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/

Read more →

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.

Read more →

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.

Read more →

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)















Read more →

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. ***

Read more →

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



Read more →

2012 Summer Reading List

Aaron Louque

Welcome to the 16th annual Bates College Store "Good Reads" list!

We invite you to browse and enjoy...and let us know your thoughts (bookstore@bates.edu).

This year's titles receiving three recommendations or more:

11/22/63 by Stephen King
The Swerve
by Stephen Greenblatt
Bring Up the Bodies
by Hilary Mantel
Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
by Rebecca Skloot
Game of Thrones series
by George R.R. Martin
Cutting for Stone
by Abraham Verghese

As always, the list is presented in alphabetical order by contributor's surname.

16th annual "Good Reads for Leisure Moments"

Joe Coomer: Pocketful of Names
A story set on an island in the gulf of Maine, about an artist who has her solitary life all figured out.  Until a dog washes up on her island.  And then a wayward teen-aged boy comes to live with her.  And then the boy brings his girlfriend.  And then her pregnant half-sister shows up.  It turns out to be an odd and wonderful cast of characters, who ultimately make it all seem perfectly normal.  I love Coomer's comfortable and sensitive writing, and (on Sarah P's advice) am currently reading another of his novels, "Beachcombing for a Shipwrecked God".  This one is set on the harbor in Portsmouth, NH.  It's about dealing with grief, and finding solace in unlikely places.  So far I like it.
Elizabeth I - Margaret George
I like historical fiction, and Margaret George does a good job of making Elizabeth I (daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn) come to life.  George's beautiful descriptions of England in the 1500's make the story of the "Virgin Queen" come to life.  Surrounded by the likes of William Shakespeare, Sir Walter Raleigh and Francis Drake, Elizabeth is portrayed as a strong and willful character, who even as a powerful woman suffers from the limitations of her sex (if you'll pardon the double entendre).
11-22-63 A Novel - Stephen King
I am not a rabid King fan, but this was a great read.  The story is about time travel (I LOVE time travel), in which a regular guy gets hooked into traveling back to the time Kennedy was assassinated to try to stop the whole thing.  If you are old enough to remember 1963, you'll like the references to the dances, the music, the newscasts.  If you're not that old, you'll still like the way the story is intricately woven of many disparate threads.  It will make you think about best intentions, how one tiny variable can shift a whole story, and "what if"......
Doomsday Book - Connie Willis
I told you I'm a sucker for time travel.  This one is about a young archeologist from the 21st century who travels back to the 1300's as part of her graduate research.  It has a great cast of very human characters - a spunky heroin, a smart and caring professor, a fabulous teen-aged boy - and an engaging mystery or two.  If you like the idea of the ultimate in experiential learning and thinking about how you would convince people from another century that you are one of them (despite the fact that you are immune to all of their diseases....), you'll love this.
Lee Abrahamsen,  Associate Professor of Biology

Novels, in order of publication date:
- American Falls, by John Calvin Batchelor (1985)
- Geek Love, by Katherine Dunn (1989)
- Baltasar and Blimunda by Jose Saramago (1982)
- The Green Knight, by Iris Murdoch (1993)
- The Night Manager, by John le Carré (1993)
- Last Orders, by Graham Swift (1996)
- Jack Maggs, by Peter Carey (1997)
- The Blind Assassin, by Margaret Atwood (2000)
- Anil's Ghost, by Michael Ondaatje (2000)
- The Yacoubian Building, by Alaa Al Aswany
- The Years of Rice and Salt, by Kim Stanley Robinson (2002)
- By Ian McEwan: Atonement (2001) and Saturday (2005)
Magazines: The New Yorker.  Still the most literate, insightful, entertaining and regularly compelling magazine read I've ever encountered.
Newspapers(online or print): The New York Times.  Still simply the world's finest daily newspaper, cover to cover.
Were you to ask me for some recommended film titles, you'd probably wish you hadn't.  The lists would never stop coming.
Roland Adams, Senior Communications Adviser and Director of Media Relations 

Two titles by Charles Mann: 1491and 1493, the former about what was going on in the Americas before Columbus; the latter about what happened afterwards.
This year's Pulitzer-Prize-winning play, Clybourne Parkby Bruce Norris, looks at what happens fifty years later to the house the Youngers buy at the end of A Raisin in The SunFunny and smart.
And I'll add The Radetzky March by Joseph Roth, a three-generation novel about the decline of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson, a non-fiction account of the life of the American ambassador & family in Berlin during the early years of the Nazi regime.
Martin Andrucki, Professor of Theater

Favorites from this year:
Quiet: The Power of Introverts
Susan Cain
Three Junes
Julia Glass
Jonathan Franzen
     Hayley Anson, Assistant Director of Annual Giving

I've listened to lots of books in my car on my commute. The best this year was the 44 Scotland Street series by Alexander McCall Smith.  I haven't had great luck finding something good to read this year.  Can't wait to see other people’s suggestions.
Linda Archambault, Lab Research Assistant, Dana Chemistry

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo
An incredible description of life in Annawadi, an illegal settlement of poor people who live and die near the Mumbai, India airport.
Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty by Daron Acemoglu and James A. Robinson
A highly readable book about how political institutions play a central role in explaining the current inequality in wealth between nations. For a book about a complex subject, it is very well written.
Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea by Guy Delisle
A wonderful graphic novel (recommended to me by Dennis Grafflin in History) that really captures the absurdity of the North Korean regime.
Just Kids by Patti Smith
If you are a fan of Patti Smith and/or Robert Mapplethorpe, this book is a must read. It is simply wonderful.
In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson
The story of Germany as the Nazi's were consolidating their power in the early 1930s told through the eyes of the US ambassador to Germany and his twenty-something daughter.
A Palace in the Old Village by Tahar Ben Jelloun
A story of a Moroccan immigrant to France and his desire to return to Morocco.  An interesting-- and somewhat sad--take on the immigrant experience in Europe and the challenges of returning "home".
Bloodmoney: A Novel of Espionage by David Ignatious
A fast paced spy novel/thriller about a CIA operation in Pakistan gone horribly wrong.
Aslaug Asgeirsdottir,  Associate Professor of Politics

My list.
All out of print. Four books of photography and one of interviews.
River Of Colour: The India of Raghubir Singh
.  A fantastic collection of color documentary photography. Singh was inspired by the likes of Henri Cartier Bresson but chose color, rather than black and white, to record the life around him.
Portrait of Nepal
, Kevin Bubriski. Very rich large-format images of Nepal. Bubriski made deeply personal portraits of the ethnic groups living in that country.
Legacy of Light: 205 Polaroid Photographs by 58 Distinguished American Photographers.
An eclectic group of photographs organized in genres. These are not your father’s Polaroids.
, Josef Koudelka. Dark panoramic landscapes by one of Europe’s leading documentary photographers. Koudelka takes the photo-reportage style, but uses a format more associated with the landscape tradition.
Dialogue with Photography: Interviews by Paul Hill and Thomas Cooper
. An interesting collection of interviews of some of the 20th century’s most influential photographers and photo historians.
Will Ash, Assistant in Instruction, Imaging and Computing Center

A Voyage Long and Strange: Rediscovering the New World by Tony Horwitz
An excellent read about all the Europeans in America before the Pilgrims.  Goes beyond the propaganda of the Pilgrims.
Dave Baker, Acting Director of Academic Operations-Finance

Two books that take place in France (mostly in Paris).  Suite Francais by Irene Nemirovsky and The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. First takes place during WWII, second is present day.  Has France changed?
Pam Baker, VP for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty

I highly recommend Steve Jobs. Great insight to the history of Apple and the pc industry.
Jim Bauer, Director of Network and Infrastructure Services 

2011-2012 was apparently a year indulging myself...all I read was fiction!!! Perhaps I needed a good escape......
I would highly recommend Left Neglected by our own Lisa Genova.  Excellent...could not put it down, just as good as Still Alice.  With Lisa's neuroscience background, so much of the "fictional" is actually real.
I then submerged myself in Tess Gerritsen mystery novels. Her books grab you from page one. Unlike other suspense/mystery writers, you don't really know what is going to happen until the end. Wonderful writer and she lives in Maine.  Body Double, The Sinner, The Keepsake are great choices.
James Patterson is always a quick read, great for the beach, train or plane rides...anytime.  I, Alex Cross and Worst Case were good choices. The Christmas Wedding was a delight to read and NOT a murder mystery...
Robin Cook's medical mystery Foreign Body...a "should read" if you like medical mystery.
Female fiction suggestions are Jennifer Weiner's Certain Girls and Then Came You.  Also, Debbie Macomber's, A Turn in the Road...(NOT from her romance collection)
I read 16 novels last year, but I will stop here.
Jane Bedard, Admission Office Specialist

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles:  If you love New York City and savor relational entanglements that intrigue, you will love this novel.
Quest for the Living God
by Elizabeth Johnson: This post Christian book of theology by a Christian nun is a real page turner, if you like such godly things. The pope and his lieutenants warned good Catholics not to get near this apostasy! And that did not hurt sales.
The Cross and the Lynching Tree
by James Cone: Another great book of theology. Cone argues convincingly that Americans have not embraced (save the Harlem artists) the obvious--lynching is America's execution of God.
Who's Afraid of Postmodernism?
by James K. A. Smith: The author introduces Derrida, Lyotard, and Foucault to the church as balm rather than bile.
Healing the Heart of Democracy
by Parker Palmer: A relational salve for a broken nation. A one-step-at-a-time, step-by-step journey of civility.
The Rev. Bill Blaine-Wallace, Multifaith Chaplain

Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon
I'm a racehorse owner, so I love writing that offers unsentimental insights into the backside of a racetrack that isn't the kind you see for two minutes every year on the first Saturday of May. The story is lyrical and a touch diffuse, and unglamorous. Racing is like that.
Jay Burns, editor, Bates Magazine

Drawing in the Dust by Zoe Klein (2009). A debut novel about an archeologist in Israel who risks her career to excavate beneath the home of an Arab couple who believe that restless spirits are communicating with them.  Interesting and light reading, with an exploration of religious and personal tensions throughout.
Midaq Alley by Naguib Mahfouz (1966).  A Nobel Prize winning author.  This book explores the lives of various characters living in one of the back alleys of Cairo, as they intertwine with each other, creating a story rich in culture and place.  Beautifully written.
Between the Assassinations
by Aravind Adiga (2008).  This set of short stories captures vignettes of life in a city in India, bringing to life (as written on its back cover) “a mosaic of Indian life.”  The characters are often down-trodden and morally conflicted, and a complex portrait of the city of Kittur and its people emerges.
In the Convent of Little Flowers
by Indu Sundaresan (2008).  Another volume of short stories that take place in India.  Some of the stories were better than others, but gives another portrayal of Indian life through these vignettes.  A light read.
The Calligrapher’s Daughter
by Eugenia Kim (2009).  This one takes place in Korea at the first part of the 20th C, when Korea is overtaken by Japan.  It captures the tension between the “old” and “new” ways, the traditional culture and the “modern” one demanded by the Japanese.   The story focuses on a young girl who grows up and becomes educated, defying her father.  The story is well written, with a fascinating exploration of the history of the time and place.
A Map of the World
by Jane Hamilton (1994).  A dark novel about loss and the ways in which lives can tumble from the illusion of safety.  A compelling read, hard to put down.
Vinegar Hill
by A. Manette Ansay (1994).  Another dark novel about a loveless and stifling household of two children, their parents and grandparents.  I just started it, but haven’t been able to put it down.
Gap Creek
by Robert Morgan (2000).  A story of survival, the book takes place in North Carolina after the Civil War.  Julie Harmon narrates the story of her life, chronicling her marriage at age 17 and the move to Gap Creek where she takes care of an elderly man who eventually dies, with unforeseen consequences.
Bel Canto
by Ann Patchett (2008).  A strange and fascinating story about a hostage situation in a South American country, where an opera star provides the interweaving thread that ties the characters together.  A great read.
House of Sand and Fog
by Audre Dubus III (2011).  In this book, two people find themselves struggling desperately to hold onto the same house, each with his/her own claim to it.  The story’s inevitable and dire ending is a result of stubbornness, pride, and passions that allow emotions to win over reason.
Anita Charles, Lecturer, Education

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Observatory Mansions by Edward Carey
The Paris Wife by Paula McLain
Kristen Cloutier, HCCP, Assistant Director of Center Operations

by Neal Stephenson
This story involves a computer virus that encrypts your files then demands a ransom, Russian gangsters, spies, computer hackers, and terrorists.  After some initial background information this turns into a non-stop action story about a hostage dragged around the world and the attempts to rescue her by an international cast of characters.
11-22-63 A Novel by Stephen King
If it was possible would you go back in time to prevent a tragedy from happening?  A high school teacher from Lisbon Falls, ME enters a portal to the past with the goal to prevent the Kennedy assassination.
Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
Widely considered the first sensational novel as well as one of the first mystery novels, written in the mid-1800s.  A mystery told from the points of view of several main characters, each continuing the tale where it was left off by previous narrator.  Very compelling with truly devious villain. (If you read ebooks: this is in the public domain and can be downloaded for free from Project Gutenberg.)
The Millennium Trilogy (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest) by Steig Larsson
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
Read this book as part of the Staff Enrichment last summer--fantastic story.
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
An authorized biography of Steve Jobs, warts and all.
Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
The title just about says it all. A nonfictional account of the use of cadavers throughout history that is surprisingly informative and mildly entertaining.
The Poisoner's Handbook: Murder and the Birth of Forensic Medicine in Jazz Age New York by Deborah Blum
Again, the title says it all.
The Great Influenza: The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History by John Barry
This book is not only an account of the Spanish Flu during the early 20th Century but also includes history on the American medical school system at that time.
Grace Coulombe, Director of the Math and Statistics Workshop

Another alumni author, because, how could I not? Lisa Genova's ('92) Left Neglected is touching and insightful, getting into the emotions of the main character and patient as only Lisa has proved she can, again, with humor, tenderness and understanding.
Marianne Nolan Cowan '92, Director of Alumni and Parent Engagement

Thinking of summer and all the time I will hopefully have to read.
For once I am attempting to get my list in on time.
I recommend the following:
The Vault
by Ruth Rendell - one of the best English mystery writers with quirky characters.
The Feast Day of Fools
by James Lee Burke - a great read.
Destiny of the Republic
by Candice Millard - James A. Garfield's assassination with a tragic tale of medical incompetence.
Spies of the Balkan
by Alan Furst - Greece at the beginning of WWII.
Finding Nouf
and City of Veils by Zoe Ferraris - two murder mysteries set in modern Saudi Arabia, both underscoring the difficulties of being a modern woman in that culture.
The Leopard
by Jo Nesbo - Norwegian mystery- similar in feel to Stieg Larsson.
Orange is the New Color Black
by Piper Kerman.   Story of a white female Smith graduate who is arrested, convicted, and jailed on charges of selling drugs- a revealing analysis of female prisoners in modern US jails.
Jerry Davis, Class of ‘61

Here are a few. I can't believe how little reading I've done lately! Arrgh.
Murder on the Rocks
by Karen MacInerny
This falls squarely in the 'beach reading' pile.  Not thought-provoking, and requires some serious suspension of disbelief.  But if you want a light-hearted, non-creepy murder mystery that's set on the Maine coast and has the workings of a B&B (with detailed food descriptions) as a backdrop, then you might find this mindlessly relaxing.
Nobody's Fool
by Richard Russo
Darker and less side-splitting than his academic satire Straight Man (which I confess to having read repeatedly).  The various screwed up relationships in Nobody's Fool are sadly realistic and filled with unrealized potential.  The main character is likable but also his own worst enemy.  More tragic than comic.
The Chosen
by Chaim Potok
It was actually a few years ago when I read this, but I still think about it -- tensions between desire and responsibility, freewill and expectations, plus father-son dynamics, tradition, complicated friendships, the Holocaust, and Zionism.  Lots to chew on.
Don Dearborn, Professor and Chair of Biology

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand--Helen Simonson
The Wild Trees--Richard Preston
The Imperfectionists--Tom Rachman
Every Last One--Anna Quindlen
The Warmth of Other Suns--Isabel Wilkerson
Luka and the Fire of Life--Salman Rushdie
Doc--Mary Doria Russell
Marty Deschaines, Assistant Director, HCCP

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman.   A fun short read, like most Gaiman books, it’s a darker take on the fanciful.  Like a steampunk Sherlock Holmes fantasy.
Duma Key
, by Steven King.  One of his best, along the same vein as Hearts in Atlantis, King manages to blur the lines between reality and the fantastic superbly. The author manages to evoke in the reader the emotions the main characters are experiencing.
The Magicians
by Lev Grossman.   First novel for the author; a gritty take on what has become a generic theme of an “ordinary” person finding they somehow have special powers, the writing style is somewhat complicated, but world that the author creates makes up for the density of the text.
A Dirty Job
by Christopher Moore.  Somehow this book manages to be stupid, funny, poignant, and more stupid, an excellent airplane book.
Plant propagation; Principles and practice
. 3rd ed. Hudson Thomas Hartmann, Dale E. Kester.  A great reference, the title says it all, dry and to the point.   Current edition is about $109.50 a used 3rd edition is $ 0.63 plus four dollars shipping on Amazon, you do the math.
American Horticultural Society Plant Propagation: The Fully Illustrated Plant-by-Plant Manual of Practical Techniques
by Alan Toogood
A nice complement to Plant propagation; Principles and practice, but is somewhat lacking in content, more of a coffee table book… great pictures.
Phil Dostie, Assistant in Instruction, Chemistry

