Summer is in full swing, and I am trying to unwind after a very long year+ of pandemic teaching by reading. Do you have recommendations for summer reading?
Relaxed by Reading
Dear Relaxed by Reading,
It really does feel like we have been working for 15 months straight, doesn’t it? Whether you read a book for course preparation or simply for pleasure, hopefully these recommendations from your ECP Committee will point you in the right direction.
Courtney: What a crazy year it has been! With everything that has been happening, reading for fun hasn’t always made it to the top of my to-do list (aside from children’s bedtime stories!). However, this summer I’m re-reading the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling with my daughter and it’s the perfect little escape from everything else that has been going on. In terms of work-related reading, I’m also beginning to think about teaching my Introductory Psychology course later this summer and next Fall and in relation to what I have been reading up on the Introductory Psychology Initiative recommendations and resources. I am hoping for a calmer 2021-2022 school year where I can catch up on all of these great recommendations from my fellow ECPs!
Molly: OH MY GOODNESS, DO I! I have always been a voracious reader, and it has felt SO GOOD to completely disregard most professional duties and consume popular fiction and non-fiction almost constantly for the last few weeks. This newsletter would be book-length if I listed all of my recommendations, but here are some recent favourites.
Literary fiction with a hint (or more) of sci-fi/fantasy: Meet Me in Another Life; The Changeling; All That's Left of Me; The One
Fictional reimaginings of real events/people: Behave; Mystery of Mrs. Christie; 11/22/63
Beautiful stories and perspectives of people different from me: A Woman Is No Man; This Is How It Always Is; My Sister, the Serial Killer
Amazingly rich histories of darkly fascinating people: The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple; Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson
Memoirs of women who have lived through extraordinary things (my personal favourite genre): Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More; A Lab of One's Own: One Woman's Personal Journey Through Sexism in Science; Becoming Eve: My Journey from Ultra-Orthodox Rabbi to Transgender Woman; Unfollow: A Memoir of Loving and Leaving Extremism
I’ll stop now. Believe it or not, I restrained myself, so feel free to find me on Twitter (@metzpsych) for more recs! Some are even related to work :)
Karenna: My current reads include board books and Indestructibles with my little one, but I admit that reading for fun is how I cope with, well, everything. Here are a few of my recent favorites:
· Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown
· From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home by Tembi Locke
· The Last Thing He Told Me: A Novel by Laura Daves
· Noise by Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony, and Cass Sunstein
· The Couch’s Guide for Women Professors Who Want a Successful Career and a Well-Balanced Life by Rene Seltzer
· And last but not least, the binge-worthy Bridgerton series by Julia Quinn
Daniel: My committee-mates have provided wonderful reading suggestions, for fun and for career (and for both, of course). I’d like to suggest a couple of readings about something a bit different! As a white professor who often teaches courses such as Psychology of Diversity, I am constantly working to increase my literacy and understanding surrounding issues of race, racism, and the like. This desire has only magnified following the events of last year. As a result, I would recommend the following as helpful and enlightening tools for anyone looking to grow in this area. First, I recommend reading White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk about Racism by Robin Diangelo, which discusses the defensiveness that white people sometimes feel when faced with a threat to their preexisting beliefs about race. In a similar vein, you can also explore So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo or I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown. Finally, I recommend Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People. Written by psychology powerhouses, Mahzarin Banaji and Anthony Greenwald (you may know them as the creators of the Implicit Association Test, or IAT), this book explores the power of implicit biases and how we can combat them. If you are interested and would like more recommendations of books about these topics, just reach out to me!
Albee: Like Karenna, I have been reading more children’s books this past year as my 5-year-old gears up for Kindergarten (I cannot believe it - please stay a baby forever). Our family has also been spending a lot more time in the kitchen, reading stories and then making the featured eats (e.g., Cora Cooks Pancit by Dorina K. Lazo Gilmore, Dumpling Soup by Jama Kim Rattigan). In addition to learning new characters and stories such as Ladybug Girl, Pinkalicious, Fancy Nancy, Amelia Bedelia, and the Princess in Black series (there is a free booklet specifically for the coronavirus), I did find a teeny-weeny bit of time to curl up with some grown-up reads, which have informed me, like Daniel, to incorporate more diversity, equity, and inclusion themes in my courses (e.g., The Psychology of Human Development, Educational Psychology).
· Arsenic and Adobo by Mia Manansala
· The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar
· Dear America: Notes of an Undocumented Citizen by Jose Antonio Vargas
· Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
· Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo
From all of us, thanks again for this fun question. Self-care looks different for everyone right now. Some of us feel more relaxed by preparing for the academic year ahead of us, while others want to read the latest thriller novels. Perhaps you have recommendations you’d like to share; feel free to message us on Facebook or Twitter so we can continue to add to our book list!
Your STP Early Career Psychologists Committee
Courtney Gosnell, Ph.D.
Karenna Malavanti, Ph.D.
Albee Mendoza, Ph.D.
Molly Metz, Ph.D.
Janet Peters, Ph.D.
Daniel Storage, Ph.D.