“Reading exposes you to more than you could ever imagine which then helps us to make better choices, based on broader information - based not just on our own day to day experience.” — Carol
“I never felt that I had much to say politically as a young person, but now I feel it’s very important we understand what’s going on.” — Mack
Carol Travis is an educator with a masters in early childhood education who has taught at SUNY Binghamton and the Ithaca City School District. She’s a lover of children’s books and has an extensive history working with children in education. Carol is the campaign chair for the new child care center at Tompkins Cortland Community College, and also teaches Transcendental Meditation. Mack is a real estate developer and an author — his latest book, Shaping a City, will be released in November. He’s also the campaign chair for the new Tompkins County Center for History and Culture.
Carol’s Recommended Books
Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Hope for the Flowers by Trina Paulus
Collusion by Luke Harding
Fascism: A Warning by Madeleine Albright
Bhagavad Gita by Ravi Ravindra
The duo grew up reading avidly. Carol remembers her grandparents taking her on frequent trips to the library, where she would browse the stacks of books. Every night after dinner, she and her siblings would gather around her mother as she read to them, pointing at the words as she spoke them so her children could follow along. “You can travel in your imagination even if you can’t travel in reality,” she said.
A Wrinkle in Time was one of the first books that Carol found herself unable to put down. She remembers devouring it as fast as she could. “[My mom] let me stay on the couch and read until I was finished,” Carol said. “I was eight or nine years old and I stayed up till all hours.” Carol has always loved fantasy and nonfiction for teens.
Mack had a similar upbringing, with his mother reading to him and his siblings when they were young. He was a fan of adventure novels like the Hardy Boys and Treasure Island. “[Reading those books] led to my own adventures with motorcycles and boats and doing daring things,” he said. His love for reading carried past these imaginary adventures as a kid into the wide variety of nonfiction he enjoys now — with everything from books about psychology and biographies to political commentaries. “I never felt that I had much to say politically as a young person, but now I feel it’s very important we understand what’s going on.” Mack said.
Collusion, a nonfiction work by Luke Harding, makes a case for Russian interference during the 2016 election, and greatly influenced Mack politically. Mack bought about 540 copies of the book and mailed one to each senator and representative in Congress, telling them to make sure someone in their office read it. “Someone needs to know about this,” he said. His book choices all center around the theme of educating yourself politically. Fascism: A Warning by Madeleine Albright is an analysis of fascism in the twentieth century and how that has affected its influence in some of today’s leaders. Ravi Ravindra’s Bhagavad Gita is an interpretation of the Gita as a guide to life. Mack said that it’s important to stay informed about what’s going on in our world and to always stay curious about it. “We have to take an active role in shaping it,” he said.
“I hope that books structure and create moral fiber, a belief system, a way of conducting business that will help to increase volume of ideas that will synthesize into decision in real life - materials to work with beyond our experience… Reading exposes you to more than you could ever imagine which then helps us to make better choices,” Carol said. “based not just on our own day to day experience.”