The Power of Habit. Fascinating read. Seeing it in my own life.
Mistakes Were Made (But Not By Me)
– Carol Tavris and Elliott Aronson
In case you’re still taking submissions, I just started another book (prompted by an interview on Planet Money) and really like it. It's about our national debt and what we should do about it.
White House Burning: The Founding Fathers, Our National Debt, and Why It Matters to You

Glenn Dudley, Desktop Support Technician, ILS

The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins
Classified as young adult novels, but I got hooked.  These are the first two novels of a trilogy.
Donna Duval, Advancement

Port City Shakedown by Gerry Boyle. A mystery set in Portland, ME. A nice easy read.
Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon. Have read 5 of the 7 in the series. Even though these are long (over a thousand pages each), I never want them to end.
Olive Kitteridge by Batesie - Elizabeth Strout. This is an interesting style of book, as they are all short stories in their own right.
The Lobster Chronicles by Linda Greenlaw. Gave me a new appreciation for the Lobsterman's way of life.
Revenge of the Wrought-Iron Flamingos by Donna Andrews. book 3 in the Meg Langslow Mystery series. This was set in a civil war reanactment was a fun to read.
Dead of Winter - Winston Crisp Maine Island Mystery by David Crossman. Was very timely, I read this during one of our few snowy days last winter.
The Murder of Mary Bean & Other Stories By Elizabeth A DeWolfe. Interesting time piece.
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman. Interesting true story where two cultures collide. The Hmong and our Western medicine.
The Plague by Albert Camus. Was one of the worst books I've ever read. Boring  & too long. Only read it because of the book club I am in.
The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Giilman. A depressing book. Also read for the book club. At least it was interesting, going crazy.
Children's Books:
Lost Trail (Comic Book) by Don Fendler. Got this for my 12-yr-old Grandson. We all loved it and can't wait for the movie.
Sarey by Lantern Light by Susan Williams Beckhorn. This is a great story, even had me teary eyed. Got this for my 10-yr-old granddaughter.
Melinda Emerson, Purchasing Sales and Accounting Specialist, ILS

Joseph Brodsky-- Watermark (memoir/meditation about Venice)
Tracy K. Smith -- Life On Mars (this year's poetry Pulitzer winner)
Chad Harbach-- The Art of Fielding (novel about baseball and small college life)
Richard Powers-- Generosity (a novel more interesting for its speculative ideas than for its characters, perhaps, but genomically troubling...)
Rob Farnsworth, Senior Lecturer, English

My book club read two great books. I had never heard of either author but everyone loved the books.
Yellow Crocus by Laila Ibrahim
The Wedding Gift Marlen Suyapa Bodden
Anita Farnum, Administrative Assistant, Concierge

Here is my contribution for the year:
Back Roads by Tawni O'Dell
The Book of Salt by Monique Truong
Johie Farrar, Associate Dean of Admission

I am reading Dreaming in French, by Alice Kaplan (U of Chicago, 2012): it is an account of the Paris years of Jackie O, Susan Sontag, and Angela Davis, and a discussion of how these three women's experiences in France, in turn, changed America.
Sylvia Federico, Associate Professor of English

I enjoyed these two books recently;
Open by Andre Agassi - very revealing insight into a man who made the top of athletics and battled insecurity all the way.
Calico Joe - Nice light reading baseball novel by John Grisham.
Stewart Flaherty, Head Coach, Men’s Soccer

Jonathan Franzen's  The Discomfort Zone: A Personal History
In this warm, honest memoir, Jonathan Franzen tells the story of his Midwestern childhood and his adulthood in New York.  Particularly interesting are his analyses of the dynamics of a Christian youth fellowship in the 1970s and of his obsessions with birdwatching and environmentalism.
Katie Flinn, Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology

Predictably Irrational by Daniel Ariely.  Ariely researches behavioral economics and writes about his experiments in a very accessible, entertaining way for the non-economist.   He describes how "expectations, emotions, social norms, and other invisible, seemingly illogical forces skew our reasoning abilities."  Really illuminating and thought-provoking.
Nancy Gibson, Senior Assistant Director, Bates Career Development Center

There are two books which really impressed me in the past year:
David McCullough, The Greater Journey - The amazing adventures of the creative young Americans who flocked to Paris in the 19th century, and lived through its tragedies and triumphs.
Stephen King, 11/22/63 - I am not usually a fan of King's horror novels, but this one really captivated me. An ordinary young man in the 21st century discovers that he can go badk in time and change the history of the nation at a crucial point - what happens if he does?
Lois Griffiths, Alumna and Retiree

Long-time listener, first-time caller.
One suggestion: Annette Gordon-Reed, The Hemingses of Monticello. Many people have heard of Sally Hemings because of her supposed (and now effectively proven) relationship with Thomas Jefferson. What makes this book remarkable is that someone has dared to write about the lives of individuals who left almost no documentary trace. And she does it powerfully and sometimes lyrically. And I think she won something like 18 awards (including the Pulitzer and the National Book Award) in the process.
Joe Hall, Associate Professor of History

I want to put Me, Earl and the Dying Girl by first-time author Jesse Andrews on the Good Reads list.  It was just published in May. It is in the young adult genre. The film rights for the book were purchased by the producer/director that made the film “Crazy, Stupid, Love.”  I read it because Jesse is the brother of my best friend from high school, but it really is excellent.  If a book about a young girl dying of cancer can be funny then this is it.  It qualifies as young adult literature because the main characters are in high school, but I would say that based on the subject matter and the language that it is pitched at a much older audience.
Josh Henry, Visiting Assistant Professor of Chemistry

I believe this is my very first suggestion to the Good Reads List.  It is Nimo's War, Emma's War by Cynthia Enloe. It is an account of the Iraq war, and women's experiences of the war through the experiences of 8 women, 4 U.S. and 4 Iraqi. It's fascinating and compelling.
Leslie Hill, Associate Professor of Politics

Lynn H. Nichols:  The Rape of Europa.   A well-written account of the wholesale Nazi plundering of European art and cultural artifacts during WWII.   Lots of detail at 450 pages, but the astonishing scale of the thefts lends to this treatment: tens of thousands of paintings and sculptures, libraries, rugs, tapestries, furniture, gold and jewelry, even 5000 church bells.   The book is a portrait of the Nazis as monsters but also pathetic kleptomaniacs, convincing themselves that stealing European culture would fit out the future Reich with suitable decorations. The book is part art history, part WWII detective story as the Allied “monuments units” tried to find the immense caches of stolen treasures and return them to their owners.
The late Bates President Hedley Reynolds spent the second half of WWII assigned to a monuments unit, as an Art History major at Williams who was reassigned from a tank unit.  The book has been made into a well-regarded documentary film of the same name, narrated by Nichols.
Ann Weiss:  The Last Album: Eyes from the Ashes of Auschwitz-Birkenau.  Some years ago, a tour guide at Auschwitz-Birkenau unlocked a storeroom everyone assumed was empty and found thousands of photographs that Jewish families had brought with them to the concentration camp, hoping to survive with their family treasures and keepsakes.  With research, many of the photographs were identified, and the book is a photo album accompanied by profiles of those in the photographs.
Monique Truong: The Book of Salt.  An imaginative historical novel, recounting life with Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas through the eyes of their Vietnamese cook.   A wonderfully piquant and humorous book, one of a number of admirable books by Vietnamese immigrants to the US adjusting to dislocations in unexpected locations like 1930’s Paris.
Terry Hunt and Carl Lipo:  The Statues that Walked: Unraveling the Mystery of Easter Island.  New theories on the Easter Island statues, offering evidence that the statues, like other Polynesian cultures that created large statues, got to their locations by being “walked” in an upright position.  The culture’s collapse was likely due not to internal dissent but to contact with early explorers and whalers, quite parallel to the “American holocaust” of Native American tribes meeting diseases for which they had no resistance.  Frequently mentioned is the work of Charlie Love ’66, a geology professor from Wyoming with decades of research on Easter Island.
Andrew Lam, Perfume Dreams.  A set of moving essays by a Viet Kieu (those who fled Vietnam after the war) who went on to become a fine journalist for NPR and other outlets.  Lam’s father was a skilled and professional South Vietnamese general whose family fled, and the essays are about adapting to a new culture, trying to keep values, and returning to Vietnam years later.
Adam Hochschild:  To End All Wars: A story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918.  This history of WWI focuses on the many families whose members had fiercely divided loyalties.  The Field Marshall commanding the Western Front had a sister who led suffragette, pacifist, resistance and IRA efforts and went to prison for her commitments.  Very well written for the weaving of the family histories during the war.
Vicki Baum:  Love and Death in Bali.   First published in German in 1935, this is a remarkable novel about the collision between the deeply religious and artistic people of Bali with a Dutch colonial administration.
Amanda Hale:  In the Embrace of the Alligator.  A set of connected short stories about a Canadian woman powerfully drawn to Cuba, and the contrasts between the beauty and grace of Cuba and its people with the lumbering weight of the Cuban government.  Often cited as one of the most accurate portraits of modern Cuba by a non-Cuban.
Tony Williams:   The Pox and the Covenant: Mather, Franklin, and the Epidemic that Changed America's Destiny.   Cotton Mather is sometimes regarded as a Puritan divine hostile to change, but in fact he was one of the towering intellects of his age, and far more open to science than might be imagined.  This well-written book is an account of Mather’s attempts to support the very early experimentation with vaccinations against smallpox in the midst of a horrifying epidemic in Boston, when ironically the brother of Benjamin Franklin was using the family printing press to attack Mather for not treating the epidemic surely as a scourge from God.
Oscar Hijuelos:  The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love and Beautiful María of my Soul, or, The True Story of María García y Cifuentes, the Lady behind a Famous Song. Hijeulos won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for The Mambo Kings…, the first Hispanic to win this prize, and Beautiful Mariais a retelling of the story of the Mambo Kings from the very different perspective of the woman, now older, who inspired their greatest hit.  A third novel with the revealing title of The Fourteen Sisters of Emilio Montez O'Brien is a rambling but very readable account of a large Irish-Cuban family in small-town Ohio over the two generations from the immigration of the parents to the old age of the fifteen siblings.  Hijuelos has been a prolific author, with eight novels and a memoir, mostly around the themes of Cuban-Americans in complicated relationships with both their homelands.
Bill Hiss ’66, Senior Leadership Gifts Officer and Lecturer in Asian Studies

The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks
The Replacement Wife by Eileen Goudge
Journey by Danielle Steele
Joan Houston, Administrative Assistant, Facility Services

Here's information about two books I've been reading.
In preparation for a trip to Alabama with a friend who worked for a newspaper there during the time of the Civil Rights Movement, I've been reading two compelling and intensely moving books about the Movement. The first, The Montgomery Bus Boycott and the Women Who Started It, is the story behind the boycott by Jo Ann Gibson Robinson, who, as president of a women's political club, gave the go-ahead for the boycott after Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white man.  Edited by David Garrow and published by the University of Tennessee Press, it's a fascinating story of how people worked together and persevered despite great hardship and persecution, and how what they did resulted in desegregation of Montgomery's city buses.
The second book, which I haven't quite finished, is Selma, Lord, Selma, and consists of the memories of two women who were little girls participating in the marches for voting rights in Selma -- and the attempted and actual marches from Selma to Montgomery. This book is so beautiful. The courage of those two little girls, Sheyann Webb and Rachel West, has brought me to tears several times. Sheyann was the first of the two to get involved, soon joined by her good friend, Rachel. Sheyann's passion for the cause, willingness to turn her life upside-down (she skipped school for the meetings and marches, and focused everything she had on the effort to gain equal treatment), and sheer incredible bravery have put her on my list of people I admire most. She was marching on Bloody Sunday, when state troopers charged on horseback into the group as they crossed the Edmund Pettis Bridge, whipping and knocking down the peaceful marchers. It was probably only because an adult picked her up and ran with her that the little girl escaped injury or death. This book is published by the University of Alabama Press.
I loved these two books. I'm planning to go to some of the sites of the struggle on my trip.
Sue Hubley, Senior Researcher, College Advancement

I have been listening to books on tape on the drive to work and I heartily recommend the following series:
The Amanda Peabody Egyptology series by Elizabeth Peters - the first book in the series is Crocodile on the Sandbank.
The Brother Cadfael, medieval English series by Ellis Peters - the First book in the series is
A Morbid Taste for Bones.

The Aubrey/Maturin Napoleonic Wars (from a British Naval perspective) series by Patrick O'Brian - the first book in the series is Master & Commander.
On a less sheer exuberant indulgence but still very good note, I'd recommend
The Black Swan
by Nassim Taleb which is a book about flaws in modern economic and statistical thinking due to the failure to adequately account for the highly improbable but important invent - it sounds dry but in fact the author has a very strong persona which makes the book a fun if occasionally snarky read.
The Clockwork Universe
by Edward Dolnick which is an intellectual and social history about the invention of calculus and quite fascinating.
Margaret Imber, Assoc. Professor of Classical & Medieval Studies

Waiting for Robert Capa by Susana Fortes. An unforgettable love story played out against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War, with photojournalists/refugees Robert Capa and Gerda Taro as the protagonists in this short but stunning novel.
My Song: A Memoir by Harry Belafonte. The compelling story of Belafonte's life pairs his commitments to artistry and social justice.
Call it Sleep by Henry Roth. A groundbreaking novel first published in 1934 that explores the early 20th-century immigrant experience through the eyes of a young Jewish child on New York's Lower East Side.
Phyllis Graber Jensen, Director, Photography and Video
, Bates Communications Office

I haven’t been keeping good track of what I’ve read this year, and my memory isn’t what it used to be, so I’ll just toss out two fiction and two non-fiction works that I’m currently reading or read recently.
To Serve a Larger Purpose: Engagement for Democracy and the Transformation of Higher Education
(edited by John Saltmarsh and Matthew Hartley).  I’m finding some chapters of this edited collection more useful than others, but I appreciate its overall focus on higher education’s institutional-level responsibility to the public good and the institutional-level structures necessary to executing that responsibility.
No University is an Island
(by Cary Nelson). Another analysis of higher education, this one focuses on academic freedom and the role of faculties in college and university governance, with attention to the implications of that role for higher education’s democratic potential.
The Distinguished Guest
(by Sue Miller). This 1995 book was a nearly-random purchase I made at a used bookstore on a beautiful spring afternoon outing with a friend last year. I just recently got around to reading it, and enjoyed the gentle pace at which it explores aging, regrets, multigenerational family relationships, writing, memory and art.
The Lotus Eaters
(by Tatjana Soli). I’m only a few chapters in, but this novel about a photographer in Saigon during the Vietnam War is beautifully written so I assume I’ll continue to find it worthy of recommending.
Emily Kane, Professor of Sociology

The Paris Wife by Paula McLain--as an avid Ernest Hemingway fan, I was enthralled by this book told by his first wife and first love, Hadley.  It shed a perspective of Ernest that I had known about superficially but appreciated more when narrated by Hadley.  Reading this prompted me to re-read an old favorite, A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway, and made me yearn to live in a time of great writers, whiling away the days in Paris cafes.
Day of the Bees by Thomas Sanchez--Some of the best books I've read have come from picking it up randomly at a book sale and this is one of them. From almost the first page, I was sucked into the romantic prose of Sanchez's writing style. His descriptive use of language was intoxicating and I just found myself lost within this story. I really enjoyed reading this book, and it's letter form didn't irritate me as I thought it might. There are some slow parts, but it's definitely worth it to reach the end.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot--As a self-proclaimed sciencephobe, I found this book to be intriguing, thought-provoking, and fascinating.  The language in which Skloot uses to describe such scientific and technical terms is so understandable that it makes it such an interesting read and compelling.  It really got me thinking about my knowledge (or lack thereof) of medical history, including my own personally.  This is a case of truth being stranger than fiction and covers science, relationships, race, and the ability to find and discern your roots in a clear way.
The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue--Another booksale find.  As the mother of a two year old, I didn't think I wanted to read about stolen children, but I opened this anyway and was immediately riveted by the story of a seven-year old boy kidnapped in 1949 and replaced by a mythical changeling who takes over his life and grows up haunted by the distant knowledge that he is not who he claims to be. Part fairy tale, part science fiction, part novel, this book illuminates messages of loss, loneliness, and the search for an accepted identity, based on the W.B. Yeats poem of the same title.  This book was a total surprise to me.
Alison M. Keegan, Administrative Assistant, Office of the Dean of the Faculty

Hilary Mantel (Wolf Hall) has a new book out [Bring Up the Bodies] that I hope to read and find as enchanting as the first one. But that is for next year.
John Kelsey, Professor of Psychology

