UCSB Reads 2024 Book Selection Announced

UCSB Reads 2024 book selection

The UC Santa Barbara Library and the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor are pleased to announce the selection of the 2024 UCSB Reads bookYour Brain On Art: How the Arts Transform Us by Susan Magsamen and Ivy Ross.

Now in its 18th year, UCSB Reads brings the campus and Santa Barbara communities together to read a common book that explores compelling issues of our time. 

Your Brain on Art is a journey through the science of neuroaesthetics, a new and rapidly expanding field of research at the intersection of psychological aesthetics, biological mechanisms, and human evolution. The interdisciplinary book demonstrates how our brains and bodies transform in profound ways when we participate in the arts, even for as little as 45 minutes, and how this knowledge can improve health and build stronger communities. 

Magsamen and Ross argue that creative activities such as painting, dancing, playing music, or expressive writing are more essential to our daily lives than we realize, and can be used to ease distress, invigorate communities, improve learning and academic achievement, or bring joy to our lives.

Susan Magsamen is the founder and director of the International Arts + Mind Lab, Center for Applied Neuroaesthetics at Johns Hopkins University. Ivy Ross is the Vice President of Design for hardware product area at Google.

UCSB Reads will launch in January with a free book giveaway for students. The Library will sponsor talks, panel discussions, film screenings, book clubs, and creative workshops. to explore the book’s themes throughout winter and spring quarters. Faculty are encouraged to incorporate Your Brain on Art into their courses. The Library will provide free copies of the book to all students who are assigned to read it as part of coursework.

UCSB Reads will culminate with a free talk by the authors at Campbell Hall at 7:30 PM on May 8, 2024. This public lecture is presented in partnership with UCSB Arts & Lectures.

If you wish to teach the book, participate in UCSB Reads programming, or support UCSB Reads 2024, please contact Alex Regan, the Library’s Events & Exhibitions Program Manager, at UCSBReads@library.ucsb.edu. We are grateful for the generous support of our many sponsors. For details about UCSB Reads events, sponsors, and more, go to www.library.ucsb.edu/ucsbreads2024.

Thank you for reading, teaching, and learning along with us.

Kristin Antelman, University Librarian, and David Marshall, Executive Vice Chancellor

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UCSB Reads 2024 logoUCSB Reads Books

2024: Your Brain On Art: How the Arts Transform Us by Susan Magsamen and Ivy Ross
2023: Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design by Charles Montgomery
2022: Exhalation: Stories by Ted Chiang
2021: When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Cullors and asha bandele
2020: Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore by Elizabeth Rush
2019: The Best We Could Do by Thi Bui
2018: Lab Girl by Hope Jahren
2017: Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea
2016: Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
2015: Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison by Piper Kerman
2014: The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire That Saved America by Timothy Egan
2013: Moonwalking With Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer
2012: Moby Duck: The True Story of 28,000 Bath Toys Lost at Sea, and of the Beachcombers, Oceanographers, Environmentalists, and Fools--Including the Author--Who Went in Search of Them by Donovan Hohn
2011: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
2010: Enrique's Journey by Sonia Nazario
2009: Ethics for the New Millennium by Dalai Lama
2008: The Travels of a T-shirt in the Global Economy by Pietra Rivoli
2007: Field Notes from a Catastrophe by Elizabeth Kolbert

UCSB Reads 2024 Advisory Committee

Peter Algona Faculty, Environmental Studies
Somayeh Dodge Faculty, Geography
Waverly Duck Faculty, Sociology
Margaret Fisher UCSB Graduate Student
Michelle Grue Faculty, College of Creative Studies and Writing Program
Tomoyuki Ichiba Faculty, Statistics & Applied Probability
Derek Katz Faculty, Music
Jasmine Liang UCSB Undergraduate Student
Shelly Lundberg Faculty, Economics
Rebecca Metzger UCSB Library
Mahsun  Mirmohammadsadeghi UCSB Undergraduate Student
Sophie Najm UCSB Undergraduate Student
Erin  Nerstad Associate Director, Interdisciplinary Humanities Center
Sharleen O'Brien Director, Health & Wellness
Caitlin O'Hara Director of Public Lectures & Special Initiatives
Behrooz Parhami Faculty, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Heather  Silva UCSB Library
Claudia Tyler Faculty, College of Creative Studies
Alex Regan UCSB Library
Barbara Warren Community Member