Books@Work

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Read, Share, Learn & Connect

Books@Work brings professor-led literature seminars to the workplace to build confidence, critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity. As a non-profit organization, we strive to develop a broad network of life-long learners and advanced readers whose passion spreads through companies, families, and communities.

What are we reading? Check out our bookshelf.

The Things They Carried - Tim O'Brien

A narrative of American soldiers in Vietnam: “They carried all they could bear, and then some, including a silent awe for the terrible power of the things they carried.”

Othello - William Shakespeare

A tragedy of jealousy, manipulation, and revenge. Alongside Hamlet, the villain Iago may be one of Shakespeare’s most remarkable characters.

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Bartleby the Scrivener - Herman Melville

Subtitled “A Tale of Wall Street,” this story focuses on the relationship between a lawyer and his employees, most notably the enigmatic copyist Bartleby who, when given a task, replies that he would “prefer not to.”

Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass - Frederick Douglass

Published in 1845, Douglass’s memoir is a foundational account of American slavery, recounting his journey from childhood on a plantation to his role as a spokesperson for the abolitionist movement.

Germinal - Émile Zola

Facing extreme poverty, miners protest worsening working conditions in a French mine and confront societal norms.

The Giver - Lois Lowry

In a dystopian society where emotions have been erased, the child who retains deep feelings struggles to find his place.

Stoner - John Williams

A powerful novel that follows the quiet tragedies and dreams of William Stoner, a fictional English professor at the University of Missouri.

Pride & Prejudice - Jane Austen

One of the most famous novels in the English language, Austen’s masterpiece explores the role of “first impressions” in society and romantic relationships.

Frankenstein - Mary Shelley

Forget everything you know about green monsters covered in scars. Shelley’s gothic novel, which she began writing when still a teenager, is a tale of loneliness, hubris, and the pursuit of knowledge.

The Stories of John Cheever - John Cheever

Sixty one stories from a master short story writer that explore people beneath the surface: the dichotomy between outer appearances and inner thoughts.

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In Cold Blood - Truman Capote

One of the most influential works of literary non-fiction, Capote tells the story of a murdered family in a small Kansas town.

Brave New World - Aldous Huxley

Written in 1931 and originally intended as a satirical novel, Brave New World depicts contemporary 20th century issues through a futuristic utopian lens.

Persepolis - Marjane Satrapi

A sincere and deeply human autobiographical graphic novel about the author’s childhood during and after the Islamic revolution in Iran.

Five Dialogues (Euthyprho, Apology, Crito, Meno, Phaedo) - Plato

Five powerful dialogues covering the most famous aspects of Socrates' life: his trial and subsequent execution.

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Dracula - Bram Stoker

Written in 1897, Dracula is the gothic novel, written in letters, that introduced the famous vampire and his efforts to move to England from Transylvania.

Man's Search for Meaning - Victor Frankl

The story of Frankl’s imprisonment in Auschwitz and his theories of what keeps people going in life challenging situations: meaning and desire to live for something larger than the self.

Saving Fish from Drowning - Amy Tan

Eleven misguided, and sometimes oblivious, American tourists travel to China and Burma. A study in relationships against the backdrop of political instability.

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe - Fannie Flagg

An inventive novel about two woman, one middle aged and one elderly, enriched by the stories they share of the latter’s youth in Whistle Stop, Alabama.

My Antonia - Willa Cather

A masterpiece of regional American literature, a novel of the prairie written in 1918 tells the story of the families of a fictional town in Nebraska.

Close Range: Wyoming Stories - Annie Proulx

Known best for the story Brokeback Mountain, Proulx’ stark and often brutal short stories explore the rough edges of hardship, missed opportunity, sadness and spirit.

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Homage to Catalonia - George Orwell

First published in 1938, Homage to Catalonia is George Orwell's account of his experiences during the Spanish Civil War.

The Road - Cormac McCarthy

A post-apocalyptic tale of a father and son, traveling a landscape marked by an unspecified cataclysm that has destroyed most of civilization and the majority of life on Earth.

Brother, I'm Dying - Edwidge Danticat

A powerful memoir, written in 2007, by a young Haitian writer whose life (and love) is split between family members in Haiti and the US, and the tragedies that befall both.

Noah's Compass - Anne Tyler

A solitary 60 year old man comes to term with his life as he engages with his three grown daughters.

The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

The story of Amir, a young Afghan boy, whose closest friend is Hassan, his father's young servant.

The Republic of Wine - Mo Yan

A novel by Nobel Laureate Mo Yan about the Chinese people and their relationship to food and drink.

A Sand County Almanac: And Sketches Here and There - Aldo Leopold

A 1949 non-fiction book by an American ecologist, writing about the land around his Wisconsin home.

Latest chapter from the notebook

Meet Your New Trainer

Athletic victories do not come easily, as we all know. Performing requires countless hours of practice, conditioning, and hard work. In his 1854 Walden, Henry David Thoreau made an impassioned plea for what we might call the athletic reading of challenging books. For many people, Thoreau is remembered as the lone cabin-dweller enjoying direct contact with nature. If we remember Thoreau only for his ecological consciousness, however, we miss one of the most compelling defenses of active literacy in American literature.

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What are people saying?

As the “teacher,” I did not expect to learn.  But I was wrong!  In my seminar, we focused on the theme of evil and choice.  This led to unexpected conversations: how social media can be helpful and harmful to society, and why some people can have hope and renewal when bad things happen to them but how others have anger and resentment.  I was left thinking more deeply about my life and my daily choices.

-Kristen Majocha, Professor

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