Welcome to our book chat! The Golden Knights Novel Chat is a new book group on campus open to the Clarkson community including students, faculty and staff. You do not need to attend every meeting to join in; come whenever the book choice interests you! 

The group will meet periodically to discuss books selected by the group. The moderator will share interesting background information on the book and the author, as well as suggest questions and topics to get discussion started.

Our Next Book

Click here for information about our next read. 

What else have we read? 

You can see what we have read in the past here.

Book Chat FAQs

Email Lisa Hoover at lhoover@clarkson.edu. 

Sure! Just be prepared for potential spoilers. 

The club is open to all Clarkson University community members, including students, faculty and staff. 

This varies from semester to semester; it’s best to check the page for our next read!

The books will be chosen by a survey sent out to book club members prior to each meeting and/or by a discussion at each meeting. 

Yes, no one will be required to moderate or discuss unless they volunteer. 

Unfortunately the library does not have the funding to provide books for club members, but our librarians would be happy to help you track down a copy of the book if you are having trouble locating one. 

Sure! If you are already a member of the club, you can bring it up at our next meeting. If you are considering joining, you can email Lisa Hoover at lhoover@clarkson.edu.

Possible Future Reads

To suggest a book, please email lhoover@clarkson.edu or bring it up at our next meeting. 

The Curies’ newly discovered element of radium makes gleaming headlines across the nation as the fresh face of beauty, and wonder drug of the medical community. From body lotion to tonic water, the popular new element shines bright in the otherwise dark years of the First World War.

Meanwhile, hundreds of girls toil amidst the glowing dust of the radium-dial factories. The glittering chemical covers their bodies from head to toe; they light up the night like industrious fireflies. With such a coveted job, these “shining girls” are the luckiest alive — until they begin to fall mysteriously ill.

But the factories that once offered golden opportunities are now ignoring all claims of the gruesome side effects, and the women’s cries of corruption. And as the fatal poison of the radium takes hold, the brave shining girls find themselves embroiled in one of the biggest scandals of America’s early 20th century, and in a groundbreaking battle for workers’ rights that will echo for centuries to come.

Written with a sparkling voice and breakneck pace, The Radium Girls fully illuminates the inspiring young women exposed to the “wonder” substance of radium, and their awe-inspiring strength in the face of almost impossible circumstances. Their courage and tenacity led to life-changing regulations, research into nuclear bombing, and ultimately saved hundreds of thousands of lives.

The challenges to humanity posed by the digital future, the first detailed examination of the unprecedented form of power called “surveillance capitalism,” and the quest by powerful corporations to predict and control our behavior. In this masterwork of original thinking and research, Shoshana Zuboff provides startling insights into the phenomenon that she has named surveillance capitalism. The stakes could not be higher: a global architecture of behavior modification threatens human nature in the twenty-first century just as industrial capitalism disfigured the natural world in the twentieth. Zuboff vividly brings to life the consequences as surveillance capitalism advances from Silicon Valley into every economic sector. Vast wealth and power are accumulated in ominous new “behavioral futures markets,” where predictions about our behavior are bought and sold, and the production of goods and services is subordinated to a new “means of behavioral modification.” The threat has shifted from a totalitarian Big Brother state to a ubiquitous digital architecture: a “Big Other” operating in the interests of surveillance capital. Here is the crucible of an unprecedented form of power marked by extreme concentrations of knowledge and free from democratic oversight. Zuboff’s comprehensive and moving analysis lays bare the threats to twenty-first century society: a controlled “hive” of total connection that seduces with promises of total certainty for maximum profit–at the expense of democracy, freedom, and our human future. With little resistance from law or society, surveillance capitalism is on the verge of dominating the social order and shaping the digital future–if we let it.

In a crowded courtroom in Mississippi, a jury returns a shocking verdict against a chemical company. They have been accused of dumping toxic waste into a small town’s water supply, causing the worst “cancer cluster” in history. The company appeals to the Mississippi Supreme Court, whose nine justices will one day either approve the verdict or reverse it. But chemical company owner, Carl Trudeau, decides to try to purchase himself a seat on the Court. Through an intricate web of conspiracy and deceit, his political operatives recruit a young, unsuspecting candidate. They finance him, manipulate him, market him, and mould him into a potential Supreme Court justice. Their Supreme Court justice. The Appeal is a powerful, timely, and shocking story of political and legal intrigue, a story that will leave readers unable to think about the electoral process or judicial system in quite the same way ever again.

The memoir of one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.

Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.

Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.

In 2012, a New York auction catalogue boasted an unusual offering: “a superb Tyrannosaurus skeleton.” In fact, Lot 49135 consisted of a nearly complete T. bataar, a close cousin to the most famous animal that ever lived. The fossils now on display in a Manhattan event space had been unearthed in Mongolia, more than 6,000 miles away. At eight-feet high and 24 feet long, the specimen was spectacular, and when the gavel sounded the winning bid was over $1 million.

