2015-09-08

Today, September 8, 2015, is International Literacy Day and September is National Literacy Month. City Year AmeriCorps members on the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation team at Kendall-Whittier Elementary School are finding time after class to read these favorites:

Setlah: The 5 Levels of Leadership by John C. Maxwell

John C. Maxwell explains how true leadership works and makes it accessible to everyone. Leadership does not come from your title. In fact, being named to a position is only the first and lowest of the five levels every effective leader achieves. To become more than a boss people are required to follow, you must master the ability to inspire and build a team that produces not only result but also future leaders. By combining the advice contained in this book with work and a willingness to learn, anyone can rise to a higher and more effective level of leadership and thus make a greater impact.


Omni: Bossy Pants by Tina Fey

Before Liz Lemon, before "Weekend Update," before "Sarah Palin," Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV. She has seen both these dreams come true. At last, Tina Fey's story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon -- from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence. Tina Fey proves what we've all suspected: you're no one until someone calls you bossy.


Hoi: The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order by Samuel P. Huntington

Since its initial publication, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order has become a classic work of international relations and one of the most influential books ever written about foreign affairs. An insightful and powerful analysis of the forces driving global politics, it is as indispensable to our understanding of American foreign policy today as the day it was published. As former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski says in his new foreword to the book, it “has earned a place on the shelf of only about a dozen or so truly enduring works that provide the quintessential insights necessary for a broad understanding of world affairs in our time. Samuel Huntington explains how clashes between civilizations are the greatest threat to world peace but also how an international order based on civilizations is the best safeguard against war. Events since the publication of the book have proved the wisdom of that analysis. The 9/11 attacks and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have demonstrated the threat of civilizations but have also shown how vital international cross-civilization cooperation is to peace. As ideological distinctions among nations have been replaced by cultural differences, world politics has been reconfigured. Across the globe, new conflicts—and new cooperation—have replaced the old order of the Cold War era. This book explains how the population explosion in Muslim countries and the economic rise of East Asia are changing global politics. These developments challenge Western dominance, promote opposition to supposedly “universal” Western ideal and intensify intercivilization conflict over such issues as nuclear proliferation, immigration, human rights, and democracy. The Muslim population surge has led to many small wars throughout Eurasia, and the rise of China could lead to a global war of civilizations. Huntington offers a strategy for the West to preserve its unique culture and emphasizes the need for people everywhere to learn to coexist in a complex, multipolar, muliticivilizational world.


Jheri: Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon

For nearly twenty years Claire Randall has kept her secrets. But now she is returning with her grown daughter to Scotland’s majestic mist-shrouded hills. Here Claire plans to reveal a truth as stunning as the events that gave it birth: about the mystery of an ancient circle of standing stones, about a love that transcends the boundaries of time, and about Jamie Fraser, a Scottish warrior whose gallantry once drew a young Claire from the security of her century to the dangers of his. Now a legacy of blood and desire will test her beautiful copper-haired daughter, Brianna, as Claire’s spellbinding journey of self-discovery continues in the intrigue-ridden Paris court of Charles Stuart--in a race to thwart a doomed Highlands uprising--and in a desperate fight to save both the child and the man she loves.


Chay: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change was a groundbreaker when it was first published in 1990, and it continues to be a business bestseller. Stephen Covey, an internationally respected leadership authority, realizes that true success encompasses a balance of personal and professional effectiveness, so this book is a manual for performing better in both arenas. His anecdotes are as frequently from family situations as from business challenges. Before you can adopt the seven habits, you'll need to accomplish what Covey calls a "paradigm shift"--a change in perception and interpretation of how the world works. Covey takes you through this change, which affects how you perceive and act regarding productivity, time management, positive thinking, developing your "proactive muscles" (acting with initiative rather than reacting), and much more. This isn't a quick-tips-start-tomorrow kind of book. The concepts are sometimes intricate, and you'll want to study this book, not skim it. When you finish, you'll probably have Post-it notes or hand-written annotations in every chapter, and you'll feel like you've taken a powerful seminar by Covey.


