This week in Summer Reading

Book cover for The Mountain in the Sea

The Mountain in the Sea
Ray Nayler

This book is a gem – an entrancing page-turner taking place in the near future, where the existence of a society of highly intelligent and communicative octopuses comes into contact with humans. In narrating this encounter, the author explores deep questions on the nature of mind – the meaning of and requirements for sentience, and how mind, body, and world are intertwined. All of this in the context of a near-future world continuing to be plagued by environmental catastrophe and extreme human suffering. How might such an intimate meeting with the alien consciousness of cephalopods with a very different lens on the world inform our capacity to rewrite the rules?

Teaching Professor
Neurobiology and Psychology


Book cover for White Mughals

White Mughals: Love and Betrayal in Eighteenth-Century India
William Dalrymple

William Dalrymple shares the remarkable and true story of James Achilles Kirkpatrick, an English East India Company officer, and his wife, Khair-un-Nissa, an Indian Muslim noblewoman. Their love story serves as a powerful reminder of the cultural amalgamations that thrived during 18th-century India, building bridges between India and the West through the intermingling of languages, art, religion, and politics.

However, this historical perspective seems unusual and ironic in contrast to the narrative that exists in the world’s consciousness of today, given the oppressive practices of cultural separation spurred on by racism and colonialism in 19th- and early 20th-century India. These practices led to the burning of the aforementioned bridges and the collective social awakening of a country seeking freedom and justice. In the shifting shadows of these opposing ideologies, Dalrymple provides new perspectives on the mechanisms of racism, colonialism, and globalization. He encourages the reader to examine the sociocultural fabric of our current existence and reconsider how the legacies of our past weave our future.

This book is well-researched and beautifully written, and has everything one could want: memorable characters, adventure, romance, espionage, betrayal, tragedy, and curated pictures that offer a glimpse into this forgotten world!

Disability Specialist
Disabled Students Program