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee - I read it again after a few decades in honor of the book's 50th anniversary and was impressed by how much more I enjoyed it this time.
The Lacuna
by Barbara Kingsolver - An historical novel with an amazing cast--Diego Rivera, Frieda Kahlo, Leo Trotsky--and locations from Mexico to Washington to Ashville, N.C.
Look Homeward, Angel
by Thomas Wolfe - Being reminded in The Lacuna of the rich literary history of Ashville, I decided to read Look Homeward, Angel again. The history and the characters are worth the effort. Thank goodness for Wolfe's editor, Maxwell Perkins.
The Glass Castle
by Jeannette Wall - an autobiography by a woman about how she and her siblings survived being raised by two eccentric, if not totally dysfunctional, parents.
Loving Frank
by Nancy Horan - An historical novel about Frank Lloyd Wright's mistress.
Cutting for Stone
by Abraham Verghese - a novel about ex-pat doctors in Ethiopia, twin brothers, and what the true meaning of family is.
by David Eggers - an account of a Muslim family's experiences in New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Still Alice
by Lisa Genova, Bates '92 - A novel about early-onset Alzheimer's told from the perspective of the patient, a Harvard professor. I've read a number of books on Alzheimer's and experienced it through my parents' decline, and I thought that Lisa was able to capture the stages and symptoms without becoming cliched.
The Most Famous Man in America
by Debby Applegate - A Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Henry Ward Beecher. Beecher was a member of a large, influential family--Harriet Beecher Stowe was his sister--in the 1800s. He was an influential minister with what we would call a "mega-church" in Brooklyn, an adviser to Presidents and kingmakers. He was an abolitionist and an advocate for temperance and women's suffrage. But, it was also rumored that he fathered at least one child out of wedlock and seduced many women.
Caleb's Crossing
by Geraldine Brooks - a story about Harvard's first Native American graduate, set in the late 1600s. Another one of Brooks' super-woman main characters--learns Latin, Greek, and Wampanoag and midwifery by osmosis, it seems, and even her sheep were smart enough to survive a hurricane when everyone else's were killed--makes the book a little trying, but the subject is fascinating.
Margo H. Knight, Director of Advancement Research

One of the best books I've read recently is this one by a woman who will be here at Bates on Monday! [4/30/12]
Dr. Patricia Sullivan, Professor of History at the University of South Carolina and author of  Lift Every Voice: The NAACP and the Making of the Civil Rights Movement (2009)giving a talk entitled   "Brown is a Black Cultural Product": The NAACP  and the Struggle for Equal Education.
Karen Kothe, Associate Dean of Admission

Saul Below, Mr. Sammler’s Planet
Michael Kranish, Flight from Monticello: Thomas Jefferson at War
James t Farrell, Studs Lonigan
Robert Herrick, Wasted
Candace MIllard,  Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President
James Clifton, The Coming Jobs War
Peter Hitchens, Rage Against God
Paul Kuritz, Professor of Theater

Tear down this myth: the right-wing distortion of the Reagan legacy
by William Bunch (276 p., New York, Free Press, 2010, c2009).
After this read, you’ll never look at the current crops of conservatives in the same light, or at least not in the carefully chosen glorious beams in which they, self-serving as ever, now seek to bask. In the process of exposing Reagan’s self-proclaimed adherents, Bunch re-examines his presidency and legacy in a clear-headed and factual fashion. It’s about time!
Into the silence: the Great War, Mallory, and the conquest of Everest
by Wade David (655 p., New York, Knopf, 2011).
Along with other early explorers of the region such as the Italians, the British had no idea what they faced in the highly un-Alps-like Himalayas.  They all learned of the vast differences in height and climbing conditions quickly enough, and in the case of the British tragically so.
Jim Lamontagne, Ladd Library

Lest you think Economists don't read....
This last year I really, really enjoyed
Cutting for Stone
The Trilogy of the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
Lynne Lewis, Professor of Economics

Originby Diana Abu-Jaber
Without you really noticing, the author slips in beside you and suddenly you realize that you are walking alongside her main character, Lena. Lena is a fingerprint analyst in a crime lab and, on the personal side, is wrapped up in myths of her early childhood. Or are these truths? Her job brings her work on a series of crib deaths that pulls her deeper into her own story. As a reader, you will surely begin to look at your own myths.
Another character of the book is Syracuse, New York, complete with the depths-of-winter colors, temperatures, smells and dangers.  A good book to read in either a mild non-winter or in the bright sunlight!
Traveling with Pomegranates: A Mother and Daughter Journey to the Sacred Places of Greece, Turkey, and France by mother and daughter team Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor
An interesting work that alternates chapters by the two and is based on trips together during times of change for both of them. They reflect on each other, share their personal introspective thoughts, and weave in visits to places related to their individual work. One generation learns from another and it works both up and down the age ladder. If you liked The Secret Life of Bees, you will learn wonderful insights into its creation. Grab a map and settle in for a good armchair traveling experience as well as a thoughtful and thought provoking memoir.
Rebecca Lovett, Assistant Bookstore Manager

Rings of Saturn by W. H. Sebald, translated by Michael Hulse
"Ostensibly a record of a journey on foot through coastal East Anglia," as Robert McCrum in the London Observer noted, The Rings of Saturn "is also a brilliantly allusive study of England's imperial past and the nature of decline and fall, of loss and decay. . . . The Rings of Saturn is exhilaratingly, you might say hypnotically, readable. . . . It is hard to imagine a stranger or more compelling work."
Bill Low, Curator, Museum of Art

Sisters Brothers, Goon Squad, Buddha in the Attic, George R.R. Martin series, Game of Thrones
Kathy Low, Professor of Psychology

A Beautiful Place to Die by Malla Nunn
Set in a tiny town on the border between South Africa and Mozambique, it is 1952, and new apartheid laws have recently gone into effect, dividing the nation.  Tensions simmer as an Afrikaner police officer is found dead and emotions boil to the surface. This is a page turner and the setting in South Africa makes it a very different murder mystery.  The main character, Emmanuel Cooper, is a complex and interesting police officer, and the South African setting makes solving a murder even more interesting. Sequels recently released are Let the Dead Lie and Blessed are the Dead.
Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter
 by Tom Franklin
This is a murder mystery where the past meets the present.  In the late 1970s, tragedy strikes when one of the main characters, Larry, takes a girl on a date to a drive-in movie, and she is never heard from again. She was never found and Larry never confessed, but all eyes rested on him as the culprit. The incident shook the small town— most of all, his friend, Silas. His friendship with Larry is broken, and then Silas leaves town.  More than twenty years have passed. Larry, a mechanic, lives a solitary existence, never able to rise above the whispers of suspicion. Silas has returned as a constable. He and Larry have no reason to cross paths until another girl disappears and Larry is blamed again. And now the two men who once called each other friend are forced to confront the past they've buried and ignored for decades.
Iron Lake
by William Kent Kreuger
I like finding mystery series with a main character that develops throughout the series, and I was so pleased to find this one!  There are twelve books in this series so far and it starts with Iron Lake.  Set near an Indian reservation in northern Minnesota, this series follows former Chicago police officer, Cork O'Connor.  He is part Indian and was raised in this small Minnesota town.   In Iron Lake, the disappearance of an Indian newsboy, coincides with the suicide of a former judge, and Cork clashes with a newly elected senator (who also happens to be the judge's son); the town's new sheriff; and some tribal leaders getting rich on gambling concessions.
This is Where I Leave You
by Jonathan Tropper
This is Tropper's newest book, and I think one of the funniest to date.  Judd Foxman is wandering between a sea of self-pity and a "snake pit of fury and resentment" in the aftermath of the explosion of his marriage, which ended "the way these things do: with paramedics and cheesecake." Foxman is jobless (after finding his wife in bed with his boss) and renting out the basement of a "crappy house" when he is called home to sit shiva for his recently departed father. This means seven days in his parent's house with his incredibly dysfunctional family.  The shiva scenes are hilarious, and in the end this is as much about a family's reconnecting as it is about one man's attempt to get his act together.
Mary Main, Director of Human Resources

Through the Fields, Woods, and Marshes of New England Naturally Curious: a Photographic Field Guide and Month-by-Month Journey by Mary Holland.  Exactly what its title implies, this new field guide alerts you to what to look for outdoors as the months progress.  In our busy lives, the days fly by so fast that before we know it, the times to look for natural seasonal changes and wildlife behaviors have slipped away without notice.   Naturally Curious is a perfect reminder: a little bit of every month to whet your appetite for what’s out there so you won’t miss anything!
The Map of True Places
by Brunonia Barry.  A respected psychotherapist returns to the Salem of her childhood, revisits her past, and reevaluates her present.  Zee Finch is an appealing young doctor, launched on a brilliant career and about to make the perfect marriage.  A patient’s suicide and her father’s illness bring her home again, as she deals with issues of caregiving, sexuality, responsibility, and guilt—all those familiar issues that make a fascinating story.

Compiled and edited by Sarah Potter, Bookstore Director, 5/12

Read more →

2011 Summer Reading List

Sarah Potter

Each year, as a gift to the graduating class, the staff of the College Store solicits suggestions from the Bates community for interesting summer reading.

The list, famously known as the Non-required Reading List, or Good Reads for Leisure Moments, is now in its 15th edition, with more than 110 contributors this year.

And as always, we lead off with our "alpha" contributor, Associate Professor of Biology Lee Abrahamsen.

For a couple of years I have been hooked on the novels of Bryce Courtenay. His stories of boxing and Australia and his wonderful character development hook me every time. The newest of his novels, The Four Fires, is another good one. About an Australian family working their way up from poverty in the 1950s-1970s, this story is particularly good to listen to as the audiobook is narrated by Humphrey Bower (a fantastic weaver of tales and voices).


I am also 2/3 of the way through his Australian Trilogy, which is historical fiction that chronicles the change of Australia from the land of Aboriginal people, to a place where England's convicts are exiled and struggle to survive. The three books in the trilogy are The Potato FactoryTommo and Hawk and Solomon's Song. The characters are engaging, and the action is non-stop. The books include bawdy stories about whaling, pickpockets and beer-making in Van Dieman's land -- what more could you want?

Lee Abrahamsen, Associate Professor of Biology

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese is the story of twin brothers who are born to a young nun and a surgeon at a mission hospital in Ethiopia. Their mother dies in childbirth, and their father disappears, so the twins are adopted and raised at the hospital by two other physicians. The twins learn medicine by osmosis - then one goes on to attend medical school, while the other stays behind to work with his mother in the clinic. As Ethiopia teeters on the brink of revolution, the characters learn about politics, relationships and the many ways we care for others. A great book that leaves you thinking about your own life and how you choose to live it.


That Old Cape Magic by Richard Russo, late of Colby College, is a great read for academics. It's about a guy whose parents were English profs and who can't get their voices out of his head. Funny and truthful.

Martin Andrucki, Professor of Theater

OK, I haven't read it yet but I have it on good authority that this is a good read: Your Inner Fish: A Journey into the 3.5-Billion-Year History of the Human Body by Neil Shubin.


Every night I read one or two selections from The Essential Rumi translated by Coleman Barks. I read the same selections again the following morning or as soon as I get to it. The second reading is heaven!

Linda Archambault, Lab Research Assistant, Dana Chemistry

I have two recommendations, both of which center broadly on the immigrant experience - one in the US, the other in France. The first one is Zeitoun by Dave Eggars and the second one is A Palace in the Old Village by Tahar Ben Jelloun.


Áslaug Asgeirsdottir, Associate Professor of Politics

A Choice of Weapons by Gordon Parks (autobiography/photography)
 by Eiji Yoshikawa (historical novel)
Dewdrops on a Lotus Leaf: Zen Poems
 by Ryokan (poetry)
Japanese Pilgrimage
 by Oliver Statler (out of print) (history/travel)
Soul of the Night: An Astronomical Pilgrimage
 by Chet Raymo (science)


Will Ash, Assistant in Instruction, Imaging and Computing Center

The Orientalist: Solving the Mystery of a Strange and Dangerous Life by Tom Reiss
The Cairo Trilogy: Palace Walk, Palace of Desire, Sugar Street
 by Naguib Mahfouz
The Museum of Innocence
 by Orhan Pamuk


Senem Aslan, Assistant Professor of Politics

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. I had no idea that the Channel Islands of Britain had been occupied by the Nazis in WWII. This whole book is in the form of fictional letters through which we learn about the lives of ordinary people during that time. It seems odd to use a word like "charming" to describe a book about wartime occupation, but it is.


The Artist, the Philosopher and the Warrior by Paul Strathern. I vaguely knew that DaVinci, Machiavelli and Borgia lived in Italy around the same time, but I didn't know that all three interacted extensively. Really fascinating history... real life tales of intrigue, science and art.

Pam Baker, Professor of Biology/Director of Faculty Research and Scholarship

One of the best books I read this year was Just Kids by Patti Smith. It's a remarkable "coming of age" story, a love story, and, most importantly, the story of a young woman as artist. The writing is clear, free of nostalgia, cliche, or cynicism. The memoir is a beautiful evocation of what it felt like to discover art and music at the time.


I'm currently re-reading and enjoying Annie Dillard's Teaching a Stone to Talk. It's a collection of exquisitely written essays on human relationship to the natural world.

Misty Beck, Writing Specialist

Non-fiction....Against Medical Advice by James Patterson and Hal Friedman


Chronicles a boy's life with Tourette's Syndrome, OCD and depression from age 5-18. Hal (co-author) is Cody's dad. Unbelievable what the family managed to survive in those 13 years and especially, Cody.

Fiction....The Keepsake by Tess Gerritsen
She is a "page-turner" author!!!!! Her story tangles in so many directions that it is near the end when I started to figure things out. This book makes me anxious to read more Tess Gerritsen....

Jane Bedard, Admission Office Specialist

My attendance April 2010 at the 50th Anniversary of The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee inspired a year of nostalgic, moving, and informative reading. Three great ones:


1. Hands on the Freedom Plow: Personal Accounts by Women in SNCC (Holsaert, et. al.)

2. Blues for Mr. Charlie (James Baldwin)

3. Letters From Mississippi: Reports from Civil Rights Volunteers and Freedom School Poetry of the 1964 Freedom Summer (Elizabeth Martinez, editor)

And a really great read about the art of peace-making: The Moral Imagination (James Laderach)

Bill Blaine-Wallace, Multifaith Chaplain

Of the books on the schedule for the Boston Bates Alumnae Book Club this year, the one that we all seemed to agree upon as a great read (not an easy thing as we have such divergent tastes) is Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. Beautifully written and a fascinating story of family, medicine and politics.


Boston Bates Club via Lisa Romeo '88

I'd like to recommend Bounce: Mozart, Federer, Picasso, Beckham, and the Science of Success by Matthew Syed. While his ideas are applicable to other areas of life, this is really a book about the success of elite athletes. How do they perform at what seems to be other-worldly levels? How do they squelch self-doubt and why do they sometimes choke under pressure? Mr. Syed, who is himself a world-class table tennis player, has some pretty counterintuitive answers to these questions. This is an engagingly written book with some wonderful examples of both "the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat," but combined with relevant scientific findings from sports psychology, neuroscience, and other fields. This book will change the way you think about what it takes to be successful.


Helen Boucher, Assistant Professor of Psychology

The following are a series of three books by author Stieg Larsson: great adventure, murder, mystery and intrigue, suspense. You must read the first one as each one refers to the prior book. This is also out in video but after reading the book it is a bit graphic, so be warned. My husband liked the videos as he is not a big fan of reading.


The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The Girl Who Played with Fire
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

The following is the write up from the publisher on the first book, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
"The disappearance forty years ago of Harriet Vanger, a young scion of one of the wealthiest families in Sweden, gnaws at her octogenarian uncle, Henrik Vanger. He is determined to know the truth about what he believes was her murder. He hires crusading journalist Mikael Blomkvist, recently at the wrong end of a libel case, to get to the bottom of Harriet's disappearance. Lisbeth Salander, a twenty-four-year-old, pierced, tattooed genius hacker, possessed of the hard-earned wisdom of someone twice her age--and a terrifying capacity for ruthlessness--assists Blomkvist with the investigation. This unlikely team discovers a vein of nearly unfathomable iniquity running through the Vanger family, an astonishing corruption at the highest echelon of Swedish industrialism--and a surprising connection between themselves." --From publisher description.

Jane Boyle, Ladd Library, Library Assistant-Public Service

I enjoy reading...maybe too much. If I have a good book, the world could disintegrate around me. I would not notice and I would not care!


Under the Dome - Stephen King
I've been staying away from Stephen King the last few years but my daughter left this at the house. I wasn't thrilled with the way the ending, but the first 800 pages were great!

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
Received this one for Christmas. LOVED IT!
Forced myself to wait until I was traveling to pick up the 2nd volume in the trilogy.

The Girl Who Played with Fire
I finished this and wanted more! But the 3rd book wasn't out in paperback.
The next long plane ride, I'll be getting

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest even if I have to buy the hardcover.

The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly
I picked this up because the movie was coming out. I still haven't seen the movie but
the book lived up to what I have come to expect from Connelly.

Barbara Buck, Program Analyst

I have not personally read this book but my father (who has read just about every non-fiction adventure book in existence) could not recommend this book enough for those who like adventure novels!


Great Heart: The History of a Labrador Adventureby James West Davidson and John Rugge (This has been taken off Amazon.com: "In 1903 Leonidas Hubbard set out to cross the Ungava-Labrador Peninsula, and to forge a name for himself as an adventure writer. He took a friend, a guide, a canoe, a ton of equipment, and scads of naive hope. Months later, the friend and guide staggered out of the snow, and Hubbard starved to death in his tent, too weak to attempt the 30-mile trek to safety. And that's just Part I.)"