Nikki: The Buddha Walks into the Office by Lodro Rinzler

Does it ever seem that a lot of the people you work with are, well, jerks? This book is about how not to let work turn you into one of them. Apply the simple Buddhist teachings and practices Lodro Rinzler provides here to whatever you do for a living, and you’ll not only avoid jerk-hood, but you’ll be setting out on the path toward making your livelihood an expression of your inherent wisdom, honesty, and compassion. You’ll discover practical ways to bring mindfulness into administrative support, cabinet-making, financial management, nursing, truck-driving, or latté-brewing. In the process, you’ll discover genuine empathy for the folks you once found so difficult. You’ll also learn leadership skills that apply compassion to management in a way that increases happiness along with efficiency. This is career advice of the profoundest kind, geared toward today’s twenty- and thirty-something workers and job-seekers whose employment outlook is radically different from that of a generation ago. As Lodro shows, even if the path of work shifts beneath your feet, it’s possible to make your livelihood a source of satisfaction and of deep meaning.


Triston: Unruly Places by Alastair Bomnett

A tour of the world’s hidden geographies—from disappearing islands to forbidden deserts—and a stunning testament to how mysterious the world remains today. At a time when Google Maps Street View can take you on a virtual tour of Yosemite’s remotest trails and cell phones double as navigational systems, it’s hard to imagine there’s any uncharted ground left on the planet. Unruly Places, Alastair Bonnett goes to some of the most unexpected, offbeat places in the world to reinspire our geographical imagination.Bonnett’s remarkable tour includes moving villages, secret cities, no man’s lands, and floating islands. He explores places as disorienting as Sandy Island, an island included on maps until just two years ago despite the fact that it never existed. Or Sealand, an abandoned gun platform off the English coast that a British citizen claimed as his own sovereign nation, issuing passports and crowning his wife as a princess. Or Baarle, a patchwork of Dutch and Flemish enclaves where walking from the grocery store’s produce section to the meat counter can involve crossing national borders. An intrepid guide down the road much less traveled, Bonnett reveals that the most extraordinary places on earth might be hidden in plain sight, just around the corner from your apartment or underfoot on a wooded path. Perfect for urban explorers, wilderness ramblers, and armchair travelers struck by wanderlust; Unruly Places will change the way you see the places you inhabit.


Susan: Ecstatic Cahoots by Stuart Dyber

In this remarkable collection of bite-size stories, Stuart Dybek, one of our most prodigious writers, explores the human appetite for rapture and for trust. With fervent intensity and sly wit, he gives each tale his signature mix of characters--some almost ghostly, others vividly real--who live in worlds tinged with surreal potential. There are crazed nuns hijacking streetcars, eerie adventures across frozen ponds, and a boy who is visited by a miniature bride and groom every night in his uncle's doomsday compound. Whether they are about a simple transaction, a brave inquiry, a difficult negotiation, or shared bliss, the stories in Ecstatic Cahoots target the friction between our need for ecstatic self-transcendence and our passionate longing for trust between lovers, friends, family, and even strangers.


Ryan: A Storm of Swords by George R. R. Martin

Of the five contenders for power, one is dead, another in disfavor, and still the wars rage as violently as ever, as alliances are made and broken. Joffrey, of House Lannister, sits on the Iron Throne, the uneasy ruler of the land of the Seven Kingdoms. His most bitter rival, Lord Stannis, stands defeated and disgraced, the victim of the jealous sorceress who holds him in her evil thrall. But young Robb, of House Stark, still rules the North from the fortress of Riverrun. Robb plots against his despised Lannister enemies, even as they hold his sister hostage at King’s Landing, the seat of the Iron Throne. Meanwhile, making her way across a blood-drenched continent is the exiled queen, Daenerys, mistress of the only three dragons still left in the world. But as opposing forces maneuver for the final titanic showdown, an army of barbaric wildlings arrives from the outermost line of civilization. In their vanguard is a horde of mythical Others--a supernatural army of the living dead whose animated corpses are unstoppable. As the future of the land hangs in the balance, no one will rest until the Seven Kingdoms have exploded in a veritable storm of swords.


Chelsy: The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan

All year the half-bloods have been preparing for battle against the Titans, knowing the odds are against them. Kronos is stronger than ever, and with every god and half-blood he recruits, his power only grows. In this momentous final book in the New York Times best-selling series, the prophecy surrounding Percy's sixteenth birthday unfolds. And as the battle for Western civilization rages on the streets of Manhattan, Percy faces a terrifying suspicion that he may be fighting against his own fate.


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