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Top of Mind Bookshelf

Introducing the Top of Mind Bookshelf. A running list of books discussed on the show. You'll find everything from kids' books to cookbooks to Pulitzer-Prize-winning authors.

“Bearing the Cross” David Garrow

"The Asian American Achievement Paradox" Jennifer Lee

"Obroni and the Chocolate Factory" Steven Wallace

“Beep: Inside the Unseen World of Baseball for the Blind” David Wancyzk

“Le Baobab Fou” Ken Bugul

“Women in the World of Frederick Douglass” Leigh Fought

“I Am a Warrior Goddess” Jennifer Adams

"Healthier: Fifty Thoughts on the Foundations of Population Health" Sandro Galea

"Cocoa" Kristy Leissle

“Stirring the Pot with Benjamin Franklin: A Founding Father's Culinary Adventures” Rae Katherine Eighmey

“Experience on Demand” Jeremy Bailenson

“Legislating in the Dark” James Curry

“Life in the Marble Palace” Cliff Stearns

“Republic of Spin: An Inside History of the American Presidency” David Greenberg

“Indian Instant Pot Cookbook” Urvashi Pitre

“Demoralized: Why Teachers Leave the Profession They Love and How They Can Stay” Doris Santoro

“Sweeter Than Any Dream” Annette Lyon

“How to Break Up With Your Phone” Catherine Price

“The Knockoff Economy: How Imitation Sparks Innovation” Kal Raustiala

“Venture Girls: Raising Girls to Be Tomorrow's Leaders” Cristal Glangchai

“What Patients Say, What Doctors Hear” Danielle Ofri

“Seize the Daylight: The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time” David Prerau

“Kitchen Confidence” Kelsey Nixon

“If We Could Change the World: Young People and America’s Long Struggle for Racial Equality” Rebecca de Schweinitz

“Our Damaged Democracy: We The People Must Act” Joseph Califano

“Healing Children: A Surgeon’s Stories from the Frontiers of Pediatric Medicine” Kurt Newman

“Down the Up Staircase: Three Generations of a Harlem Family” Bruce Haynes and Syma Solovitch

“The One Hour China Book” Jeffrey Towson

“Travel As a Political Act: How to Leave Your Baggage Behind” Rick Steves

“I Know How You Feel: The Joy and Heartbreak of Friendship in Women’s Lives” Diane Barth

“Make A List: How a Simple Practice Can Change Our Lives and Open Our Hearts” Marilyn McEntyre

“I Mix What I Like: A Mixtape Manifesto” Jared Ball

“The Rough Patch: Marriage and the Art of Living Together” Daphne de Marneffe

“Diplomatic Games: Sport, Statecraft, and International Relations since 1945” Heather Dichter

“How College Athletics Are Hurting Girls’ Sports: The Pay-to-Play Pipeline” Rick Eckstein 

“Why Comics? From Underground to Everywhere” Hillary Chute

“Black Ink: Literary Legends on the Peril, Power and Pleasure of Reading and Writing” Stephanie Stokes Oliver

“Identifying Child Molesters: Preventing Child Sexual Abuse by Recognizing the Patterns of the Offenders” Carla Van Dam

“No More Mean Girls: the Secret to Raising Strong, Confident, and Compassionate Girls” Katie Hurley

“Parenting as Partners: How to Launch Your Kids Without Ejecting Your Spouse” Vicki Hoefle

“Norwich: One Tiny Vermont Town’s Secret to Happiness and Excellence” Karen Crouse

“The Yes Brain: How to Cultivate Courage, Curiosity, and Resilience in Your Children” Tina Payne Bryson

“Privacy: What Everyone Needs to Know” Leslie Francis and John Francis

“I Wish My Teacher Knew” Kyle Schwartz

“Soulful Simplicity: How Living with Less Can Lead to So Much More” Courtney Carver