Amy Bureau, Administrative Assistant Alumni and Parent Engagement

I recommend The Master Switch by Tim Wu. A detailed account of information empires -- telephone, radio, movies, and television and cable. Each one was thought to be the invention that would change everything. Then money pours in, the grassroots industry consolidates hugely, and small handful of companies control the 'master switch' to reach consumers by that communications medium. Do you think the internet will be different -- that broadband changes everything? Then read this book. Lots of detail about the outsize personalities involved.


Also recommend Zero History by William Gibson. The last of a trilogy (including Pattern Recognition andSpook Country). Quirky but highly imaginative plots. Almost science fiction in a completely recognizable world. The author is a close observer of modern culture, consumerism (same thing?), technology, the thrum of cities (especially Tokyo), spycraft and fashion. Zero History can be read alone, in fact each of them can be, but if you have time it's more satisfying to read Zero History as the capper of the three. I will never see an exuberantly decorated hotel again without recalling the amusing opening chapters of this book.

Ann Bushmiller, '79, Trustee

I do recommend reading or for many of us re-reading Jane Eyre. The book is a stunning portrayal of the power of authenticity and self direction, and the difference one person can make.


Nancy Cable, Vice President and Dean of Enrollment and External Affairs

Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
Here If You Need Me
 by Kate Braestrup


Tammy Caron, Assistant Director, CMR, Creative Design

In no particular order of preference, here are my book reviews for this year!


Ragtime, by E.L. Doctorow: A "classic" that I had never read. I really enjoyed this book -- well crafted. And it gave a wonderful sense of history of a time/place. It was funny at times, poignant, and had a host of interesting characters weaving in and out of the pages.

A Passage to India, by E.M. Forster: Another classic and a brilliant book -- philosophical and literary. It reveals the tensions between the Indians and the British in the early part of the 20th century. I had never read this book, and I'm glad I finally did. Be sure to read the reflection/commentary at end -- it has great insights into some of the layers of the novel.

Half Broke Horses, by Jeannette Walls: The story of Jeannette's grandmother, told from first person p.o.v. It was a good story, but I liked her Glass Castle book better. This one doesn't really explore the characters in depth -- more of a sense of vignettes in her grandmother's life. But I did enjoy it, and so did two of my boys, ages 14 and 16.

People of the Book, by Geraldine Brooks: A page turner. It traces, through minute details, an ancient Jewish text that travels around much of the world. My one complaint is that each chapter of discovery from tidbits never "go" anywhere -- it is disjointed, almost like a series of short stories.

A Year of Wonder, by Geraldine Brooks: I would give this 3 out of 5 stars. I would rate it higher, if not for the abysmal ending. The story is captivating, well written, and captures a slice of true-to-life realities from the 1600's in a small town infected by the plague. Based in a real historic town and set of events, the book was excellent overall. Unfortunately, the ending put a damper on my enthusiasm for this book and left me disappointed. Still, it's a good read if you overlook that one flaw.

March, by Geraldine Brooks: Clever take on the Civil War as seen by Mr. March, the father of the Little Women. It shows the complexities and brutality of both sides of the war, and it portrays what Mr. March goes through while away at war. A Pulitzer Prize winner.

The City of Falling Angels, by John Berendt: Nonfiction. I liked this book much more than I expected to. It is very well written, and it reads a bit like a mystery, a bit like a series of character sketches. It's all true, and it made Venice come alive to me, truly a character in its own right within the book. Fascinating story.

Sarah's Key, by Tatiana de Rosnay: A good book in many ways, but it dragged a bit at the end, and I also felt that the writing quality decreased toward the end. A sad story about a girl who gets rounded up by Nazis and who promises to come back for her little brother who is locked in a cabinet... and the fall-out from that decision.

Let the Great World Spin, by Colum McCann: I enjoyed this book quite a bit -- The "background" story/thread is about a tightrope walker who walks between the Twin Towers (pre-9/11). But the "bigger" story is really about the everyday lives of people on the streets of NY -- and the ways in which those lives collide and intersect with each other. The contrast of the ordinary with the extraordinary, the mundane and the surreal, creates a tension that places all of us (readers) on that tight rope. Well written.

The Road, by Cormac McCarthy: A sad and quick read about a post-apocalyptic world, where a father and son try to find safety, food, and warmth -- all of which is in very short supply. But, despite the inhuman conditions and the almost complete lack of hope, the father and son keep their spirits alive by staying focused on what matters -- their love for each other and the possibility of something "more" out there.

The Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins: These books are written for the "young adult" audience, but they are definitely "dark" -- about a dystopian world where children are chosen to participate in "games" to the death. This series is a real page-turner! Well written, and the characters, settings, and plot are well developed. The best are the first and second books, but the third wrapped up many details. However, the third book shifts the focus quite a bit away from the society as a whole, to the heroine herself. I definitely recommend the series.

The Millenium Trilogy, by Stieg Larsson: (The Girl with the Dragon TattooThe Girl Who Played with Fire;The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest): All three of these books are real page turners, no doubt about that, and I couldn't put them down. A quirky heroine (most likely with Aspergers, which is near and dear to my heart as a parent) who defies all explanation and labels, who ends up on a set of tense adventures that create a complex webbing of characters and circumstances. However, these books are all extremely dark, not always my "cup of tea," and I also found my "willing suspension of disbelief" pushed to the max on many occasions. The second book was my least favorite, and I found myself impatiently trying to finish it. But the other two were better and kept my attention all the way through.

The Beet Queen, by Louise Erdrich: A 40-year saga that begins with a brother and sister abandoned by their mother who jump on a train. The boy, Karl, vanishes, to reappear later, and the girl, Mary, is raised by an aunt and uncle, vying for attention and friends with her cousin Sita. Slow-moving, with shifts of perspectives throughout. No real conclusion to the tensions, which works for the novel in many ways. This is a real "character" novel.

Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe: A simply-told story of enduring complexity. A classic and a "must read" for many reasons. It captures the tensions of old tribal customs (Nigeria) and colonialism, and the costs of both in the intersections. Told in sparse prose, with an anti-hero trying to make sense of conflicting worlds, the story ends inevitably in tragedy.

Three Cups of Tea, by Greg Mortenson: Nonfiction. Despite the recent controversies surrounding this text and the author (most of which I attribute to a somewhat-prurient desire to dig up dirt on heroes), I really liked this book and wish I'd read it sooner. While I have not yet read the sequel (Stones to Schools), I was taken in by the storyline -- a man who more or less "falls into" a situation where he makes a promise to build a school in the mountains of Pakistan, an occurrence that begins a lifelong mission to build schools in remote areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Greg Mortenson never claims to be a details-person, an organizer, or a record-keeper (some of which faults have led to the recent criticisms), but he is a passionate and sincere visionary who works against all odds in the name of education for all.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie, by Alan Bradley: Cute and clever, funny and quick -- a fun read. An 11-year-old precocious heroine who unwittingly finds a dead body in her garden and then works to free her father from the suspicion of murder. The writing is a bit stilted, the plot a bit contrived, and the similes are significantly overdone, but it's easy to forgive the flaws for an escapist mystery featuring a likable and quirky protagonist.

The Help, by Kathryn Stockett: Really enjoyed this book -- well written with important reflections on women's roles in the south during the early '60's, and several women's courageous choices to step outside of their assigned identities to break down barriers.

The Insufficiency of Maps, by Nora Pierce: A novel about growing up Native American as seen through the eyes of a child who is torn between the people of the "res" (her own heritage), many of whom are broken and dysfunctional, and the white people who take her in as a foster child. Her mother's mental illness make it impossible for the child to stay with her, and we follow the disintegration of the spirit through the child's eyes. Good idea for a story, but not as well written as I'd like.

Anita Charles, Lecturer/Director of Secondary Teacher Education

The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski. Here is synopsis from Amazon:


"Born mute, speaking only in sign, Edgar Sawtelle leads an idyllic life with his parents on their farm in remote northern Wisconsin. For generations, the Sawtelles have raised and trained a fictional breed of dog whose thoughtful companionship is epitomized by Almondine, Edgar's lifelong friend and ally. But with the unexpected return of Claude, Edgar's paternal uncle, turmoil consumes the Sawtelles' once peaceful home. When Edgar's father dies suddenly, Claude insinuates himself into the life of the farm--and into Edgar's mother's affections.

"Grief-stricken and bewildered, Edgar tries to prove Claude played a role in his father's death, but his plan backfires--spectacularly. Forced to flee into the vast wilderness lying beyond the farm, Edgar comes of age in the wild, fighting for his survival and that of the three yearling dogs who follow him. But his need to face his father's murderer and his devotion to the Sawtelle dogs turn Edgar ever homeward.

"David Wroblewski is a master storyteller, and his breathtaking scenes--the elemental north woods, the sweep of seasons, an iconic American barn, a fateful vision rendered in the falling rain--create a riveting family saga, a brilliant exploration of the limits of language, and a compulsively readable modern classic."

It's a wonderful book that many relate to a modern take on Hamlet. Being a lover of dogs, I was personally drawn to the brilliant description of the emotional ties between humans and their canine companions, as well as the parts of the novel that were told from the vantage point of Almondine.

Kristen Cloutier, HCCP, Assistant Director of Center Operations

Here's one I recommend: The Measure of All Things: The Seven-Year Odyssey and Hidden Error That Transformed the World by Ken Alder. It's an account of the efforts during the French Revolution to measure the size of the earth and establish the true length of the meter. Politics, history, science, cover-ups...everything you need for a good summer read.


Matt Cote, Associate Professor of Chemistry, Associate Dean of the Faculty

North and South- by Elizabeth Gaskell. I discovered this little gem last April. It was originally published as a 22-part weekly serial in a magazine in the mid 1850s. (Don't be misled, this is NOT the John Jakes series of novels centering on the Civil War.) The title of this book refers to the contrast between the wealthy south and the industrial north of England in the Victorian era. I have recommended this book to friends and all of them compare it to Pride & Prejudice. If you are a lover of Jane Austen then you will likely enjoy this book. In fact, you might even have a hard time deciding which characters you love more. Will it be Mr. Darcy or Mr. Thornton? [In the U.S. this book is in the public domain, so you can download a free copy of the ebook through Project Gutenberg or another such source of public domain books.]


The Pillars of the Earth - by Ken Follett. This is a sprawling epic in the 12th century about a community of people, in fictional Kingsbridge, who endeavor to build a cathedral. It's a roller coaster ride of highs and lows for the heroes of the story and includes truly evil villains. This summer I plan to read the follow-up, World Without End, which takes place in Kingsbridge two centuries later featuring the descendants of the characters fromPillars but set against the backdrop of the Plague.

Never Let Me Go - by Kazuo Ishiguro. This is a unique and thought provoking story about the loss of innocence, accepting one's fate, and the meaning of humanity. This one contains heaps of great subtext. I could not stop thinking about this book for several days after finishing it.

The Remains of the Day - also by Kazuo Ishiguro. Tells the story of a butler in post-WWII England. He strives for perfection in his profession while failing to notice that his former employer was a Nazi sympathizer. Much of the story is told through his recollections. While attempting to achieve perfect dignity in his profession he makes sacrifices in personal relationships along the way. This is not a fast-paced book, but very well written.

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day - Winifred Watson. It spans one day in the life of Miss Pettigrew who stumbles into a job as the social secretary of a singer/actress who lives a whirlwind existence. In short, it is a case of mistaken identity coupled with self-discovery. This is a delightful, fun, and quick read.

Split SecondHour GameSimple Genius, and First Family - by David Baldacci. A series of books about two former Secret Service agents, Maxwell and King, turned private investigators. The most recent installment, The Sixth Man, was just released in 4/2011. They are very fast reads--I squeezed the first four in during February break.
A Prayer for Owen Meany - by John Irving. I first read this book in the mid 90s, but I reread it every few years because it is one of my favorites. Tells the story of John and his best friend Owen. Most of the story is set in New Hampshire in the 50s and 60s. A central theme of the story is Owen's belief that he is an instrument of God, but just how is not revealed until the end of the story.

Grace Coulombe, Director of the Mathematics and Statistics Workshop

I read my Bates contemporary Ru Freeman '93's A Disobedient Girl this year - I think it was this year - enjoyed it very much, though the ending was a painful twist. Good illustration of the havoc wreaked by the class system in Sri Lanka on the lives of two women and their families.


I've been reading some pretty fluffy but good historical fiction about the Renaissance that I won't report about.
I bought Left Neglected but haven't read it yet...

And I've only read half of What the Dog Saw...

I know there have been some other good ones, just don't remember what.

Marianne Nolan Cowan, Director of Alumni and Parent Engagement

Halfway to Each Other by Susan Pohlman
Loving Frank by Nancy Horan
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein


Karen Daigler, Bates Career Development Center

The Girls Who Went Away by Anne Fessler. Interesting, heart-wrenching stories of women who surrendered their children for adoption


Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. Study of the suppression of women in various cultures and the ways women have worked to overcome their circumstances to advocate for others.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

Crazy by Pete Earley. A very readable book (by a journalist whose son struggles with bipolar disorder) about the broken mental health/prison system in our country.

Marty Deschaines, HCCP, Asst. Dir. for Community Volunteerism and Student Dev.

I am really interested in China. Ha Jin's Waiting shows how difficult life and love can be when a man lives in two places--in the city for his job with summer visits to his hometown with women in both places. He is caught between two cultures and two very different women. Lisa See's novels are quick reads. Shanghai Girlsfollows two sisters from Shanghai where they were carefree and "modern" until their father, who has lost all of his wealth, sells them to Chinese men from Los Angeles. There they live traditional lives in what some might call a Chinese ghetto. Finally Peter Hessler (whose previous books, River Townand Oracle Boneswere also terrific reads) takes the reader across today's China in Country Driving: A Journey through China from Farm to Factory.Hessler captures the people he meets and the places he visits with such detail, the reader feels as if s/he has been right beside him and learns a great deal about the lives and perspectives of diverse Chinese people.


Anne Dodd, Senior Lecturer Emerita in Education

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
This book recounts the experiences of Olympic Runner Louis Zampirini as an Olympic Athlete and World War II POW. Hillenbrand provides and extensively researched account of Zampirini's life as a child, airman and post war hero. I highly recommend this book.


Stephanie Dumont, Administrative Assistant, Advancement

Digging to America - Anne Tyler


The Bean Trees - Barbara Kingsolver
One of her earliest books, and deserves to be better known.

Bleak House - Charles Dickens
Yes, really -- it's been a different book every time I've read it. So far, that's been in my teens, 20s, and 30s.

The Patron Saint of Butterflies - Cecilia Galante
Ostensibly a YA book, but well worth reading.

To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
Because it's probably been a while since most people reading the list read this book. My 8th-grade daughter was blown away by it this year.

Knitting for Peace:Make the World a Better Place One Stitch at a Time - Betty Christiansen
For knitters (obviously). Short chapters on ways you can knit for others in the hope that every tiny act helps things get better.

Elizabeth Durand, class of 1976

I read one of the books being discussed during Staff Enrichment Week, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari. It is a quick read and the messages are practical. For some reason it inspired me to proceed with getting our kitchen remodeled (something we had wanted to do for a long time) so I did get something out of it.


Ken Emerson, Associate Director of Human Resources

Following the Water- a Hydromancer's Notebook by David M Carroll
I read this during the winter and felt like I was transported into SPRING. It is a beautifully descriptive notebook with wonderful sketches, then again I love nature.


The Power of the Rellard by Carolyn F Logan
I got this for my grandson, but had to read it first. It is a young readers' adventure, much like The Golden Compass and Harry Potter.

Melinda Emerson, ILS Purchasing, Sales and Accounting Specialist

Justin Tussing - The Best People in the World -- a quirky, but engaging novel about young people on the lam back to the land in VT back in the day.


Jose Saramago - Blindness -- a ferocious but provocative apocalyptic novel by the Portuguese Nobel winner.

Aracelis Girmay - Teeth -- one of the most vibrant first books of poems I have read in some years. She read here at Bates this spring.

David Lodge - Deaf Sentence -- It's very British, and often excruciatingly funny-- you know, David Lodge.

Gregory Pardlo - Totem-- another excellent first book of poems, by a young poet coming to Bates to read in September.

Rob Farnsworth, Senior Lecturer in English

This might have been on the list before, but: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle - Barbara Kingsolver


Johanna Farrar, Associate Dean of Admission

Life by Keith Richards.
I just finished Keith Richards' autobiography, which I totally enjoyed but am embarrassed to recommend for fear that the Bates community would think that I ever partook in such debauchery while young.
But it really was a fun read.


Joan Fischer, Leadership Gifts Officer

May I recommend The Book Thief by Markus Zusak?
I do not want to spoil this book for anyone. Let is suffice to say that I had not cried over a book for many a year until I read this one. But, oddly enough, it is not a sad book!! Set in a small town in Nazi-ruled Germany, this book describes the daily life of young girl. Amazon ranking with over 1000 replies is 4.5 stars. It may be aimed at the young adult reader, but it one of the best-written and well-plotted books I have ever read. Once I figured out who the narrator of the tale was, I was hooked. I would love to read this in a book club so that I could discuss it with others.


