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Summer Reading List: Ready Player One

Ready Player One

Ready Player One
Ernest Cline
New York: Crown Publishers, 2011

The fantastic novel Ready Player One presents a world in which virtual reality technology becomes fully integrated with and inseparable from humankind’s lives. With the advancement of technology in our own world, there is a growing amount of hype and optimism around the diverse applicability of virtual reality but also a lack of thorough study of its implications. In about a generation’s time, virtual-reality technology should mature and if it indeed stays true to its current hype, it is our generation’s responsibility to conceive of some of its potential implications to better prepare ourselves for what’s about to dawn on us. Ready Player One serves as a cautionary tale as it explores those implications through the characters’ relationships, their sense of identity, and the greed for power.

This book is part of the 2017 Berkeley Summer Reading List. Stay tuned for more weekly posts!

Summer Reading List: Borderwall as Architecture

Borderwall as Architecture

Borderwall as Architecture
by Ronald Rael
Oakland: University of California Press, 2017

In timely fashion, Ronald Rael, a professor in the Department of Architecture, takes on the subject of the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico in his accessible new book that Architect magazine has described as “intrepid” and multi-dimensional: “[p]art historical account, part theoretical appraisal, and part design manifesto.” Through a series of essays by Rael and other contributors that are sometimes practical, sometimes polemical, and sometimes satirical, the wall is examined for its multiple meanings not only from a design perspective, but also from an environmental, economic, and social one, reflecting on the way the wall not only stands as a symbol of security that divides people, but also as an object that has the potential to bring people together.

For more about Professor Rael’s work here at UC Berkeley, see Cal’s #InThisGen pages.

This book is part of the 2017 Berkeley Summer Reading List. Stay tuned for more weekly posts!

Summer Reading List: Forked

Forked: A New Standard for American Dining

Forked: A New Standard for American Dining
by Saru Jayaraman
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016

Written by one of today’s most vibrant social justice leaders, this book makes the case that economic justice is not just a moral imperative but also a viable business strategy. Saru has spent almost two decades organizing restaurant workers, and what she has learned about their low wages and exploitative working conditions are a must-read for all of us as consumers. But more important is her vision for what a sustainable, living-wage restaurant industry can look like, supported by profiles of companies who are already doing the right thing today.

For more information about Saru Jayaraman’s work, including her Mario Savio Memorial Lecture in 2014, we invite you to visit UC Berkeley’s #InThisGen pages.

This book is part of the 2017 Berkeley Summer Reading List. Stay tuned for more weekly posts!

Summer Reading List: A Crack in Creation

A Crack in Creation

A Crack in Creation: Gene Editing and the Unthinkable Power to Control Evolution
by Jennifer A. Doudna and Samuel H. Sternberg
Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017

A Crack in Creation discusses the origin and impact of the CRISPR-Cas9 gene-editing technology co-invented by UC Berkeley biologist Jennifer Doudna. Hailed as the scientific breakthrough of the century, CRISPR-Cas9 is a technology that can change the very way we live in a single generation and reshape our world in unimaginable ways–offering potential cures for diseases and solutions to world hunger while also raising a series of ethical questions about the consequences of being able to change our DNA.

In their book, Doudna and fellow researcher Samuel Sternberg tell the compelling story of this discovery and wrestle with those questions about what we will do with this new technology that gives us the power to reshape our evolution.

There are many compelling reasons for why this is a worthy contribution for any booklist, but for Berkeley the justification is even richer. UC Berkeley has been ground zero for this entire technology, with contributions from others around the world. Secondly, the ramifications of this technology are so widespread that only a campus with broad excellence in all areas is adequate to engage the range of implications that this technology offers.

(Visit UC Berkeley’s #InThisGen pages for much more about Professor Doudna’s work on CRISPR.)

This book is part of the 2017 Berkeley Summer Reading List. Stay tuned for more weekly posts!

Summer Reading List: March

March

March
by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell
Marietta: Top Shelf Productions, 2016

Before he became a respected Congressman, John Lewis was clubbed, gassed, arrested over 40 times, and nearly killed by angry mobs and state police, all while nonviolently protesting racial discrimination. He marched side-by-side with Martin Luther King as the youngest leader of the Civil Rights Movement that would change a nation forever.

March, a compelling trilogy of graphic memoirs about Lewis’s experiences participating in nonviolent civil rights protests (the third book of the trilogy recently won a National Book Award), speaks directly to the theme “What Can We Change in a Single Generation?” and to the current era of social justice activism many Berkeley students are engaged in.

This book is part of the 2017 Berkeley Summer Reading List. Stay tuned for more weekly posts!

2015 Summer Reading List

This year’s list—“Summer Sampler: Selections from First-Year Courses”—offers a potluck of great suggestions from a few of our many faculty who teach these courses.

2014 Summer Reading List for Freshmen

We compiled this for our incoming freshman class, but you, too, may be interested in this great list of suggested reads related to this year’s theme of Free Speech.

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