2024 Summer Reading List - Updated June 14, 2024

William Hyland

Welcome to the 28th annual Bates College

"Good Reads" list!

Click here to view 2024 Good Reads

Other Recent Editions:

2023 - Download

2022 - Download

2021 - Download

More previous years can be found here: https://store.bates.edu/blogs/news/

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2020 Summer Reading List

Zane Omohundro

Welcome to the 24th annual Bates College "Good Reads" list!

Click here to view a PDF version of the 2020 list.

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2019 Summer Reading List

Zane Omohundro

Welcome to the 23rd annual Bates College "Good Reads" list!

Click here to view a PDF version of the 2019 list.

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2018 Summer Reading List

Zane Omohundro

Welcome to the 22nd annual Bates College "Good Reads" list!

Click here to view a PDF version of the 2018 list.

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2017 Summer Reading List

Zane Omohundro

Welcome to the 21st annual Bates College "Good Reads" list!


Click here to view a PDF version of the 2017 list.

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2016 Summer Reading List

Sarah Potter

Welcome to the 20th annual Bates College Store "Good Reads" list!

Click here to view a PDF version of the 2016 list.

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2015 Summer Reading List

Sarah Potter

Welcome to the 19th annual Bates College Store "Good Reads" list!

Click here to view a PDF version of the 2015 list.

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Full Summer Reading Lists 2003 through 2015 in Word Document Format

Sarah Potter

Below are full versions of the summer reading lists from 2003 to 2014 in Word Document format.

2015 (PDF)















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2014 Summer Reading List

Sarah Potter
Welcome to the 18th annual Bates College Store "Good Reads" list! Eighteen years already?! We invite you to browse and enjoy. We hope you'll find the perfect summer reading on this list. As always, we are eager to hear your thoughts!

Receiving 3 or more recommendations on the 18th annual list!

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The Bully Pulpit by Doris Kearns Goodwin

The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout, '77

Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Remedy by Thomas Goetz, '90

Submissions are listed alphabetically by surname of the submitter. The submitter's name is italicized at the end of each submission. In an effort to conserve paper, we have condensed the list with very little regard for design or spacing! We apologize for overcrowding, typographical errors or other misrepresentations.

Our annual thanks to our friends in Office Services for co-sponsoring this effort and getting the list into booklet format with blazing speed.

Compiled and edited (well, tossed together, really) by Sarah Potter, Bookstore Director 5/14

Craigbridge Hall, Book 1 by Chad Morris

This is a great book to read with or to a 7 to maybe 11 year old. It's Harry Potter-esque, about a pair of twins (one boy, one girl) who go to their grandfather's special school, where his inventions allow them to witness history (things like the sinking of the Titanic). There's a bit of a mystery, a bit of a message, and some good fun. Not worth reading as an adult (it's pretty predictable), but it would be fun with a kid.

Philomena by Martin Sixsmith

This was recently made into a movie (which I did not see). It is about the trafficking of the children of unwed mothers from a convent in Ireland to American families looking to adopt Irish children. I understand that the movie focuses on the mother's journey to find her son, while the book is written from the son's point of view. It was a sad tale with lots of complications. I'm not sure I LIKED it, but it was worth reading.

The Eighty Dollar Champion by Elizabeth Letts

This is the story of a Pennsylvania plow horse who was rescued (not a moment too soon) from the knacker's truck and how he became the world jumping champion in the 1950s. Harry de Leyer was a Dutch immigrant and horse trainer who was looking for a horse of his own to take to the top. Harry arrived late at an auction, where this big white horse had not been sold and was among those being loaded to go to the slaughter house. In a moment of weakness and remarkable intuition, Harry bought the horse. Harry's children named the horse "Snowman", and quickly made the tolerant, gentle beast part of the family. Not thinking that a big old plow horse could ever be a champion jumper, Harry brought Snowman along to be a dependable mount and tried to sell the horse - who kept running home. Harry finally got the message and resigned to keep Snowman as a lesson horse, much to his children's delight. The rest is horse history. If you like stories in which the underdog wins, and the love between a person and animal brings you to tears, this one is for you.

The Remedy by Thomas Goetz

This delightful book by our own Thomas Goetz ’90 pushes every one of my “what I want in a book” buttons. History? Check. Suspense? Check. Bad guys? Check – very small bad guys. Heroes? Check. Microbiology? (OK, this is my geek button) Check plus! Even Sherlock Holmes. Does it get any better than Sherlock??

I expected to be interested in this book (it is, after all, what I do). But I didn’t expect to LOVE it, and I really did. Written in a very accessible style, the book conveys the incredible work of the “Germ Hunters” of the 1800’s and early 1900’s, to whom we owe the revelation that bacteria cause diseases. It also skillfully weaves in the state of medicine at the time, through the story of Arthur Conan Doyle. How he came up with Sherlock Holmes has everything to do with his appreciation for the “new” scientific method being proposed by the likes of (the very French) Louis Pasteur and (the very German) Robert Koch. Who would have thought it possible to put the rise of the Petri plate and the resurrection of Sherlock Holmes in one book and make it all fit together? Bravo, Thomas!

Lee Abrahamsen, Associate Professor of Biology

Here is my list. The last isn't scheduled to be released until May, but that should coincide with the release of the list.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt—The Goldfinch is likely on many peoples’ summer reading list after Tartt won the fiction Pulitzer, and it is well worth the time. This story of Theo Decker, whose mother is killed and life is changed by an explosion in an art gallery, intertwines the past and present with the world of rare antiques and art.

The Collector of Dying Breaths by M.J. Rose—Rene de Florentin is an orphan raised in a monastery and taught the art and science of perfumery. He becomes the perfumer to Catherine de Medici, where murder is also part of his job description. This story moves between the past and the present, exploring reincarnation and reanimation of the souls of the dead.

Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore—Plain and poor, Mabel Dagmar is a scholarship student at an elite East Coast college. She is befriended by wealthy, beautiful Genevra Winslow, and invited to spend the summer at Bittersweet, the Winslow family Vermont estate, where Mabel discovers that wealth and power is the perfect camouflage for evil.

Becky Albitz, Associate College Librarian for Collection Management

Latin: Story of a World Language. Jurgen Leonhardt.

Improbable beach-read, I know, but really enthralling if you're interested in the confluence of language, literature, and history.

Lucky Jim. Kingsley Amis.

Still one of the best campus comedies.

Martin Andrucki, Professor of Theater


Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 by Christopher Clark. Appropriate reading given that WWI began 100 years ago this year.

Mastering the Art of Soviet Cooking: A Memoir of Food and Longing by Anya von Bremzen. A wonderful read on food in the Soviet Union.

The Mortal Sea: Fishing in the Atlantic in the Age of Sail by W. Jeffrey Bolster. Centers on the long history of human impact on the oceans. Timely reading as we continue to impact oceans.

Áslaug Ásgeirsdóttir, Associate Professor of Politics

My favorite was Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter. I loved the characters (and they are characters), loved the settings, and the ending was wonderful.

Also would recommend The Emerald Mile by Kevin Fedarko. This is about going down the Grand Canyon in dory boats. We did this in 2012, with some of the guides mentioned in the book. We had high water, and the book focuses on the highest water ever and the near failure of Glen Canyon dam that led to it. Fedarko really captures what the dory boats and life on the River are like.

Cheers! It's great to have time now to read!!

Pam Baker, Helen A. Papaioanou Professor of Biological Sciences


I really like most of Ken Follett's stuff. Having read only about 2/3 of his books, I'd like to recommend Pillars of the Earth, and World Without End. Both are fairly lengthy and though they take place a couple hundred years apart, they kind of go together.

Peter Beach, Professional Machinist - Physics


The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri The Psychopath Test by Jon Rosen Long Walk to Freedom by Nelson Mandela Catching the Big Fish by David Lynch The Pema Chodron Audio Collection The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Rachel Boggia, Assistant Professor of Dance

Horse Heaven by Jane Smiley

There’s a section in Horse Heaven, a great and funny book of fiction about horse racing (training, owning, riding and what it might be like to be a horse), about one trainer’s “Tibetan Book of Thoroughbred Training,” which comprises six rules (below). In my experience as a racehorse owner — a sport where it’s soooo tempting to “hanker” for a better outcome or to bemoan misfortune— the Tibetan rules are splendid.

1. Do not pay attention or investigate; leave your mind in its own sphere.

2. Do not see any fault anywhere.

3. Do not take anything to heart.

4. Do not hanker after signs of progress.

5. Although this may be called inattention, do not fall prey to laziness.

6. Be in a state of constant inspection.

Jay Burns, editor, Bates Magazine

The best book I've read in recent years is Chad Harbach's The Art of Fielding. It's not very obscure, but I thought it was excellent.

Jonathan J. Cavallero, Assistant Professor of Rhetoric

On my reading list is Savage Harvest: A Tale of Cannibals, Colonialism, and Michael Rockefeller's Tragic Quest for Primitive Art by Carl Hoffman. I find Hoffman's voice very compelling and am curious how the argument shapes up against the larger narrative (I already know how it ends -- or, rather, begins -- but I won't give it away :) Raluca Cernahoschi, Assistant Professor of German

Divergent by Veronica Roth The Fault in Our Stars Jo Nesbo's crime novels featuring Harry Hole The Flavia de Luce mysteries by Alan Bradley Anita Charles, Lecturer/Director of Secondary Teacher Education

Jacob Hacker, Paul Pierson: Winner-Take-All Politics

It’s all about how awful elected politicians are—not all but many!

Mark C. Elliott: The Manchu Way


John Eliot Gardiner, Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven

This is on my to-be-read list.

John Corrie, Music Lecturer


The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food, and Love by Kristin Kimball

This was incredible fun to read - Big city journalist falls in love with a farmer and goes off to upstate New York. Kimball has a gift for description and the book is as much about finding a community as it is about farming.