Also, for a sweet "cozy" mystery, I just found Carolyn Hart's 3 detective books about the ghost Bailey Ruth.Ghost at WorkMerry Merry Ghost and Ghost in Trouble. The well-dressed heroine is not a "ghost", but an "emissary" from Heaven's "Department of Good Intentions" who gets sent back to fix problems without interfering, but always interferes. Above all, she must not scare anyone by being ghostly or doing something unexplainable, but how else can she save the day? These stories are lots of fun with minimal mental aerobics required.

Jane Frizzell, Network Services Administrator

I just finished the Alex McKnight series of books by Steve Hamilton. The first book in the series is A Cold Day in Paradise, which won the Private Eye Writers of America/St. Martin's Press Award for Best First Mystery by an Unpublished Writer. Once published, it went on to win the MWA Edgar and the PWA Shamus Awards for Best First Novel, and was short-listed for the Anthony and Barry Awards. Great series.


Shirley Govindasamy, Payroll Manager

If you like mysteries, here's a good one for summer reading, centering on horses and a train trip across Canada:The Edge, by Dick Francis.


Lois Griffiths, Alumna and Retiree

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield : A mystery with magnetic pull.


Left Neglected by Lisa Genova: Interesting story of the impact of a brain injury that could happen to any of us. Character has lost the ability to perceive information coming from the left side. Enjoyed this story very much and if you liked "Still Alice" you will like this also.

A Reliable Wife by Robert Godrick: This is a thriller on the quiet side but an enjoyable read.

I Was a Dancer by Jacques d' Amboise: I have to promote my cousin's book!! But even if I were not related, I would love this book. Jacques speaks of a life well-lived with lots of hard work and much success. The back ground of the dance world in the US and in foreign lands is well documented. It is a joy to know that some famous people can live a good and healthy life in the entertainment world. He has accomplished a lot in his life with more to come I am sure.

Lorraine Groves, Bookstore Sales Floor Supervisor

Great book, would recommend to all: Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides.


Nicole Hastings, Assistant in Instruction, Physics

I can't remember if I already suggested this in a previous year (books are so timeless!)--An Imaginary Life by David Malouf. A very edgy imagination of what Ovid's exile in Tomis (on the Black Sea) might (not) have been like. Short but engrossing.


Also the field guides by David Sibley, the one I use when I go birding myself--The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Eastern North America.

Tom Hayward, Humanities Reference Librarian

Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri. Longish, telling short stories.


Judy Head, Associate Dean of the Faculty

Under the Dome by Stephen King. On a normal, beautiful fall day in Chester's Mills, Maine, the town is suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. No one can fathom what this barrier is, where it came from, and when—or if—it will go away.


Laurie Henderson, Director of Offices Services

Ian Frazier, Travels in Siberia. Part travelogue, part history of where the Czars and Soviets sent the millions of people who annoyed them. Beautifully written with a droll sense of humor: lots can go wrong on a trip through a land that includes 11 time zones, and it does, starting with buying a second-hand car for the trip.


Antonia Fraser, Must You Go: My Life with Harold Pinter. A great historian's elegiac account of her mid-life marriage to one of the great modern playwrights, up to his death. The wry sad title is reflective of the tone of the book.

Rebecca Skloot, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. A stunning book on the "HeLa" cells that form the basis of most modern cellular and genetic research. Part medical history, part social commentary and family portrait of a young Black woman who died of cancer in Johns Hopkins University Hospital. Her cancer cells, taken without her knowledge, were able to survive outside her body and were used for most modern medical research, helping to find cures for polio, cancer and viral diseases. The book includes Victor McKusick, a Bates parent and founder of modern genetics, who was a leader in the team who worked with the cells.

Siddhartha Mukherjee, The Emperor of All Maladies. Another book on cancer, by a gifted and dedicated oncologist, with sections on the history of the disease and its treatment, layered with chapters on the author's work with his patients. Powerful writing, and ultimately hopeful about the disease.

Isabel Wilkerson, The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration. A powerfully told story of the Black migration from the South to other parts of America, following three families. The Amazon blurb calls it "an epic, beautifully written masterwork," not an exaggeration for this book.

Peter Gomes, The Good Life. The great voice is stilled, but in this book are his rolling cadences and phrasing with the warm crisp insight from one who spent his life thinking about how to make a good life from the imperfect stuff we are given.

Bill Hiss '66, Executive Director for International Advancement and Lecturer in Asian Studies

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is a great read!


Aislinn Hougham, Assistant Director of Annual Giving

The Wedding by Danielle Steele


Another great book, Vanished by Danielle Steele

Also--titles that are part of a SERIES aka THE SISTERHOOD series and the Lt. DALLAS series, these are GREAT and are ongoing.

Joan Houston, Administrative Assistant, Facility Services

To the End of the Land by David Grossman
This is a long and tender tale of an Israeli woman who hopes that a hike in the Galilee -- with an old friend and lover who has fathered her son but never met him -- will somehow protect the young man from his military service. If she's not sitting at home waiting for the delivery of her son's death notice, he can't die. Written by one of Israel's finest novelists and essayists who lost his own son to war, this book embodies the power of life and intimacy and rages against the idiocy of armed conflict.


Phyllis Graber Jensen, Director of Photography and Video, Communications and Media Relations

Half Broke Horses- Jeannette Walls this is the follow up to The Glass Castle which I would also recommend.
Another I would suggest is Room by Emma Donoghue. It's a difficult read in that it is about a woman abducted and abused by her captor, she has a son and together they escape and begin to live a normal life outside of Room. It's beautiful, dark and sad but uplifting when you consider the resilience of the human spirit.


A lighter, feel good read: The Art of Racing in the Rain Garth Stein. If you are a dog lover you will appreciate this book about the special bond between a dog and its human.

Ashley Jewell, Admission Coordinator, Campus Visits and Events

Has anyone recommended The Help yet? If you were raised by a Southern woman who came of age during the civil rights movement, this book will definitely provide insight into who she was. (I loved it!) Not a very lofty comment, but the book is a dang good read for the beach/airplane.


Beverly Johnson, Associate Professor of Geology

Cutting for Stone : a Novel / Abraham Verghese2009
Compelling story about a medical family - their relationships with the backdrop of Ethiopian's turbulent history.


The Sherlockian / Graham Moore2110
Sherlock lovers, for sure, and others will enjoy this debut novel intrigue about the interim period when Sir Conan Doyle had "killed" Sherlock to when he decides to write him to life again, and the modern Sherlockian search for the lost diary of the same period.

Octavia's Hill / Margaret Dickson1983
Margaret (Smith) Dickson '68 writes a haunting account of a fictional place in Maine and the historical relationships that continue to affect the present generation of occupants on the hill.

The Poacher's Son / Paul Doiron2010
I guess I'm on a Maine authors kick.... this is not as enthusiastically endorsed as the above ones, but I thought it was a good page-turner and an interesting look at the lives of those who live much further north.
Laura Juraska, Associate Librarian for Reference Services

Some years I offer more of a summary of my entries, but this year I'm especially tight for time so I'll have to settle for a few random selections with little description!


The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon: somehow I missed this book 10 years ago when everyone else was reading it, so I'll recommend it now to encourage anyone else who missed it to check it out (or anyone who forgot it because they read it 10 years ago to consider reading it again!).

The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver: I'm only about one-third of the way through this book, but one of my 17-year old sons is an avid reader who recommends it very enthusiastically, so I'll pass that recommendation along.

The Gravedigger's Daughter by Joyce Carol Oates: this is another one that everyone else was reading a few years ago and I only managed to get around to recently.

Parenting Out of Control: Anxious Parents in Uncertain Times by Margaret Nelson: a very engaging sociological study of class variation in parenting styles and the use of surveillance technologies in parenting; many students in my course on "Privilege, Power and Inequality" considered it their favorite of the 5 books we read because they recognized their own experiences in Nelson's analysis of her interviews with parents of teenagers (while I found it interesting both as a sociologist and as a parent of teenagers myself).

Winning by Francesco Duina: here's a plug for one of my colleagues in the Bates sociology department- his new book is written for a broader audience than just sociologists, and a very engaging read.

The 2010 Bates College Accreditation Self-Study Report: working on this was a large part of the reason I got so behind on everything else this year, and did less leisure reading than usual, so I'll include it on my list of what I've been reading, but I'm confident you'll find many better suggestions throughout this year's summer reading list.

Emily Kane, Whitehouse Professor of Sociology

Little Bee by Chris Cleave--Like the back of the cover says--it's simply a magical book that will leave you wanting to discuss with others, and if you're lucky, like I did when I discussed, learned totally different perspectives by the others who read. It's a fantastic book club, summer read.


The Help by Kathryn Stockett--This book has gained steady momentum since coming out last year. The author truly captures the Southern way of life, right down to the language, and at times can be laugh out loud funny, and as well as sad and heartbreaking. Each chapter is a different character voice that weave together to form an incredible story. Highly recommend!

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay--A different take on the World War 2/Holocaust era, it deals with the French occupation, and a little known event called Vel' d'Hiv. The story goes back and forth between 1942 and present day, and offers a heart wrenching take on loss and the destruction that family secrets can have, even across time. I read this book literally in 24 hours. I could not put it down.

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo--This book is marked as a childrens' book, however, like so many others, has messages within that speak directly to the grown- ups. A little less magical or whimsical than The Velveteen Rabbit, but still manages to touch you from within, and give a lesson simply on the power of love.

Blindness by Jose Saramago--I read this book over a decade ago, and have read it again for two different book clubs. This book was unlike any book I had ever read, both in content and style of writing. It takes you to a place that is raw and emotional, and asks the reader to consider what would happen if society were to completely breakdown, where all rules are broken, and what happens when individuals are taken to the very brink of humanity. It is captivating yet sometimes difficult to read because of its content, but it will leave the reader repeatedly asking the question "what if...?" and remind us how easy it is to take for granted the societal structure and comforts that we are so used to.

The Puzzle King by Betsey Carter--Just a really interesting and well crafted story based on the authors own ancestors--the puzzle king itself can mean so many different things as you journey throughout 30 years during a Hitler regime and how the tentacles of that occupation reached German Jews in the US, the struggle to fit in, despite enormous wealth, and the fact that not everything is as it seems. Another fascinating story from that time period.

Compiled and edited by Sarah Potter, Bookstore Director, 5/11

Read more →

2010 Summer Reading List

Sarah Potter


I welcome you to the 14th Annual Bates College Store Non-required Reading List, or Good Reads for Leisure Moments XIV. As in the past, this list includes submissions from across the Bates College community.

Receiving three or more recommendations on the 14th annual list:

  • The Help (Kathryn Stockett)
  • Olive Kitteridge (Elizabeth Strout '77)
  • Stieg Larsson trilogy
  • Still Alice (Lisa Genova '92)

Per usual, submissions are listed alphabetically by submitter's surname. We apologize for overcrowding, typographical and grammatical errors or other misrepresentations.

Enjoy! — Sarah Potter '77, College Store director

•   •   •

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley

This is an entertaining mystery, whose quirky 11-year-old investigator, Flavia deLuce, will have you laughing out loud (wait until you see what she does with the poison ivy oil she distills in her chemistry lab...). Apparently, it's the first in a series, and while I might not read every one, this one is a hoot.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

I'm sure this will appear on many people's list of books they have enjoyed this year. This is a story of America in the 60's - as the civil rights movement becomes part of every evening's national news. It is written from the perspective of several black maids who are encouraged to tell their stories in a book written by a young Southern woman (white, college grad, naive, a little lost, and redeemingly good-hearted). The juxtapositions of human kindness and cruelty, Northern and Southern prejudices, and the naiveté of youth and the wisdom of age are spellbinding. A fabulous read that will keep you interested and thinking about where you were "then."

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Foer

This is billed as the story of a boy whose father is killed in the September 11 tragedy. It is that, but it is much more about human emotion and the way the heart survives and heals in the face of incomprehensible loss. Set in New York in the 1990's, the book also flashes back to the bombing of Dresden in World War II, as told by the boy's paternal grandparents. It is a testimony to survival and abiding love. Don't let this description scare you away. While it deals with heavy stuff, there is humor and lightness as well, and it will leave you in a good place.

Lee Abrahamsen, Associate Professor of Biology

•   •   •

Don't Start the Revolution Without Me by Jesse Ventura

A "shoot from the hip," honest, non-partisan politician lets us into his political experiences and encounters to see just how far we've come from the original foundations of this country. He offers plans on how to right the ship, including a lot of things people just take for granted nowadays that our founding forefathers would have found simply atrocious. The book is written during his journey from Minnesota to Mexico (where he now lives) and about all the places, things and people along the way that force him to reminisce about his political career. A very passionate man with refreshing, yet simple political views encourages people to stand up to the government in a democratic way and tell them to STOP THE COURSE (as opposed to our last president's motto of "Stay the course"). That is, if the people still actually have the power to stand up to the government...

Jonathan Anctil , 2nd shift Custodian (Olin Arts)

•   •   •

The Stieg Larsson trilogy: The Girl with the Dragon TattooThe Girl Who Played with Fireand The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

Nail-biting thrillers with a great female protagonist.

Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World by Liaquat Ahamed

A fascinating read about the bankers at the heart of decision-making during the Great Depression.

The Wal-Mart Effect: How the World's Most Powerful Company Really Works--and How It's Transforming the American Economy by Charles Fishman

A highly readable analysis of Wal-Mart's impact on the world.

Áslaug Ásgeirsdóttir, Associate Professor of Politics

•   •   •

Joe Coomer's A Pocketful of Names -- one of the best novels I've read in years. (Beachcombing for a Shipwrecked God and Apologizing to Dogs were both good, too)

Anything by Kate Atkinson, but especially When Will There be Good News? and Case Histories-- grim but amazing.

Zoe Sharp's Charlie Fox series -- kickass woman bodyguard is the heroine...

For anyone with kids around, Owl Moon is a beauty. And Dr. Seuss's lesser-known My Many-Colored Days.

Anna Bartel, Friend

•   •   •

The Help by Kathryn Stockett is a must-read. If you were around in the 50's-60's it brings back a lot of historical memories. It makes you laugh, it makes you cry and sometimes you do both at the same time.

Jane Bedard, Admissions Office Specialist

•   •   •

Evidence (Beacon Press, 2009)

Mary Oliver's latest book of poetry, is lively and suggests that her more overtly religious tone is quieting down a bit, making room for more holy and surprising visitations.

God: Stories (Houghton Mifflin Company, 1998), edited by Michael Curtis, is a collection of short stories, good ones, by good writers such as James Baldwin, Flannery O'Conner, Alice Munro, and John Updike.

Relational Being: Beyond Self and Community (Oxford, 2009), by Social Psychologist Kenneth Gergen, is his latest appeal for a radical reconsideration of the self as sufficient unto its....self.

Bill Blaine-Wallace, Multifaith Chaplain

•   •   •

I'm Here if You Need Me:  A True Story by Kate Braestrup

Victoria Blaine Wallace, Wife of the chaplain and friend of the college!

•   •   •

The Race for the Triple Crown, Joe Drape

This summer, Disney brings its version of the Secretariat story to the movies with its adaption of Bill Nack's excellent Secretariat: The Making of a Champion. As a primer, Joe Drape's The Race for the Triple Crown, about the 2000 campaign, gives a good sense of the hoopla and intensity surrounding this part of American thoroughbred racing. While American racing is increasingly disconnected from the average person's understanding or experience, the sport's stories remain no less compelling and, in a sense, pure — at least when compared with all the other highly packaged sports-entertainment crap we're fed.

Jay Burns, editor, Bates Magazine

•   •   •

My Enemy's Cradle by Sarah Young

A historical-fiction about the WWII Lebensborn, maternity home for Aryan girls carrying German babies and Cyrla, Jewish girl who takes shelter in the most notorious Lebensborn. Once inside, she learns if she gives birth in the Lebensborn, her child will be taken from her and given to the father or the child will be "destroyed" when she is discovered to not be of pure blood.

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

Twin brothers - Marion and Shiva Stone - are orphaned in childbirth in a mission hospital in Addis Ababa, Africa during the political upheaval of Ethiopia's revolution.

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

An unforgettable, extraordinary story set Jackson, Mississippi in the early 1960s about black maids and the white women for whom they work.

Anne Marie Byrne, Staff Assistant—Dean of Students Office

•   •   •

Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation by Parker J. Palmer

It's about learning to live the life you are meant to live and that wants to be lived in you, compared to living a life that has (without your consent or even awareness) been imposed on you through any of a number of avenues, such as education, media, family expectations, and the like.

Ned Carr, Assistant Treasurer

•   •   •

East of the Sun, by Julia Gregson

A novel about women traveling from England to India in the early 1900's, some to find husbands, all somewhat naive about what lies ahead. Not really a book about India, but a good read about these women's lives and the way they intertwine.

Light on Snow, by Anita Shreve

I liked this one by Anita Shreve. I have found some of her books to be hit or miss (didn't likeChange of Altitude much), but this one was a very good read. A father and daughter live in the middle of nowhere as the father cuts himself off from his feelings and others after tragedy. Then they find an abandoned baby and must deal with the feelings it brings up, the mother's sudden presence, and a detective's search for answers.

Delta Wedding, by Eudora Welty

A gentle, slow moving story about a southern family set in the early 1900's (?) about a young girl who goes to be with extended family as they prepare for a wedding. It is more of a portrait than a compelling narrative, a story that unfolds through the characterizations of people set in a particular place and time. An interesting read, but you can't be expecting a dramatic plot line. It's a novel of place, time and character.

