2021 Reading List

Food, memories and emotions are closely linked in our brains. A taste of something can transport you to another time and place, or maybe you avoid certain foods based on past experiences or connections. In addition to cooking, I also enjoy reading about cooking because everyone approaches it in different ways: through passion, survival, nostalgia, or luck. My friend taught a culinary writing course at Portland State University recently, and many of the food memoirs I read in 2021 are included in the course reading.

food memoirs

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Data Science Student Profiles: Bonnie Du

The University of Washington’s Data Science Minor brings data science to a wide range of undergraduates within and beyond the STEM fields. 186 students are currently enrolled in the new minor, representing 54 areas of study at the university. UW undergrads interested in gaining literacy in data science methods and understanding their implications for society should look into adding a Data Science Minor to their studies. Ben Marwick, Senior Data Science Fellow and Director of the Data Science minor, described how the program will balance data skills and studies: “The goal is to combine the technical skills that relate to the new developments of generating and analyzing large amounts of data, then give students the context and the critical thinking skills to do something meaningful with that.”

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Using Cloud Computing to Aid Seattle’s Covid Response

Over the past year, the University of Washington and UW Medicine have been at the heart of the city of Seattle’s Covid-19 response: researchers studying social distancing and how the virus spreads on our communities, volunteers collecting and distributing supplies, clinical vaccine trials, and a partnership with the city to process over 2 million test samples at no cost to residents – all of which have helped Seattle maintain one of the lowest Covid-19 rates of major US cities. And with so many departments and teams working together, often involving clinical patient data, an adaptable and secure info-sharing system is absolutely necessary.

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Help the Fibr Algorithm Learn to Read MRI Scans

At the University of Washington, eScience Data Science Fellow and Research Assistant Professor of Psychology Ariel Rokem and UW Data Science Postdoctoral Fellow Adam Richie-Halford have created a way for the general public to help an algorithm learn to read MRI scans. Fibr utilizes the vast dataset of the Healthy Brain Network to better understand how mental health disorders are first diagnosed in childhood and adolescence. But in order for the algorithm to differentiate between scans that show long-range fiber connections in the brain and those that don’t, it must first learn what to look for. Regardless of scientific training, anyone who wants to participate can view a short tutorial and start guiding Fibr towards new innovations in neuroscience and beyond.

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Using Data Science to Track Marine Heatwaves

The University of Washington’s School of Oceanography Professor LuAnne Thompson and recent PhD graduate Hillary Scannell are leading a team that uses data science to track and predict marine heatwaves (MHW). These extreme hot-water events have had dramatic ecological impacts and have led to widespread toxic algal blooms, habitat degradation, and loss in commercially valuable fisheries.

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2020 Reading List

Whatever grand plans I originally had about the books I was going to read in 2020 went entirely out the window about halfway through March, along with many other plans. I still tried to focus on authors who were Black, indigenous, immigrant, queer or part of other marginalized groups, but when the libraries unexpectedly closed, my reading options was suddenly limited to whatever I bought from my local bookstore or was already in the house. These 42 books span 81 years, from 1939 to 2020. Several of the books link to comparisons of the original texts and film adaptations.

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Comparisons: The Color Purple

The Color Purple is a 1982 novel by American author Alice Walker. The book was adapted into a 1985 movie directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Danny Glover, Whoopi Goldberg and Oprah Winfrey. The book has also been made into a Broadway musical that was nominated for 11 Tony Awards in 2006, as well as a radio serial adaptation for BBC Radio 4. It was recently announced that a film adaptation of the musical is in development that will be produced by Spielberg, Winfrey, Quincy Jones and Scott Sanders.

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Comparisons: The Joy Luck Club

The Joy Luck Club, the debut novel of American author Amy Tan, was published in 1989. It has been adapted into a stage play that premiered at New York’s Pan Asian Repertory Theater, as well as the 1994 drama film “The Joy Luck Club” directed by Wayne Wang. The film’s screenplay was written by Amy Tan and Academy Award-winning screenwriter Ronald Bass.

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Comparisons: Native Son

“Native Son,” written by American author Richard Wright, was published in 1940. Wright’s published works of revolutionary poetry, novels and short stories have elevated him alongside other African American icons of literature such as James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison and Langston Hughes. “Native Son” has been adapted for the screen several times, most recently the 2019 version for HBO that is a directorial debut from Rashid Johnson.

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Comparisons: To Kill a Mockingbird

“To Kill a Mockingbird” is the first novel by American author Harper Lee, published in 1960. The book was adapted into a 1962 drama that was directed by Robert Mulligan, starring Gregory Peck and Mary Badham. Arguably one of the most influential and beloved pieces of 20th Century American literature, “To Kill a Mockingbird” is still widely taught in schools more than 50 years after it was first published.

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