PRP 2000-2009

PRP 2000-2009

2000 - The Metamorphosis

In The Metamorphosis, his most famous story, Kafka explores the notions of alienation and human loneliness. It is a work of extraordinary narrative technique and imagination. Gregor Samsa awakens one morning to find himself transformed into a repulsive bug. Trapped inside this hideous form, his mind remains unchanged--until he sees the shocked reaction of those around him. He begins to question the basis of human love and, indeed, the entire purpose of his existence. But this, it seems, is only the beginning of his ordeal.

2001 - Candide

Candide is the story of a gentle man who, though pummeled and slapped in every direction by fate, clings desperately to the belief that he lives in "the best of all possible worlds." On the surface a witty, bantering tale, this eighteenth-century classic is actually a savage, satiric thrust at the philosophical optimism that proclaims that all disaster and human suffering is part of a benevolent cosmic plan. Fast, funny, often outrageous, the French philosopher's immortal narrative takes Candide around the world to discover that — contrary to the teachings of his distringuished tutor Dr. Pangloss — all is not always for the best. Alive with wit, brilliance, and graceful storytelling, Candide has become Voltaire's most celebrated work.

2002 - Things Fall Apart

Things Fall Apart stands out from so many other works of its era because it does not sentimentalize Africa. Situated in the village of Umuofia it speaks of brutality and suffering, tradition and community. Follow the story of Okonkwo, the son of a lazy but amiable man and the father of several children of his own. Overcoming the obstacles set before him in childhood, he becomes a prosperous farmer and winning wrestler and gains the respect of his peers.

2003 - The Quiet American

The Quiet American is a terrifying portrait of innocence at large. While the French Army in Indo-China is grappling with the Vietminh, back at Saigon a young and high-minded American begins to channel economic aid to a 'Third Force'. Fowler, a seasoned foreign correspondent, observes: "I never knew a man who had better motives for all the trouble he caused." As young Pyle's policies blunder on into bloodshed, the older man finds it impossible to stand aside as an observer. But Fowler's motives for intervening are suspect, both to the police and to himself: for Pyle has robbed him of his Vietnamese mistress.

2004 - The Tipping Point

Defining that precise moment when a trend becomes a trend, Malcolm Gladwell probes the surface of everyday occurrences to reveal some surprising dynamics behind explosive social changes. He examines the power of word-of-mouth and explores how very small changes can directly affect popularity. Perceptive and imaginative, The Tipping Point is a groundbreaking book destined to overturn conventional thinking in business, sociological, and policy-making arenas.

2005 - The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Printer and publisher, author and educator, scientist and inventor, statesman and philanthropist, Benjamin Franklin was the very embodiment of the American type of self-made man. In 1771, at the age of 65, he sat down to write his autobiography, "having emerged from the poverty and obscurity in which I was born and bred to a state of affluence and some degree of reputation in the world, and having gone so far through life with a considerable share of felicity." The result is a classic of American literature.

2006 - Free Culture

Lawrence Lessig, “the most important thinker on intellectual property in the Internet era” (The New Yorker), masterfully argues that never before in human history has the power to control creative progress been so concentrated in the hands of the powerful few, the so-called Big Media. Never before have the cultural powers- that-be been able to exert such control over what we can and can't do with the culture around us. Our society defends free markets and free speech; why then does it permit such top-down control? To lose our long tradition of free culture, Lawrence Lessig shows us, is to lose our freedom to create, our freedom to build, and, ultimately, our freedom to imagine.

2007 - The Omnivore's Dilemma

A New York Times bestseller that has changed the way readers view the ecology of eating, this revolutionary book by award winner Michael Pollan asks the seemingly simple question: What should we have for dinner? Tracing from source to table each of the food chains that sustain us - whether industrial or organic, alternative or processed - he develops a portrait of the American way of eating. The result is a sweeping, surprising exploration of the hungers that have shaped our evolution, and of the profound implications our food choices have for the health of our species and the future of our planet.

2008 - Your Inner Fish

Why do we look the way we do? Neil Shubin, the paleontologist and professor of anatomy who co-discovered Tiktaalik, the “fish with hands,” tells the story of our bodies as you've never heard it before. By examining fossils and DNA, he shows us that our hands actually resemble fish fins, our heads are organized like long-extinct jawless fish, and major parts of our genomes look and function like those of worms and bacteria. Your Inner Fish makes us look at ourselves and our world in an illuminating new light. This is science writing at its finest—enlightening, accessible and told with irresistible enthusiasm.

2009 - The Gross Clinic

2009 - The Gross Clinic Portrait of Dr. Samuel D. Gross (The Gross Clinic), acclaimed as the greatest American painting of the nineteenth century, has been an icon of Philadelphia since it was painted in 1875. The masterpiece of the young Thomas Eakins, an artist born and educated in Philadelphia, this painting sparked both controversy and praise at its first showing here in Philadelphia at the Centennial Exhibition in 1876, demonstrating the drama and force of character that set the tone for Eakins’ entire career. His masterful realism and his insistence on painting from modern American life shocked his contemporaries.