Burnt Shadows, by Kamila Shamsie

A very sad book that takes the protagonist from the bombings of Japan, where she loses her fiance, to India, and then to Pakistan, New York and Afganistan (after 9/11). It tells the tale of survival of the spirit through horrors, and of the complications of family and relationships. I really liked this story, although it got a bit long toward the end.

Haunting Bombay, by Shilpa Agarwal

A funny, poignant, and somewhat surreal book about a ghost that haunts a family. Set in India, seen through the eyes of a young girl.

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, by Lisa See

A poignant story set in 19th c China, about a friendship that is bound by -- and fractured by -- the tight bindings of tradition, as tightly wrapped as the bindings of their feet. An interesting read! I enjoyed this book a lot.

Olive Kitteridge, by Elizabeth Strout

I can't recall if I mentioned this one on last year's list, but it's worth another mention in any case. This wonderful book won the Pulitzer Prize and is written by a Bates grad! It is a series of short stories that center around the same town and in particular touch on one woman's life, Olive, who is sometimes harsh, sometimes gentle, sometimes mean, sometimes kind. She makes at least a cameo appearance in each story, and the basic "line" throughout follows her character, loosely. I like the way the story is

unassuming yet makes a strong sketch of character, of lives interwoven, sometimes randomly, of imperfection. An interesting read.

The City of Falling Angels, by John Berendt

I am still reading this one – you can pick it up and put it down easily, as there is no real central "plot line." It's a nonfiction story of the author's trip to Venice and his own journalistic investigation into an opera house fire, but it is primarily a book filled with eccentric, charming, theatrical and colorful characters! And a fine portrait of the city of Venice as well that becomes a character in its own right, with anecdotal vignettes that bring the city to life. I didn't expect to like this book as much as I do!

Paths of Glory, by Jeffrey Archer

I confess I've yet to read beyond the 5th page of this, because my son is reading it right now. But it seems like a very good read – a novel based on the life/quest of George Mallory who may or may not have been the first person to reach the top of Everest. The speculative aspect, combined with the real sense of history (his body was actually discovered in 1999), makes this story a fascinating exploration of what might have happened. And you can google Mallory and find all sorts of additional documentation, photos, and maps.

The Bone series, by Jeff Smith

These are not only kids' books, they are graphic novels, not the type I'd typically add to a "must read" list! But these are so clever and fun that anyone with kids between the ages of, say, 9 onward, should read these! They are funny and endearing. The first one is Out of Boneville and the series continues from there. My kids and I have thoroughly enjoyed these books, and we are making our way through the series.

Anita Charles, Lecturer in Education

•   •   •

Stern Men by Elizabeth Gilbert

The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors by Michele Young-Stone

Kristen Cloutier, HCCP, Assistant Director of Center Operations

•   •   •

Here are two books-one I've read, one I haven't (yet):

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (read it, loved it)

Walking in Circles Before Lying Down by Merrill Markoe (picked it up at the store, wanted to buy it; decided to get it at the library; have to pay fines first.)

Daphne Comeau, Administrative Assistant - Annual Giving

•   •   •

Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann

I just finished this extraordinary novel, interlocking stories of a motley, surprising crew of New Yorkers on the day that Phillipe Petit tight-rope walked between the Twin Towers in lower Manhattan. The characters are amazing, Colum McCann's spirit is compassionate and wise. He has a wonderful way with voices and language.

Home by Marilynne Robinson is brilliant. This is a gripping revisitation of some of the characters from her earlier Gilead, but you can read it as a separate novel. It's an American version of the Prodigal Son, with a prodigal daughter as well.... amazing ending, that made me reconsider the whole novel, 1950's America, and why the characters had acted as they did.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Bleak, bleak, bleak - but an amazingly realized vision of a world we hope never to see: a father and his son on the road in a post apocalyptic landscape. The relationship between the father and son is wonderfully tender, and it's also an incredible novel of place - the lower Appalachian mountains once the climate has been completely screwed up. I couldn't put it down.... and if it sounds crazy to read this during the summer, I'll just say (no spoiler alert) that it's ultimately a profoundly affirmative work of the imagination.

Jane Costlow, Professor of Russian

•   •   •

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

An astounding memoir of the author's childhood of transiency and poverty, and the challenge of understanding her parents' choice to live the way they did.

Marianne Nolan Cowan, Director of Bates Networks and Regional Outreach

•   •   •

I really liked Pocketful of Names by Joe Coomer

Karen Daigler, Assistant Director of Med Studies, Career Services

•   •   •

The Deportees and Other Stories by Roddy Doyle

I found Doyle's characters and prose lively and charming like all his books.

Sylvia Deschaine, Academic Admin. Assistant, Psychology

•   •   •

Here are some books I've enjoyed this year:

Year of Wonders, Geraldine Brooks

Still Alice, Lisa Genova

Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres

The Island at the Center of the World, Russell Shorto

Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck

Homer and Langley, E. L. Doctorow

Marty Deschaines, Asst. Director for Community Volunteerism and Student Leadership Development, HCCP

•   •   •

Exile is a political thriller by Richard Patterson which engages the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through a fictional trial for an accused Palestinian political assassin being defended by her former lover, a Jewish-American lawyer.

Patterson does an excellent job of explaining the history and describing the real life in Israel and the occupied territories.

A good love story, blended in with suspense and history. The plot is non-stop exciting from beginning to end.

Exile is a story of intrigue, conspiracy and a fatalistic love between two people whose cultures separates them in a timeless void.

Donna Duval, Administrative Assistant, Leadership Gifts

•   •   •

For the Sci-fi experience I just re-read the Landover Series by Terry Brooks.

For the mystery buffs, Donna Andrews - Murder with Puffins, was a fast read and takes place on Monhegan Island.

Also any of the J.S. Borthwick, books with the Maine locations and her characters of Sarah Deane and Alex McKenzie are enjoyable.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, has me hooked to the point that I carry it with me, so I can read whenever I can. All the books in the series are a big read, with over 800 pages.

Can't wait to see what others are reading.

Melinda Emerson, ILS Purchasing, Sales and Accounting Specialist

•   •   •

Richard Holmes-- The Age of Wonder

(Herschel, Banks, Davies, balloons across the Channel! Science in the Romantic Age! Brilliant.)

Nicholson Baker-- The Anthologist (novel); (poignant travails of a minor poet.)

Justin Tussing-- The Best People in the World (novel);

(a runaway comes of age in VT with back-to-the-landers, early 70s.)

Sarah Manguso-- Two Kinds of Decay (illness memoir-- sharp insight, striking formal conception.)

Don Paterson-- (3 books, poetry) Landing LightRainBest Thought, Worst Thought

Wendy Cope-- (poetry) Serious Concerns

Derek Walcott-- (poetry) White Egrets

Jonathan Skinner-- (poetry) With Naked Foot

Jason Brown-- (stories) Why The Devil Chose New England For His Work

Rob Farnsworth, Senior Lecturer-English

•   •   •

My book club read these three books and we all LOVED them.

The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grisson

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

Anita Farnum, Security and Campus Safety

Montana 1948 by Larry Watson

Johie Farrar, Assistant Dean of Admissions

The Shack by William Young

This was an excellent book!

Jeannine Ferron, Accounting Assistant

•   •   •

How about Old Filth [by Jane Gardam, Whitbred Award winner]? Just finished it, and enjoyed it.

From The New Yorker:This mordantly funny novel examines the life of Sir Edward Feathers, a desiccated barrister known to colleagues and friends as Old Filth (the nickname stands for "Failed in London Try Hong Kong"). After a lucrative career in Asia, Filth settles into retirement in Dorset. With anatomical precision, Gardam reveals that, contrary to appearances, Sir Edward's life is seething with incident: a "raj orphan," whose mother died when he was born and whose father took no notice of him, he was shipped from Malaysia to Wales (cheaper than England) and entrusted to a foster mother who was cruel to him. What happened in the years before he settled into school, and was casually adopted by his best friend's kindly English country family, haunts, corrodes, and quickens Filth's heart; Gardam's prose is so economical that no moment she describes is either gratuitous or wasted.

Joan Fischer, Leadership Gifts Officer

•   •   •

Anita Shreve's Change in Altitude.

Rae Garcelon, Class of 1962, Former Alumni Director

•   •   •

The book that the Maine [Bates Alumni] book club did last week was fantastic:

The Help [Stockett].

Leigh Graham, Assistant Director of Alumni and Parent Programs

I have been reading two books about the War of 1812, a much neglected part of our history. The first for genealogy (because I had an ancestor stationed there during the war), Blockhouse and Battery: A History of Fort Edgecomb by Joshua Smith.

The second for town history, Strange Fatality: The Battle of Stoney Creek, 1813 by James Elliott, because it features two founders of the Town of Monmouth, Henry Dearborn and John Chandler. Both well researched and well written. They won the battle but lost their general!

On a completely different note, I am enjoying Madeleine Albright's memoir Madame Secretary, having worked with Senator Muskie's papers at the Muskie Archives. She was one of his staff people, and her account of the "dirty tricks" perpetrated by Segretti is one of the highlights.

Lois Griffiths, Retired staff member, Class of 1951

•   •   •

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Precious by Sapphire

Lorraine Groves, Bookstore Sales Floor Supervisor

•   •   •

I just finished Martha Grimes' Dakota, which I had been meaning to read last summer--pretty good.

Elaine Hansen, President

•   •   •

Murder on a Midsummer Night, Kerry Greenwood

Kerry Greenwood's Phryne Fisher mysteries have been short, light reads until now. While certainly not literature, Midsummer Night takes it up more than a notch both in length and content. I had to read it twice, spending hours, the second time, looking up references to art genres, artists, paintings, wall paper (Who knew that wall paper was a serious art form?), plays, playwrights and antiquities. I never did figure out why Dulac blue, which appeared throughout, was significant, nor why she deliberately misled the reader regarding the origin of a particular gold artifact. The usual murder mystery elements, greed, jealousy and subterfuge, are there, along with silly things like a butler named Butler, but Midsummer Night is worth more than a "skim" read.

Jim Hart, Programmer/Analyst, ILS

•   •   •

Giddins, Gary : Jazz , W.W. Norton & Co., c2009

SUMMARY    History of jazz that explains what jazz is, where it came from, and who created it and why, all within the broader context of American life and culture. Emphasizing its African American roots, Jazz traces the history of the music over the last hundred years. From ragtime and blues to the international craze for swing, from the heated protests of the avant-garde to the radical diversity of today's artists, Jazz describes the travails and triumphs of musical innovators struggling for work, respect, and cultural acceptance set against the backdrop of American history, commerce, and politics. With vibrant photographs by legendary jazz chronicler Herman Leonard, Jazz is also an arresting visual history of a century of music.

The above summary is from the catalog record; my own "review" is that this is very well written and covers up to the recent past. The most interesting feature is the detailed musical analysis of selected recordings--analysis that a non-musician (like me) can understand and follow as s/he listens to the record. This illuminates and deepens the appreciation of both favorite tunes and unfamiliar music. One of the better jazz books of recent years.

Tom Hayward, Humanities Reference Librarian

•   •   •

Here's my recommendation: Leo Tolstoy, "The Cossacks" and "Hadji Murad." Both are short stories and published in The Kreutzer Sonata and Other Short Stories in the Oxford World Classics series. I rediscovered Tolstoy by reading them. More importantly, I realized how much the current history of the area north of Iran was actually related to the Russian expansion into that region in the nineteenth century.

Atsuko Hirai, Kazushige Hirasawa Professor of History

•   •   •

A few books about Asia:

Ted Morgan, Valley of Death: The Tragedy at Dien Bien Phu that Led America into the Vietnam War

In this thoroughly researched 700-page book, Morgan, a Pulitzer Prize winner, balances painful portraits of the months-long battle with detailed accounts of how American foreign policy was gradually pulled into the collapse of French colonialism. Like many books by Westerners about Vietnam, the Vietnamese except for Ho Chi Minh and General Giap almost completely disappear into the background, despite that almost half the forces fighting on the French side at Dien Bien Phu were Vietnamese.

Karl Marlantes, Matterhorn

A powerful Vietnam war novel by a former Marine officer, 35 years in the writing is a monumental attempt at self-healing, perhaps likely to become a war classic.

Leslie T. Chang, Factory Girls: From Village to City in a Changing China

A reporter's look (Chang was a WSJ writer) at the immense social transformations caused by the migrations of millions of young women to the factory cities and their dormitories. The book is also for Chang a "Roots" experience, as she traces her own family roots to a rural northern village near the Great Wall. Three great China books in one marriage: Chang's husband is Peter Hessler, author of the equally well-written River Town and Oracle Bones.

James Bradley, The Imperial Cruise: A Secret History of Empire and War

Bradley, the acclaimed author of Flags of our Fathers, may be stretching his luck with this book. Theodore Roosevelt sent his Secretary of State and future President William Howard Taft with a Congressional delegation and his daughter Alice on a cruise to Hawaii and Asia. It was presented to the press as a good will junket, but Taft secretly negotiated treaties in Korea, Japan, China and the Philippines that negatively affected later Asian history.

Two chilling books about explorers in South America:

Candice Millard, River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey

Faced with political loss, Roosevelt's impulse was often to charge into some grand adventure, on San Juan Hill, in North Dakota, or in this book, in a terribly misconceived expedition to follow an unexplored river through the heart of interior Brazil. That any of them survived is a miracle.

David Grann, The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon

The author, a talented New Yorker journalist with little jungle experience, found a set of diaries of the early 20th century British explorer Percy Fawcett and resolved to follow his track to find the lost Indian empire the Spaniards called Eldorado. Grann barely survived; Fawcett and his son were never found.

Bill Hiss '66, Executive Director for International Advancement and Lecturer in Asian Studies

•   •   •

There is a series of books by JD Robb. It is the Lt. Dallas Homicide detective series. They may not appeal to everyone, but the rapport between the characters is great, and I have loved and read all in the series. I eagerly await each new book as they come out (not fast enough for me). So, hope this helps. Don't be turned off by the NAMES of the books and not for the faint at heart as the subject IS murder, but if a reader can get beyond that fact, the characters MORE than make up for the subject matter.

Naked in Death

Glory in Death

Immortal in Death

Rapture in Death

Ceremony in Death

Vengeance in Death

Holiday in Death

Conspiracy in Death

Loyalty in Death

...and more!

Joan Houston, Administrative Assistant, Facility Services

•   •   •

It didn't seem like I'd read any books except garden catalogues for quite a while, but I thought of one that I read this year and loved. Again this year I'm touting Bernd Heinrich, who has written a number of books that are just scientific enough for me to learn something and have just enough human interest to really grab me emotionally. The book I read most recently really got to me emotionally. It's called, The Snoring Bird: My Family's Journey Through a Century of Biology, and it's a biography of his father, Gerd Heinrich, who made important but little-recognized contributions to the field of biology, and a memoir of the author's childhood.

After his father's death, Bernd found himself drawn to the task of piecing together Gerd's life, from his childhood on a family estate in Poland, through the family's dangerous (and incredibly suspenseful) escape in the wake of World War II and re-settlement in Western Maine, to the painful and frustrating wrangles Bernd and his father engaged in as Bernd found his own way in his father's field. Permeating the book is Gerd's absolute obsession with the study and identification of different species of parasitical ichneumon wasps. He spent his life hunting down specimens of these wasps, identifying their species or prompting the identification of a new species, and adding them to his collection. Also at the core of the book is the disappointment and pain felt by both father and son in their dealings with each other. Ultimately, they were much more alike than different, and much more closely bound together than I think either of them thought. I found the book deeply moving -- to see how Bernd finally came to walk in his father's shoes and see Gerd on Gerd's own terms is very sad at times, but sad in that way that feels almost good as your heart opens to another human being or beings.

Sue Hubley, Senior Researcher, College Advancement

•   •   •

For those who are puzzled by what happened in the nation's financial markets, two very readable, non-technical accounts (almost summer reading!) are:

Andrew Sorkin - Too Big to Fail

Michael Lewis - The Big Short (author of The Blind Side, of Sandra Bullock fame)

Jim Hughes, Thomas Sowell Professor of Economics

•   •   •

I'd recommend Lords of Finance (Liaquat Ahamed), which is about the central bankers who made the Great Depression possible - if you enjoyed 13 BankersEconned or Bailout Nation, you'll like this one.

The Ghost Map (Steven Johnstone), gives the history of how London detected and defeated cholera outbreaks in the early Victorian period.  At one level this book is and reads like a detective story.  At another level the book considers the question of how the organization of information shapes the kind of information we can imagine and discover - and how and why the way we organize information changes.

Conspirata: A Novel of Ancient Rome. (Robert Harris). The title says it all.  If you likedImperium (and if you didn't, I'm sure there's a 12 step group to help you), you'll love Conspirata- set in the year that Cicero was consul.

Margaret Imber, Associate Professor of Classical and Medieval Studies

•   •   •

Three unforgettable books I borrowed from Ladd Library in 2009-10:

Zeitoun by Dave Eggers, is the story of Syrian-born contractor Abdulrahman Zeitoun, who chose to stay in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, hoping to protect his property and the lives of others. He lived to regret it.

In Struggle: SNCC and the Black Awakening of the 1960s by Clayborne Carson, an essential history of the remarkable young organizers of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee who led a revolution and laid the groundwork for future U.S. protest movements.

