Summer Reading List
(1) Choose one.
(3) Read again, making notes in the margin.
(4) Take book test upon return to school in September and do exceedingly well.
The test counts for 10% of your first marking period grade. You may as well get off to a great start. Among these five books, there has got to be one that interests you. Questions? Find me.
Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich
Millions of Americans work full-time, year-round, for poverty level wages. Inspired in part by the rhetoric surrounding welfare reform, which promised that a job – any job- can be a ticket to a better life, Barbara Ehrenreich decided to join them. But how does anyone survive, let alone prosper, on $6.00 an hour?
To find out, Ehrenreich left her home, took the cheapest lodgings she could find, and accepted whatever job she was offered. She worked as a waitress, a hotel maid, a cleaning woman, a nursing home aide, and a Wal-Mart clerk. Very quickly, she discovered that no job is truly “unskilled,” that even the lowliest occupations require exhausting mental and muscular effort. She also learned that one job is not enough; you need at least two if you intend to live indoors.
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins
“Economic Hit Men (EHMs) are highly paid professionals who cheat countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars,” Perkins writes. His economic projections cooked the books Enron-style to convince foreign governments to accept billions of dollars of loans from the World Bank and other institutions to build dams, airports, electric grids, and other infrastructure he knew they couldn’t afford. The loans were given on conditions that construction and engineering contracts went to U.S. companies. The deals were smoothed over with bribes for foreign officials, but it was the taxpayers in the foreign countries who had to pay back the loans. When their governments couldn’t do so, it was an opportunity for the U.S. to expand its ‘empire’ at the expense of the Third World.
The True Cost of Low Prices: The Violence of Globalization by Vincent Gallagher
Low prices that benefit first-world consumers often put the poor at even greater risk. As transnational corporations continually try to increase profits by reducing costs, laborers in Latin America, Asia, Africa – or even here in the U.S. – work long hours but are still poor, hungry, and subject to abuse.
This book explores the basic nature of globalization; explains how programs of the IMF and World Bank really work; and exposes the increasing use of slave labor and the violence that comes from unregulated work environments.
Gallagher’s text, together with photos, both inform and touch our hearts as they show how we can make a difference.
Hot, Flat, and Crowded 2.0 by Thomas L. Friedman
Pulitzer-prize winning author Thomas L. Friedman speaks to America’s urgent need for national renewal and explains how a green revolution can bring about both a sustainable environment and a sustainable America.
Friedman explains how global warming, rapidly growing populations, and the expansion of the world’s middle class through globalization have produced a dangerously unstable planet. He also shows how the very habits that led us to ravage the natural world led to the meltdown of the financial markets. The challenge of a sustainable way of life presents the United States with an opportunity not only to rebuild its economy, but to lead the world in radically innovating toward cleaner energy.
Affluenza: The All-Consuming Epidemic by John de Graaf, David Wann, Thomas H. Naylor
Affluenza uses the metaphor of a disease to tackle a very serious subject: the damage done – to our health, our families, our communities, and our environment – by the obsessive quest for material gain. The authors show that problems like loneliness, rising debt, longer working hours, environmental pollution, family conflict, and rampant commercialism are actually symptoms caused by the same disease: affluenza. The book also explores its causes and cures.