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Norwalk Campus Library

Norwalk Common Read 2023: Callings

About Callings, by Dave Isay

Callings book coverStories of passion, courage, and commitment, following individual as they pursue the work they were born to do, from StoryCorps founder Dave Isay. 

In Callings, StoryCorps founder Dave Isay presents unforgettable stories from people doing what they love. Some found their paths at a young age, others later in life; some overcame great odds or upturned their lives in order to pursue what matters to them. Together the demonstrate how work can be about more than making a living, that chasing dreams can transform a job into a calling.

An essential contribution to the beloved StoryCorps collection, Callings is an inspiring tribute to rewarding work and the American pursuit of happiness.

(Text from back of book)

"...[Dave Isay] presents his conversations with people--ages 10 to 90 from different backgrounds and geographical locations in the United States--who discuss what makes work meaningful for them...the first section, titled "Dreamers," features discussions with people engaged in unusual occupations, such as street corner astronomer or bridge-tender, or in more conventional ones like doctor or astronaut that have required great personal sacrifice and commitment. In the second section, "Generations," people talk about their work in a historical context. A father and son, for example, discuss their work as firefighters and the pride they take in being part of a family tradition of saving lives, while a New York-based sculptor tells her ex-husband about the artist mother who became her "greatest muse." In the third section, "Healers," Isay interviews people like an oncology nurse and a public defender, who help restore everything from broken bodies to damaged social systems. The fourth section, "Philosophers," features stories from individuals--such as the accountant-turned-lox-slicer whose work brought him unexpected Zen-like peace--who have developed especially unique perspectives on life through the work they do. In the final section, "Groundbreakers," the author provides stories about unsung professional pioneers...Thoughtfully organized and edited, each story is a reminder of the essential role work plays in the pursuit of human happiness."

source: "Isay, Dave: CALLINGS." Kirkus Reviews, 15 Feb. 2016. Gale Literature Resource Center, Accessed 26 Sept. 2023.