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Humanities Reads!

Faculty teaching courses in the humanities, or courses with a central humanities-related component, are invited to consider adopting a common humanities text as part of their assigned reading and discussion material.

2021-2022 Selection

The board selected two books for the Humanities Reads! program for the 21-22 year: Jon Dunn's The Glitter in the Green (Basic Books 2021) and Jenny Odell's How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy (Penguin Random House 2020)

.           A picture of a book cover decorated with multi-colored roses        

The nominator of The Glitter in the Green says: "Read it in 3 days -- amazing." This work of a British naturalist, traveling the Americas to encounter the indiginous hummingbirds, is part "traelogue, history, and natural history. . . Just an amazing inductie piece to reading larger environmental issues."


The nominator of How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy says: "When we reconene as a campus commumnity after this life-changing and Very Online pandemic experience, Odell's book seems especially well-suited to provide a meaningful shared text to help us examine these experiences -- one that is gleefully interdisciplinary, yet grounded and humane, one that appreciates contemporary technology . . . a book that understands that we thrive in a real world, in real time, in real space, with other living things, including fellow human beings. This is a book that can help us do that."

The Center is in the process of purchasing a limited number of copies of both books to be shared with any member of the Drake community who would like to take part in Humanities Reads! The Center especially encourages requests from faculty who plan to assign the work in their classes.

Please contact the Director to obtain a copy of one or both of the books.

Past Humanities Reads books have included:

  • Jaron Lanier's Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now
  • Cathy O'Neil's Weapons of Math Destruction
  • Tara Westover's Educated
  • Mathew Desmond's Evicted
  • Kiese Laymon's How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America
  • Leslie Jamison’s The Empathy Exams
  • Rebecca Skloot's The Immortal life of Henrietta Lacks
  • George Saunders's In Persuasion Nation
  • Phoebe Gloeckner's Diary of a Teenage Girl
  • J.M. Coetzee's Disgrace


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