First-year students enrolled in the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service’s Master of Public Service degree program have compiled a list of books they recommend others to read.
Now in its 16th year, the annual list is created in partnership with long-time Clinton School community partner WordsWorth Books, an independent bookstore in Little Rock that has been in operation for more than 30 years.
“The book recommendations of the Clinton School Class of 2023 reflect an exciting search for understanding and solving problems in both the nonfiction and fiction selections,” said Lia Lent, Owner and Store Manager of WordsWorth Books.
Several of this year’s book selections reflect the public service interests of many Clinton Schools students, exploring issues of race, social justice, poverty, and the evolution of large economic and political institutions.
“A hard look at racial justice issues is incorporated in books from ‘Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria’ to ‘Things Fall Apart’ and the prize-winning novel ‘Sing, Unburied, Sing,’” Lent said. “Exploring the root causes and effects of poverty are explored in books such as ‘Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty,’ ‘When Helping Hurts’ and the children’s book ‘For Every Child a Better World.’”
Other selections tap into themes of self-discovery and spiritual journey through novels and autobiographies. Additional selections cultivate ideas and plans for personal growth through a variety of methods and lessons, including academic research, unique experiences, and social economics.
“Several of the recommendations are about journeys within and without: ‘Blue Highways,’ ‘Denali,’ ‘Siddhartha,’ and ‘The Alchemist’ are examples,” Lent said. “Other recommendations challenge us to strive towards our dreams: ‘Think Like a Monk,’ ‘Daring Greatly,’ ‘Women and Work,’ ‘Black Faces in White Places,’ and ‘Outliers: The Story of Success.’
A number of the novels selected reflect a range of literary interests, from historical fiction and science fantasy, to spiritual themes of the afterlife and the decisions that comprise a life best-lived.
“The fiction recommendations highlight great writing and provocative topics from Hugo award-winner ‘Fifth Season’ to the Korean family sage ‘Pachinko’ to the best-selling ‘Midnight Library’ that poses the question – what is the best life to live?” Lent said. “The Class of 2023 book selections will educate and entertain readers looking to make a difference in the world.”
The selected books will be on display at Sturgis Hall throughout the 2021-22 school year and will be added to the school’s permanent collection. Printed lists will be available at WordsWorth Books.
Below is the complete list from the Class of 2023.
Progress and Poverty: An Inquiry into the Cause of Industrial Depressions and of Increase of Want with Increase of Wealth: The Remedy
by Henry George
Why Nations Fail, The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty
by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson
Denali: A Man, A Dog, and the Friendship of a Lifetime
by Ben Moon
Think Like a Monk: Train Your Mind for Peace and Purpose
By Jay Shetty
Haoua Bello Barkire
by Min Jin Lee
Blue Highways: A Journey into America
by William Least Heat-Moon
The Sun Also Rises
by Ernest Hemingway
by Negley Farson
Sing, Unburied, Sing
by Jesmyn Ward
Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?
By Beverly Daniel Tatum
When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor . . . and Yourself
by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert
by Alain De Botton
by Brene Brown
The Midnight Library
By Matt Haig
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption
by Bryan Stevenson
If You Feel Too Much
By Jamie Tworkowski
Black Faces in White Places
by Randal D. Pinkett, Jeffrey A.Robinson, Philana Patterson
The Ragamuffin Gospel
by Brennan Manning
Cutting For Stone
By Abraham Verghese
Mary Larkin Furlow
The Collected Stories
by Amy Hempel
Justice: What's the Right Thing to Do?
by Michael Sandel
The Fifth Season
by N. K. Jemisin
For Every Child a Better World
by Louise Gikow, Bruce McNally and Ellen Weiss
Things Fall Apart
by Chinua Achebe
by Paulo Coelho
The Mysterious Benedict Society
by Trenton Lee Stewart
by Tom Robbins
Women and Work: Feminism, Labor and Social Reproduction
by Susan Ferguson
Outliers: The Story of Success
by Malcolm Gladwell
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
by Milan Kundera
by Hermann Hesse
The Clinton School Speaker Series not only enhances the education of Clinton School students, but also provides a venue for the public to engage in intellectual discussions on the issues of the day.