RCEL Summer Reads

Faculty and Staff Recommendations to get you through the long days at the pool!

Looking for some good reads to get you through the long days of summer?  Here are a few suggestions from RCEL faculty and staff. More to come in future posts!

New printing of Frankenstein for scientists and engineers! 

Frankenstein: Annotated for Scientists, Engineers, and Creators of All Kinds
by Mary Shelley (Author), David H. Guston (Editor), Ed Finn  (Editor), Jason Scott Robert(Editor), Charles E. Robinson (Introduction)

Recommended by Gayle Moran, RCEL Lecturer in Engineering Communication: This year marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of Shelley’s enduring story of the hubris of human ambition and its sometimes tragic consequences. To honor the anniversary, MIT Press has released a new edition that is “annotated for scientists, engineers, and creators of all kinds.” In addition to the original text, the book includes annotations and essays that explore the “social and ethical aspects of scientific creativity” (MIT Press).

From Amazon: Mary Shelley's  Frankenstein has endured in the popular imagination for two hundred years.  Begun as a ghost story by an intellectually and socially precocious eighteen-year-old author during a cold and rainy summer on the shores of Lake Geneva, the dramatic tale of Victor Frankenstein and his stitched-together creature can be read as the ultimate parable of scientific hubris.  This edition of Frankenstein pairs the original 1818 version of the manuscript -- meticulously line-edited and amended by Charles E. Robinson, one of the world's preeminent authorities on the text -- with annotations and essays by leading scholars exploring the social and ethical aspects of scientific creativity raised by this remarkable story. The result is a unique and accessible edition of one of the most thought-provoking and influential novels ever written.

Kaz Karwoski, RCEL Executive Director, recommends:

The Defining Decade
by Meg Jay

Synopsis: Our "thirty-is-the-new-twenty" culture tells us the twentysomething years don't matter. Some say they are a second adolescence. Others call them an emerging adulthood. Dr. Meg Jay, a clinical psychologist, argues that twentysomethings have been caught in a swirl of hype and misinformation, much of which has trivialized what is actually the most defining decade of adulthood. - Amazon.com

What Kaz says: “This book was recommended to me by John Doerr, and I always recommend it to students. It’s about not wasting your 20s. You make some of your biggest life decision in your 20s - career path, spouse, and more – so it’s not a decade to waste.”

Germaine Porche, Lecturer in Engineering Leadership, recommends:

The Achievement Habit:  Stop Wishing, Start Doing, and Take Command of Your Life
by Bernard Roth

Synopsis: In The Achievement Habit, Bernard Roth, Academic Director at the Stanford d.school, applies the remarkable insights that stem from design thinking—previously used to solve large scale projects—to help us realize the power for positive change we all have within us. Roth leads us through a series of discussions, stories, recommendations, and exercises designed to help us create a different experience in our lives. - Amazon.com

What Germaine says: “This is an excellent book in creativity, innovation and thinking differently!”

Beata Krupa, Lecturer in Engineering Communication, recommends:

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are Highby
by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Granny, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler

Synopsis: Crucial Conversations exploded onto the scene ten years ago and revolutionized the way people communicate when stakes are high, opinions vary, and emotions run strong. Since then, millions of people have learned how to hold effective crucial conversations and have dramatically improved their lives and careers thanks to the methods outlined in this book. Now, the authors have revised their bestselling classic to provide even more ways to help you take the lead in any tough conversation. - Amazon.com

What Beata says: "A practical, easy to read guide explaining what you need to do when the stakes are high, emotions are flying, but you still need to communicate. It’s appplicable to professional and personal conversations.”

Gayle Moran, Lecturer in Engineering Communication, recommends:

If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?: My Adventures in the Art and Science of Relating and Communicating 
by Alan Alda

Gayle's synopsis: When Alda began hosting the PBS series Scientific American Frontiers in 1993, he quickly learned that his own communication skills were lacking. But he also realized that scientists and doctors (and engineers!) needed to find ways to improve their communication with non-technical audiences. In this newly-released book, Alda “reveals how individuals who aren’t ‘naturally good’ communicators can learn to become more adept by practicing their overall relating skills”  (Kirkus).


