Connection Corner: What are You Reading?

For this issue, we asked faculty and staff to share what they are reading. Here are some of the books that were shared.

Joseph Mazzola, Associate Professor of I/O Psychology: “I am just about to finish up The Stand by Stephen King, which has been great but also interesting/ironic since I started it before the pandemic started (if you don’t know, it begins with a virus that kills the vast majority of the population). After that, I am planning on reading So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo so I can better educate myself about racism and know how to broach the subject constructively in my classes.“

Victoria Munn, Enrollment Management, Student Services Administrator: “I’m reading Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown. I highly recommend it!  It’s a book on vulnerability, and touches on many emotional and structural concepts that influence how we can or cannot be vulnerable in our current society.”

Rachel C. Findley, Assistant Professor, Food and Nutrition: “I am reading Grit by Angela Duckworth.

Bianca Diaz, Recruitment Assistant, Office of Admissions: “Since the public libraries have been closed for months, I’m reading books I’ve had in my personal library for years, but never got a chance to read!  I recently finished The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson and The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.  I’ve just started Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay.”

Pamela Norcross, Assistant Professor of Child Development: “I am currently reading two books: How to be Antiracist by Ibram X Kendi and The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson.”

Jason Newport, Instructor of English: “For summer reading, I’ve gone maximalist. I decided that now is probably the only time the First World War will seem like a relief, so I finally read Pat Barker’s Regeneration trilogy, indelible works of historical fiction about many real-life figures, such as the war poets Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen. Following Regeneration and The Eye in the Door, the third novel, The Ghost Road, won the Booker prize in the mid-nineties. After Barker, I read Icelandic Nobel-laureate Halldór Laxness’s Independent People, a bleak, quasi-mythic vision of a family of sheepherders struggling to survive the early 1900s. From there, I returned to Continental Europe just before the Great War, with German Nobel-laureate Thomas Mann’s magnum opus, The Magic Mountain, a sumptuous portrait of tuberculosis patients isolated at a Swiss sanatorium, a polyglot community of privilege, idling in slow decline as terrible events engulf the outer world. But then, as protests over the murder of George Floyd erupted, I suspended Mann to reread Ta-Nehisi Coates’s painfully insightful and deeply moving Between the World and Me.

Margarita Suarez, Professor of Religious & Ethical Studies: I’m working on four books now. To prepare for my new course, Race and Religion in America: How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi and Policing Black Bodies: How Black Lives Are Surveilled and How to Work for Change by Angela J. Hattery and Earl Smith

For fun: News of a Kidnapping by Gabriel Garcia Márquez

To work on my biblical hebrew: The First Hebrew Primer: The Adult Beginner’s Path to Biblical Hebrew, Third Edition by Ethelyn Simon , Linda Motzkin, et al.

The topic for the next Connection Corner is movies. What is a favorite movie you’d like to share? This can be a recent or more long-term favorite. Email your movie list to

Melyssa Allen

News Director
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(919) 760-8087
Fax: (919) 760-8330