Summer 2017 Reading Suggestions from Meredith Faculty and Staff

Carlyle Campbell Library

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 2017. (Linked titles are available in Meredith's Carlyle Campbell Library)

Jason Newport, Instructor of English:

I highly recommend the 2017 nonfiction book Janesville: An American Story by Amy Goldstein. Goldstein, a Pulitzer-prizewinning journalist, follows the lives of workers, teenagers, educators, and politicians stunned by the 2009 closing of the longest-running General Motors plant in the country, sending this southern Wisconsin community into an economic tailspin. Over the course of five years, the efforts of ordinary people to hold their lives and families together in the face of systemic failings and worsening social divides poignantly illustrate how we as a nation have come to find ourselves in such a challenging moment. Janesville may be best known as the home district of Paul Ryan, then a rising congressman, but it also happens to be the hometown of most of my family, and I can vouch for the truth of Goldstein's penetrating view of its character. And as the recent Foxconn announcement shows, the story of Janesville remains today a pivotal measure of success or failure.

Jim Waddelow, Director of Instrumental Activities:

I just finished the new Harvey Sachs biography on the life and career of the Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini. At over 900 pages, it is a bit hefty, but when you consider his career began in the 1880s and ended in the late 1940s, he lived and worked in multiple eras. 

Katie Nagel, Career Development Coordinator:
This summer, I continued to enjoy listening to audiobooks (through Audible). While each book's topic was different, I would recommend them all. My list includes Lilac Girls: A Novel by Martha Hall Kelly, The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines and Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant.

Beth Meier, Counseling Center Director:
I read Gloria Steinem's 2015 book My Life on the Road and would recommend it.

Melyssa Allen, News Director:
Two nonfiction books that I recommend are Radium Girls by Kate Moore, about the health issues and court battles faced by women who worked in radium dial companies during the early part of the 20th century, and The Prisoner in His Palace by Will Bardenwerper, about the experiences of U.S. soldiers who guarded Saddam Hussein after his capture during the war in Iraq.

Laura Davidson, Dean of the Library:
I'm re-reading Rita Mae Brown's murder mystery series, co-authored with her cat, Sneaky Pie Brown. They're set near Charlottesville, Virginia. Both pets and the landscape are important actors in the books. Reading them again has been like taking a quick mountain vacation (without all the packing and travel time).

Donna Garner, Head of Circulation:
I am re-reading Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson. I wanted to read it again after watching the National Geographic series Genius. Ron Howard used this as a resource for the series. The biography reveals Einstein, warts and all. It's hardly surprising that he was a complicated individual and, often, insensitive to the people who loved him. Equally interesting, Isaacson describes the world of the highly intellectualized dominance of the German speaking scientists of that era.

 I just finished Sleeping Murder by Agatha Christie. It's considered one of the best of her mysteries. Great story about a young woman who comes to realize she witnessed a murder when she was a child.

Bob Autry, Daytime Circulation Assistant:

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
Jesus CEO, Using Ancient Wisdom for Visionary Leadership  by Laurie Beth Jones
The Queen of Katwe by Tim Crothers (Library has the DVD)
Age Erasers for Men by Dough Dollemore & Mark Giuliucci (Editors of Men's Health magazine)​

Rick McBane in Media Services:
Project Management, 6th edition by Erik Larson and Clifford Gray (textbook for both sessions of my summer school classes) Enjoy?  Well, I'm learning a lot!

Amanda Sullivan, Research and Instruction Librarian:
I’ve tried to read more nonfiction this summer and have not been disappointed. The Fact of a Body is a very heavy summer read, perhaps haunting is a more apt word to use, however, it is powerful narrative that will have you questioning the way you think about criminals and the death penalty. If you are looking for a much more fun nonfiction summer read, let me suggests Cork Dork. This is a blast of book by journalist Bianca Bosker, and not just because you get to live vicariously as she becomes a sommelier. She not only takes you to incredible tastings and meals, but to conferences to have scientists make sense of what some have considered our “lesser” senses, like taste and smell, so important in our lives.

Jean Rick, Research and Instruction Librarian:
Hillbilly Elegy is J. D. Vance's memoir of life in Appalachia, a region of the Eastern United States stretching from Alabama in the South to New York in the North. Appalachia used to be an industrial haven, home to the coal and steel industries, but the decline in manufacturing has resulted in widespread economic hardship. Vance uses his own family as a case study in "hillbilly" culture. His grandparents, Mamaw and Papaw, moved from Jackson, Kentucky to Middletown, Ohio when they first married. Their marriage was a difficult one, and Vance's mother never quite recovered from the trauma of her childhood. I was attracted to this book because I grew up in Appalachia. I am always fascinated by the success stories of people who make it despite being mired in the poverty of the region and agree with the author's premise that there is no standard government cure. Instead it is a relearning of ways of coping given by the right sources at the right time. Often luck plays a huge role.

Megan Otto in Media Services:
I am reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone for the first time. This is not a new book but I am enjoying it so far!  When these books originally came out I attempted to read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone but I was a little old for the demographic and I could not really connect. I love the movies but always felt like I was missing so much information so I have decided to start reading them this summer. So far, it is such a fun read. I love how descriptive J.K. Rowling is in this novel and how goofy some of the characters are. I am just learning what Harry's lightning bolt scar means but there is still the mystery to why he survived Voldemort’s attack! I can't wait to finish reading this novel and continue on with the next one in the series.

Brian Thornburg, Head of Media Services:
Quiet by Susan Cain. The Library has her TEDTalk available in Films on Demand.

If you would like more reading suggestions please stop by the library or browse the new fiction and nonfiction books online.

--Contributed to by Amanda Sullivan, Research and Instruction Librarian

Melyssa Allen

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