Eric Robb’s Best Reads of 2016

eric-robbMy name is Eric Robb.  I am a resident of Evanston and work as an associate teacher at Baker Demonstration School.  Outside of my teaching duties, I volunteer for the Dare2tri Paratriathlon Club – an organization that supports triathletes with disabilities.  My duties include fundraising as well as guiding and supporting athletes with a diverse array of disabilities toward their athletic goals.  I spend what free time I have left playing either guitar, bass guitar, or piano.

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1)  A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole (1980)

This is one of the funniest books I’ve ever read, so much so that this was actually my second time reading through it.  Toole’s main character, Ignatius Reilly, who considers himself a great misunderstood genius of his time, provides a perfect mixture of highbrow humor and slapstick comedy.

2)  Longitudes and Attitudes: Exploring the World After September 11 by Thomas Friedman (2002)

Friedman’s analysis of global politics immediately following 9/11 was very compelling to read in 2016.  I was able to see which of his predictions were correct and which were wrong about the path global geopolitics would take in the 21st century.

animal-farm3)  Animal Farm by George Orwell (1945)

I would hope that everyone reads at least one book by George Orwell before their first time voting. Orwell’s scathing allegorical criticism of the Soviet regime is a great introduction into his many political works that are still highly relevant to this day.

4)  Uprising by Margaret Peterson Haddix (2007)

In my duties as a teacher, I often read the same books as those assigned to my students.  This has been one of my favorites.  This description of the experiences of young immigrant women in the workforce, backdropped by one of the great tragedies of the 20th century, offers fantastic insight into the struggle of immigrants at the turn of the century, the early stages of the fight for women’s rights, and the struggles of the labor rights movement in America.

5)  The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton (1967)

Another book that I read in my duties as a teacher…  It’s an absolute classic, and Hinton’s vivid storytelling makes for a compelling read, whether for the first time, second time, or any time after that.

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