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What Are FCNL Interns Reading this Summer?

July 9, 2010

While FCNL interns are busy urging congress to pass climate change legislation, working on comprehensive immigration reform, advocating for the peaceful prevention of deadly conflict, and trying to stay cool in the horrible DC summer heat, we also have had time to read a couple of good books.  This year, the annual intern summer reading list includes a variety of topics from light summer reading to heavier stories that will inspire you to take action.  So stop by your local library, check-out a book or two and jump-in!

FCNL Interns reading

Stephen, Lizzie and Rachael enjoy summer reading while saying "War Is Not the Answer!"

Becca Sheff, Immigration/Human Rights Program Assistant
What Is the What, by Dave Eggers
This “soulful account” of the life of Valentino Achak Deng, a Sudanese refugee living in Atlanta, is the product of years of interviews between Achak and Eggers.  Fleeing civil war, Achak endured tremendous hardships and walked miles upon miles before arriving in a Kenyan refugee camp and gaining entry to the United States, only to find that security and stability remain elusive.  Intense and straightforward, this tale is a page-turner that will sustain you through Achak’s instinctive kindness while exploring questions of perseverance, human nature, and the invisibility of refugees.

Lacey Maurer, Executive Secretary’s Office Program Assistant
My Life in France, by Julia Child
Julia Child’s memoir takes us on a culinary adventure through the life of a true gourmand.  Julia was passionate about food, and her passion comes through in her writing.  You can almost taste the sole munière that would eventually turn her into the revolutionary chef that still inspires cooks everywhere almost a half century after her first publication.  Julia’s book is a must read for anyone with an interest in the culinary arts.

Katrina Schwartz, Peaceful Prevention of Deadly Conflict Program Assistant
The Children, by David Halberstam
This book traces the lives and struggles of the young people who lead the Nashville sit-ins in 1960 and who went on to become key organizers in Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Halberstam gives depth to the Civil Rights Movement by exploring the background and lives of those courageous young people whose names are not well known. It is both inspiring and well written. I highly recommend this book as an inspiring testimony to non-violent action, standing up for what is true and right, and learning some of the nuance involved in a much-discussed moment in American history.

Lizzie Biddle, Campaigns Program Assistant
Upside Down World: A primer for the looking glass world, by Eduardo Galeano
Read on my metro ride this year to the FCNL office, Galeano has become one of my favorite authors.  In this book, this Uruguayan author paints the industrialized world as “upside-down” world that has turned it’s back on critical issues of our time, including poverty, child abuse, patriarchal arrogance and political deception.   Using humor, sarcasm, parables, lessons and homilies, the reader is forced to question state of the world as we know it.

Matt Southworth, Campaigns Program Assistant
Einstein:  His Life and Universe
, by Walter Isaacson
Einstein was legitimately the greatest thinker in human history. A scientist, humanitarian, and refugee, Einstein left an unmistakable mark on our society. Reading Isaacson’s writings about Einstein should be a must this summer.

Rachael Jeffers, Campaigns Program Assistant
Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
, by Jamie Ford
Ford’s book delves into the complexities and interconnectedness of family histories and national histories by exploring a part of U.S. history often glazed over, the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II.  Having worked in DC for nearly a year now, and looking towards a future of working in public history, I found this novel compelling as it brings to light the realities of how the decisions of governments affect the lives of everyday people and can even impact children’s perceptions of their peers.

Stephen Donahoe, Campaigns Program Assistant
Saving Faith
, by David Baldacci
If you need a break from the doomsday, detail-laden nonfiction books that much of our movement tends to read, this could be a great book for you. It is a political thriller that provides a spy’s eye view of DC. The best part is that, in essence, it is a story of a giant corporate lobbyist whose heart is won over by the poverty he sees around the world. Life gets complicated when he uses his lobbying power to serve the world’s poor.

Inez Steigerwald, Native American Program Assistant
Blog reviewed: Thing About Skins and Other Curios, Gyasi Ross
Gyasi Ross previously wrote a weekly guest column in Indian Country Today (a Native news publisher).  When the column came to it’s conclusion I was sad to lose that source of information and Native American perspective, until I found his permanent blog! Drawing from his own experience, Ross explores various  aspects of what it means to be a Native man through anecdotes, mainstream media and audience involvement.  I recommend this blog for folks interested in exploring the inspirations and gripes of one Native man.

Kimberly MacVaugh, Foreign Policy Program Assistant
Palestinian Walks: Forays into a Vanishing Landscape, by Raja Shehadeh
Structured as essays about this Palestinian human rights lawyer’s hikes through the years, the book reveals the tragic loss of connection between Palestinians and their land resulting from the occupation.  Not too academic or technical, this memoir is a good choice if you are interested in learning more about the occupied Palestinian territories.

Once you’re done, let us know what you think!

Look for an upcoming blog describing what the Interns will be doing after FCNL!

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