Unforgettable." --USA Today "A tense and timely love story . . . Packed with brave questions about race and class." --People "Compelling." --The Washington Post "Epic . . . Transcendent . . . Triumphant." --Elle Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn't commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy's time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy's conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together. This stirring love story is a profoundly insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control. An American Marriage is a masterpiece of storytelling, an intimate look deep into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forward--with hope and pain--into the future.

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This Book Will Save Your Life

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2006 | A. M. Homes

Rated by 2 people

From the author of "Music for Torching"-an uplifting and apocalyptic tale set in Los Angeles about one man's efforts to bring himself back to life Since her debut in 1989, A. M. Homes has been among the boldest and most original voices of her generation, acclaimed for the psychological accuracy and unnerving emotional intensity of her storytelling. Her keen ability to explore how extraordinary the ordinary can be is at the heart of her touching and funny new novel, her first in six years. Richard Novak is a modern-day Everyman, a middle-aged divorc? trading stocks out of his home. He has done such a good job getting his life under control that he needs no one- except his trainer, nutritionist, and housekeeper. He is functionally dead and doesn't even notice until two incidents-an attack of intense pain that lands him in the emergency room, and the discovery of an expanding sinkhole outside his house-conspire to hurl him back into the world. On his way home from the hospital, Richard forms the first of many new relationships: He meets Anhil, the doughnut shop owner, an immigrant who dreams big. He finds a weeping housewife in the produce section of the supermarket, helps save a horse that has fallen into the sinkhole, daringly rescues a woman from the trunk of her kidnapper's car, and, after the sinkhole claims his house and he has to relocate to a Malibu rental, he befriends a reluctant counterculture icon. In the end, Richard is also brought back in closer touch with his family-his aging parents, his brilliant brother, the beloved ex-wife whom he still desires, and finally, before the story's breathtaking finale, with his estranged son Ben. The promised land of Los Angeles-a surreal city of earthquakes, wildfires, mudslides, and feral Chihuahuas-is also very much a character in "This Book Will Save Your Life." A vivid, revealing novel about compassion, transformation, and what can happen if you are willing to lose yourself and open up to the world around you, it should significantly broaden Homes's already substantial audience.

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Bad Blood

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2018 | John Carreyrou

Rated by 81 people

NEW YORK TIMES BEST SELLER •  NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY: NPR, The New York Times Book Review, Time, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post • The McKinsey Business Book of the Year   The full inside story of the breathtaking rise and shocking collapse of Theranos, the one-time multibillion-dollar biotech startup founded by Elizabeth Holmes—now the subject of the HBO documentary The Inventor—by the prize-winning journalist who first broke the story and pursued it to the end. “The story is even crazier than I expected, and I found myself unable to put it down once I started. This book has everything: elaborate scams, corporate intrigue, magazine cover stories, ruined family relationships, and the demise of a company once valued at nearly $10 billion.” —Bill Gates In 2014, Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes was widely seen as the female Steve Jobs: a brilliant Stanford dropout whose startup “unicorn” promised to revolutionize the medical industry with a machine that would make blood testing significantly faster and easier. Backed by investors such as Larry Ellison and Tim Draper, Theranos sold shares in a fundraising round that valued the company at more than $9 billion, putting Holmes’s worth at an estimated $4.7 billion. There was just one problem: The technology didn’t work. A riveting story of the biggest corporate fraud since Enron, a tale of ambition and hubris set amid the bold promises of Silicon Valley.

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