By: Marian Fragola
Rupert W. Nacoste is an alumni distinguished undergraduate professor of psychology at NC State a past presenter in NCSU Libraries’ Fabulous Faculty series.
For relaxation and fun:
I already started with The Forgery of Venus, by Michael Gruber (also author of The Book of Air and Shadows…which I also loved). His books are intellectual mysteries; what fun!
Right now, I am finishing Who Fears Death, by Nnedi Okorafor. Nominated for a Nebula award, this is a story of post-apocalyptic Africa, the Okeke people, and the magical shape-shifting female child of rape, Onyesonwu (who fears death). It is dark, funny, disturbing, compelling, and otherworldly. Onyesonwu was born to save the Okeke people and maybe Africa itself.
Other novels on my list are:
Robert Sawyer’s www.Wake three book series. There’s something growing in the internet. It’s a consciousness. Only one person can see it; and she’s blind.
I was going to that series next, but then I discovered books by Mary Doria Russell.
Doc; this is Russell’s new piece of historical fiction about the days of Doc Holliday, his relationship with Wyatt Earp, and not to mention that whole OK Corral thing.
The Sparrow and Children of God. These two novels by Russell are described as taking up big questions. How would we, the people of earth react when an intelligent, alien, species is discovered on another planet? Who would we send for first contact? What would it all mean about our understanding of God? Just the kind of speculative religious science fiction I love.
All of that is in the plan, but since it’s for fun and relaxation, it can and probably will change with new discoveries.
For professional development, three things:
Picking Cotton: Our memoir of injustice and redemption; the joint memoir of the story of racial misidentification in a NC rape case, and the powerful friendship that develops between the incarcerated but innocent black man Ronald Cotton and Jennifer Thompson-Cannino the white woman who now knows she was wrong, but who had sworn that it was he who raped her. [I may use this in a lecture in my “Interpersonal Relationships and Race” course.]
Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America. Simply put there is no one black America, and that is part of the neo-diversity of America today; relevant to my thinking about issues in my “…Interpersonal Relationships and Race” course.
Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie: A tale of love and fallout, by Lauren Redniss. Whenever I can read a biography of a relationship I do because I am an interpersonal psychologist. If you go to my website (www.makinggumbo.com) you will find my review of White Heat: The Friendship of Emily Dickinson & Thomas Wentworth Higginson; the story of the relationship between Emily Dickinson & Thomas Wentworth Higginson. Biographies of relationships are very interesting to me and useful tests of the concepts I teach. Such biographies are always startling and moving; they keep my teaching about relationships conceptually sharp and emotionally hot.