Dorothea Lange: A Life Beyond Limits by Linda Gordon paints a portrait of an artist whose photographic icons grew out of her strengths as well as her weaknesses. And she had plenty of both.

Phyllis Graber Jensen, Senior Staff Writer and Photographer

•   •   •

Here are a few random selections, things I read over the course of this year that I enjoyed and also happen to remember...

Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie: this novel follows generations of a family from Nagasaki during WWII to India to Pakistan to NYC and Afghanistan during 2001, weaving a beautiful multi-generational family saga with a nuanced geopolitical commentary that highlights colonial power and privilege.

The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb: a very different sort of multi-generational family saga set within real events, not quite as beautifully written as Burnt Shadows in my opinion, but still a very engrossing read; it follows a fictional couple who both teach high school at Columbine High, tracing their family stories back and forward from the 1999 shooting.

Game Change by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin: this tell-all about the 2008 U.S. presidential election isn't the sort of book I typically read, because I prefer to read fiction when I'm not reading sociology/gender studies, but it was lent to me by a Bates alum who had purchased it in an airport and said he couldn't put it down; I too found it a pretty addictive read, both in the political analysis and the gossipy details about Obama, Edwards, Clinton, McCain, and Palin.

Radical Ambition: C. Wright Mills, the Left, and American Social Thought by Daniel Geary: if you like intellectual history, I recommend this biography of mid-20th century sociologist and public intellectual C. Wright Mills, which explores the thinkers and schools of thought that influenced Mills both as an academic and a political figure (and argues that Mills was less detached from the academy than he is often considered now). It's a good read for anyone interested in Mills in particular, but also for those with a broader interest in leftist politics in the mid-20th century, as it traces Mills' changing perspective on such politics (in the U.S. and internationally) across the decades of his relatively short career.

Emily Kane, Professor of Sociology

•   •   •

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel is the best book I have read in years. As I suspect most of you know (given the amount of legitimate praise it has received, e.g., Man Booker prize for 2009), it is an historical novel of Cromwell's life/role during the reign of Henry VIII, is wonderfully written, and humanizes Cromwell and the various players.

John Kelsey, Professor of Psychology

•   •   •

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver

A Kingsolver fan, I loved this book while I was reading it and then I was resentful afterward because she makes growing her own vegetables, making her own cheese, raising her own meat, and on and on, look so easy--the Martha Stewart of the eating-local movement. Then I felt guilty: Do I dare to eat a peach if it was shipped from the South? (apologies to T.S.Eliot) I'm over it now and have incorporated those practices that I can into my day-to-day life. I have recommended this book to others.

Olive Kitteredge by Elizabeth Strout, Bates '77

Wonderful group of stories about people who seem so real set in an area that's so familiar.

Digging to America by Anne Tyler

I had sworn off Ann Tyler for a while because her characters were getting too quirky for me, but I highly recommend this book about two families who adopt daughters from Korea and their different approaches to assimilation into a new place and retention of cultural and ethnic heritage.

Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway

A life-affirming novel about four people living in Sarajevo during the siege: a cellist who plays outside on the street for 22 days in memory of citizens who were killed by a bomb while they waited in a breadline, the sniper who is ordered to protect him, and two men who are trying to

accomplish basic tasks like buying food and hauling drinking water not knowing if they will survive the bullets and bombs that are destroying their city.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

A different look at war and its effects by people who survived Nazi occupation on their island in the English Channel and the author who wants to write about it. Told through a series of letters to and from different people, the characters are endearing and the story keeps you engaged.

Here and Nowhere Else by Jane Brox

One of a trilogy of memoirs about a family farm and apple orchard in Massachusetts and how the family members handle the transfer of ownership and management to the next generation. The book is beautifully written and heart-breaking in parts, especially when Brox candidly reveals her love of the farm and her frustration with family members as they confront the inevitable.

Margo H. Knight, Director of Advancement Research

•   •   •

All the World's a Grave. A New Play by William Shakespeare by John Reed

Laura Warholic or, The Sexual Intellectual by Alexander Theroux

Jesus-Shock by Peter Kreeft

My Losing Season by Pat Conroy

Crash Course: The American Automobile Industry's Road from Glory to Disaster by Paul Ingrassia

Churchill by Paul Johnson

Paul Kuritz, Professor of Theater

•   •   •

The Hiding Man: a Biography of Donald Barthelme - Tracy Daugherty (St. Martin's Press, 2009)

A fascinating peek into the literary world of the 60's and 70's.

The Farmer's Daughter - Jim Harrison (Grove Press, 2010)

The master returns, and with Brown Dog.

Jim Lamontagne, Ladd Library Assistant, Cataloging

•   •   •

Shattered by Karen Robards

Maureen Lessard, Bates employee spouse

•   •   •

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

Wonderful novel set in Ethiopia on the grounds of a hospital serving the poor. Verghese opens window after window onto lives of people who will become part of your extended family. A physician, Abraham Verghese is well known for his work of non-fiction, My Own Country. At over 600 pages, this isn't a quick read, but I didn't want it to end!

Rebecca Lovett, Assistant Bookstore Manager

•   •   •

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell (author of the also highly recommended Black Swan Green!)

Cloud Atlas is simply amazing. "Mitchell's virtuosic novel presents six narratives that evoke an array of genres, from Melvillean high-seas drama to California noir and dystopian fantasy." (new yorker)

Perhaps previously recommended (?), The Anthologist by Nicholson Baker.

Bill Low, Curator, Museum of Art

•   •   •

Siri Hustvedt, What I Loved (very sad, beware)

Rosina Lippi, The Homestead (FABULOUS!)

Molly Gloss, The Hearts of Horses

David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas, probably the most amazing book I've read in a long time

Stieg Larsson's trilogy

Kathy Low, Professor of Psychology

•   •   •

187 Reasons Mexicanos Can't Cross the Border: Undocuments 1971-2007 by Juan Felipe Herrera

"A hybrid collection of texts written and performed on the road, from Mexico City to San Francisco, from Central America to central California, illustrated throughout with photos and artwork. Rants, manifestos, newspaper cutups, street theater, anti-lectures, love poems, and riffs tell the story of what it's like to live outlaw and brown in the United States."

The Diary of Frida Kahlo: An Intimate Self-Portrait by Frida Kahlo

"Mexican painter Frida Kahlo (1919- 1954) kept this haunting journal during the last decade of her life, preoccupied with death, beset by declining health, isolation and repeated surgical operations resulting from the bus accident that severely damaged her spine, pelvic bones, right leg and right foot at the age of 18. This facsimile edition reproduces her handwritten, colored-ink entries and accompanying self-portraits, sketches, doodles and paintings, which fuse surrealism, pre-Columbian gods and myths, biomorphic forms, animal-human hybrids, archetypal symbols."

Varieties of Exile (New York Review Books Classics Series) by Mavis Gallant

"Mavis Gallant - winner of the Rea Award for the Short Story - is the modern master of what Henry James called the international story, the fine-grained evocation of the quandaries of people who, from choice or necessity, have no place to call home. The complexity and uncertainty of the idea of home are very much at issue in the stories Gallant writes about Canada, her home country."

Photography Degree Zero: Reflections on Roland Barthes's Camera Lucida by Geoffrey Batchen

"Roland Barthes's 1980 book Camera Lucida is perhaps the most influential book ever published on photography. The terms studium and punctum, coined by Barthes for two different ways of responding to photographs, are part of the standard lexicon for discussions of photography; Barthes's understanding of photographic time and the relationship he forges between photography and death have been invoked countless times in photographic discourse; and the current interest in vernacular photographs and the ubiquity of subjective, even novelistic, ways of writing about photography both owe something to Barthes. Photography Degree Zero, the first anthology of writings on Camera Lucida, goes beyond the usual critical orthodoxies to offer a range of perspectives on Barthes's important book."

The Last September by Elizabeth Bowen

"Elizabeth Bowen's portrait of a young woman's coming of age in a brutalized time and place, where the ordinariness of life floats like music over the impending doom of history. In 1920, at their country home in County Cork, Sir Richard Naylor and his wife, Lady Myra, and their friends maintain a skeptical attitude toward the events going on around them, but behind the facade of tennis parties and army camp dances, all know that the end is approaching—the end of British rule in the south of Ireland and the demise of a way of life that had survived for centuries. Their niece, Lois Farquar, attempts to live her own life and gain her own freedoms from the very class that her elders are vainly defending. The Last September depicts the tensions between love and the longing for freedom, between tradition and the terrifying prospect of independence, both political and spiritual."

The Foster's Market Cookbook: Favorite Recipes for Morning, Noon, and Night by Sara Foster

"In the tradition of the Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, Foster has put together favorite recipes featured at her two Foster's Markets (where she prepares and sells seasonal dishes) in Durham and Chapel Hill, N.C. Much of the food is simple and depends on fresh, quality ingredients enhanced by herbs and spices for its success. Starting with a wide selection of muffins and breads, such as the moist Granny Foster's Banana Walnut Bread, the book covers a range of breakfast and brunch dishes before moving on to soups, stews, chilies and the more traditional sandwiches, spreads and snacks of a gourmet market store.  Enhanced with photos and scattered sidebar tips, the book is well designed and user-friendly, making it a welcome addition for those who plan their meals with the seasons."

Perrin Lumbert, Library Assistant – Interlibrary Loan

•   •   •

Making Ideas Happen, by Scott Belsky


The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson


Drive-The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink


Ethan Dahlin Magoon, Online Media Producer, CMR

•   •   •

Last Night in Twisted River, John Irving

Irving's 12th and latest, is set in New England and actually begins on a tributary of the Androscoggin, where a young logger dies in a log jam. The story begun in a logging camp flows downriver to Boston, follows a cook and his son through the restaurants of Boston, Brattleboro and Toronto, running from a crime that no one may know was even committed. Or, was it? Oh yes, there are bears and tattoos, too...wheat else would you expect?

Reading the Forested Landscape, Tom Wessels.

When I think I know something about land use history, I go back to this book and learn something new. Tom Wessels is a master of interpreting the signs left behind: how an old stone wall reveals which side was the pasture, and which the crop field; how the trees tell you when the fields were used and for what, and what the soil is like underneath. A field trip in a book, and a wonderful companion to read before and after a walk in the nearby woods.

The Poacher's Son, Paul Doiron. Can I recommend a book I haven't quite had the opportunity to read yet? Why not? It's had great reviews, and Paul, the author, friend and editor-in-chief of DownEast magazine, has been talking about his first novel for years. It has just come out, and my copy is on its way. I know it's going to be good. He has crafted a mystery set in the Spencer Lake area of Northern Maine near Jackman, incorporating some tales of the real prisoner-of-war camp set up there in the 40's, and drawing from stories of a mutual friend who used to be doctor to the logging camps. Can't wait to read this suspenseful thriller from a real place I once loved to visit.

Here's an addendum to my blurb about Paul Doiron's The Poacher's Son

I just finished reading the book. Hard to put down; the stuff that all-nighters are made of. The last two lines say it all: "People disappoint you so often. I hardly knew how to react when they surpassed all your hopes." This is a keeper. Read it.

Judy Marden, Bates retiree, Class of 1966

•   •   •

...may already be on the list, but The Help by Katherine Stockett and Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell are what I have enjoyed recently.

Also, The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent was very good!

Melani McGuire, Compensation and Classification Manager

•   •   •


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

Read more →

2009 Summer Reading List

Sarah Potter


I welcome you to the 13th Annual Bates College Store Non-required Reading List, or Good Reads for Leisure Moments XIII. As in the past, this list includes submissions from across the Bates College community. Enjoy! — Sarah Potter '77, College Store director

•    •    •

Brother Fish by Bryce Courtenay
A good story about prisoners of war during the Korean conflict, racism and the strength of friendships. I actually listened to this one in audio form, and the reader was superb as well. A good one for a long car trip. The Great Influenza by John Barry Everything you EVER wanted to know about the flu epidemic of 1918. An absolutely fascinating story of the pandemic that killed more than 40 million people - the reason why we are so terrified of the emergence of H1N1. A good story that is well written and interesting (from a virology geek's point of view)-a very accessible account of how one virus changed history.

Body of Work: Meditations on Mortality from the Human Anatomy Lab by Christine Montross
David Cummisky told me about this book a while ago and I finally read it this year. It was written when Ms. Montross was a first year medical student, dissecting her cadaver in the gross anatomy lab. Her prose is really beautiful. Whether she is describing her own thoughts about her right to violate the body of another, the high personal price one pays to navigate a medical education, or the glistening dura mater that covers the brain, the writing is equally compelling. I was really captivated (good call, Dave!). The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett OK, it takes me a while to get to some of these "classics". This is another one that I'm listening to on my iPod - I am hooked on listening to audiobooks in the car and on airplanes. So far I like it, and although it's a little contrived, I like the details in this historical fiction about the building of the Kingsbury cathedral in 12th century England. It's not so complex that I forget to get off the turnpike....

Lee Abrahamson, Associate Professor of Biology

•    •    •

My reading has been eclectic: A Guide to the Birds of East Africa (Nicholas Drayson) was very fun: a love story in postcolonial Nairobi with interesting politics; School of Essential Ingredients: not my favorite, but a light, sweet food- and-relationships novel; Peace Like a River (Leif Enger): beautiful story of a family's struggles with faith, integrity, and the law in the upper midwest, gorgeously written; Emotionally Weird (Kate Atkinson): took me two readings to "get" it, but a very clever, fun, bizarre literary adventure — stories within stories; Metzger's Dog (Thomas Perry): rather hilarious heist-and-murder sort — surprisingly clever and lots of fun, though I usually enjoy stories more when there's a character I can really admire; (also The Island by Perry —same critique); Dick Francis novels — any of them — good fun around/involving the British horse-racing scene. Read too many, though, and you end up speaking and writing a little funny. Len is reading The Life You Can Save — Peter Singer — and loving it. It's an intellectual argument for increased philanthropy from individuals — giving consistently, because of justice and reason, rather than sporadically out of pity. He's also enjoyed The Starfish and the Spider andHere Comes Everybody, both about new organizational models of leadership, usually technologically mediated. And he worked through Breach of Faith which is about Katrina, though it was heavy.

Anna Bartel, Associate Director of the Harward Center for Community Partnerships (and her husband, Len!)

•    •    •

Shadow Divers by Robert Kurson

Jim Bauer, Director of Network and Infrastructure Services, ILS

•    •    •

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch....should be a "must read" requirement for everyone. Very inspiring... Knit Two by Kate Jacobs.....sequel to The Friday Night Knitting Club, if you read the first book, reading this is like catching up with old friends.

Jane Bedard, Admissions Office Specialist

•    •    •

Moloka'i by Alan Brennert
Fascinating historical fiction about life in a quarantined leprosy settlement. The Summer Guest by Justin Cronin A perfect summer read that takes place at a fishing camp in rural Maine. The Double Bind by Chis Bohjalian A psychological drama with a twist - you'll want to read it twice. Beneath a Marble Sky by John Shors Historical fiction about the building of the Taj Mahal.

Kristen Belka, Associate Dean of Admissions

•    •    •

Finding Beauty in a Broken World, Terry Tempest Williams, Pantheon
A beautiful read indeed. For example: "A mosaic is a conversation between what is broken." There is, in the middle, an approximately 100-page exercise in what first feels like tedium and monotony. Then I got it! Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, Thomas Merton, Doubleday Still remarkably fresh and relevant after almost 40 years. A Mercy, Toni Morrison, Knopf The language of an earlier South caught and kept my curiosity.

Bill Blaine-Wallace, Multifaith Chaplain

•    •    •

Robert Whiting, You Gotta have Wa (1989). This is a fascinating account of how America's pasttime changed/evolved in Japan to be more compatible with the culture as it was in the 70s and 80s. A great read for anyone with an interest in baseball or Japan. Julie Norem, The Positive Power of Negative Thinking. (2001). If you've ever been disgusted by someone telling you to "not worry so much" or "look on the bright side," then you may be a defensive pessimist. Norem argues that this may actually be a good thing for many people, as it can help them deal with what might otherwise be overwhelming anxiety. Moreover, she argues that for some people, being defensively pessimistic is better than being optimistic! This is an interesting book that turns the positive psychology movement on its head.

Helen Boucher, Assistant Professor of Psychology

•    •    •

Matthew Kelly: The Rhythm of Life
An easy read for those who seek to get their emotional life in order. The author is best known for his public speaking and motivational skills. He has many other titles as well that cover other subjects. It is an easy and wonderful read. These titles are also available on cds.

Jane Boyle, Library Assistant, ILS

•    •    •

Here are a few children's books that are/have been popular at our house. Ellison the Elephant by Eric Drachman A wonderful story about self-confidence and perseverance that you will want to read over and over again. The accompanying CD is priceless. The Dinosaur Who Lived in My Backyard by B.G. Hennessy A great book for little ones interested in dinosaurs. Dinosaur facts woven into a cute story that even includes lima beans. Do Like a Duck Does! by Judy Hindley The rhyming makes this a really fun book to read. Dig, Dig, Digging by Margaret Mayo An entertaining book for those fascinated by big machines such as bulldozers, tractors and firetrucks.