“The Four Tendencies” Gretchen Rubin

“The Color of Money: Black Banks and Racial Wealth Gap” Mehrsa Baradaran

“Free to Make: How the Maker Movement is Changing Our Schools, Our Jobs and Our Minds” Dale Dougherty

“Squadron: Ending the African Slave Trade” John Broich

“The Wisdom of Finance: Discovering Humanity in the World of Risk and Return” Mihir Desai

“Through My Eyes” Ruby Bridges

“The Adventures of Midnight Son” “Finding Someplace” “Cecile” “Melody” Denise Lewis Patrick

“Captains of Charity: The Writings and Wages of Post-Revolutionary Atlantic Benevolence” Mary Eyring

“My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward” Mark Lukach

“Hue 1968” Mark Bowden

“You Are Boring, But You Are Uniquely Boring” Louise Plummer and Ann Cannon

“This is Where I Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place Where You Live” Melody Warnick

“The Boy Who Lived in Pudding Lane” Sarah Addington

"The How Not to Die Cookbook" MIchael Greger

“The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine” Philip Stead

“I’m Just No Good at Rhyming: And Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups” Chris Harris

“The Color of Money: Black Banks and Racial Wealth Gap” Mehrsa Baradaran

“Climate of Hope: How Cities, Businesses, and Citizens Can Save the Planet” Carl Pope

“Zingerman’s Bakehouse” Amy Emberling and Frank Carollo

“It’s All Relative: Adventures Up and Down the World’s Family Tree” A.J. Jacobs

“Rebel in the Ranks: Martin Luther, the Reformation, and the Conflicts That Continue to Shape Our World” Brad Gregory

“Night Vision: Magical Photographs of Life After Dark” Diane Cook, Len Jenshel 

“Land on Fire: The New Reality of Wildfire in the West” Gary Ferguson

“Faith to Foster” TJ and Jenn Menn

“The Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve” Stephen Greenblatt

“China Under Mao” Andrew Walder

"Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine” Sarah Lohman

“Singlewide: Chasing the American Dream in a Rural Trailer Park” Katherine MacTavish

“Goodbye Christopher Robin: A.A. Milne and the Making of Winnie-the-Pooh” Ann Thwaite

“End of Its Rope: How Killing the Death Penalty Can Revive Criminal Justice” Brandon Garrett

“Shadowed Ground: America’s Landscapes of Violence and Tragedy” Kenneth Foote

“Shooting Ghosts” Thomas James Brennan

“Swindler Sachem: The American Indian Who Sold His Birthright, Dropped Out of Harvard, and Conned the King of England” Jenny Hale Pulsipher

“How We Age: A Doctor’s Journey into the Heart of Growing Old” Marc Agronin

“The Next Economic Disaster” Richard Vague

“Forged in Crisis: The Power of Courageous Leadership in Turbulent Times” Nancy Koehn

“The Psychobiotic Revolution: Mood, Food, and the New Science of the Gut-Brain Connection” Scott Anderson

“Raising Mediators: How Smart Parents Use Mediation to Transform Sibling Conflict and Empower Their Children” Emily DeSchweinitz

“Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams” Matthew Walker

“The Wisdom of Finance” Mihir Desai

“Secret Service Dogs: The Heroes Who Protect the President of the United States” Maria Goodavage

“The One Device, the Secret History of the iPhone” Brain Merchant

“It Takes One to Tango: How I Rescued My Marriage with (Almost) No Help from My Spouse” Winifred Reilly

“Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Rebellion of 1971 and its Legacy” Heather Ann Thompson

“Never Use Futura” Douglas Thomas

“America: Like You’ve Never Read It”  Francois Busnel

“100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings” Sarah Cooper

“Away with Words: An Irreverent Tour through the World of Pun Competitions” Joe Berkowitz

“Game of Loans: the Rhetoric and Reality of Student Debt” Matthew Chingos

“A Stroke of Faith: A Stroke Survivor’s Story of a Second Chance at Living a Life of Significance” Mark Moore