Eric Prokopi, a thirty-eight-year-old Floridian, was the man who had brought this extraordinary skeleton to market. A onetime swimmer who spent his teenage years diving for shark teeth, Prokopi’s singular obsession with fossils fueled a thriving business hunting, preparing, and selling specimens, to clients ranging from natural history museums to avid private collectors like actor Leonardo DiCaprio.

But there was a problem. This time, facing financial strain, had Prokopi gone too far? As the T. bataar went to auction, a network of paleontologists alerted the government of Mongolia to the eye-catching lot. As an international custody

Some stories live forever . . . Sage Singer is a baker. She works through the night, preparing the day’s breads and pastries, trying to escape a reality of loneliness, bad memories, and the shadow of her mother’s death. When Josef Weber, an elderly man in Sage’s grief support group, begins stopping by the bakery, they strike up an unlikely friendship. Despite their differences, they see in each other the hidden scars that others can’t. Everything changes on the day that Josef confesses a long-buried and shame-ful secret and asks Sage for an extraordinary favor. If she says yes, she faces not only moral repercussions, but potentially legal ones as well. With the integrity of the closest friend she’s ever had clouded, Sage begins to question the assumptions and expectations she’s made about her life and her family. In this searingly honest novel, Jodi Picoult gracefully explores the lengths to which we will go in order to keep the past from dictating the future.

In the late twelfth century, across the sweeping Mongolian grasslands, brilliant, charismatic Temujin ascends to power, declaring himself the Great, or Genghis, Khan. But it is the women who stand beside him who ensure his triumph . . . After her mother foretells an ominous future for her, gifted Borte becomes an outsider within her clan. When she seeks comfort in the arms of aristocratic traveler Jamuka, she discovers he is the blood brother of Temujin, the man who agreed to marry her and then abandoned her long before they could wed. Temujin will return and make Borte his queen, yet it will take many women to safeguard his fragile new kingdom. Their daughter, the fierce Alaqai, will ride and shoot an arrow as well as any man. Fatima, an elegant Persian captive, will transform her desire for revenge into an unbreakable loyalty. And Sorkhokhtani, a demure widow, will position her sons to inherit the empire when it begins to fracture from within. In a world lit by fire and ruled by the sword, the tiger queens of Genghis Khan come to depend on one another as they fight and love, scheme and sacrifice, all for the good of their family . . . and the greatness of the People of the Felt.

  • Public Discovery by Adam Smith – A Harvard professor establishes The Congressional Research Institute, a group to research the cause of increasing political corruption in the U.S. and discovers a 1970 Act that appears to be significant. A Canadian psychologist, and former spy, is working on a similar concept and arrives at the same conclusion from a different perspective. Their plan to join forces ends before it begins with the mysterious murder of the American. The successful conspiracy, that originated in 1965, to hijack the U.S. Congress has enjoyed half a century reaping the rewards of their ingenious plan. The Canadian volunteers lead the Institute’s mission and as he builds a grassroots organization the success increases the threat to the powerful elite in Washington.
  • My Fatima by Lydia Lin – This story is about Trudy and her new friend Fatima, how their friendship was tested, and how both of their lives were changed forever by tradition and political strife. Soon after her father begins serving as the German ambassador to Jordan, 14-year old Trudy finds herself in the dorm of the Beirut Evangelical School for Girls. An only child who has mostly lived a sheltered life, Trudy embraces this new world, but she cannot shake off the feeling of being an outsider. Yearning for an intimate friendship, she develops a secret admiration for a Palestinian schoolmate named Fatima. Finally, she plucks up the courage to speak to Fatima, and the two girls become best friends. Things get complicated when Fatima reveals that her lover is a PLO militant. Religious and political tension has been building up beneath the peaceful coexistence and prosperity enjoyed by the people of Lebanon. Beirut, it turns out, is not the safest place for Trudy. Come along with Trudy to have a look at life in Beirut in the 1960s and see how this drama of friendship, women’s rights and political conflict plays out.
  • The Little Monk by Lydia Lin – Wawa is not an ordinary boy. He was born to a native couple on the Island of Formosa during the brief Spanish colonial rule in the 17th Century. His father, Yotas, became a fugitive for having involved in a failed uprising against the Spanish troops. While on the run with his mother, Maya, Wawa was separated from her and later adopted by a Chinese Shaolin monk. Now at the age of 12, he is already well trained in Buddhism and kung fu skills. He aspires to become a learned monk so as to be able to help the unfortunate people. On a trip to visit another Shaolin master, from whom he is to learn the unique Rock Monkey Kung Fu, Wawa meets Yotas by chance, without either one’s being aware of their kinship. He also encounters his adversary who is helping the conquistadors capture Yotas. Will Wawa be able to use his kung fu skills to save Yotas? Will his family be reunited? To find out, read this interesting story that seeks to promote religious tolerance and cross-racial understanding.