Fun Reading for Winter Break

By Rachael Garcia, Peter Hernandez, Catherine Lee, and Lulu OrozcoThe Guardsman 


Book recommendations by artists, authors, librarians, and bloggers:


Sleepwalking in Paradise by Andrew O. Dugas, 2011

Available online:

“Set in San Francisco & Berkeley, ‘Sleepwalking in Paradise’ is like a magical-realist ‘Tales of the City’ — a lovely tribute to the communities of found friends that make up much of family life in San Francisco,” says Gravity Goldberg, author, founder and editor of literary magazine “Instant City,” Public Programs Manager at the Contemporary Jewish Museum, former Litquake Festival Coordinator, and City College Creative Writing instructor.



The Little Flower of East Orange by Stephen Adly Guirgis, premiered 2011 º
Stone Cold Dead Serious by Stephen Adly Guirgis, premiered 2002 *
Jesus Hopped the A Train by Stephen Adly Guirgis, premiered 2000 º

“I suggest any play by Stephen Adly Guirgis. He is the hottest playwright in New York. His play ‘The Motherf**ker With the Hat’ just won raves. He’s contemporary, moving, a man not afraid to use words and passions — his characters are filled with heart juxtaposed with incredible stories,” says Susan Jackson, City College theater instructor, playwright, and stage director.


Ghost Wave: The Discovery of Cortes Bank and the Biggest Wave on Earth by Chris Dixon, 2011 º

“It’s a nonfiction book with an extreme sports angle. It also features the thorough application of the marine sciences, geography, meteorology, history and human psychology to understanding the physical features of our planet and the people who are drawn to it — like the early indigenous peoples of the western coast of North America, commercial fishers, the U.S. Navy, and very serious surfers looking to ride gigantic, life-threatening waves,” says Matt Duckworth of City College’s English department, book reviewer, and arts blogger.


Sex at Dawn by Christopher Ryan & Cacilda Jetha, 2010 º“Go ahead, let the married couple convince you that humans have not evolved to be monogamous.  They turn the current (sexist, puritan) narrative about human sexuality on its head,” says Amy, a Booksmith bookstore employee (Haight Street). 


Zeitoun by Dave Eggers, 2010 º *

“You may know Eggers, a Bay Area writer,  from his writing workshop for kids on Valencia. This book is nonfiction, a true story about a Syrian-American family who lives in New Orleans. When the order to evacuate during Hurricane Katrina came, Zeitoun sent his family away, but he decided to stay to watch his property and to take care of his clients. Eggers shows the aftermath of this decision. It’s a very readable book, one I have recommended to a lot of friends, who always thank me,” says Deanne Spears of City College’s English department, and author of a reading textbook.

Ways of Seeing by John Berger, 1972 º *

“It’s an oldie but a goody. It relates to the arts, cognitive psychology, politics and ethics, media/visual literacy, and eases the reader into the principles of deconstruction and its relevance. A thin book but powerful book. You can also watch the corresponding BBC program on YouTube,” says Nancy Elliott, City College Art Gallery Coordinator and art department instructor,  former Exhibitions Director at Richmond Art Center, and internationally exhibited artist.


You Are Not a Gadget: A Manifesto by Jaron Lanier, 2010 º

“Interesting humanist critique of technology and Facebook from the man who is described as ‘the father of virtual reality.’ He’s a high school dropout who teaches at UC Berkeley. He’s a smart and unconventional man. I just bought a used copy of the book and I’m planning on reading it more thoroughly this winter break,” says Nancy Elliott, City College arts instructor.


Culture of Narcissism: American Life in a Time of Diminishing Expectations by Christopher Lasch, 1979 º *

“I bump into it as a reference when I’m reading about politicians, the literature of David Foster Wallace, reality TV shows, and more. Here’s one chapter title: ‘The Banality of Pseudo-Self Awareness: Theatrics of Politics and Everyday Existence.’ Can’t wait to sink my teeth into this and have a better understanding of contemporary American culture,” says Nancy Elliott, City College arts instructor.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, 2010 º *

This is the compelling true story of medicine and cell therapy which pivots around race, class, ethics and history. It’s a whirlwind story about the first cell contributor, Henrietta Lacks, and her descendants who can’t afford health insurance. The book is recommended by Joao Barretto, who is a City College Friends of the Library Board member, and Rosenberg Acquisitions Librarian and Coordinator of Collection Development.


* Available at San Francisco City College’s Rosenberg Library
º Available at any San Francisco Public Library branch
Looking for an affordable bookstore to buy books and help out the City College libraries?
Try the Friends Of The CCSF Library  Bookstore at the Ocean Campus;
4th Floor – Rosenberg Library , Room 404
Bookstore Hours: Fall, 2011
Tuesday/Thursday : 10am to 3:30pm
Wednesday : 8am to 12noon
Bookstore Phone: (415) 452-5461


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