Suggested One Read: “Shop Class as Soulcraft”

Shop Class as Soulcraft by Matthew Crawford

The nominator of Matthew Crawford’s “Shop Class as Soulcraft” says that this book “covers several different topics that are worth discussing, including job satisfaction, the value of different types of work and the possible job market of the future.”

A philosopher / mechanic destroys the pretensions of the high- prestige workplace and makes an irresistible case for working with one’s hands. “Shop Class as Soulcraft” brings alive an experience that was once quite common, but now seems to be receding from society – the experience of making and fixing things with our hands. Those of us who sit in an office often feel a lack of connection to the material world, a sense of loss, and find it difficult to say exactly what we do all day. For anyone who felt hustled off to college, then to the cubicle, against their own inclinations and natural bents, “Shop Class as Soulcraft” seeks to restore the honor of the manual trades as a life worth choosing. (From the publisher’s marketing text.)

Thank you to everyone who suggested books to be considered for the 2011 One Read program. Keep visiting to see nominated titles from others in your community!

Suggested One Read: “The Checklist Manifesto”

The Checklist Manifesto

According to the nominator of “The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right” by Atul Gawande, this book “could benefit our entire community’s efficacy, organization and success.” Additionally, “Columbia has so many medicine-based organizations and companies that a book that speaks to this discipline would be very interesting for the community.”

Acclaimed surgeon and writer Gawande explains how the humble checklist can be employed to prevent disastrous – and even deadly – errors in the medical field. He further explores how checklists have improved professions and businesses of all kinds, from disaster response to skyscraper construction.

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Suggested One Read: “Born to Run”

Born to Run

The nominator of “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall calls this work “a highly entertaining book about a hidden tribe in the Mexican mountains and one of its members who wins the Leadville 100 mile race in Colorado. [It’s also] about how running shoe companies convinced Americans (and the rest of the world) that they have to wear overly protective shoes for running when barefoot running (or nearly barefoot) is better for the foot. It’s actually very funny, and it makes the reader want to get out and run. Even the sedentary reader will find it compelling and inspiring.”

Have a suggestion of your own? Nominate a title for our 2011 One Read program at any of our branches, the bookmobile, or online at

Suggested One Read: “The Shallows”

The Shallows by Nicholas Carr

“This is a fascinating look into what the Internet may be doing to our brains,” says the nominator of “The Shallows” by Nicholas Carr. This book deepens the exploration the author began in his Atlantic Monthly article, “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” Carr investigates how the media we use affect neural pathways, memory formation, how we think, how we work and how we behave.

Have a suggestion of your own? Let us know what you think our community should read in 2011 by filling out a suggestion form at any of our branches, the bookmobile, or online at

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

We’ve begun receiving your suggestions for our 2011 One Read title! We’ll be highlighting some of these books here at so you can see what other community members are reading and enjoying. All of these titles will be considered by our reading panel.

First up is “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.” Author Rebecca Skloot profiles a poor Southern tobacco farmer whose cells–taken without her knowledge–became one of the most important tools in medicine. The reader proposing this title says that it “will provide multiple subjects to discuss — cell research, medical ethics, religion, families and racism. It’s well-written, combining in depth scientific information with poignant details of a family’s struggle.”

Have a suggestion of your own? Let us know what you think our community should read in 2011 by filling out a suggestion form at any of our branches, the bookmobile, or online at