Summer reading: The Hacking of the American Mind

The Hacking of the American Mind book cover

The Hacking of the American Mind
Robert Lustig

Five years ago, UCSF pediatric endocrinologist Dr. Robert H. Lustig came out swinging with Fat Chance, a well-argued if polemical exposé of how the processed sugar industry has come to dominate food production (and consumption) with disastrous effects. Now he’s back with the even more compelling The Hacking of the American Mind.

Lustig’s thesis is that not one but several industries consciously develop products designed to foment addictive behavior, showing convincingly that the brain-signaling pathways implicated in substance addictions (drugs, alcohol) are the same as those implicated in behavioral addictions (addiction to social media, for example). He lays out in plain language how the dopamine stimulus mechanism works, how it can be abused to the point of permanent damage, how the serotonin production system mediates these reactions, and how some of the very same addictive behaviors actually thwart the behaviors that would promote serotonin production and a healthy balance between the two.

His wide-ranging assault touches on processed food, substance abuse, and most significantly for modern audiences, the profound new role of “attention addiction” — being unable to tear your attention away from social media.

As in Fat Chance, Lustig writes in an informal, direct, highly-readable, no-BS voice that makes it sound like he is in a classroom addressing a small group of students.

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


New Books Added to The Graduate Services Collection in July

Angel catbird

Angel Catbird Volume 1 by Margaret Atwood and illustrated by Johnnie Christmas with an introduction by Margaret Atwood

Angel Catbird, vol. 2 : to Castle Catula

Angel Catbird Volume 2: To Castle Catula by Margaret Atwood and illustrated by Johnnie Christmas with a foreword by G. Willow Wilson

Angel Catbird. Vol. 3, The Catbird roars

Angel Catbird Volume 3: The Catbird Roars by Margaret Atwood and illustrated by Johnnie Christmas with a foreword by Kelly Sue DeConnick

The letters of T.S. Eliot / Volume 7, 1934-1935 / edited by Valerie Eliot and John Haffenden.

The letters of T.S. Eliot Volume 7: 1934-1935 edited by Valerie Eliot and John Haffenden

Norman Mailer : four books of the 1960s

Four Books Of The 1960s: An American Dream, Why Are We Still In Vietnam?, The Armies Of The Night, Miami And The Siege Of Chicago by Norman Mailer edited by J. Michael Lennon

Second childhood

Second Childhood by John Montague

Please, Louise

Please, Louise by Toni Morrison and Slade Morrison illustrated by Shadra Strickland

Orwell on truth

Orwell On Truth by George Orwell with an introduction by Adam Hochschild

Visiting Edna by David Rabe

Visiting Edna by David Rabe


Summer reading: Barkskins

Barkskins book cover

Barkskins
Annie Proulx

Though it’s very long, I count it as inspirational in many ways. She inspires the reader to think about the research (the love of historical archival work and stories of the past, the enjoyment of discovery, a fascination with the lives of other people) involved in writing this kind of historical novel. She also leaves us with something like an obsession with trees, branches and leaves, and massive tree trunks and a longing for woods and forests. Though it’s partly a story of the ecological devastation of the forests of North America, it’s also a story of hope that we today will do some healing. It is also an honest and delicate exploration of relations between European settlers and Native American groups.

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


Summer reading: Climate Changed

Climate Changed book cover

Climate Changed: A Personal Journey through the Science
Philippe Squarzoni

Squarzoni’s graphic memoir recounts his experience in coming to understand the immensity of our changing climate. While he was finishing a previous book about politics, he realized he didn’t know much about climate change, and thus he started to investigate. That investigation led him to a whole new book, one he felt he had to write. Not only does the book inform readers of these enormous changes, it also illustrates how it is we come to understand new and life-altering ideas. One of my students said after reading Squarzoni’s memoir that she felt “changed.” Squarzoni provides no easy answers, but he does open our eyes to some of the most pressing concerns of our day.

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


Summer reading: Euphoria

Euphoria book cover

Euphoria
Lily King

This 2014 novel is based in part on the life of the famed/notorious anthropologist Margaret Mead. Set in New Guinea in the 1930s, this narrative full of danger and desire is propelled forward by the thrill — and the risks — of seeking out new knowledge. A reviewer wrote in the New York Times, “King’s signal achievement may be to have created satisfying drama out of a quest for interpretive insight.”

