Stealing Buddha’s Dinner
by Bich Minh Nguyen
“Her stories are about trying to fit in with American children, especially by eating American junk food such as Pringles, bubble gum and Hostess cupcakes instead of the traditional Vietnamese fare that her grandmother made.”
“In writing the memoir, Nguyen came to a better understanding of her family's past and her own struggles with issues of identity, immigration and assimilation.”
The second book in Purdue’s Common Reading Program, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, was selected from submitted titles by members of the Purdue community. The Kite Runner has been on the New York Times bestseller list for over five years, and has been published in 42 different languages. The Kite Runner tells the story of the friendship between two boys growing up in Kabul from the last days of the monarchy to the present. Raised in the same household, Amir and Hassan nonetheless grow up in different worlds: Amir is the son of a prominent and wealthy man, while Hassan, the son of Amir’s father’s servant, is a Hazara, member of a shunned ethnic minority. Their intertwined lives, and their fates, reflect the eventual tragedy of the world around them. http://www.khaledhosseini.com/.
The third book in Purdue’s Common Reading Program was The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. Her name was Henrietta Lacks, but scientists know her as HeLa. She was a poor Southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors, yet her cells—taken without her knowledge—became one of the most important tools in medicine. The first “immortal” human cells grown in culture, they are still alive today, though she has been dead for more than sixty years. If you could pile all HeLa cells ever grown onto a scale, they’d weigh more than 50 million metric tons—as much as a hundred Empire State Buildings. HeLa cells were vital for developing the polio vaccine; uncovered secrets of cancer, viruses, and the effects of the atom bomb; helped lead to important advances like in vitro fertilization, cloning, and gene mapping; and have been bought and sold by the billions. Yet Henrietta Lacks remains virtually unknown, buried in an unmarked grave. Excerpted from http://rebeccaskloot.com/the-immortal-life/.
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba is about a boy born in Malawi, a country where magic ruled and modern science was a mystery. It was also a land withered by drought and hunger. But William had read about windmills, and he dreamed of building one that would bring to his small village a set of luxuries that only 2 percent of Malawians could enjoy: electricity and running water. His neighbors called him misala-crazy-but William refused to let go of his dreams. With a small pile of once forgotten science textbooks; some scrap metal, tractor parts, and bicycle halves; and an armory of curiosity and determination, he embarked on a daring plan to forge an unlikely contraption and small miracle that would change the lives around him. The Boy who Harnessed the Wind is a remarkable true story about human inventiveness and its power to overcome crippling adversity. It will inspire anyone who doubts the power of one individual's ability to change his community and better the lives of those around him. Excerped from http://www.harpercollins.com.