Jon Mooallem, Wild Ones: A Sometimes Dismaying, Weirdly Reassuring Story About Looking at People Looking at Animals in America

Mooallem's account of three different species: polar bears, butterflies and whooping cranes. This is a book about extinction, but it's also a book about the amazing efforts of various groups to protect and in some cases restore disappearing populations. Mooallem is often hilarious. Very worth reading.

And for my "Literatures of Agriculture" course this past semester, we read short stories by Ron Dash and Annie Proulx - from the latter's collection Bad Dirt the story "What Furniture would Jesus Pick" was a particular favorite.


Jane Costlow, Clark A. Griffiths Professor of Environmental Studies

Fiction: Headhunters by Jo Nesbo - troubles abound for a corporate headhunter who moonlights as an art thief. A dark and twisted story by the highly acclaimed Norwegian author. Bel Canto by Anne Patchett - about a collection of party-goers, including an opera star, held hostage by a group of terrorists. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green - about a teenage girl with terminal cancer who falls in love with a boy she meets at a cancer support group. A wonderfully told story. Don't let the cancer theme prevent you from reading. Don't wait for the movie. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - set in Nazi Germany during WWII, the story is about her love of books and the relationships with her foster parents, some of the townsfolk, the Jew hiding in the basement. Narrated by Death. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer - about a boy in NYC coping with the loss of his father after 9/11 while he searches for the lock that fits a key he found in his father's belongings. Ghostman by Roger Hobbs - pure escapist fiction about a (criminal) fixer brought in to clean up the messy aftermath of a heist gone wrong. It's dark, but also a non-stop thrill ride. The Survivor by Gregg Hurwitz - more escapist fiction about a former soldier with PTSD who's suicide attempt is interrupted by a bank robbery. He stops the robbery but his reward is to be kidnapped by the Ukranian mobster who masterminded the robbery. Non-fiction: The Skies Belong to Us: Love and Terror in the Golden Age of Hijacking by Brendan Koerner - about spate of plane hijackings that took place in the late 60s and early 70s. Fascinating. Spy the Lie: Former CIA Officers Teach You How to Detect Deception by Houston, Floyd, et al. - title says it all. Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing - the harrowing story of the survival of the expedition members from Ernest Shackleton's failed attempt at a transcontinental crossing of Antarctica

Grace Coulombe, Director, Math and Statistics Workshop


The Fever Tree by Jennifer McVeigh – “The Fever Tree is a compelling portrait of colonial South Africa, its raw beauty and deprivation alive in equal measure. But above all it is a love story about how—just when we need it most—fear can blind us to the truth."

Any Bitter Thing by Monica Wood

I liked it, set in Maine, some twists and turns to the plot line.

Currently reading Palisades Park by Alan Brennert which is a simple but engaging story about the famous Palisades Park in NJ. The reader is brought back to the years 1925 to about 1975. The author calls Palisades Park "a love letter to a cherished part of my childhood".

Karen P. Daigler, M.A.,Senior Associate Director for Graduate and Professional School Advising, Bates Career Development Center


Stoner by John Williams. Not what you think. Rather, as Tom Hanks commented (yes, that Tom Hanks): "It’s simply a novel about a guy who goes to college and becomes a teacher. But it’s one of the most fascinating things that you’ve ever come across."

David Das, Assistant Director of Off-campus Studies


The Bully Pulpit by Doris Kearns Goodwin- lengthy but well written book about the political careers of Teddy Roosevelt and William Howard Taft and how they intertwined.

Police by Jo Nesbo- excellent Norwegian crime novel by one of the best.

The Ghosts of Guilt by Michael Connolly- LA murder, mayhem, corruption, and intrigue. Great read.

Light in the World- James Lee Burke. Wonderful, fast moving murder mystery.

Jerry Davis, Class of 1961

A Permanent Member of the Family, by Russell Banks (2013)

This is a collection of short stories, most of which are tragic, melancholy, or mildly disturbing in one way or another. The strongest of them sort of wash over you, and you need to put the book down and just process for a little while before you can start the next story. They're certainly not all great -- some are too predictable or trite or contrived -- but there are a couple of real gems here, too.

Don Dearborn, Professor of Biology

My Beloved World, Sonia Sotomayor

Strength in What Remains, Tracy Kidder

Crossing to Safety, Wallace Stegner

Far from the Tree, Andrew Soloman

State of Wonder, Ann Patchett

The Invention of Wings, Sue Monk Kidd

Marty Deschaines, Assistant Director - HCCP

My book of choice:

Ice Ages: Solving the Mystery by Imbrie and Imbrie

Perhaps it's a target audience, but I think it is well written, provides an interesting history of how ice age theory came to be and provides some of the big questions of today. If you are looking for something newer, try:

Fixing Climate by Broecker and Kunzig

OH! I just thought, if you can include maps on this summer reading list, add the Downeast Ice Age Trail map (copies in the book store), that I would recommend above the others as it is fun, clear, informative, and you can use it as a wall decoration! Alice Doughty, Geology Lecturer

Capital in the Twenty-first Century by Thomas Piketty

“In a review, Krugman, who appeared on Moyers & Company last week, called the book magnificent, adding: “The big idea of Capital in the Twenty-First Century is that we haven’t just gone back to 19th century levels of income inequality, we’re also on a path back to ‘patrimonial capitalism,’ in which the commanding heights of the economy are controlled not by talented individuals but by family dynasties.”

Glenn Dudley, Desktop Support Technician, ILS

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children -- Probably one of the most unusual books I've read in a long time. It was originally intended to be a children's/young adult book, and that is obvious from some of the plot, but it still kept me engaged. Plus, it incorporates really cool, old, vernacular photographs, which is what hooked me and made me buy the book, which sets a wonderfully eerie tone for the entire story.

Susan Dunning, Gift Planning Associate – Office of College Advancement

I loved NoViolet Bulawayo's new novel (perhaps a collection of inter-related short stories?) called We Need New Names, following a young Zimbabwean from her girlhood among community in Harare to her coming of age in Detroit. Perhaps the tone of the book can be captured with this minor moment: In a chapter heading Darling, the protagonist, denotes the latter as 'Destroyed, Michigan'. The author manages to capture a genuine fresh voice as our young protagonist struggles to make sense of her disrupted world.

Elizabeth Eames, Associate Professor of Anthropology

This is a little different recommendation as it is a blog. diseasediary.wordpress.com or google Dis Ease Diary. The author is my brother-in-law, Bruce Kramer, now a former Dean and educator at St. Thomas College in Minneapolis, so I am close to his situation. This blog began in March, 2011 and you can go back and read the blog from the beginning. It is a journey of a man who had been recently diagnosed with ALS and his telling of the lessons learned through his Dis Ease. With ALS he is living an accelerated life, and he is learning to live with Dis Ease rather than to try and fight against it. Some of the stories and lessons are painful, others joyful but all are thoughtful and cause me to reflect and think about my own Dis Ease.

Ken Emerson, Associate Director of Human Resources


Unexplained Forest by Eleanor Morse, Maine Author

Anyone who makes the most out of the unexpected things that happen to us, will enjoy this book. Eleanor does a really good job of character building and the interweaving of people's lives.

The Girl Who Came Home - A Titanic Novel by Hazle Gaynor

Hazle weaves the past and the present so well in this novel. I loved the ending.

The Outermost House - A Year of Life on the Great Outer Beach of Cape Cod by Henry Beston

Love how he writes about nature. Cape Cod is calling me.

John Muir - Rediscovering America, A Biography by Fredrick Turner

I wish I could have met John Muir. He was so passionate about our Wild Planet and so against the sheer abuse (clear cutting, mining, etc) for Money. Some of his own writings are included in the book.

Madeline's Ghost by Robert Girardi

Love story, Ghost story and Mystery all rolled into one. Takes place in Brooklyn NY and New Orleans.

Historical Novel - A Daughter of Frances Martin by Virginia Chute, Biology Professor Emeritus, Robert Chute's wife

Hard to get into at first, it is written in Old English (1600's). Very enlightening book on the 1640's in New England and the Puritan faith.

Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbreg

This book should be read by every woman. It can be read one chapter at a time.

Melinda Emerson, Purchasing, Sales and Accounting Specialist, ILS

With the death of Nelson Mandela earlier this year, I was moved to read an old classic, Cry, the Beloved Country, by Alan Paton, and I recommend it highly. Holly Ewing, Associate Professor of Environmental Studies

I urge all to read the poetry of Nobel-Prize-winning Bates honorary degree recipient Seamus Heaney, who died last September. A good place to begin is with Opened Ground: Selected Poems 1966-1996.

Rob Farnsworth, Senior Lecturer - English

A few faves, not all brand new:

Shop Class as Soulcraft by Matthew B. Crawford

Paris Stories by Mavis Gallant

Just Kids by Patti Smith

Philanthrocapitalism by Mathew Bishop and Michael Green

When the Crocodile Eats the Sun by Peter Godwin

Twenty Chickens for a Saddle by Robyn Scott

Happy reading!

Laura Faure, Director, Bates Dance Festival

The King's Grave, by Philippa Langley and Michael Jones: a riveting first-person account of the archaeological dig in Leicester, England which found the remains of Richard III last summer. His burial location had been a mystery for the last five hundred years! Lois Griffiths, Alumna and Retiree

W. Jeffrey Bolster, The Mortal Sea: Fishing the Atlantic in the Age of Sail (2012). I recommend this in part because I need to finish reading it myself. What I remember so far: a marvelous combination of social, technological, and environmental history: Why were there so many "sea serpents" off Marblehead in the early 1800s? And what does that tell us about fishing? His answer depends on all three perspectives. What I also remember: a useful warning about the challenges of regulating an ecosystem that we cannot see.

Joe Hall, Associate Professor of History

John Cole suggested I read Nicholas Meyer's The Seven-Percent Solution, a very light sort of reading. I have not read it yet but sent for a copy from Amazon.com. Why not something fun for a change. Apparently there is a movie version with Lawrence Olivier et al.

