What CIS Volunteers are Reading in 2021

While March may be recognized as National Reading Month, it’s always reading month for Communities In Schools of Kalamazoo volunteers. Here’s what some of them are reading …

[Note: Like our last post in which CIS staff shared what they are reading, book titles link to the Indie Bookstore Finder. Should a book peek your interest, this allows you to learn more and easily obain the book from one of our fabulous independent bookstores.]

 

I am reading (recently finished):  Tecumseh and the Prophet, The Shawnee Brothers Who Defied a Nation by Peter Cozzens. Why this book?  I grew up near Battleground, Indiana, and as a youth on multiple occasions visited the Battleground memorial, which honored Willian Henry Harrison, as well as ‘Prophet’s Rock’ which was reputed to be the site of a rousing speech by Tenskwatawa (The Prophet) to his followers. Having learned the ‘traditional’ history, I was interested to read about the perspective of the Shawnee brothers. It was illuminating to say the least! The Shawnee and other tribes were pawns, allied and abandoned on multiple occasions, in the efforts by Great Britain and the nascent United States to dominate North America. Spoiler Alert:  It did not end well for the brothers and their followers.

Paul Runnels

 

I’ve been busy reading a lot of interesting books: Caste by Isabelle Wilkerson, Walk in My Combat Boots by James Patterson, Know My Name by Chanel Miller, and You’ll Never Believe What Happened to Lacey: Crazy Stories About Racism by Amber Ruffin and Lacey Lamar. All very different and eye-opening in different ways!

Susan Einspahr

 

I just finished (for the second time) Killers of the Flower Moon: the Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann. It is a fascinating account of our history when the Osage Indians were systematically killed by whites in their Oklahoma town, circa 1921-? Highly recommended.

Karen Tinklenberg

 

Book I just finished: Skin In The Game by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Book I am reading: 7 Men And The Secrets Of Their Greatness by Eric Metaxas.

 Chris Werme

 

I’m reading The Giver of Stars, a novel by JoJo Moyes. Set in Depression-era America, it’s based on a true story of five extraordinary women and their remarkable journey through the mountains of Kentucky. A team of women delivering books as part of Eleanor Roosevelt’s new traveling library, who become known as the Packhorse Librarians of Kentucky. They’re committed to their job: bringing books to people who have never had any, arming them with facts that will change their lives.

Also reading Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, a novel by Gail Honeyman … the smart, warm, and uplifting story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes the only way to survive is to open your heart.

Holly Wohlfert

 

I just finished reading My Grandmother’s Hands: Racialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies by Resmaa Menakem – and I highly recommend it.

Ineke Way

 

I recently read The Vagabond: The Story of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison’s Ten-Year Road Trip by Jeff Guinn. It was informative of the culture and politics of the time.

Marti Terpsma

 

In the new year…

I highly recommend ALL of them!

Martha Beverly

 

Transient Desires by Donna Leon — An Inspector Brunetti mystery set in Venice (a series)
The Women of the Copper Country by Dorian Russell
The Fleet Street Murders by Charles Finch (a series)
A Brave Day for Harold Brown by Mishana Shot
The Soul of America by Jon Meacham
To name a few…

Jim Cupper

 

I am currently reading The Gown by Jennifer Robson. Enjoyable so far. Relating to the wedding gown worn by Princess Elizabeth when she married Prince Phillip. Women and their friendships and their backgrounds as they relate to the past history and current times in their lives.

 Nancy Laugeman

 

We’re reading A Promised Land by former President Barack Obama.

Nanette and Jack Keiser 

 

Midnight Library by Matt Haig and This is the Fire: What I Say to My Friends About Racism by Don Lemon. Also,  Darby’s (dog) Mom by Anita Lawson. I am currently reading The Innocent Classroom by Alexs Pate.

Deborah Yarbrough

Seeing Between The Lines

“To eliminate disparities, we must know enough (research); do enough (deliver the outcomes); care enough (commitment); and persevere enough (don’t get discouraged).” 

-David Satcher, Director, Morehouse School of Medicine and Former Surgeon General

Last week I attended a lecture on Health Inequality. Dr. Brian K. Gibbs, Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine challenged the audience to believe differently. Dr. Gibbs talked about what it means to “believe what you see” versus “see what you believe.”

It got me thinking about a research project I learned about years ago, about how experience shapes our perceptions and perceptions shape our experiences. Researchers created two environments for newborn kittens. One batch was raised in space composed entirely of horizontal lines, the other group was raised in space made up of only vertical lines. Eventually, the researchers exposed the kittens to a line that they had not experienced. Turns out, the horizontally raised cats didn’t see vertical lines and, likewise, the vertically raised cats didn’t see horizontal lines. The kittens were “blind” to what they had not experienced.

I happened to be sitting between Linda Vail, Director & Health Officer for Kalamazoo County Health & Community Services, and my CIS colleague, Donna Carroll, two women who have helped shape how I see the world, particularly when it comes to thinking about children’s health. The room, I noticed, was peppered with other women whom I admire, such as Alison Geist, Director of Mary Jane Underwood Stryker Institute for Service-Learning and Ineke Way, Associate Professor in the WMU School of Social Work. These women I have come to know through my work with CIS. Each, in their own way, works hard to make our world a better, more equitable place. They know, they do, and they care. This slice of the planet is a little more healthy because of them. I am a better person for knowing them.

Who or what helps you see the world? Both as it is and can be? Do you know what your blind spots are?