Beth O'Sullivan, Lecturer in Professional Communication, recommends:

Quiet, the Power of Introverts in a World That Won’t Stop Talking
by Susan Cain

Synopsis: At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over working in teams. It is to introverts—Rosa Parks, Chopin, Dr. Seuss, Steve Wozniak—that we owe many of the great contributions to society.  In Quiet, Susan Cain argues that we dramatically undervalue introverts and shows how much we lose in doing so. - Amazon.com

What Beth says: "If you ever think you are the only one who doesn’t really like socializing, think again!  Susan Cain’s book will show you the tremendous value you bring to society and give you some tools for success.”

Cesare Wright, Lecturer and Outreach Specialist, recommends:

Sojourns: The Journey to Greece
by Martin Heidegger 

Synopsis: The story of Martin Heidegger's enigmatic search for truth in the land that inspired his philosophy, Aufenthalte (Sojourns) is the philosophical journal that he kept during his first visit to Greece in the spring of 1962. This translation offers not only a rare and intimate view of its author, but also a chance to observe Heidegger working with his philosophical concepts outside the lecture hall, applying them in concrete cultural and historical contexts.  - Amazon.com

What Cesare says: “Profound existential commentary on the quest for personal meaning/identity.”

Looking to escape into a novel or biography for awhile?  We have a few ideas!

Beata Krupa, Lecturer in Engineering Communication, recommends:

The Name of the Rose
by Umberto Eco

Synopsis: The year is 1327. Franciscans in a wealthy Italian abbey are suspected of heresy, and Brother William of Baskerville arrives to investigate. When his delicate mission is suddenly overshadowed by seven bizarre deaths, Brother William turns detective. His tools are the logic of Aristotle, the theology of Aquinas, the empirical insights of Roger Bacon—all sharpened to a glistening edge by wry humor and a ferocious curiosity. He collects evidence, deciphers secret symbols and coded manuscripts, and digs into the eerie labyrinth of the abbey, where “the most interesting things happen at night.”- Amazon.com

Foucault’s Pendulum
by Umberto Eco

Synopsis: Bored with their work, three Milanese editors cook up "the Plan," a hoax that connects the medieval Knights Templar with other occult groups from ancient to modern times. This produces a map indicating the geographical point from which all the powers of the earth can be controlled―a point located in Paris, France, at Foucault’s Pendulum. But in a fateful turn the joke becomes all too real, and when occult groups, including Satanists, get wind of the Plan, they go so far as to kill one of the editors in their quest to gain control of the earth. - Amazon.com

What Beata says: "No, these books are not about semiotics. These are superbly written mysteries combining semiotics, fiction, biblical analysis, medieval studies, modern history, and literary theory."

Amanda Miller Prestia, Marketing and Events Specialist, recommends:

Alexander Hamilton
by Ron Chernow

Synopsis: In the first full-length biography of Alexander Hamilton in decades, Ron Chernow tells the riveting story of a man who overcame all odds to shape, inspire, and scandalize the newborn America... Few figures in American history have been more hotly debated or more grossly misunderstood than Alexander Hamilton. Chernow’s biography gives Hamilton his due and sets the record straight, deftly illustrating that the political and economic greatness of today’s America is the result of Hamilton’s countless sacrifices to champion ideas that were often wildly disputed during his time. - Amazon.com

What Amanda says: "This biography is a beautiful portrait of the private and public life of the often misunderstood Founding Father.  It reads like a novel and is a great beach bum companion.  If you've seen or simply listened to the musical Hamilton, you'll also enjoy finding the original inspirations for Lin Manuel Miranda's lyrics!"

Tagged , , , .