Atsuko Hirai, Kazushige Hirasawa Professor Emerita of History

Joel Harrington, The Faithful Executioner: Life and Death, Honor and Shame in the Turbulent Sixteenth Century. OK, part of me is also surprised to include a book about a 16th century German executioner as one of my “good reads.” But if you can deal with a few details not for the squeamish (torture was commonly used to speed along confessions, and corpses of the executed were often strung up outside city walls to be eaten by birds, as a public reminder of the wages of sin), this very well-written book of history uses one man as proxy for much of what was happening all over Europe at the time. The executioner inherited his post from his father, and spent his entire lifetime trying to free his family from the shame of the profession, ultimately succeeding: he was voted a citizen of Nuremberg, and his son became a physician. All over Europe, states were slowly forming around kings rather than regional warlords--think of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I establishing their authority against both feudal nobles and the Pope. People were sorting out, albeit messily, how to be a citizen instead of a serf, how to change their social and professional status, and that of their children. Even in the rough justice of that time, with many more capital crimes in part because there were scant prison options, some of the punishments were logical. Forgery, for example, was a capital crime in part because the early national states were just beginning to establish their authority to issue a reliable currency. So this executioner, complete with 5’ beheading sword, is a kind of 16th century equivalent of the Better Business Bureau, and he played his part faithfully, keeping a meticulous journal for decades that is the basis of the book. Yes, an odd topic, but a quite admirable book of history, scholarly, wide-ranging but personal.

Jonathan Parshall and Anthony Tully, Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway. I confess to more than a passing interest in the Battle of Midway, as my father’s cousin, Raymond Spruance, commanded one of the two American task forces at this battle, the turning point in the Pacific war. The Japanese came out with four carriers, and lost them all in a few hours. There are several previous well-done books on Midway, but Shattered Sword is monumental, partly for the painstaking research, and partly for presenting the battle from the Japanese side. It corrects some long-held major errors about the battle, and is elegantly written, which cannot be said of all military history. Not an evening’s read at 640 pages, but very satisfying.

Ruth Reichl, Tender to the Bone: Growing up at the Table. Ruth Reichl is the food editor of the New York Times, so you would expect the autobiographical account of her childhood and early adult years to involve good food. It does, but is also very funny and painfully touching. Reichl’s mother was bi-polar in the years before lithium, and made the lives of her family members unpredictable, to put it mildly. Reichl fled into one off-kilter adventure after another, trying to put space between herself and her mother, and food often ends up being the salve and savior of an otherwise bizarre outcome. Most chapters end with a recipe. Not your grandmother’s cookbook, for sure, but a wonderful read.

Milton Osborne, The Mekong: Turbulent Past, Uncertain Future. The Mekong runs from a source high in Nepal through eight countries to end in the Delta of southern Vietnam. Largely impassible for long stretches through mountains and huge rapids, it fascinated both South Asians and especially the French, who hoped the Mekong might provide a trade route to interior China. It was never tamed for trade, played a major part in South Asian political struggles, and now is the subject of bitter national feuds as China builds massive power dams across it. Carefully written, with the personal disasters of various explorers, and covering centuries of the river’s history. A fine account, it is one of 16 books on the Mekong listed on Amazon.

Will Schwalbe, The End of Your Life Book Club. A tender account by her son Will of the last two years of life with Mary Anne Schwalbe as she died of pancreatic cancer. Both Mary Anne and her son Will were voluminous and skilled readers, she as a former director of Admissions at Harvard and he as a publishing executive. As she gets progressively more ill, they form their own two-person book club, sometimes discussing a book in the waiting rooms at Sloan-Kettering, and we see her values through the lens of her reactions to the various books.

James Holland, Dam Busters: the True Story of the Inventors and Airmen Who Led the Devasting Raid to Smash the German Dams in 1943. The RAF “bouncing bombs” breached two of Nazi Germany’s major hydro dams with major destruction to war manufacturing and transport up to 50 miles downstream. In one of the greatest flying feats in history, 4-engine heavy bombers flying at night with only 60’ of altitude would drop an 8000-pound spinning cylindrical bomb so that it would skip across the top of the water over torpedo nets up to the dam.

David Halberstam, The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War. Not a quick read at 650 pages, but like The Best and the Brightest, his well-known book on America’s experience in Vietnam, a masterful piece of journalistic history, listening to people and telling their stories around the larger setting of political and military issues. Halberstam wrote 21 books, and was killed in a car accident less than a week after turning in the final typescript of this book.

Bill Hiss, Class of ’66, Retired

Whiskey Beach by Nora Roberts

Power Play by Danielle Steele

Joan Houston, Administrative Assistant-Facility Services


Tune In: The Beatles: All These Years By Mark Lewisohn 944 pp. Crown Archetype, Oct. 29, 2013 The first of three volumes in Mark Lewisohn's definitive Beatles biography, Tune In is the best pop-music history I've read in years, or ever. Starting with their family histories decades before John, Paul, George and Ringo were born, Lewisohn brings the reader right up to the end of 1962 and the brink of Beatlemania. The subject matter is fascinating, and Lewisohn's style even more so. He combines obsessive focus on historical detail with a supple musical knowledge and a narrative urgency that propels the reader right through this nearly 1,000-page book. A lifelong Beatles fan, I was surprised and intrigued by much of what I learned, including the facts of the fractured and impoverished social setting that produced the Fab Four. Doug Hubley, College Writer - Bates Communications Office

Big Data by Mayer-Schonberger/Cukier - The social scientists in our group thought it was intuitively obvious to the most casual observer. The less numerically inclined thought it was a good overview and introduction to the topic.

Capital of the Mind by James Buchan - This book is a wonderful introduction to Scottish Enlightenment, and for me and surprising road into the profound impact Scots, as settlers, churchmen and politicians played in the American revolution. Very accessible.

The Black Count by Tom Reiss - Alex Dumas was the father of the writer, Alexandre Dumas, who wrote The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers and the grandfather of the writer, Alexandre Dumas, who wrote the novel on which Verdi based his opera, La Traviata. The book is best described as a swashbuckling biography. Alex Dumas was an extraordinary man whose father was a disreputable French aristocrat and whose mother was an African slave in Haiti. Dumas was an unusually talented soldier and begin the general in charge of Napoleon's cavalry. An extraordinary man in extraordinary times, he is even more intriguing a figure than Edmund Dantes.

Margaret Imber, Associate Professor of Classical and Medieval Studies


All Our Names by Dinaw Mengestu and The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout

Two unforgettable books that explore themes about family, relationships, immigration, and politics.

Phyllis Graber Jensen, Director of Photography and Video, BCO

My own (non-work-related) summer reading includes Jared Diamond's The World Until Yesterday: What Can We Learn from Traditional Societies? and Pema Chodron's Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change. I'd also recommend Douglas Tallamy's Bringing Nature Home:How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants.

Lea Johnson, Biology


Harry Sidebottom, Fire in the East--a rip-roaring historical novel about the conflict between the Roman and Persian empires in the third century.

Michael Jones, Professor of History and Classical and Medieval Studies


Luminaries by Eleanor Catton A remarkable story, a thriller, really, but you are more actively drawn up into the setting and characters of the New Zealand gold rush era of the mid-nineteenth century by Dickensesque descriptions. Poldark by Winston Graham Yes, that's right...in preparation for an upcoming trip to Cornwall, we read the first two volumes of this series with delight, Ross Poldark and Demelsa, and little comparison to the cheaply-filmed, romantically-contrived BBC production some of us might remember. That Old Ace in the Hole by Annie Proulx All I could think is that she must have chuckled herself through the writing and weaving of this odd and amazing story of the panhandle area where the land is one of the major characters in the book. Laura Juraska, Assistant College Librarian for Research Services

I'm sure I'll be joining many others on the list when I recommend Liz Strout's ('77) The Burgess Boys. Another alum-authored book I really enjoyed this year is Thomas Goetz's ('90) The Remedy: Robert Koch, Arthur Conan Doyle and the Quest to Cure Tuberculosis. Once I finished it, I quickly started sharing it with various relatives who are history buffs and science lovers, and it has much to offer anyone who's interested in medicine, public health or detective fiction too. On our summer vacation last year, one of my college-age kids insisted that I read Eric Larson's In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin, and though I usually prefer fiction on summer vacation this was a very engaging read. I also want to recommend an intriguing edited collection that I reviewed for an academic outlet, which should be appealing in lots of ways to folks in their 40s or older (and also interesting to anyone who likes to think about gender and childhood): When We Were Free to Be: Looking Back at a Children's Classic and the Difference it Made. It was edited by two historians, Lori Rotskoff and Laura Lovett, and includes a very eclectic set of selections by celebrities and activists and gender studies academic types (historians, social scientists, etc).

Emily Kane, Professor of Sociology


Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend, by Matthew Dicks. This book is so creative, and told in the most believable way. In this case, the imaginary friend, "Budo", is the narrator, and the author has written him in a way that makes you question constantly whether or not he really is a figment of a 4 year old's active imagination. The book is a quest for belief, love, and a child's unwillingness to let go of a part of himself even in the most desperate of situations. A surprise of a book but such a good read.

The Orchardist, by Amanda Coplin. A hauntingly beautiful book set in the rural Pacific Northwest that captures your attention with the descriptive landscape and the slow expression of detail that the author uses to describe each character, of which there are not many, and the land itself can probably be described as the main one. It's also a story of unconventional families and the beauty of opening ones solitary heart to let in worlds of unknowns, only to find the true power of love and compassion.

The Language of Flowers, by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. Who knew flowers could tell such a story? The Victorian language of flowers was used to convey expressions of love and romance...this book uses flowers to depict fragility and vulnerability of the human spirit. Told elegantly by dipping into the past and the present, the reader is taken on a journey that at times is heartbreaking, yet hopeful and always poignant. A random booksale find, I really enjoyed it.

