Summer is often the time of beach reads and escapist novels, taking advantage of warm weather and vacations to decompress and relax into a good book. We asked our fellows what they’re reading this month, and given their current book lists, they seem to be digging in, doubling down, and going deeper in a diverse range of topics and ideas. So if you’re looking for books that defy lighter summer reading lists – look no farther.
Adrienne Maree Brown
2019 Roddenberry Fellow Jessica Tovar is reading Emergent Strategy by Adrienne Maree Brown: “After wrapping up a local Green New Deal win, I wanted to ground myself with a book. So I started reading Emergent Strategy by Adrienne Maree Brown and it appears to be in sync with my work and personal life as the book is thoughtful on the spiritual, technical and natural attributes of change. Not to mention, a book written by a self proclaimed, ‘Trekkie’ is on a par with my time as a Roddenberry Fellow!”
Inspired by Octavia Butler’s explorations of our human relationship to change, Emergent Strategy is radical self-help, society-help, and planet-help designed to shape the futures we want to live. Change is constant. The world is in a continual state of flux. It is a stream of ever-mutating, emergent patterns. Rather than steel ourselves against such change, this book invites us to feel, map, assess, and learn from the swirling patterns around us in order to better understand and influence them as they happen. This is a resolutely materialist “spirituality” based equally on science and science fiction, a visionary incantation to transform that which ultimately transforms us.
2018 Roddenberry Fellow Kimberly Peeler-Allen recommends We Live for the We by Dani McClain: “Whether we realize it or not parenting is a political act. What toys we buy, books we read and how we choose to socialize and school our children in many cases determines whether we are raising revolutionaries. Dani McCain talks through the the choices that she and others have made to raise woke children.”
2019 Roddenberry Fellow Heejae Lim loved reading Shoe Dog by Phil Knight: “I loved the way he paved his own path, relying on his sheer power of passion for something, in this case, which was shoes. He hired his best friends and the best people who had raw intellect and resilience and created a shoe empire from nothing. I admire his candor, his risk-taking and the willingness to follow his raw passion at a time that no one believed his idea.”
In this instant and tenacious bestseller, Nike founder and board chairman Phil Knight “offers a rare and revealing look at the notoriously media-shy man behind the swoosh” (Booklist, starred review), illuminating his company’s early days as an intrepid start-up and its evolution into one of the world’s most iconic, game-changing, and profitable brands.
Mark Engler and Paul Engler
This Is an Uprising
2018 Roddenberry Fellow Adam Horowitz just finished reading This Is an Uprising by Mark Engler and Paul Engler: “I’m currently reading This is an Uprising: How Non-Violent Revolt is Shaping the 21st Century — and it’s kind of blowing my mind. A brilliant mix of history and strategy. ”
From protests around climate change and immigrant rights, to Occupy, the Arab Spring, and #BlackLivesMatter, a new generation is unleashing strategic nonviolent action to shape public debate and force political change. When mass movements erupt onto our television screens, the media consistently portrays them as being spontaneous and unpredictable. Yet, in this book, Mark and Paul Engler look at the hidden art behind such outbursts of protest, examining core principles that have been used to spark and guide moments of transformative unrest.
2019 Roddenberry Fellow Andrew Grant-Thomas enjoyed Trophy: A Novel by Steffen Jacobsen: “Described as a ‘nerve-shredding page-turner’ (how many pages can you turn after your nerves have been shredded?!), it begins like this: ‘When they found him, he was watching the sun go down behind the mountains west of Porsanger Fjord, knowing he would never see it rise again.’ Yikes.”
After the death of her industrialist father, Elizabeth Caspersen finds a compromising DVD in his safe: it seems to show two people being hunted to their death in a gruesome, well-organized manhunt. Michael Sander, a private investigator and security consultant, is hired to find out who the victims are and why Caspersen was involved. Meanwhile, police investigator Lene Jensen is investigating the death of a decorated war veteran found hanged on his wedding night. Having recently come into money, the man appears to have been driven to suicide, but the question is, why?