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Voice of the Dragon: What are the teachers of Foothill Tech reading?

Kathleen Cheng
The media center at Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech) is a great place for students to check out books outside of English class. It holds a variety of different genres from historical to comic books for students to enjoy.

Reading: a hobby loved and discussed by students alike. But what if teachers were asked what they enjoy reading? Despite the fact that required reading is not an uncommon occurrence here at Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech), many students and teachers still enjoy going home and picking up a good book to read on their own accord. Whether you enjoy mystery or nonfiction, historical or romance books, there’s a book for everyone out there. So, five teachers were asked what books they’re reading and who they would recommend them to. 

Book: “Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus”

Being read by Claire Adams and Jennifer Kindred

Lessons in Chemistry” by Bonnie Garmus is a historical fiction novel first published in 2022, that follows protagonist Elizabeth Zott, a young woman with a passion for chemistry living in Southern California during the 1950s and ’60s. Zott has a love for chemistry and science and begins working in a lab as a scientist, however, her attempt at an academic career is cut short due to the overwhelming amount of sexism that existed in the STEM fields during this time. This ultimately disallows her from reveling in her natural love for science and from sharing it with others. However, Zott then secures a job as a television cooking show host where she expertly attempts to weave in chemistry, as well as other fields of science, and connects them to the recipes she is teaching. The book tackles problems with the patriarchy and with sexism that existed within the world of higher education, and ends as a “feel good book,” Adams shared. Additionally, if students are interested in the story but won’t have time to read it just yet, a show adaptation starring Brie Larson will become available on Apple T.V. starting Oct. 13, 2023. 

Book: “Wilderness Essays” 

Being read by Jason Dinkler 

Wilderness Essays” was written by John Muir, a person directly involved in the establishing in many of our National Parks as well as the Sierra Club, a club first founded to sponsor “wilderness outings” and support nature conservation efforts. The book is a collection of 10 essays that follow his work. Dinkler explained how Muir is widely known as one of the “original voyagers” of the Sierra Nevada,  who explored the land and educated the masses on the importance of these forests, marking him as one of the early advocates for wilderness conservation. The essays follow many of Muirs’ adventures in the American wilderness, attempting to create a book that features what many consider to be his best works with subject matter ranging from Yellowstone to the Alaskan wilderness. The anthology features great descriptions of Muirs’ understanding of his environments including both the nature and scenery, as well as his personal observations of the land.  Students who love the outdoors, backpacking or are interested in knowledge of the wilderness will find this book very interesting!

Book: “American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer”

Being read by Cherie Eulau

American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer” is a nonfiction novel that focuses on the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer, specifically following his work as the leader of the Manhattan Project when he became the creator of the first atomic bomb. The book, which served as the inspiration for the film “Oppenheimer‘” directed by Christopher Nolan, delves into the complexities of Oppenheimer’s life, showing what it was outside of the Manhattan Project: his dreams, his family and his shortcomings. Additionally, the novel illustrates Oppenhiemer’s internal discourse about the moral and ethical implications surrounding nuclear power. The novel is split into five separate parts, with both a prologue and epilogue, amounting to over 700 pages. It ends up giving the readers an entire overview of his thoughts, and essentially his entire life. Eulau emphasizes that the novel is “not just a history book, but a great overview of his whole life,” and can give the reader valuable insight on not only the politics of the time, but how Oppenheimer operated and how he ended up in the position of creating the atomic bomb. Those who are interested in the science of the Manhattan Project, or in Oppenheimer as a person, Eulau highly recommends to give this book a try. 

Book: “The Record Keeper”

Being read by Melanie “Captain” Lindsey 

The Record Keeper” by Charles Martin is a Fiction Thriller book, and the third and final installment of the “Murphy Shepherd” series. The series follows Shepherd as he obtains a job for the military rescuing children from trafficking. The two previous books, “The Water Keeper” and “The Letter Keeper” respectively, detail Shepherd’s previous life rescuing and attempting to prevent these atrocities, but not always being fully successful in his missions. Although the book is filled with thriller moments, as well as suspense and action, Captain advises that it is not for the faint of heart due to the nature of the book’s subjects. However, she also emphasizes how intriguing the book is, sharing that “once I got into it, I had to finish it.” Those who are interested in the story, but not necessarily interested in the more serious subjects, Captain recommends “When Crickets Cry,” also by Martin. Overall, those who enjoy thrilling and suspenseful novels with times of justice will resonate with Martin’s work.

Literature has a funny way of connecting many people, whether it’s obvious or not. With four great recommendations from some of Foothill Tech’s teachers, hopefully students will find at least one novel that garnered their attention and will lead them to their next favorite read or the discovery of a new favorite author.

Kathleen Cheng
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About the Contributors
Amber Duhs, Writer
Second-year writer, chai latte lover and autumn enthusiast.
Kathleen Cheng, Videographer
Videographer that loves Sanrio and re-watching the same show 10 times.

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