“Plundered Skulls and Stolen Spirits: Inside the Fight to Reclaim Native America’s Culture” Chip Colwell

“Never Caught: The Washington’s Relentless Pursuit of their Runaway Slave Ona Judge” Erica Armstrong Dunbar

"The Age of Cryptocurrency: How Bitcoin and the Blockchain Are Challenging the Global Economic Order" Paul Vigna

“The Sociable City: An American Intellectual Tradition” Jamin Rowan

“The Purloining of Prince Oleomargarine” Philip Stead

“Trell” Dick Lehr

“Living with the Living Dead: The Wisdom of the Zombie Apocalypse” Greg Garrett

"Thomas Jefferson's Qur'an: Islam and the Founders" Denise Spellberg

“Patient H69: The Story of My Second Sight” Vanessa Potter

“Awkward: The Science of Why We’re Socially Awkward and Why That’s Awesome” Ty Tashiro

“Big Chicken” Maryn McKenna

“This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism” Ashton Applewhite

“Being the Change: Live Well and Spark a Climate Revolution” Peter Kalmus

“The Village” Bing West

“The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings--J.R.R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams” Carol Zaleski

“You Bring the Distant Near” Mitali Perkins

"The Great American Citizenship Quiz" Solomon Skolnick

“The Suffragents: How Women Used Men To Get the Vote" Brooke Kroeger

“The Five Gifts: Discovering Hope, Healing and Strength When Disaster Strikes” Laurie Nadel 

“Social Media Wellness: Helping Tweens and Teens Thrive in an Unbalanced World” Ana Homayoun

“The Hello Girls: America’s First Women Soldiers” Elizabeth Cobbs

“Dirt is Good” Jack Gilbert

“Two Minute Mornings: A Journal to Win Your Everyday” Neil Pasricha

“The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness” Sy Montgomery

“Girls Who Code” Reshma Saujani

“Girls Who Code: The Friendship Code” Stacia Deutsch

“$2.00 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America” Kathryn Edin

“Taking Charge of Cancer: What You Need to Know to Get the Best Treatment” David Palma

“I Mix What I Like: A Mixtape Manifesto” Jared Ball

“The New Superpower for Women: Trust Your Intuition, Predict Dangerous Situations, Defend Yourself from the Unthinkable” Steve Kardian

“Dirty Wars and Polished Silver: The Life and Times of a War Correspondent Turned Ambassatrix” Lynda Schuster

“The Grid: The Fraying Wires Between Americans and Our Energy Future” Gretchen Bakke

“The Best of Vietnamese & Thai Cooking,” “Pleasure of the Vietnamese Table” and “Flavors of Asia” Mai Pham

“You’re the Only One I Can Tell: Inside the Language of Women’s Friendship” Deborah Tannen

“Everyone’s a Aliebn When Ur a Aleibn Too” Jonny Sun

"The German Girl" Armando Lucas Correa 

“Teach to Work: How a Mentor, a Mentee, and a Project Can Close the Skills Gap in America” Patty Alper

“How to Be a Muslim: An American Story” Haroon Moghul

“Sun, Moon, Earth: The History of Solar Eclipses from Omens of Doom to Einstein and Exoplanets” Tyler Nordgren

"The Quartet" Joseph Ellis

“Pandora’s Lab: Seven Stories of Science Gone Wrong” Paul Offit



Top of Mind: Documenting Own Dementia

Here’s a conversation you won’t want to miss: When Gerda Saunders, a Gender Studies Director from the University of Utah, was diagnosed with dementia, she decided to document her experience. Her notes turned into the memoir “Memory’s Last Breath: Field Notes on My Dementia.”

When Julie asks Gerda if she was surprised that she was still able to write despite the diagnosis she says, “There are lesions on my brain that you can see on an MRI and they just happen not to be in my language centers yet . . . the fact that I could write was an enormous gift.” 