The Outside Boy, by Jeanine Cummings. Probably my favorite book of the year. This story takes the reader to the world of Irish gypsy's in the 1950s, also known as 'tinkers'. It's a quest for truth about the heritage and family of a young boy, Christy, who is searching to discover his true self among familial secrets and the struggle to figure out what and where home is. From the beginning, you'll root for Christy and will hold your breath until the truths are finally revealed.

Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes. You know the kind of book that from the first page, has you obsessed and wanting to spend every free moment curled up somewhere inhaling it? This is that book. It's not necessarily the best book, nor the most well-written, or even the most original story. But there's an 'it' factor here that will have you completely absorbed, late into the night, dying to find out how it ends, and when it does, racks you with sobs and leaves you utterly breathless. This is a book that did not leave my mind for several days after. If you were to read the jacket of this, it sounds light and sort of fluffy, and while there are those elements on the surface, the underlying messages are political, thought-provoking and wrenching. A perfect summer book.

Alison Keegan, Admin. Assistant and Supervisor of Academic Administrative Services

Here are some good reads (and not-so-good reads) that I've experienced this year:

Speak to the Winds by Ruth Moore -- This is the first book that I've read by Ruth Moore, a Maine writer. It's a story of the development of a Maine island and the generations of families who nurtured the community and, ultimately, nurtured feuds and divisions that threatened the island's future. Her characters are true-to-life and her descriptions of the island, landscape and seascape are wonderful. Now, if only I can find one of those "I Read Ruth Moore" bumperstickers!

When We Were the Kennedys by Monica Wood -- I'm so glad that this book was chosen as the "community read" for the first-years. It was a sweet, touching book that celebrates place and family.

Runaway by Alice Munro -- It took the Nobel Prize Committee to introduce me to Alice Munro and I am grateful. The first story in the collection took my breath away. She is able to draw vivid characters and situations, making every single word count. I'm looking forward to reading more of Alice Munro.

The Round House by Louise Erdrich -- I enjoyed reading Erdrich's The Master Butchers Singing Club several years ago and this book didn't disappoint. Set 30 years or so ago, it recounts a horrible crime and how a teenage boy takes it upon himself to find the perpetrator, when the traditional investigation and prosecution resources fail because of conflicting tribal, local, and federal laws.

Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver -- Although I'm a big fan of Barbara Kingsolver's previous books, I couldn't finish this one. Although the subject matter is important, the characters didn't resonate with me.

Margo Knight, Director of Advancement Research


I've been reading a lot of science fiction recently, with my favorite this year being Downbelow Station by C.J. Cherryh (1981).

Nancy Koven, Associate Professor of Psychology/Neuroscience

I read and really enjoyed

Above All Things by Tanis Rideout


The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce

Lynne Lewis, Elmer W. Campbell Professor of Economics

At first I thought it was about endings, but as author Kate Atkinson drew me into her latest, Life After Life, I realized it is about beginning. The beginning of the same person over and over leads to different lives, and changes other lives and even history in this novel. Prepare to have your own narrative fade as Atkinson takes charge. Begin in 1910 … and then begin again and again.

A student browsing in the bookstore recommended Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Ifemelu leaves Nigeria to study in the U.S. and stays for 15 years, writing a blog addressing race, ideology, politics, and region in America. Adichie carves this novel so skillfully, not asking us to read between the lines or marching on with pages of dogma, instead showing us the issues on a personal level. When Ifemelu returns to Nigeria, she and her country have changed, and she discovers what remains of the core of each. A remarkable book and thank you to the student for the recommendation!

Rebecca Lovett, Assistant Manager – Bates College Store


Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain

Ben Fountain's remarkable debut novel - a razor-sharp satire set in Texas during America's war in Iraq, it explores the gaping national disconnect between the war at home and the war abroad.

Bill Low, Curator – Museum of Art

Hmmm. I'm going to reveal myself as a reader of British mysteries. A long time addict. I always like a good Elizabeth George, and her latest was terrific, One Evil Act. Read the whole series, however. Deborah Crombie is similar. Barbara Pym, Colin Dexter and Ngaio Marsh are all must reads. And then there's always Dorothy Sayers and Josephine Tey. Wonderful escapist reading. A newer fast paced read is Donna Tartt's, The Goldfinch. This year I read Strout's new book, The Burgess Boys, and liked it, as well as Powers' Orfeo. Everyone should read Wilkerson's, The Warmth of Other Suns. I also am just finishing Bunker Hill, by Philbrick. A good read if you're interested in Boston/New England history. Kathy Low, Associate Dean of the Faculty, Professor of Pscyhology

The Gentrification of the Mind: Witness to a Lost Imagination by Sarah Schulman

The Chronology of Water by Lidia Yuknavitch

Scent and Subversion: Decoding a Century of Provocative Perfume by Barbara Herman

Treading Air by Jaan Kross

The Summer Book by Tove Jansson

Venice - A New History by Thomas Madden

Three Lives: A Biography of Stefan Zweig by Oliver Matuschek

Human Landscapes from my Country: An Epic Novel in Verse by Nâzim Hikmet

Degenerate Art: The Attack on Modern Art in Nazi Germany by Olaf Peters

Year of the Hare by Arto Paasilinna

My Life In Middlemarch by Rebecca Mead

A Tale for the Time Being Ruth Ozeki

Perrin Lumbert, Library Assistant, Interlibrary Loan

Faced with the very real possibility of abandoning all work just so I can comb through my Good Reads lists and select ALL my favorites, I'll list just a few here:

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente: Ostensibly for younger readers this book has a timelessness reminiscent of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland not to mention Valente's trademark vocabulary and rich imagery. Plenty of fun for older readers plus she's a local author (from away) who lives on Peaks Island off the coast of Portland (and also she's a friend!)

Lisey's Story by Stephen King: If you don't have a King book on the list yet, this is the one I recommend to everyone. It's a fantastic story for all readers--not just Horror fans. I certainly don't read Horrror but LOVED this.

Magic for Beginners by Kelly Link: A short story collection that uses magical realism to explore what it means to be human--with beautiful writing and quirky humor.

Jennifer Lyford, Admission Specialist, Receptionist and Application Support

Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger

It is the summer of 1961 in New Bremen, Minnesota and young boy recounts the events of a series of deaths, each under different circumstances – accident, suicide, murder. It was a compelling book that I could not put down. It recently won the Edgar Award which is the Oscar of mystery writing.

How the Light Gets In by Louise Penney

This is the latest in a long mystery series set in Quebec. You can read this as a stand alone and then go back to the beginning if you like the book. She is my favorite author, and this book will not disappoint!

Mary Main, Assistant Vice President, Human Resources and Environmental Health and Safety

Loyalty. Ingrid Thoft. Thoft’s first novel introduces Fina Ludlow, a tough, smart young woman working in her family’s Boston law practice after dropping out of law school. Her father and brothers run the firm, but Fina serves as PI, investigating routine insurance claims. As she gets involved in the disappearance of her sister-in-law, and unearths more and more family secrets, she begins to remind me more and more of a Bostonian Lisbeth Salander. Lots of intriguing questions for her to solve; not only the core mystery, but what is “loyalty?” To whom? To what? Looking forward to the next in the series, Identity.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. Rebecca Skloot. I could not put it down. First, the basic information about the origin of cells used since the 1950’s to enable so much valuable research (all new to me as a non-biologist), but even more importantly, the ethical and cultural issues behind the treatment of the donor, a young black woman who died of cervical cancer in 1951, never knowing that some of the tumor cells removed would thrive in laboratory conditions and be instrumental in polio, cancer, and virus research to this day. Skloot works with Lacks’ children and other relatives to create an intimate portrait of the woman whose cells continue make so much research possible. She explores questions of privacy, compensation, racial discrimination, family relations, and simple friendship, with sensitivity and compassion.

White Fire. Preston and Child. Great read for a hot summer day—the snow and chills will cool you off! It’s a complex tale set in a Colorado ski resort/former mining town, featuring FBI Special Agent and his protégée as the crime solvers—sort of. Arson, bears, old bones, mysterious deaths: all the important components of a good thriller. A bonus is the clue from a long-lost Sherlock Holmes story, woven into stories from the town’s history.

Judy Marden, ’66 (and retiree)

I recommend Haruki Murakami's 1Q84 Maggie Maurer-Fazio, Betty Doran Stangle Professor of Applied Economics

This past year was spent mostly reading textbooks or books that were suggested in last year's Good Reads listing. I was very impressed with one of the books required for my current course:

Mandela: An Illustrated Autobiography, by Nelson Mandela. An excerpt from the book's cover description says it best: "tells the extraordinary story of Nelson Mandela's life, an epic of struggle, setback, renewed hope, and ultimate triumph. . .With nearly 200 stunning photographs - many of them published here for the first time - and with text from his remarkable memoir, Long Walk to Freedom, this book captures the indomitable spirit of a moral giant..."

I also enjoyed the book, I Always Loved You, written by Robin Oliveira, author of My Name is Mary Sutter, (a summer read for BOPN [Bates Office Professional Network] members). Her story centers on the life of American painter, Mary Cassatt, as she worked to develop and establish herself in Paris as an accomplished painter during the late 1800s. Through Mary's perspective, the reader is able to share the trials and successes of artists such as Berthe Morisot, Edouard Manet, Camille Pissarro, and Claude Monet; including her tempestuous relationship with Edgar Degas.

I liked the book because the author is adept with period story-telling and incorporating historical references to mannerisms and practices of Parisians during an unsettled period in history.

Monica McCusker, Office Coordinator - Bates College Store & Contract Office

Here are a few I have recently read and would recommend.

Hoosh, Jason Anthony

Roast penguin, scurvy day, and other stories of Antarctic cuisine. Anthony spent eight seasons in Antarctica and chronicles the importance of food in expeditions (Amundsen, Scott) and many others. Written in a very humorous way by a Maine author (Bristol, ME).

Seaworthy, Linda Greenlaw

A swordboat captain returns to the sea. Highlights the importance of teamwork and picking the right team, critical on a small boat but relevant to any organization. Linda Greenlaw was featured in Sebastian Junger's book The Perfect Storm and lives on Isle of Haut.

