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Always Coming Home by Ursula K. Le Guin Science fiction writers imagine the future and therefore, we hope, can shape the future. Here, writer Le Guin imagines a future Earth that looks radically different from our present Earth — a place of peace, prosperity and sustainability. The Industries of the Future by Alec Ross This sweeping discussion of how technology can transform our world for the better and worse brilliantly picked up on what I view as the most important technology for transformation: It also inspired me to refocus my efforts to bring about positive change.

How the blockchain is changing money and business. A Family, — by Lionel Shriver This great novel imagines an entirely plausible dystopia in the near future. How the US should use its superpower status.

Wendell Berry Reads A Poem on Hope

Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien This is an inspiring novel about two classical musicians and their loved ones trying to survive two horrific events in China: It serves as a beautiful homage to the human spirit — and to music. The Warmth of Other Suns: It is written like a novel, filled with human-centered stories about what it takes to make huge transformational change in our personal lives and our nation as a whole.

Barely Breathing

The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in the Age of Distraction by Matthew Crawford Did you think being an individual was to be free of all relations and encumbrances and demands? Think again, says Crawford. We are a social animal, and we only become ourselves when attending to the demands of that which allows us to lose our detached self-possession.

How college loans exploit students for profit. The Power of Infrastructure Spac e by Keller Easterling A subversive book on the infrastructure of our cities, it takes a serious look at how laws, building codes and construction standards have shaped how our buildings and cities are built. We often assume that the construction of infrastructure — like sewers, roads and broadband cables — is neutral and rational, when its distribution, in fact, closely reflects our wider political, social and economic realities.

This is a book about how power can be exercised via means that we usually pay little attention to and about how it may be hacked, appropriated and subverted, approaches that may also have application beyond architecture and urban planning. Gopnik encourages us to revisit many of our assumptions on these subjects and to confront anew the the meaning of life and other philosophical big questions.


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  3. Contemplating Lung Cancer with a Poet and Patient | City of Hope!
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Whatever your take on her overarching point — that our children can enlighten us adults — her book is bound to make you think and to find hope in the miracle of the human mind. What reality are you creating for yourself? Klosterman reminds us how many things we think we know to be true turn out not to be so. What a planet needs to sustain life.

Why Equality Is Better for Everyone by Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson If you want facts to back up your belief that equality makes for a better society for us all, then this is the book for you. And if you do not believe that a more level playing field can help aid contentment, then prepare yourself to be challenged.

An energizing and challenging read.

Mark Nepo - spiritual writer, poet, philosopher, healing arts teacher, cancer survivor

Any book by Lillian Smith A writer and social critic, Smith explores how we can extend our worldview while concurrently exploring our perceptions of self. Our external life journey can only progress as much as we take the time to go inward and understand ourselves. In this light, we all possess the ability to travel and grow as long as we walk both ways. Without ever seeming idealistic or naive, she uses her superhuman compassion to imagine a future in which women and men have more possibilities for how to be at home in the world.

The stories provide hope for the miracles that sometimes do happen and the courage of those who deliver them, as well as the life-and-death reality of medicine. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates Sometimes, I think hope is not possible unless we take an honest look at how oppression works in our daily lives.


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  • 70 books to make you feel hopeful: An end-of-year reading list!
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  • I love this book — written as a letter from the author to his son — because his love for his child ultimately shapes and focuses his honest depiction of what it means to be a black man in America. How Proust Can Change Your Life by Alain de Botton Marcel Proust wrote well over one million words replete with deep insights and observations about human nature, but who has the time to read that much?


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    The book illuminates the ecosystem of medical care for terminal illness and also provides touching insights into marriage, friendship and family. The World as Laboratory: Experiments with Mice, Mazes and Men by Rebecca Lemon Even if we are influenced, shaped and controlled in our behaviors and actions, at least we are free inside — right? Not so, argues Lemov in his book. The attempt to engineer the interior space of people began over a century ago with the field of behavioral psychology, and its subsequent history is chillingly recounted in this scholarly yet accessible book.

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    A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities that Arise in Disaster by Rebecca Solnit Almost anything Solnit writes is insightful and moving, but this book especially so. Forged in emergency, these spontaneous communities of helpful strangers rediscover the joy of reciprocity, benevolence and mutual aid. Why ordinary people need to understand power.