She details the disorientation she experiences on a daily basis, providing a vivid and relatable picture. Tune in here  for the full conversation.

Thank you to Gerda Saunders for a fascinating conversation and lovely visit. 

Top of Mind: The Magic Yarn Project

When adult women battling cancer lose their hair, they may start wearing wigs and hats, but when children fighting cancer lose their hair, those options aren’t very appealing…Until now. Holly Christensen, an oncology nurse from Alaska has turned a one-time gift from a friend’s daughter into an international nonprofit organization making colorful yarn wigs for kids with cancer. Imagine a giant yellow braid festooned with flowers (Rapunzel-style), or for boys, a beanie with braided dreadlocks and beads to look like Captain Jack Sparrow from Pirates of the Caribbean. Volunteers from around the world are churning out hundreds of these yarn wigs to brighten the lives of sick kids.

It’s called The Magic Yarn Project. It’s a project that has helped child cancer patients gain comfort and confidence in their young lives. Normal wigs can be harsh on their tender scalps but the soft yarn used for these princess inspired wigs help keep these children warm and happy.

This amazing project has been able to reach children all across the world, including places like Kenya. It is run solely on volunteer hours. And there are endless ways to get involved. You can donate money, crochet your own wig, attend workshops and much, much more. They get many request from parents for long princess wigs and need all the help they can get.

For more information on this amazing project, listen to our full interview with founder Holly Christensen here.

Tips for a Green Holiday

Is the tree up at your house? Wreath on the door? Poinsettias by the hearth? Let’s get some tips on how to keep your holidays green and your indoor plants thriving until spring, when you can head back out to the flower beds.

Thanksgiving Point’s expert gardener Michael Caron offers simple tips to keep your Christmas tree fresh through the holiday and your poinsettias blooming into the New Year. 

Did you know poinsettias will bloom for months if you water them right and keep them away from the doors or heating vents? This simple trick will get your poinsettias blooming bolder and longer. 

Water is the key to a bright and festive holiday: A fresh Christmas tree needs to be sitting in a gallon of water at all times and never dry out. But your poinsettias need to be doused in the sink and then allowed to dry out between watering. 

Did you know that your big indoor houseplants need an occasional shower? Put them in the tub and give them a good soaking, then let them dry out fully before watering again.

Need more tips to keep your trees and flowers blooming? Listen to the whole conversation on Top of Mind here!

Multiracial Marriages

The new film Loving tells the story of Richard and Mildred Loving. He was white, she was black. Their marriage was at the center of the landmark of US Supreme Court case Loving vs. Virginia, some fifty years ago, challenging anti-miscegenation laws.

They won, and mixed-race romance has become widely accepted in America. Pew Research analysis of Census data finds, that about 1 in 8 people who get married chose someone of a different race. 

What was it like to live when it was illegal in certain states to marry out of your own race? Many woman were put into mental institutions and others had to move to states that had legalized such marriages. Countless couples were forced to move to states where interracial marriages were legal. 

Today, mixed-race marriages are culturally acceptable. Yet, there are still some barriers for these couples to face. Listen to BYUradio’s Top of Mind to listen in on the full conversation.

Election Day

Election Day is less than a month away and many people are still undecided when it comes to who they are going to vote for. But for many people this is the least of their worries. There has been a string of embarrassing internal emails from the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee trickling out through Wikileaks. Russia remains the chief suspect in these hacks and some voters are starting to wonder if their votes could be hacked into as well.

With votes being cast on touch-screen computer systems many question the safety of their vote. Richard Forno, from the University of Maryland, says that such a hack is possible, but highly unlikely. Yet, there are those that feel going back to paper based ballots is the answer. Sure, it would take longer to count but the voting would be more secure and there would be no threat of a possible hack.

Forno urges voters to push aside their fears and to trust the system. Find out what you really need to be worried about for this upcoming presidential election. Listen to the full interview on BYUradio here.