The Circle, Dave Eggers

Interesting tale of a recent graduate who finds a job at an internet company in the not too distant future. Explores how social media and metrics can become all-consuming and the challenges that are inherent in a data driven world.

David McDonough, Director Bates Career Development Center

The Cross Gardener by Jason Wright

I liked this book so much that I read it twice!

Deb McLaggan, Sales Floor Supervisor, Bookstore


*** This list has been truncated.  To download the full list, please follow this link. ***

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2013 Summer Reading List

Sarah Potter

Welcome to the 17th annual Bates College Store "Good Reads" list!

We invite you to browse and enjoy.  We hope you'll find the perfect summer reading on this list.  As always, we are eager to hear your thoughts!

 Receiving 3 or more recommendations on the 17th annual list!

Bring Up the Bodies (Hillary Mandel)

Gone Girl (Gillian Flynn)

Hunger Games Trilogy (Suzanne Collins)

My Beloved World (Sonya Sotomayor)

Salvage the Bones (Jesmyn Ward)

State of Wonder (Ann Patchett)

Warmth of Other Suns (Isabel Wilkerson)

When We Were the Kennedys (Monica Wood)

Wild (Cheryl Strayed)


Submissions are listed alphabetically by surname of the submitter.  In an effort to conserve paper, we have condensed the list with very little regard for design or spacing!  We apologize for overcrowding, typographical errors or other misrepresentations.

Speaks the Nightbird, The Queen of Bedlam, Mister Slaughter, The

Providence Rider by Robert McCammon

This is a mystery series set in the early 1700's.  Young Matthew Corbett starts out as Clerk to a Magistrate in South Carolina, and ends up as a "Problem Solver" (i.e. detective) in New York City.  The characters are well-developed and quirky, the mysteries are compelling, and Matthew himself is young, witty and finding his way as we all do - maybe less gracefully than some of us do.  It does get violent, but otherwise it's a fun series.

State of Wonder by Anne Patchett

Another mystery with some biology in it.  A young scientist who works for a drug devo company goes off to the jungles of Brazil to find her Ph.D. mentor who has disappeared there.  The mentor is supposed to be developing a drug that the company has great interest in.  Discovering what she is actually doing proves to be quite an adventure.  It kept me reading on a long plane ride, although it was not my favorite read of the year.

Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer

I liked this book way more than I thought I would.  It's a true story about the author, a journalist who gets interested in exploring memory (mostly because his own is so bad) and sets off to learn more about the people who compete in "memory competitions" (you know, the folks who can memorize the random order of a deck of cards or a list of 2000 times in 3 minutes).  So ultimately Foer decides to compete himself (and describing his year of preparation makes up a good part of the book), but first he describes some of the psychology, neurobiology and experiential stuff that we know about the brain, memory and learning.  It was an easy, interesting read with a conclusion that made me feel good about my own (somewhat questionable) memory.

Winter of the World by Ken Follett

This is the second in Follet's Century Trilogy (the first is Fall of Giants) and it picks up where the first book left off.  Follett follows 5 families from America, Germany, Wales, Russia and England through WWI in the first book and WWII in the second installment.  With these strangely connected families, we see the Nazis, the Spanish Civil War, the rise of women, the atomic bombs, and much more.  This is the kind of historical fiction that takes you through the high points through the eyes of fictional characters (which is probably like learning about virology by reading "The Demon in the Freezer", but I'm OK with that).  The trilogy is typical of Follett's epic novels, and I will certainly read the third part when it comes out. 

     Lee Abrahamsen, Associate Professor of Biology



Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys  

Fifteen-year-old Lina is a Lithuanian girl living an ordinary life--until Soviet officers invade her home and tear her family apart. Separated from her father and forced onto a crowded train, Lina, her mother, and her young brother make their way to a Siberian work camp, where they are forced to fight for their lives. Lina finds solace in her art, documenting these events by drawing. Risking everything, she imbeds clues in her drawings of their location and secretly passes them along, hoping her drawings will make their way to her father's prison camp. But will strength, love, and hope be enough for Lina and her family to survive?

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

I laughed, cried and thought at times, I was losing my mind too.

Where Men Win Glory: The Odyssey of Pat Tillmanby Jon Krakauer

Pat Tillman walked away from a multimillion-dollar NFL contract to join the Army and became an icon of post-9/11 patriotism. When he was killed in Afghanistan two years later, a legend was born. But the real Pat Tillman was much more remarkable, and considerably more complicated than the public knew...

Lost on a Mountain in Maine by Don Fendler and Joseph B. Egan

I read this with my 8 year old and recommend it to all Mainiacs!

     Sheila Anderson, Asst. Director, Operations and Analysis, Bates Career Dev. Center


The Radetzky March by Joseph Roth.  A multi-generational novel tracing the melancholy fall of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. 

     Martin Andrucki, Professor of Theater


I just read the sweetest little book.  It's Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers by Anne Lamott.  Not deep, just a quick, uplifting, rambling set of thoughts about what praying means to the author.    

Jenny Bergeron (lab rat with us this spring/summer) recommends Doomsday Book by Connie Willis and The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss.  

I'm reading the Sonya Sotomayor autobiography My Beloved World which I am enjoying very much.  I completely related to her experience being the first generation in her family to go to college.  

      Linda Archambault, Lab Research Assistant, Dana Chemistry


I thought the three books by Oliver Potzsch about the hangman's daughter were a fun read. Mystery books which they take place during a bloody time in Europe's history. 

The Dark Monk: A Hangman's Daughters Tale

The Poisoned Pilgrim: A Hangman's Daughters Tale

The Beggar King: A Hangman's Daughters Tale

     Áslaug Ásgeirsdóttir, Associate Professor, Department of Politics


Chris Ware, Building Stories

     John Baughman, Associate Professor of Politics/Advisor to the President


Lisa Genova, Bates grad, is an incredible writer. Still Alice and Left Neglected would still be recommended by me, and now her third novel, Love, Anthony...is a wonderful read. You literally can't put her books down, they are written with such style and knowledge that it is hard to believe they are fiction...I highly recommend all three books.

As always, anything written by Tess Gerritsen if you like murder mysteries...and she lives in Maine!

     Jane Bedard, Admission Office Specialist-Operations


The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
The Four Hour Work Weekby Timothy Ferriss
Stardust(audiobook) Written and Narrated by Neil Gaiman
Ulysses (audiobook) Written by James Joyce, Narrated by Jim Norton
Radical Acceptance by Tara Brach
Hallucinations by Oliver Sacks
     Rachel Boggia, Assistant Professor of Dance


Here are two suggestions from my Hungarian summer:
Dezső Kosztolányi, Skylark (NYRB Classics 2010)
Sándor Márai, Embers (Vintage 2002)
Raluca Cernahoschi, Assistant Professor of German


When We Were the Kennedy's by Monica Wood

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

The Death of Bees by Lisa O'Donnell

     Kristen Cloutier, HCCP, Asst. Director of Center Operations


This is my lone recommendation: 

Nurture Shock:New Thinking About Children by Po Bronson and Emily Merryman

     Daphne Comeau, Administrative Assistant, Annual Giving


Chris Hedges and Joe Sacco, Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt.  Harrowing and deeply committed work that crosses genres and media, between Hedges' impassioned histories/interviews and Sacco's graphic-novel illustrations:  native communities in the Dakotas, corrupt and imploding New Jersey urban cores, devastated mountain tops in West Virginia... and it all ends with the Occupy Movement.  I'd say it's depressing but it's not:  it's a work of passionate energy and truth-telling.

Geoff Dyer, Zona.  Any Tarkovsky fans out there?  Watch Stalker and then read this amazing book.... scene-by-scene and marvelous digressions that take you deep into the movie and into Dyer's life and sensibility.

Cheryl Strayed, Wild.  Much more about the wilderness in Strayed's troubled soul than the wilderness of the Pacific Crest Trail, but a great and funny read, especially when she's falling over because she can't pick up her 100-pound backpack.

     Jane Costlow, Clark A. Griffiths Professor of Environmental Studies


Blackout/All Clear (published two volumes) - Connie Willis

The last two (of four) books in the Oxford Time Travel Series primarily set in WWII during the blitz.  (A few years ago Lee A. recommended The Doomsday Book which is the first in this series.)

The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood

A dystopian novel, originally published in the mid-80s, that explores the subjugation of women.
Ready Player One - Ernest Cline
Fun book for anyone who loves pop culture and video games from the 1980s.
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie - Alan Bradley
An 11-year old aspiring chemist solves a murder.
Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
A classic worthy of another read.
Devil in the White City - Erik Larson
Nonfiction about the 1893 World's Fair and a serial killer.

     Grace Coulombe, Director, Mathematics & Statistics Workshop


Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed. Interesting true story about a young woman with nothing left to lose and her struggle to hike over a 1000 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail. Since I am an avid hiker and outdoors person, I especially liked this book but I think anyone can appreciate the difficulties life brings and our efforts to overcome obstacles.

Sisters of the Quilt by Cindy Woodsmall -- trilogy about the pull between Old Order Amish life, Mennonite life and the modern world. Great, well developed characters, interesting story. Easy read.

The Gift of an Ordinary Day, by Katrina Kennison. A mother's memoir about the importance of the seemingly mundane aspects of everyday life. 

When Women were Birds by Terry Tempest Williams. Another non-fiction (New Year’s resolution to read more non-fiction...) about a woman finding her voice and paying tribute to her mother and all women. Williams taught a class in non-fiction nature writing last spring at Dartmouth. My daughter remains awestruck.

     Karen P. Daigler, Senior Associate Director for Graduate and Professional School Advising


A High Wind in Jamaica (Richard Hughes)

The Judges of the Secret Court (David Stacton)

     David Das, Assistant Director of Off-campus Studies


The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson...Someone previously recommended this in one of your former lists.  It is an excellent portrait of the movement of African Americans out of the deep south to the northern states between WWI and the 1960's.

