Faculty/Staff Share 2015 Summer Reading Favorites

Summer brings an opportunity to read books from outside our professional areas of focus. For this issue of Campus Connections, faculty and staff were asked to share some of their favorites from summer 2015. Links are included for books that are available in Carlyle Campbell Library.

Associate Professor of English Laura Fine:

The Master Butchers Singing Club by Louise Erdrich,
Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
We are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher
Belong to Me by Marissa de los Santos
The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
The Art Lover by Carole Maso
I read but would not recommend Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee!

Margie Hattori, Disability Counselor: “I read Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, by Atul Gawande. I'd had the book for a while but was reluctant to start it (death and dying is not your usual summer read!) until a friend raved about it. Gawande is a surgeon in Boston who writes forthrightly and thoughtfully about the shortcomings of our medical system as we age and at the end of life. As the daughter of an elderly mother with dementia, I recognized my experience in much of what he has written and found new insight into why things are they way they are. Even more exciting, he has found assisted living and skilled nursing facilities that have created a new approach to caring for our elders, one that maintains a sense of purpose and meaning in life. Instead of being depressing, I found the book to be inspiring and energizing because it instills hope. I highly recommend it to anyone!”

Professor of Human Environmental Sciences Deborah Tippett: “A Fighting Chance is the life story of Elizabeth Warren and her desire to give the working class a chance to have financial stability. From her career path from a bankruptcy professor at Harvard to a State Senator of Massachusetts, Warren explained the financial crisis' impact on ordinary people. As I listened to the audible version of the book read by Warren, I thought how proud she would be of the financial literacy component of our Strong Points initiative.

My favorite fiction was Love May Fail by Matthew Quick. It is a book that any teacher, who wonders if what they did had any lasting impact, will find touching, inspiring and funny. I read it on a long flight to visit a mentor in the hospital and it was the perfect reminder that I was doing was the right thing both in the moment and in my career.”  

Professor Emerita of Biology Janice Swab: “Arctic Dreams: Imagination and Desire in a Northern Landscape by Barry Lopez is not what you think from reading the title!  Published in 1986, this book had been unread on my bookshelf for many years. I decided to take it with me on my month traveling to and in the arctic this summer. It is what every traveler or person interested in the arctic and the issues surrounding this vast northern region needs to read. His descriptions of landscapes and the lives of the organisms living there are the best I have read. Reading it will remind you that most of the problems we read about today have been known for decades. It is highly readable to anyone who understands basic geology, oceanography, and biology. It has made me determined to see a narwhal!  You will discover your own "arctic desire" by reading this book.”

Professor of Health and Exercise & Sports Science Melinda Campbell:
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri
The Confession and The Walnut Tree  by Charles Todd  Campbell also recommends the entire Charles Todd Ian Rutledge Mystery series (14 books)

Professor of Sociology Lori Brown: “My summer reading included Without You There is No Us by Suki Kim--an interesting book about North Korea, and Courtroom 302 by Steve Bogira--an interesting book about a year behind the scenes in an American criminal courtroom.”

English Instructor Tina Romanelli: “This summer I read both Ursula Le Guin's The Left Hand of Darkness and The Dispossessed. They aren't new at all, but they were both mind-blowing books.”

Head of Library Technical Services Ted Waller: “Geometry, relativity, and the fourth dimension, by Rudy Rucker:  This short (133 p.) book for the layman answers your nagging questions about what relativity is and how there can be many dimensions beyond the ones we are familiar with. The Book of the Courtier, by Baldassarre Castiglione:  Count Castiglione describes in detail what it took to be a successful courtier in 16th century Italy.”

Professor of Dance Alyson Colwell-Waber: “Books I especially enjoyed this summer were We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (Karen Joy Fowler) – recommended to me by [Professor of Dance] Carol Finley; Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter (Tom Franklin); and The Paying Guests  (Sarah Waters).”

Music, Dance & Theatre Departmental Assistant Kelly Tyson: The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnely

Food and Nutrition Instructor Jennifer McMillen: “I read Cooked by Michael Pollan and Being Mortal by Atul Gawande this summer and I would recommend both.”

Graduate Programs Admissions Coordinator Latia Allen: “I recommend two books written by Julia Torres called Still Standing, The story of my wars, and Braver and Bolder, My Undercover Life. Both would be excellent books for Meredith students because she is a female who went through date rape, discrimination while serving in the Gulf War and as an undercover police officer. Great books that will empower all people, especially women!” 

Want more book recommendations? The summer issue of Meredith Magazine included an article on faculty recommendations of books featuring strong women. 

Melyssa Allen

News Director
316 Johnson Hall
(919) 760-8087
Fax: (919) 760-8330