Leslie Odom Jr. - Interview on Top of Mind

Leslie Odom Jr. was as gracious and thoughtful as could be when we sat down to talk last week before his sold-out BRAVO Professional Performing Arts at BYU concerts. He talked about why he walked away from a big TV paycheck to take a risk on Hamilton: An American Musical before anyone knew it would be a hit. He talked about how starring in the show as Aaron Burr, sir, made him at once more patriotic and concerned for our nation. He said Hamilton made him a better husband, friend, person, "and you have to walk toward stuff like that." Now he's walking toward the challenges of solo performance and, having seen the show, I can promise you want to be in the room where it happens. Also, he gives a shout out to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. "Those are not just songs they're singing. That's ministry. It is important work that they (we) do." 

Listen to the full interview on BYUradio here:

What You Think You Know About Surviving a Bear Encounter is Probably Wrong

If you encounter a bear in the woods, DO NOT PLAY DEAD unless it's already mauling you (and you're probably gonna die anyway). If you encounter a bear in the woods, DO NOT RUN (it will catch you and eat you). If you encounter a bear in the woods, stand your ground and reach for your bear spray. BEAR SPRAY people, this is your best chance for survival. Also, don't lather your body in strawberry delight lotion and don't pitch your tent on a trail, or you're asking for a bear to check you out. And when you come around a bend into a spot where a bear is hanging out, clap your hands and let the bear know you're coming so he isn't surprised. Bears hate surprises. You could sing opera on the trail, which would let the bear know you're coming, but it might get you killed by a highly-annoyed researcher like BYU prof and former National Park Service biologist Tom Smith. Smith has been studying bear encounters for decades. He knows his stuff and doesn't mince words and if you spend a lot of time in bear country, you need to listen to this interview now on BYUradio. Plus, you will laugh. Click here to listen to the interview.

Graphic Novels?

Such a tremendous honor to speak with Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell about the March graphic novels on BYUradio. (Link to interview below.) 

It's hard to express how powerful these books were to a white girl raised in a white community in the Western US. School sivics lessons didn't convey the scope of the ‪#‎CivilRights‬ struggle, or what it had to do with me. It was simple to sit comfortably in my position of white privilege and say, "I'm not a racist. I believe skin color shouldn't matter," then close the history book and feel smug about living in a day when America is so "colorblind," we've elected an African American president. This is why I agree with so many others who've said the March Trilogy should be required reading in high schools around the country. It tells the story of the Civil Rights movement through the eyes of John Lewis, a central figure in the lunch counter sit-ins, the freedom rides, the March on Washington in 1963, the march from Selma to Montgomery, and the list goes on. He was beaten and jailed dozens of times, but never lost his commitment to non-violent protest, never raised a finger in retaliation. The March Books are history in comic-form, but they feel very current with simmering tension between police and communities of color, and the rise of the ‪#‎BlackLivesMatter‬ movement. 

"I'm not a hero," Rep. Lewis told me. "I saw things I didn't like and I was told, 'That's the way it is.'" But he didn't accept that. He stood up for what he believed was right, even when it could have meant his death. He never became bitter or hostile, never embraced hate. And his message to young people today? Speak up. Speak out. Make a contribution. 

Listen to our conversation here

How Does Shakespeare Impact Prisoners?

This is a picture of Indiana State University English prof Laura Bates teaching Shakespeare to a class of maximum security prisoners in solitary confinement. See their faces peering out from the slots in the doors? She had no idea just how much Shakespeare's criminal tragedies (think Macbeth, Hamlet) would resonate with these men serving sentences for violent crimes, including murder. I spoke with Laura Bates and one of her former students who says learning that even men of high moral character (like Macbeth) could make terrible mistakes helped him understand that crime is not his only option. It was a fascinating conversation. Listen here on BYUradio: Shakespeare Saved My Life

By Julie Rose, host on Top of Mind

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