The Patriarch- the biography of Joseph Kennedy by David Nasaw.  A thorough and fascinating history of the Kennedy clan.

The Lady in Gold by Anne-Marie O’Connor. The biography of Austrian painter Gustav Klimt and the recovery of some of his stolen works (by the Nazis in WWII.)

Hemingway’s Boat by Paul Hendrickson.  A wonderful look at Hemingway's Cuban years and his special love for his fishing boat Pilar.

     Jerry Davis, Class of ‘61


Books I have enjoyed this year include:

Left to Tell by Immaculee Ilibigiza

I Remember Nothing by Nora Ephron

Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen

Blue Nights by Joan Didion

When We Were the Kennedys and Any Bitter Thing by Monica Wood

Wild by Charyl Strayed

Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon

     Marty Deschaines, Assistant Director, HCCP


The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

It’s the story of a young German girl caught in the path of the advancing Nazi regime during World War II. 

The story instantly travels you back to the time of WWII and holds your attention the whole way through. This book has a little bit of something for everyone. At some points it's haunting, some parts are extremely funny, and then of course there is the unbearably sad and heartbreaking parts as well. 

     Donna Duval, Asst. to AVP for Development

I would not have thought I'd like them but when my nephew recommended the Hunger Games series I started reading them.  I found them to be one of the quickest reads as the first person narrative really sucked me in.  Although I read The Healing of America by T. R. Reid in 2011, I did not turn it in last year and thought it was worth a mention.  If anyone needs convincing how upside down the U.S. Healthcare system is the Healing of America is a must read.  The author takes a journey to several other countries to explore how their health system works and what treatment they would recommend and cover for his ailing shoulder.  Where he found the care that best suited his needs (and the cost of that care) was an interesting highlight of his journey.
     Ken Emerson, Associate Director of Human Resources


Cleo: Helen Brown 

It's a true story about life/love and grief after her son dies.

Waterlily: Ella Cara Deloria

A novel on Indian Life (Dakota Sioux) just as the European settlers arrived. Written by a Sioux Enthologist in the 1940's, printed 18 years after her death. A real insight  into the beliefs  and culture of the Native American.

Princeton Murders: Ann Waldron

Fast moving mystery, great for a vacation. It's about a chance to teach a writing class at Princeton. It has all the diversity in faculty, staff and students all colleges have, making it a good read.

The War Brides: Helen Bryan

A different take on WWII in 1939, when 5 women's lives collide in a sleepy english village.

Knockdown: Sarah Graves

A Home Repair is Homicide Mystery- set in Eastport, ME

White Dog Fell From the Sky: Eleanor Morse

In an intense novel set in 1977, Botswana and South Africa, it brings home the message that our memories, love and hope cannot be beaten out of human spirit.

     Melinda Emerson, Purchasing, Sales and Accounting Specialist - ILS


The Man Watching:  Anson Dorrance and the UNC Women's Soccer Dynasty by Tim Crothers - A very insightful biography of Anson Dorrance, winner of 21 NCAA National Championship's as Head Coach of the University of North Carolina.  A very good read and certainly can be enjoyed by both soccer fans and non-soccer fans.  It deals with coaching, leadership, the relationships in sport and some interesting gender issues.  Dorrance describes a lot of the differences in leading men and women, and his personal evolution as he adjusted away from leading groups of young men to women.  He also gives his account of the Title IX revolution in college sports and admission, and played a key role as the USA rose from newcomers to being a world power in women's soccer.

     Stewart Flaherty, Head Coach, Men’s Soccer

Two time-travel novels (one is a sequel of the other) by Connie Willis:
Blackout, and All Clear
They are a wonderful evocation of the time when Britain stood alone against Hitler, before the U.S. joined her in World War II.
Lois Griffiths, Alumna and Retiree


Coe, Lewis.  The Telegraph: A History of Morse's Invention and Its Predecessors in the United StatesMacFarland and Company. 2003.
Dray, Philip.  Stealing God's Thunder: Benjamin Franklin's Lightning Rod and the Invention of America.  Random House. 2005.
Frost, Randy O. & Gail Steketee.  Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things.
Mariner Books. 2012.
Hayes, Christopher.  Twilight of the Elites: America after Meritocracy.  Crown Publishers. 2012.
Morse, Flo.  The Shakers and the World’s People.  University Press of New England. 1980.

     David Haines, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics


Here are my two cents on two books:

Ruth Moore, The Weir.

This novel was written in the early 1940s by a wonderful Maine author. Take some time during your summer daydreams about island life to read about families fishing and fighting on a fictional Maine island. The novel is rich with its descriptions of the small details of relationships and the big questions about what holds a community together. 

Michael Chabon, Manhood for Amateurs.

Maybe it's because, like me, he's a guy in his 40s with kids just shy of their teens, but I don't think the appeal of these essays is so small. He can write so deftly and eloquently about so many things, and his wit about contemporary life and his wisdom about the complex makes thinking recreational (in both meanings of the word).

Enjoy your reads, and have fun stocking the shelves.

     Joe Hall, Associate Professor of History


An echo to what must to be many recommendations for Monica Wood's When We were the Kennedys, phenomenal writing while it captures Maine and a piece of Maine heritage. 

     Judy Head, Associate Dean of the Faculty


Helen Hamlin, Nine Mile Bridge.  A lovely account of far northwestern Maine in the 1920’s as the wife of a game warden.

Barton Gellman,  Angler: the Cheney Vice Presidency.  An account of Cheney’s profound influence, little understood at the time, on war, the environment, and government finances.  In some ways Cheney comes across as less unprincipled—he apparently had no personal financial gain from the Halliburton no-bid contracts in Iraq, for example, when many assumed he got rich from those contracts.   But in other ways Cheney profoundly suborned the Republic by secretly sabotaging environmental legislation, creating no-warrant spying on American citizens, no-charges imprisonments at Gitmo, secret CIA prisons, and rewriting tax legislation to lower corporate, income and capital gains taxes that fueled America’s gulfs in income and budget woes.

David Traxel,  An American Saga: The Life and Times of Rockwell Kent.  An iconic 20th century painter known for his paintings of Monhegan Island, he was also a political radical who paid for his views during the McCarthy era, an unrepentant realist as abstract art became popular, and a most unreliable spouse.   Drawn to demanding physical environments, he painted in Alaska and Greenland as well as Maine.

Thomas E. Mann & Norman J. Ornstein: It's Even Worse Than It Looks : How The American Constitutional System Collided With The New Politics.   An account from two observers of American politics, one at the conservative American Enterprise Institute and the other at the liberal Brookings Institution.  Their thesis is that the tactic of resistance by the Republican Right to all proposals by President Obama has significantly crippled America’s ability to make decisions on almost everything. 

Pete Seeger:   Pete Seeger : In His Own Words.  Pete, now almost 100, has become the old man of American folk music, leftist international politics and river environmentalism.  A pack-rat, Pete saved copies of everything, and this book is a rambling collection of his letters, articles and songs.  Not a book to describe as “I couldn’t put it down,” but his accounts of resisting Joe McCarthy and HUAC in the 1950’s and his journey from communism to a more balanced internationalism are worth reading.  His great contribution may be the evolution of folk music into a medium of international understanding.

Sue Hubbell: A Book of Bees and A Country Year: Living the Questions.  Sue Hubbell would fit right into a MOFGA convention, though she raises bees commercially in the Ozarks.  An unrepentant back-to-the-land hippie, she is a marvelous, gentle, astute writer.  Both these books follow the cycle of the seasons, and can be read in an afternoon. 

Elie Wiesel: Memoirs: All Rivers Run to the Sea.   Known as a Holocaust survivor and novelist, Wiesel was raised in the devout mystical Hasidim of Eastern Europe and spent decades as an international journalist for Jewish papers.  A longish book, more reminiscing than tightly edited, but touching, especially his comments on world events and major players (many of whom he knew) of the eight decades since his boyhood.

Don Perkins: The Barns of Maine: Our History, Our Stories.  Perkins' book on Maine barns, just out, is a parallel to the well-known book on New England residential architecture, Big House, Little House, Back House, Barn.  Perkins' book is straightforward and descriptive, using particular barns from around the state to explain how different farm needs from mixed agriculture to dairy to potatoes led to variations in barn design.  Lots of photos to help the uninformed understand such terms as a "jowled post"--a vertical timber made from a single tree trunk turned upside down to get a thicker surface at the top, with the stump carved to create a wide space to tie other beams into one spot for support.  The peak of Maine farming was in 1880, but there are still a few immense agricultural barns being raised, most recently by Amish families moving into northern Maine for its affordable land.

     Bill Hiss ’66, Retired, and looking forward to more reading!


Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

The Elephant Whisperer by Lawrence Anthony

     Aislinn Hougham, Leadership Gifts Officer

Got a list for you this year:

Inn Boonsboro Series by Nora Roberts

Next Always

The Last Boyfriend

The Perfect Hope

Betrayal by Danielle Steels
The Innocent by David Baldacci

The Leopard by Jo Nesbo

Grace Grows by Shelle Sumners

The Last Victim by Karen Robards

Summer of Two Wishes by Julia London

All very different genres but most very good!!
Joan Houston, Administrative Assistant - Facility Services


My contributions for the year (I was on sabbatical):
Adam Johnson, The Orphan Master's Son
Candace Millard, Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President
Erik Larson, In the Garden of the Beasts
Erik Larson, Thunderstruck
Jon Sweeney, The Pope Who Quit: A True Medieval Tale of Mystery, Death, and Salvation
Eric Jay Dolan, When America First Met China
Isabel Wilkerson, The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration
Patrick McGovern, Uncorking the Past: The Quest for Wine, Beer and Other Alcoholic Beverages
     Jim Hughes,  Thomas Sowell Professor of Economics


I'd recommend, as a great beach book, the River of No Return, by Bee Ridgeway. It's a great romp through 18th-century England with an interesting sci-fi, time-travel twist. 

