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Summer reading may not have been mandatory since high school, but a lack of requirements has never stopped Brown students from broadening their minds. So here it is, The Herald's very own list of must-reads for this summer, featuring books by members of the Brown community.

The Genius in All of Us
David Shenk '88 

For anyone reeling from sticker shock at Brown's tuition, this book may be a comfort. This science-heavy but accessible work dissects biologists' findings that intelligence and talent are developed rather than predetermined. Shenk, a journalist and best-selling author, told The Herald in April the book is essentially about "how people get good at stuff," a point underscored by his ambitious subtitle, "Why Everything You've Been Told About Genetics, Talent and IQ is Wrong."

Further Adventures in the Restless Universe
Dawn Raffel '79

The title of Raffel's second collection of short stories was drawn from a supposedly "user-friendly" physics guide her father read to her as a child. Influenced by that memory and the recent death of her parents, Raffel composed 21 very short vignettes on family life, featuring women struggling to balance various domestic roles and family members struggling to connect.

Mean Free Path
Ben Lerner '01 MFA'03

"Last year alone, every American choked to death on a red balloon," reads a line from one of Lerner's fresh and startling poems. The award-winning poet's third poetry collection blends "celebration and mourning, ode and elegy — within a militarized and commercialized language," the author explained in an e-mail. In this personal exploration, Lerner focuses on the breakdown of language in the pursuit of exploring politics.

World Cup 2010: The Indispensable Guide to Soccer and Geopolitics
Harry Stark '11 and Steven Stark P'11

If you've been feeling adrift since the winter Olympics ended, never fear. This book from the father-son duo introduces the history of the soccer (football for the non-Yanks) World Cup and its influence on international relations. Score a copy before the games begin in South Africa June 11.

The Short Bus: A Journey Beyond Normal
Jonathan Mooney '00

Diagnosed as dyslexic and learning-disabled as a child, Mooney did not learn to read until he was 12. He went on to graduate from Brown with honors in English literature. Years later, plagued by a sense of inferiority, he set out on "an epic journey across the U.S. on a broken-down short bus," like one of those reserved for disabled schoolchildren. His memoir chronicles the trip and his efforts to redefine normalcy for those who, according to his website, live "outside the lines."

Making Rounds with Oscar: The Extraordinary Gift of an Ordinary Cat
Assistant Professor of Medicine David Dosa

The Grim Reaper takes many forms, and at Steere House Nursing and Rehabilitation Center he is Oscar the cat. Oscar made headlines in 2007 after Brown geriatrician Dosa published an article in a science journal about the animal's uncanny ability to identify dying patients, snuggling up to them and their loved ones. Dosa, who was skeptical, has turned his observations into a book, realizing along the way that Oscar's real gift is the comfort he can provide for the patients.

American Vampire (series)
Stephen King and Scott Snyder '98
Art and Cover by Rafael Albuquerque

Watch out Edward Cullen, Skinner Sweet is swaggering into town. Sweet is the anything-but vampire villain of the new comic book series by Snyder, a fiction and comic book writer, and horror aficionado King. "American Vampire" is the creative brainchild of Snyder, who enlisted King to write the backstory for the titular fanged character. Snyder himself fleshes out the narrative of naive actress Pearl Jones, while Albuquerque illustrates this newest addition to the vampire fiction genre, a bloody comic leaping across American history from the Old West to 1930's Hollywood.



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