PNC Books and Coffee Series Begins

Books and CoffeePurdue University North Central is again hosting the “Books & Coffee” discussion series during the coming months. The programs, which are free and open to the public, will meet from noon to about 1 p.m. in Library-Student-Faculty Building, Assembly Hall, Room 02, located on the building’s lower level. Refreshments will be served.

Each session will feature a review of the book, followed by a discussion period. The books being reviewed are available in the PNC Bookstore. This year’s selections include:

Nov 13 – Dr. Assen Kokalov, assistant professor of Spanish, will review “The Boy Kings of Texas” by Domingo Martinez. A National Book Award finalist, this memoir, set in the outskirts of Brownsville, Texas. details the gritty realities of the US – Mexican border. Martinez alternately uses good-natured and sardonic wit to describe his abusive family, the macho barrio and an adolescence full of trials including a cruel grandmother who takes out life insurance policies on all males in the family and a violent father who leads the family on drug smuggling runs. The book looks at many border issues such as immigration and border violence in a predominantly macho culture.

Feb 19 -  Dr. Aaron Warren, associate professor of Physics will review “The Grand Design” by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodniow.  Physics can be seen as the scientific study of the fundamental characteristics of the universe. The progress of the past few centuries, particularly the past few decades, gives humanity a newfound capacity to address questions that formerly would have been left to speculation. When and how did the universe begin? Are there other universes? Why are we here? Why is there something rather than nothing? What is the nature of reality? Is our universe deterministic? Does free will exist? These questions lie at the core of many worldviews and the ability for physics to play a role in their consideration highlights the significance of physics as a human endeavor. “The Grand Design” is a brief, nontechnical outline of mainstream contemporary scientific thinking regarding such questions. Its basic purpose is to educate those who are curious about such matters, the broader intent is to invite readers to reflect on and perhaps investigate scientific progress regarding such challenging questions.

March 19 – Dr. Jeff Shires, associate professor of Communication, will review “Social Media Is Bullsh*t” by B.J. Mendelson. Mendelson attempts to refute the hype and claims made about the effect of social media, specifically Facebook and Twitter, on business.  He attempts to show that good marketing fundamentals–a good product, easy to use, with a solid traditional marketing campaign and acting on customer feedback – are vital. A bad product with a great Facebook page will not be saved by a sudden outpouring of support.  He cites his own marketing experience and uses interviews with advertisers, marketers and others. He argues that social media marketing books are worthless as they offer dubious advice so the authors can curry favor with large corporations who buy the books and hire the authors as consultants.

April 16 – Dr. Wei He, assistant professor of Management, will review “How to Blog for Profit (Without Selling Your Soul”) by Ruth Soukup. This book provides creative guidance for bloggers who wish to develop good content, create compelling images, capture viral growth and maximize revenue. In addition, Soukup discusses the importance of developing authentic text, Search Engine Optimization, Pinterest, ads and reviews. The author also offers concrete examples, illustrations and tools throughout the book so that both new and experienced bloggers may realize their potential in blogging.

Additional information about Books and Coffee may be obtained by contacting Dr. Kenneth Kincaid, associate professor of History, at 785-5200,  5244 or kkincaid@pnc.edu. Persons with disabilities needing accommodations should contact Kincaid.