     Margaret Imber, Associate Professor of Classical and Medieval Studies


I've recently read three books by Maine author Paul Doiron who will be visiting campus on 12 June 2013.

The books are: The Poacher's Son, Trespasser and Bad Little Falls:  A Novel.  He has a new book coming out on 6 July 2013 titled, Massacre Pond: A Novel.

As soon as I finished one book, I had to start the next one right away.  The books are about a Maine State Warden, the situations he has to deal with and, of course, a little romance.

His books are very well written and informative.  I can't wait for the next one---very difficult to put down.

     Rachel Jacques, Assistant to the VP for ILS


I have five: three are books I'm eagerly anticipating spending time with this summer, two more are books - recently published by Bates authors - that I've already read in drafts from their inceptions.

The first - strongly recommended to me by my daughter - just won this year's Pulitzer Prize for biography.  It is Tom Reiss's The Black Count: Glory, Revolution, Betrayal, and the Real Count of Monte Cristo.  The second may be the most important book of the past twenty years on the U.S. war in Vietnam, Nick Turse's Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam.  The third is a new biography of my second cousin twice removed, Barbara Ransby's Eslanda: The Large and Unconventional Life of Mrs. Paul Robeson.

The fourth and fifth are wonderful books by Bates graduates who were my students, research assistants, and honors advisees as undergraduates in the mid-late 1990s, before they became American History professors themselves.  They are Eben Miller's Born Along the Color Line: The 1933 Amenia Conference and the Rise of a National Civil Rights Movement and Erik Gellman's Death Blow to Jim Crow: The National Negro Congress and the Rise of Militant Civil Rights.

    Hilmar Jensen, Associate Professor of History


The World Without You: A Novelby Joshua Henkin

A family with four adult children gathers for a weekend in Western Massachusetts to memorialize the youngest, a journalist who was killed a year earlier while on assignment in Iraq. Fine writing coupled with all the filial drama you might expect under such circumstances provides a powerful reading experience.

     Phyllis Graber Jensen,  Director, Photography and Video


Here are two non-fiction and two fiction suggestions from among many books I enjoyed this year.

Shadow Mothers: Nannies, Au Pairs and the Micropolitics of Mothering (by Cameron MacDonald). This is an interview study exploring the lives of upper income professional women (largely white and heterosexually partnered) and the nannies (often lower income women of color, sometimes documented or undocumented immigrants) they employ. The analysis is thoughtful in its attention to the intersecting effects of gender inequality, racial inequality, class inequality and national/international public policy in shaping the daily lives of the families in the study.

Unequal Childhoods (by Annette Lareau, second edition). This observational study of how social class shapes parenting strategies in a manner that reproduces class inequality and unfairly privileges middle and upper middle class kids came out about 10 years ago, but the new edition is very recent. Lareau updates the stories of the families most centrally featured in the book, including attention to the children’s experiences as they grew to young adulthood. I used it in a course of mine this fall and students from a wide range of class backgrounds found the analysis provocative, and it has lots of implications for public policy and public life.

The Train of Small Mercies (by David Rowell). I enjoyed the way this novel captured a critical moment in US history, the assassination of RFK and the events of the broader set of events of the summer of 1968, by tracing the stories of fictional characters from varying backgrounds who all intersected with the funeral train that carried Bobby Kennedy’s body from  New York to Washington.

State of Wonder (by Anne Patchett). In this novel, Patchett follows the path of a US pharmaceutical researcher who is drawn into the Amazon rainforest to investigate the mysterious disappearance of a colleague. The story is compelling, and along the way she highlights the tensions of globalization and imperial power as they intersect with gendered patterns.

     Emily Kane, Professor of Sociology


Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin (I haven't read the rest yet, but if they're as good as this one the entire "Songs of Ice and Fire" series by George R. R. Martin can go on the list)

Marseille Caper by Peter Mayle (This is part of a series of which I haven't read the others, but if you like this one the others may be worth trying)

Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson

Animal Farm by George Orwell

1984 by George Orwell

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Anything by the following authors:

Susan Kenney (Graves in Academe, Garden of Malice, etc.)

Agatha Christie (Murder of Roger Ackroyd and Murder on the Orient Express are my favorites, but all of her mysteries are great)

Hennig Mankell (The Kurt Wallander series in particular)

Helene Tursten (the Detective Inspector Huss Series in particular)

Stephen White (Alan Gregory Series)

As is probably obvious from this list, I'm a mystery buff.  Most of these are pretty light reading, but Mankell and Tursten (the Swedish Authors) tend to be very dark and heavier than the rest.  Any questions, feel free to ask.

     Jeff  Kazin, Library Assistant – Public Services


The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey—This gorgeously descriptive book combines the brutal reality of homesteading in 1920’s Alaska with a whimsical lesser-known Russian fairytale.  The lyrical prose is immediately captivating and so vividly imaginative that I pictured each scene so perfectly in my mind as I read.  I’m not usually a fan of debut novels, but this one remains unforgettable in a year of some decently read books.

Prince Edward: A Novel by Dennis McFarland—1950’s Prince Edward County, Virginia—a time of segregation in which PE County was the only county in the US to close its public schools for five years rather than desegregate them. This novel is told through the eyes of a 10 year old boy, who doesn’t completely accept the concept of the separation between blacks and whites, in schools or otherwise, despite being surrounded by family members who represent the other side. The characters in this novel are complex, flawed, and honest.  At times, it can become a little heavy in the historical lessons but still a wonderful read.

The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon—Another complex book about race relations, this time in the late 60s.  This is a love story between a developmentally disabled white woman and a deaf African American man who are both locked away in the School for the Incurable and Feebleminded and their quest to provide a child with a safe and protective upbringing, even if it means the chance of never seeing her again.  It’s beautifully written, with layers of courage and strength found up until the very last page.  A really good book club read that prompted very rich discussion.

The Flight of Gemma Hardy  by Margot Livesay—Jane Eyre fans, beware…this is a modern tribute to the classic, but is charming and captivating enough to stand on its own.  This time we’re in 1950s-60s Scotland, and we follow Gemma’s footsteps of life from the time her parents pass away at her young age of 3, while raised by an adoring uncle and tyrannical aunt and her resilience to endure a crappy boarding school until she can finally make it out on her own.  Gemma is a likeable character who you find yourself rooting for against all odds.

Chef by Jaspreet Singh—This book explores a cultural writing style that is vibrant and at times, achingly beautiful as we follow Kip’s journey back to his war-scarred Indian homeland after a 14 year departure from being a cook in the northern Indian army during the India-Pakistan conflict.  This book is told through Kip’s memories and his mind’s eye as he travels on a train back to Kashmir to provide the wedding feast for the daughter of his former General.  The characters, landscape, and food descriptions weave together to form a really lovely and poetic novel. 

A must-have children’s bedtime book:

Boogie Knights by Lisa Wheeler—Received this book when my son was born three years ago but really only began reading it to him within the last year. It is rip-roaring fun, filled with clever word play, nonstop rhyming, and awesome illustrations.  We literally read this over and over and can’t get enough of it.  Definitely a must in any child’s growing library.

     Alison M. Keegan, Administrative Assistant, Office of the Dean of the Faculty


A Delicate Truth by John LeCarre: The newest book from one of my favorite writers. A relatively quick read as much of the book consists of his superb ability to write dialog. The plot centers around a joint anti-terrorist operation between British standard armed forces (off the book) and American mercenaries and the moral dilemmas created. Most of the characters are less internally conflicted about their roles than usual, but the conflicts between characters and puzzles created kept me very engaged. 

I love Hilary Mantel's two books on Thomas Cromwell and Henry the 8th, Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies. Her writing is, in my opinion, superb and interesting, and, although much of the story is well known, she makes it all seem new. I can't wait for the last book (about Cromwell's ultimate demise) in this trilogy.

The Lobster Coast by Colin Woodard is an engaging history of the Maine Coast beginning in the 1500s. I am surprised by how much I am enjoying this history of this important part of our (and other New England) state(s). My naive notion that our ancestors were better to our New England indigenous peoples than they were to those in the plains and southwest was certainly shattered.

For those who like simpler moral dilemmas, and are not tired of the Lance Armstrong saga, I would recommend The Secret Race by Tyler Hamilton, who was Lance's teammate during most of his Tour victories. As much as Mr. Armstrong has tried to discredit Mr. Hamilton, this has the ring of truth.

     John E. Kelsey, Department of Psychology and Program in Neuroscience


The Lobster Coast by Colin Woodard.

     Don Kimmel, Bates spouse and friend


No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy

     Meg Kimmel, Associate VP for Communications


I don't know if you've listed this one before, but it is a wonderful read for anyone interested in nature, healing and the meaning of life. A student gave it to me a couple of years ago (I work on snails), and I passed it on to a good friend with health issues.

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating

by Elisabeth Tova Bailey

     Nancy Kleckner, Associate Professor of Biology


Brilliant: The Evolution of Artificial Light by Jane Brox

From the stone lamps used in the caves of Lascaux to LEDs, this is a story of the social, political and environmental effects of human's attempts to light our world. It was a surprisingly good read.

Nothing Daunted: The Unexpected Education of Two Society Girls in the West by Dorothy Wickenden

The story of two friends brought up in well-to-do families and educated at Smith, who weren't ready to settle into the married, society life that was the expected path for them in 1916. So they took jobs as schoolteachers in a new settlement in Elkhead, Colo., deep in the Rockies. This is a delightful story, based on letters found by one of their daughters (Dorothy Wickenden), newspaper articles from the time, and oral histories.

A Fine Balance  by Rohinton Mistry

A novel about four people and their entertwining paths between 1975 and 1984 in Mumbai, India. You learn about the turmoil of "The Emergency" called by Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi through their experiences, but it's the story of how they deal with the different hands that they have been dealt and the unlikely bond that they create that makes this a good read. 

