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Heya! Welcome back to Books for Thought! I am very excited because this is the first recording from the beautiful IEC office! It’s great to be back and see my lovely coworkers’ faces and it’s even better to be in an air-conditioned space!  So, getting back to this month’s review, we are focusing on Human Geography. I can’t think of a better field to explore as we try to navigate our way through such uncertain times. Through Geography we become more familiar with our planet in all ways imaginable: mapping, studying landforms and climate, identifying animal and human migration patterns, tracking infectious disease, exploring how an environment can positively or negatively impact a group of people, and so on! It’s quite amazing really. 

Since Geography spans so much and since it naturally lends itself to interdisciplinary approaches to research, I decided to contact the experts at the Geography Department of The University of Sussex for some guidance. A special thanks and shout out to the lovely Ceri Oeppen for her time and contributions! She helped me sort through options and choose the specific branch of Human Geography. In this month’s blog post, there’s a link to information that will help those of you hoping to learn more about other branches, so make sure you don’t miss it!  Ok. Are you ready for book one? Here we go! 


Book One: Biography / Autobiography

This month: Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time

  • Written by Dava Sobel
  • Published by Walker & Co

You might be expecting the “lone genius” to be a geographer. That would certainly make sense, but he’s not! I am sure that you’re going to be even more surprised to discover that our “lone genius” is not an astronomer, a mathematician, or a scientist of any kind. He is a clock maker. John Harrison, inventor of the chronometer, gave us the gift of being able to determine longitude, at sea, through the use of his creation. This in turn, is what has allowed us to safely and efficiently navigate the globe (literally) and has, therefore, impacted the advances within Geographical studies. The book has been so well received that a television series was made! You can find it on Amazon Prime Video. (I’ll include the link in the blog post.) Apart from learning more about longitude and its importance in terms of navigation, you’ll enjoy the story behind why Harrison invented the chronometer in the first place as well as the drama and intrigue that go along with it!


Book Two: “In the words of an Expert”

This month: Race and Place in Birmingham

  • Written by Bobby M. Wilson, PhD
  • Published by Rowman & Littlefield Publishers

Warning: this is not an easy read. You will need to take your time with it and you will need to make an effort. This is an example of some of the tougher reads you might encounter when studying at university. Wilson presents us with an analysis of modern capitalism with regard to its influence on social movements. Using the city of Birmingham, Alabama as the backdrop, Wilson examines the Civil Rights and Neighborhood movements in order to demonstrate that, while they were useful at the time, they are not sufficient solutions for overcoming modern day race struggles and he asserts that race relations must also confront class relations.


Book Three: Guidance and Orientation

This month: Geographic Thought: A Critical Introduction

  • Written by Tim Cresswell

  • Published by Wiley-Blackwell Publishing

This book is on most Year One Geography reading lists at universities in the United Kingdom and the United States, and it’s no wonder why. Contrary to Book Two, you’ll fly through this reader. Cresswell’s style is light and entertaining. You will learn the basics while also understanding why history and geographical theory are essential to understanding human behavior and progress.


Book Four: Inspiring and Informative Fiction

This month: And the Mountains Echoed

  • Written by Khaled Hosseini

  • Published by Penguin Publishing

From the author of the beloved novel The Kite Runner, we see how political conflict and migration stretch family and culture across the planet. We also see how the difficult decisions we make in life sometimes have ripple effect consequences that are felt in unexpected ways by the generations to come after us. This book serves as a reminder that the way we live our lives does not only affect us, but our local and global communities, of the present and the future.

Before I sign out, I wanted to let you know that we have made same changes to BfT, thanks to your feedback! While everyone seems to love the suggestions, many of you have indicated that you would like more time to get through them before moving on to the next set! It’ true that 4 books in one month is not an easy task! With this in mind, we’re going to move to a bimonthly format. I’ll be thinking of you in August, but we won’t meet again until September.

I hope you enjoyed the selections for July and I wish you a very happy summer, full of great reads! Keep the feedback coming and I look forward to seeing you on the 15th of September. Ciao!