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


Summer reading: Killers of the Flower Moon

Killers of the Flower Moon book cover

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the F.B.I.
David Grann

Woody Guthrie sang that in his native Oklahoma, “Some will rob you with a six-gun, And some with a fountain pen.” This Western history reveals the full truth of this for the first time, and adds the point that for Native Americans fraud was sealed with multiple murders of the young and the old. Grann, a magazine journalist, has had an epic year with human catastrophes of a century ago. His book on explorers in the Amazon became the film, The Lost City of Z, and his visit to Antarctica, “The White Darkness,” was featured in The New Yorker in early 2018. The dusty oil patch in Oklahoma, it turns out, had healthier weather but many more tragedies. They will make you gasp as you become the explorer.

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


New Books Added To The Graduate Services Collection In June

John ashbery: collected poems 1991-2000 - library of america #297.

Collected Poems 1991-2000 by John Ashbery edited by Mark Ford

They knew what they wanted : poems & collages

They Knew What They Wanted: Poems & Collages by John Ashbery

A dictionary of critical theory

Oxford Dictionary Of Critical Theory (Second Edition) by Ian Buchanan

A vision of battlements

A Vision Of Battlements by Anthony Burgess edited with an introduction and notes by Andrew Biswell

The children's Homer : the adventures of Odysseus and the tale of Troy

The Gods, Goddesses, And Mythical Beasts Collection: The Children’s Homer: The Adventures Of Odysseus And The Tale Of Troy by Padraic Colum and illustrated by Willy Pogany

The children of Odin : the book of northern myths

The Gods, Goddesses, And Mythical Beasts Collection: The Children Of Odin: The Book Of Northern Myths by Padraic Colum and illustrated by Willy Pogany

Gods, goddesses, and mythical beasts collection : the golden fleece

The Gods, Goddesses, And Mythical Beasts Collection: The Golden Fleece And The Heroes Who Lived Before Achilles by Padraic Colum and illustrated by Willy Pogany

Alienation and Freedom.

Alienation And Freedom by Frantz Fanon edited and compiled by Jean Khalfa and Robert J.C. Young, translated by Steven Corcoran

Chicago : a novel

Chicago: A Novel by David Mamet

Image result for The Penitent by David Mamet

The Penitent: A Play by David Mamet

Carson McCullers : stories, plays & other writings

Stories, Plays & Other Writings by Carson McCullers edited by Carlos L. Dews

Night-Gaunts and Other Tales of Suspense. by Joyce Carol Oates

Night-Gaunts And Other Tales Of Suspense by Joyce Carol Oates

Conjugating Hindi

Conjugating Hindi by Ishmael Reed

Rage and time : a psychopolitical investigation

Rage And Time: A Psychopolitical Investigation by Peter Sloterdijk translated by Mario Wenning

Essays, articles, and reviews, 1922-1934

The Complete Works Of Evelyn Waugh Volume 26: Essays, Articles, And Reviews 1922-1934 edited by Donat Gallagher


A Bloomsday Reading List

 

Bloomday 2018

June 16, 1904 is a famous date in the literary world—the single day over which James Joyce’s epic 20th century novel Ulysses unfolds. Annually on June 16th (known affectionately as “Bloomsday” after Ulysses’s protagonist Leopold Bloom), literary fans in places like Philadelphia, Trieste, and of course, Dublin gather together to celebrate Joyce’s prolific novel. Join in the celebrations by exploring the literary colossus of Ulysses.

Start by reading the text itself, along with the works produced to make it a little more manageable:

Continue reading “A Bloomsday Reading List”


Summer reading: Brain on Fire

Brain on Fire book cover

Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness
Susannah Cahalan

At the age of 24, Susannah Cahalan was coming into her own: living in New York City, in a serious relationship, and beginning her career as a journalist for a major newspaper. Just as things felt like they were coming together, everything fell apart when she woke up in the hospital, confused and unsure of who she was. There is a level of vulnerability in this book that is unwavering and brave as Cahalan recalls the month that she fought to convince doctors, loved ones, and herself that she was not lost.

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


Summer reading: All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See book cover

All the Light We Cannot See
Anthony Doerr

In his novel, Doerr artfully weaves together the stories of blind French girl and a precocious Nazi boy who meet in St. Malo, France as the town is being bombed by the Allies shortly after D-Day. The book reminds us how courage, imagination, and resourcefulness can enable us to transcend our limitations.

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