Dreams of My Russian Summers by Andre Makine

A boy, growing up in a drab industrial town in Communist Russia in the 1960s and '70s, learns about his family through his grandmother's stories during his summers with her in a small town on the Russian steppe. This is a French novel, translated by Geoffrey Strachan. Through the stories of about his French great-grandmother and Russian great-grandfather and his grandmother's experiences as a nurse and young wife as she travels from Paris to Siberia, the boy gets a romantic, dream-like view of Russian history. The stories she tells start in Paris during the flooding of 1910 and continue through a Russia consumed by war and famine.  This was not one of my favorites, but it was worth the read.

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomicby Alison Bechdel

This book was my first experience with the graphic novel style and I was pleasantly surprised. Alison Bechdel is a talented artist and storyteller and shows her skill in this touching story about her late father and her attempt to understand and come to terms with him as a father and as a person struggling with his own identity.

Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

Need I say more? Maybe I do. I love this book! This is the second time I've read it and convinced my book group to read it with me this time. (I like to suggest classic literature every once in a while.) Don't be intimidated. Even if you read it just for the history of whaling and the knowledge of whales and their habitat during that period, it's worthwhile. If you're still reluctant, I found that reading a critical edition helped me understand the metaphors, literary and historical references, and the detailed descriptions of ships and whaling. I read the Longman Critical Edition, edited by John Bryant and Haskell Springer.  An excellent read!

     Margo Knight, Director of Advancement Research


The River Swimmer  -  Jim Harrison (NY : Grove Press, 2013, 198 p., 22 cm.)

The master returns with only two novellas which are nonetheless as rich in character development and fine-tuned language as any in his previous trilogies.  Gosh, can he turn a phrase!

The Fall of the House of Dixie   - Bruce C. Levine (NY : Random House, 2013, 439 p., 25 cm.)

A new look at the Civil War South and its flimsy framework where slavery was not an happenstance but a central pillar of the region’s social and economic culture, and both were doomed.

     Jim Lamontagne, Library Assistant – Cataloging


Code Talker: The First and Only Memoir By One of the Original Navajo Code Talkers of WWII


Just finished reading this book after a trip to the Southwest. Very interesting read which acknowledges the sacrifices of this little known group of people who changed the outcome of the war in the pacific.

     Michael LeComte ,Technology Support Specialist


Cod: Biography of the Fish that Changed the World by Mark Kurlansky
Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight by Alexandra Fuller
The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver

     Lynne Lewis, Elmer W. Campbell Professor of Economics


I like a story that brings a sense of place, and so I recommend J.L. Carr’s A Month in the Country.  Standing beside Tom in the cool of a country church, watching his progress restoring a mural, I joined him as place wove into his story. Be ready to be changed by what this Great War veteran shares as the layers of the mural are revealed.

     Rebecca Lovett,  Assistant Bookstore Manager


Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward, a book about a rural African-American family and community in Hurricane Katrina's path is a powerful and wonderful novel!
"Without a false note . . . A superbly realized work of fiction that, while Southern to the bone, transcends its region to become universal." —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

     Bill Low, Curator – Museum of Art


When We Were the Kennedys, Monica Wood
Salvage the Bones, Jesmyn Ward
Bring up the Bodies, Hilary Mantel
Catherine the Great, Robert Massey
1493, Charles Mann
The Swerve, Stephen Greenblatt
Kathy Low, Associate Dean of the Faculty and Professor of Psychology


This past year I focused on starting mystery series that have gotten high praise and started with the first book in each series.  These are two books that are the start of promising series:

Ice Hunter by Joseph Heywood

In this debut to the Woods Cop series, Grady Service, a Conservation Officer in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, gets news that his nemesis, the head of a clan of poachers, is to be released from prison.  While tracking poachers, he discovers something even more troubling in the Mosquito Wilderness. Service must call upon his life experiences to track, stalk, and capture the “ice hunter.”  I really enjoyed the setting of the UP – very similar to Maine.  The story moved along well and you get to know the main character.  I finished the second in the series and enjoyed that as well.

 The Monkey’s Raincoat by Robert Crais

This is Robert Crais's first novel, the award-winning mystery that introduced Private Investigator Elvis Cole.  He is a wisecracking individual – similar to Robert Parker’s Spenser character – and in this novel he infiltrates high-society Hollywood, and crosses the line with the Latino drug trade in search of a kidnapped mother and her son. The adventure and the characters of this novel are exciting, and I really enjoyed this book.  The series has received many awards and many books in this series, including L.A Requiem, have been on the New York Times bestsellers list.

The Divinity of Dogs by Jennifer Skiff

“My dogs have been the reason I have woken up every single day of my life with a smile on my face. I am among the ranks of millions of people who appreciate the souls of dogs and know they are a gift of pure love and an example of all that is good.” —Jennifer Skiff The Divinity of Dogs is about the moments you learn something profound about life from an experience with a dog.  This book contains seventy short stories from people all across the country who share their true stories of life with their dogs, many of which have led to spiritual enlightenment.  I liked that I could pick up this book and read a few heartwarming stories and then come back to it sometime later to read a few more.  A wonderful read!

     Mary Main, Asst. VP of Human Resources

The Outsourced Self: intimate life in market times by Arlie Russell Hochschild.  Last summer, Arlie Hochschild, who owns the conserved land I steward in Turner for the Androscoggin Land Trust, gave me a copy of her latest book.  Little did I realize how pertinent it would prove to my own life, and I'm recommending it here because I know that at Bates, there are many people who are scattered far from the traditional support systems of families and home towns; people who have moved here for work and chosen to make a home here. Independence is great, until trouble strikes and you need help.  Without the framework of people who 'have" to help you out, where do you go?  In our mobile society, the question is pervasive--and a whole new group of careers has emerged to fill the void.  At first I rolled my eyes over the idea of people hiring a "Wantologist," but came to realize that perhaps the best advice might be from someone without a stake in the outcome. See what you think!

Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver.  She had me from Page 1.  It's not about the butterflies.

Life Everlasting: the animal way of death by Berndt Heinrich.   A beloved naturalist examines recycling of a different sort--and made me re-examine my burial plans. (not that I'm planning to put them into effect anytime soon, but it's good to have a plan.)  The thought of continuing on to nourish other lives is very appealing; an immortality of sorts.

In Sunlight and In Shadow by  Mark Helprin.  Helprin continues the kind of magical romance that captivated me in his Winter's Tale. Two uncommon people glimpse each other on a brilliant May day in 1946, and their lives are turned upside down and transformed.  What could be a more romantic beginning? The novel could have stopped there.  But it goes on, to lives beginning, and ending, and dancing through postwar New York City.

     Judy Marden '66 ( and retiree)


Big Data, A Revolution That Will Transform How we Live, Work and Think  by Viktor Mayer-Schonberger and Kenneth Cukier. 2013

     Brad MacCachran, Bates Gift Officer - College Advancement

I have two books by Ha Jin
Waiting: A Novel
The Crazed
     Maggie Maurer-Fazio, Betty Doran Stangle Professor of Applied Economics


Hunger Games Trilogy, by Suzanne Collins

Read the books – haven’t seen the movie(s) - and not sure that I want to now.  Enjoyable and gripping adventure story – Ms. Collins offers a futuristic look at life after an apocalypse with political intrigue.  I agree with the previous readers who recommended this set of books and pass along my referral.

Pocketful of Names, by Joe Coomer

The back cover offers this description, “Coomer offers the rugged yet stunning beauty of Maine and the lobstermen and their families who are dependent on the sea for survival. . . Inhabiting an island off the coast of Maine, left to her by her great-uncle Arno, Hanna finds her life as a dedicated and solitary artist rudely interrupted one summer when a dog, matted with feathers and seaweed arrives with the tide…”

I enjoyed reading this story because of the ease in which the author pulls the reader into the lives of the characters.  The dramas that Hanna and her visitors endured were easy to relate to and provided an extra bit of connectivity with living in Maine by aptly describing the trials and celebrations of people living in a coastal town.

The Great Coat, by Helen Dunmore

I picked this book up at Ladd Library recently for a quick read for a break while working my way through Tolstoy’s, Anna Karenina.  And it was a quick read – described as “the perfect ghost story” and “Intensely gripping” – I found it disappointing.  The story moved along well, but I wasn’t left “gripping” the book to see what was going to happen next.   I’m not a suspense genre fanatic, but Ms. Dunmore has a long way to go to meet with the suspense of Stephen King’s stories of the supernatural.  Maybe it’s just me – check it out for yourself.

     Monica McCusker,  Office Coordinator, College Store


I would recommend, if someone already has not:   My Beloved World by Sonya Sotomayor. See cut and pasted (from Amazon) description:

The first Hispanic and third woman appointed to the United States Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor has become an instant American icon. Now, with a candor and intimacy never undertaken by a sitting Justice, she recounts her life from a Bronx housing project to the federal bench, a journey that offers an inspiring testament to her own extraordinary determination and the power of believing in oneself.
Here is the story of a precarious childhood, with an alcoholic father (who would die when she was nine) and a devoted but overburdened mother, and of the refuge a little girl took from the turmoil at home with her passionately spirited paternal grandmother. But it was when she was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes that the precocious Sonia recognized she must ultimately depend on herself.  She would learn to give herself the insulin shots she needed to survive and soon imagined a path to a different life. With only television characters for her professional role models, and little understanding of what was involved, she determined to become a lawyer, a dream that would sustain her on an unlikely course, from valedictorian of her high school class to the highest honors at Princeton, Yale Law School, the New York County District Attorney’s office, private practice, and appointment to the Federal District Court before the age of forty. Along the way we see how she was shaped by her invaluable mentors, a failed marriage, and the modern version of extended family she has created from cherished friends and their children. Through her still-astonished eyes, America’s infinite possibilities are envisioned anew in this warm and honest book, destined to become a classic of self-invention and self-discovery.

It really has been a fine and fascinating read!

     Amy McDonough, Biology Dept.


The Start-up of YOU. Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha


     David McDonough, Director - Bates Career Development Center


Compiled and edited (well, tossed together, really) by Sarah Potter, Bookstore Director 5/13



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