Book Groups Spring 2023

CTEL is sponsoring three book groups this semester. If you are interested in joining one of them, please notify Susan Goodrich by email at If you have interest in suggesting a book for a future semester, please let us know.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Rebecca Skloot

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is a remarkable feat of investigative journalism and a moving work of narrative nonfiction that reads with the vividness and urgency of fiction. It also raises sometimes uncomfortable questions with no clear-cut answers about whether people should be remunerated for their physical, genetic contributions to research and about the role of profit in science.”

—National Public Radio

“Seldom do you read a book that is science, social history, and a page turner.”

—National Public Radio

“Thrilling and original nonfiction that refuses to be shoehorned into anything as trivial as a genre. It is equal parts popular science, historical biography, and detective novel.”

—Ed Yong,

“Trauma-Informed Pedagogies: A Guide for Responding to Crisis and Inequality in Higher Education”

Phyllis Thompson and Janice Carello

“This is the book that every teacher needs right now. Thompson and Carello have crafted a masterful guide to the changing landscape of student stress and anxiety that is written by leading practitioners in trauma-aware pedagogies. Full of compelling stories and engaging reflection, this guide is an essential roadmap for the future of teaching.”

—Leah K. Matthews, Executive Director, Distance Education Accrediting Commission, USA

“Gender Queer, A Memoir”

Maia Kobaben

This year Peoria Reads is concentrating on Banned Books. “Gender Queer, A Memoir” is one of those books to which school boards and some parents are objecting. This graphic book autobiography is written by Maia Kobabe, who uses e/em/eir pronouns, It started out as a way to explain to eir family what it means to be nonbinary and asexual, Gender Queer is more than a personal story: it is a useful and touching guide on gender identity—what it means and how to think about it—for advocates, friends, and humans everywhere.

“The Cross and the Lynching Tree”

James H. Cone

The cross and the lynching tree are the two most emotionally charged symbols in the history of the African American community. In this powerful new work, theologian James H. Cone explores these symbols and their interconnection in the history and souls of black folk. Both the cross and the lynching tree represent the worst in human beings and at the same time a thirst for life that refuses to let the worst determine our final meaning. While the lynching tree symbolized white power and black death, the cross symbolizes divine power and black life; God overcoming the power of sin and death. For African Americans, the image of Jesus, hung on a tree to die, powerfully grounded their faith that God was with them, even in the suffering of the lynching era.