    Happiness by Jack Underwood Contrary to what the title suggests, this poetry collection is not just about happiness. Portraying a tumult of emotions through the lens of a normal, unromanticized life, it gives words and expression to the often confusing feelings we face every day. How we talk about sexual assault online. Too often, graphic novelists tend not to leave much for the imagination. Mooncop , on the other hand, contains long, beautiful and thought-provoking silences. It is a fast read, and I smiled the entire time.

    Part love letter to Nicholson Baker and part secret wink at Henry James, this book manages to make literary criticism feel…sexy. She is now 65, but her voice has not changed a bit.

    With no thought, I was waist high and wet, sweeping her into the air. She flew a good twelve feet and landed with a thud. She shook and started to shiver. We rubbed her down for two hours, blowing her with an old hair dryer. I held her in my shirt, near my heart, the whole way home. How much that day has shaped my art: As if my life depends on it. As the wind makes a different song through the same tree as its branches break, God makes finer and finer music through the wearing down of our will. It's as if what is unbreakable— the very pulse of life—waits for everything else to be torn away, and then in the bareness that only silence and suffering and great love can expose, it dares to speak through us and to us.

    It seems to say, if you want to last, hold on to nothing. If you want to know love, let in everything. If you want to feel the presence of everything, stop counting the things that break along the way. Mark Nepo will make you fall in love with the world. Allow them to reach under your skin, to where mystery is born into meaning.

    What a marvelous book. Mark Nepo's generous, vast poems restore readers to joy even before we finish reading them—musing upon single lines, images, stanzas—we feel it rising up again, that precious sense of YES. And completing them—we feel the rich trove of thinking and living so heartened and restored. If you already know Mark's work, you won't want to miss this collection.

    And if you have never had the pleasure of experiencing the world through Mark Nepo's eyes, begin with Reduced to Joy. By showing us again and again what happens when one man is "completely at peace," we witness what is possible when we are "reduced to joy" by an honest life, and by poetry itself. Mark Nepo's poems transmit those transfiguring experiences inside words of beauty. Nepo's poems should carry a warning label: His new Reduced to Joy cuts close to the bone with passages of pure beauty and raw honesty.

    I felt the stillness he wrote of, followed by a sense of peace. For this, I am grateful. This is a beautiful book of poems to deepen and nurture the soul with love and joy, even for those who have never read a poem in their life. He writes from the wisdom of experience—of having journeyed through two cancers. He gets to the essence of happiness, touching readers with his poetic passages and personal aha moments. He reminds us that in stillness, in embracing the mystery of life, and in embodying our birthright as mighty expressions of love, we are reduced to joy.

    His poems inspire, connect, and encourage us to breathe in our own truth so that we can rediscover the peace and joy that is also present in each moment of our lives. Extraordinary Enlightenment for Ordinary People. Nepo is an inveterate meaning-maker who has delved deeply into the wisdom traditions and the world's religions.

    In vivid imagery, he captures those connections and epiphanies which illuminate the human condition.

    ‘I Had My Third Life’

    What inspired you to write this book? They break surface like dolphin after long stretches of going under. So writing a book of poems for me is different than writing my other books. I have to sit when I'm able and try to make heart-sense of what life has been doing to me and with me.

    Like wringing out a sponge, I squeeze what matters onto the page, let it dry, and see what's there the next day. One by one, they gather into an instructive whole. All this to say, that by trying to make sense of my own experience, I've discovered a theme to the journey, that we are all reduced to joy, worn away of all excess. Within a few days he felt better, and had regained enough strength to go home.

    Instead of lungs riddled with white spots, there were several large pockets of grey. He worked on a book proposal. He visited with friends. He read poetry and listened to music. He was in good spirits. But by June , his breathing — again — began to falter. It appeared the cancer cells that had been tamed by erlotinib had now outwitted the drug, and were multiplying furiously.

    Dutta resigned himself to three or four more months of life. But Salgia said he still had options. They could perform tests to get at the true nature of the cancer; and find out if these new tumor cells expressed an altered mutation that could be targeted. About City of Hope. Diabetes Metabolism Research Institute. Corporate and Foundation Giving.

    Sunil Dutta stared at a scan of his lungs.