Heather Bumps, Assistant to the President

•    •    •

As The Earth Turns, Gladys Hasty Carroll '25, D.Lit '45
In one of the interviews that Pulitzer-winning author Elizabeth Strout '77 gave recently, she told Maine Public Broadcasting that it wasn't until she moved to New York, where people assume that all the New England states are all the same, that she began to focus on her own Maine background in her writing, with great success. That made me think about Carroll's most famous book, 1933's "As the Earth Turns" — about inland Maine farm life — which faded then rebounded in critical approval in the 1990s as people began to value the sense of place in Carroll's writing. It's a good lesson.

H. Jay Burns, Editor Bates Magazine

•    •    •

Magazines: Mother Jones, Mental Floss

Books: The Complete Manual of Things That Might Kill You: A Guide to Self-Diagnosis for Hypochondriacs by Knock Knock; The Phantom Tollbooth by Justin Norton; Poor People by William T. Vollmann

Anne Marie Byrne, Staff Assistant-Dean of Students Office

•    •    •

The Death of Vishnu by Manil Suri I really liked this book! An interesting blend of Indian culture and contemporary life in Bombay, with the mythical world of the gods. The story loosely follows the death of Vishnu, a man who lives in an apartment hallway. We learn of the inhabitants of the building, while Vishnu goes in and out of delirium and/or death "truths." A clever combination and the characters are built well.

The Glass Castle: A Memoir, by Jeanette Walls This is an excellent book and a page-turner! It ranks right up there with Angela's Ashes — and I think I like this one better. A true story of a girl's horrific childhood. Told with humor and insight. My 12 yr old started reading this book "accidentally" and couldn't put it down until he had finished it. A Mercy, by Toni Morrison Since this is one of my all-time favorite authors, I have trouble saying anything negative about her most recent book. A friend ordered it for me as soon as it became available, and I finished in a couple of days. It was a satisfying read, wonderfully written. A bit shorter than I would have liked. I think she could have beefed out some of the characterization and depth more, but it was a good read. Not as good as Beloved, but that would be hard to compete with.

The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea, by Sebastian Junger
I guess I'm behind the rest of the world in reading this book, and no, I haven't seen the movie! The book was a thriller — kept me turning pages to find out what would happen next. It's told in intricate detail, sometimes more than I wanted, esp about the ships and the ocean statistics. It's not a "typical" book for me, but I liked it more than I thought I might. I kept dreaming about it, and I kept feeling like I was actually in the book at times, esp when the process of drowning is described. Now I guess I need to rent the movie! (Don't give away the ending... Oh yeah, the ship goes down.)

The Pilot’s Wife, by Anita Shreve I'm on a bit of an Anita Shreve kick. This book didn't disappoint. I like her writing style and her sense of the perverse. She takes the reader through the unfolding of a terrible discovery that keeps you turning pages. She takes the ordinary and makes it strange, and the strange ordinary.

Sea Glass, by Anita Shreve Again, another story where the reader gets pulled in bit by bit and washed out to sea with the unraveling of truths and deceptions! I didn't like the ending — seemed very abrupt and too wrapped up, but maybe the abruptness is part of the point.

Testimony, by Anita Shreve This book is dark, intense, and disturbing. Through multiple viewpoints, we see the cause and effect of one terrible moment caught on video — what led up to it is just as troubling as what happened afterward. This book is well written — and despite the darkness was hard to put down. But I warn you, it’s a bit on the weird side.

Everything is Illuminated, by Jonathan Safran Foer I thought I would like this book more than I did, but it was a good read. By about the 3rd page, I was already sick to death of one of the narrator's overdone butchered English and smug crassness. But of course that sets you up for lots of change in the character as the book evolves. The book is about a young man who goes searching for the woman who saved his grandfather during WWII. The first-person narrator who opens the book is a "foil" of sorts, as the chapters from different viewpoints interweave with each other. One thing I really liked about this story was its nuances of what's real and what's fiction. The Ukrainian narrator alludes to shifting and "inventing" parts of the story, and some of the "historical" chapters by the other narrator are clearly fanciful.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, by Jonathan Safran Foer
Unlike his other book, this one was a definite win! I couldn't put it down and finished it in two days. I love the blend of narration, the puzzling out that the reader needs to do, the innocent child-narrator, and the story that presents one tale of the aftermath of 9-11 without overdoing the drama. I love the characters that the boy meets in his journey, and I enjoyed the mystery of the key. Nothing seems to turn out as you want it to, and yet it all does seem to resolve itself. Some of the book is quite unrealistic — a mom allowing her 9 yr old boy to wander the streets of NY for hours on end?? Improbable at best. A 103 yr old man who is able to participate in some of those hours-long wanderings? Again, not likely. Esp when he more or less disappears later. (Oops, was that a spoiler??) But I don't mind suspending my disbelief for a great book!

The Septembers of Shiraz, by Dalia Sofer
I am just finishing up this book and have really liked it! It is somewhat-loosely based on the author's childhood experience of her father's imprisonment in Iran, and the family's subsequent escape. This story follows the lives of individuals in one family caught in the middle of a revolution. It's well-crafted, and you get inside the perspectives of the father in prison, the mother's helplessness, the young daughter's subversive activity of her own (and accompanying guilt), and the older son's passivity living in New York.

Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Mystery Series, by Charlaine Harris (Dead Until Dark; Living Dead in Dallas; Club Dead; and other novels in the series)
Okay, DON’T LAUGH!! Yes, this is a human-in-love-with-a-vampire book, and no it's not my typical read! So, if you're done laughing yourself out of your chair that I'm reading a whole series about a girl who loves a vampire, let me explain... A good friend recommended it, and I started reading them and found that the story line was lighthearted in an odd sort of way. Surprises along the way, and some fun, refreshing characters. The tone is very light, and there is absolutely nothing serious about these books. They are the ones I bring when I'm exercising on the treadmill and need something relatively mindless. I'm starting to get fond of these characters now. Kind of like a soap opera... (Note: I’m part way through the 6th or 7th one now and have to confess to growing weary of them. I give them 2 out of 5 stars. Fun, but after a while they become — dare I say it? — "deadly.")

Anita Charles, Lecturer in Education

•    •    •

Some "light" summer reading! Peter Thomson, Sacred Sea: A Journey to Baikal. Read it and pretend you're coming with the Bates FSA to Russia! Lyrical and quirky and informative about Baikal and Siberia and Russia. By the former producer of Living on Earth. Thoughtful consideration about what it means to be an environmental journalist.

Karen Armstrong, The Spiral Staircase: My Climb out of Darkness. There were moments when I wasn't sure that Karen Armstrong ever had ANY friends - but all in all I found this an interesting account, and a more personal approach to some of her work on various religious traditions.

Vasily Grossman, Life and Fate. This is the War and Peace of the 20th century, only it's actually better. Without Tolstoy's ponderous philosophizing. Grossman was the most famous Soviet war reporter, his mother murdered by the Nazis in their invasion of the western Soviet Union. His novel takes on a vast cast of characters, interlinked by their connections to the Battle of Stalingrad. It's a novel about ideology and individual lives, but also about the Holocaust, state control of science, art and freedom and incredible heroism. My FYS loved it!

Anything by Andrei Platonov that you can get your hands on - but only if it's translated by Robert Chandler. Chandler is an AMAZING translator. And Platonov is the great unsung Russian writer of the 20th century, finally coming into his own. He was a true believer, an engineer who became a writer, with an uncanny ability to register the odd distortions of vision and verbiage that went along with the revolution. His prose is a kind of heartbreaking grotesque mysticism...The collection entitled Soul is a good place to start.

Jane Costlow, Professor of Russian

•    •    •

I think Still Alice by Bates' own Lisa Genova '92 is the best read I've had this year. This is a fantastic novel that brings you into the life of an Early Onset Alzheimer's Disease patient - and beautifully demonstrates the struggles of the patient, her family and colleagues. There's enough humor to make it light, and you just fall in love with the patient and her family.

Marianne Cowan, Associate Director of Alumni and Parent Programs

•    •    •

An excellent summer book is: Phyllis Rose -Parallel Lives: Five Victorian Marriages

David Cummiskey, Professor of Philosophy

•    •    •

These are quite diverse suggestions but since I turned 50 on Tuesday, my memory only serves my most recent reads. Marrying Mozart was a good historical fiction and Marley and Me couldn't be lighter. If you are a fan of nutty dogs it is pretty funny!

Karen Daigler, Assistant Director of Medical Studies

The first two are Swedish authors: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson Firewallby Henning Mankell Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout (yea Bates!!) Champlain's Dream(non-fiction) by David Hackett Fisher

Jerry Davis, Class of 1961

•    •    •

How the Irish Saved Civilization, The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe by Thomas Cahill. Finally, now everyone knows why I am so proud of being Irish!

Sylvia Deschaine, Academic Administrative Assistant - Pettengill

•    •    •

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver; The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon; Refuge by Terry Tempest Williams; The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls; Divided Minds by Carolyn Spiro and Pamela Wagner; Home by Marilynne Robinson; Three Cups of Teaby Greg Mortenson and David Relin; The World Without Us by Alan Weisman; The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga; Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali; Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout.

Marty Deschaines, Asst. Dir. For Community Volunteerism and Student LeadershipDevelopment, HCCP

•    •    •

Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers is probably already on your list, but I just finished it an enjoyed it immensely.

Carol Dilley, Director of Dance

•    •    •

Lisa See's Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is a fascinating novel about the lives of two women (lao tang) who wrote to each other over many years in the Chinese women's language, nushu. Lijia Zhang's Socialism Is Great! is a memoir about growing as a worker in the "New China." Xiolu Guo. Twenty Fragments of a Ravenous Youth, novel about an unmarried young woman's life in contemporary Beijing is an interesting read, but her A Concise English Dictionary for Lovers is a better choice for those who have less time to read. This novel describes the cultural differences a Chinese woman encounters when she moves to the U.K., but it also focuses as much on the English and Chinese language as on her experiences. As the book progresses, the reader actually "sees" her fluency in English develop. And finally for those who are interested in schools and teaching,Relentless Pursuit by Donna Foote summarizes the history of Teach for America as it profiles the experiences of first-year teachers in Los Angeles. Engaging and thought-provoking read.

Anne Dodd, Senior Lecturer in Education

•    •    •

I'd like to recommend A Cargo of Women: Susannah Watson and the convicts of the Princess Royal by Babette Smith. It tracks 99 women who arrived in Australia in 1825 after being sentenced to "transport" in England and Wales. Some of them received life sentences for very minor crimes. It should be great reading for anyone with an interest in crime and punishment or Australia in general!

Amy Bradfield Douglass, Associate Professor of Psychology

•    •    •

I recently discovered a gem; a very poetically written little novella called Welcome to Our Hillbrow, by Phaswane Mpe, set in contemporary times in a township of Johannesburg. I used it in a class this year, along with Benjamin Kwachye's The Clothes of Nakedness, set in contemporary Accra. I highly recommend either or both, though you are on notice: don't expect any familiar "North Atlantic" sensibility here, rather, be ready to encounter a distinctive moral universe!

Elizabeth Eames, Associate Professor of Anthropology

•    •    •

Revolutionary Road by Richard Yates
A classic. Don't let the movie with Leo and Kate scare you off! It's intense, well written and will make your head spin... The Underground City by H.L Humes A big book that takes a bit of time to read. A fascinating, detailed novel set in France during and after WWII from the perspective of an American special ops soldier.

Johie Farrar, Assistant Dean of Admissions

•    •    •

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert; Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah; The Women Who Raised Me: A Memoir by Victoria Rowell.

Heidi Gagnon, Advancement

•    •    •

I have enjoyed re-reading some of the late Tony Hillerman's mysteries, set in the desert Southwest, with Navajo Tribal Policemen Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee. Some of the most recent are The First EagleThe Sinister Pig, and Hunting Badger. The characters are very appealing, and the setting really takes the reader into the Native American cultures of Arizona and New Mexico. We will miss him.

Lois Griffiths, retired staff member, Class of 1951

•    •    •

Two Rivers, by T. Greenwood. Suspense, love, and betrayal told in flashbacks is the story of a widowed father his daughter and an orphan. Setting is in the late 60’s in a small town, Harper has trouble dealing with a vicious act that happened while in his teens. Nice gentle mystery that kept me entertained. Double Bind, by Chris Bohjalian. Psychological thriller about a social worker and the homeless. There are characters brought in from the Great Gatsby era. I couldn’t tell if this was fact or fiction. I liked this authors book Midwives better but this was worth reading also. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout. Ms. Strout is a Bates alumna and now a Pulitzer Prize winner! How can you not read this novel? It is a collection of short stories of people from a small town in Maine. You get insight of Olive in almost every chapter as she tries to understand herself and her life in painfully honest ways.

Lorraine Groves, Bookstore Sales Floor Supervisor

•    •    •

The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic — and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World by Steven Johnson. If you’re an alum who loved Professor Herzig’s courses, this book will make you wish you could return to discuss it in one of her seminars.

Bridget Harr, Institutional Research Assistant

•    •    •

Joseph Stiglitz and Linda Bilmes, The Three Trillion Dollar War
As a response to an administration that would not even include war costs in the normal yearly budgets, the Nobel-Prize-winning economist makes the case for calculating the real costs of the Iraq war, including such items as equipment replacement and lost income with life-long medical care for the tens of thousands of American wounded and brain-injured.

Margaret S. Creighton, The Colors of Courage: Gettysburg's Forgotten History
Elegantly written, a different view of the battle we think we know all about, looking at the experiences of women, Blacks and immigrants at Gettysburg.

David Wroblewski, The Story of Edgar Sawtelle.
This is a remarkable first novel (where has this guy been for 30 years, we wonder), somewhat reminiscent of another strong first novel, Charles Frazier's civil war saga, Cold Mountain. Wroblewski has written a powerful story around an inauspicious plot line, a mute boy whose family raises thoroughbred and well-trained dogs in rural northern Michigan. It is a kind of Hamlet story, with family betrayals and mis-communications, largely told from inside the mute boy's head and through lots of interaction with the dogs, a real trick for a writer.

William H. Tucker '67, The Cattell Controversy: Race, Science and Ideology.
Full disclosure: Bill Tucker was my Bates roommate and is one of my oldest friends. A psych prof at Rutgers, he has written three well-argued (and for a non-scholar, readable) books around the broad theme of individuals or organizations that claim to be doing unbiased social science when in fact they are advancing racist, anti-immigrant, anti-Semitic or eugenic causes. His previous books,The Science and Politics of Racial Research and The Funding of Scientific Racism: Wickliffe Draper and the Pioneer Fund, were in some ways fascinating scholarly detective stories — they traced the hidden agendas of organizations that claimed scholarly purity. This new book on Raymond Cattell, a leading 20th century psychologist often regarded as the father of personality trait measurement, traces the scholarly dismay when Cattell, the author of hundreds of books, articles and standardized instruments for measuring personality, was found to be the author of a series of publications on racial segregation and eugenics.

Two books and a related film on India: Bapsi Dishwa, Cracking India
A remarkable novel about a Parsee girl from an upper-class family caught in the swirling chaos of the partition of colonial India in the late 1940’s into India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The partition of India as part of the end of the British empire created not only great suffering and violence, but one of the largest migrations in human history, with about 12 million people moving to get across national and religious boundaries that had not existed until the partition. Deepa Mehta's powerful film "Earth" is based on Cracking India. It is reasonably unusual to find a film and the novel on which it is based that are both top shelf, but true in this case.

Alex Von Tunzelman, Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire
A substantial book on the last months of the British empire in India, with fascinating portraits of some of the 20th century's major personalities. Gandhi, Nehru and the Muslim leader Jinnah were all trying to deal with the last British Viceroy, the royally incompetent "Dickie" Mountbatten and his socialite but surprisingly brave and very independent wife, Edwina, whose personal/political relationship with Nehru was a most unexpected facet of the withdrawal of Britain from their empire.

Bill Hiss '66, Vice President for External Affairs

•    •    •

David Hackett Fischer, Champlain's Dream
A sweeping full-length biography of Samuel de Champlain, the explorer and founder of Quebec. Dozens of voyages to North America. A slice of history of France and North America. Mark Paul Richard, Loyal but French: The Negotiation of Identity by French-Canadian Descendants in the United States

A history of Franco Americans in Lewiston, Maine, from 1850 to 2007, who subscribed to neither survivance (maintaining their separateness) nor assimilation (erasing their heritage). They accomplished acculturation, becoming Americans, but retaining for a long time their identity. Tom Vanderbilt, Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What It Says About Us)

The human psychology of dealing with traffic. Considers the variation in different places in the U. S., as well as the world. Treats questions such as whether you should merge early or late when a lane is closed ahead. Quotes statistics that show "dangerous" narrow streets with distractions are safer than "efficient" thoroughfares like Russell Street (but maybe we knew this already).

Doug Hodgkin, Professor Emeritus of Political Science

•    •    •

I have been meaning to send you this, excellent book about college girls who's identity got switched unintentionally at an accident scene where one died and one nearly so, months of recuperation... Mistaken Identity by Don and Susie VanRyn and Newell, Colleen, and Whitney Cerak.

The Last Lecture, by Randy Pausch, I may have put this on last year's list, but it is worth repeating. It is so inspirational, it's a must! Not for everyone, but I love the series by J.D. Robb, Lt. Eve. Dallas, Homicide books, great if you love crime drama!! Happy reading...

Joan Houston, Administrative Assistant, Facility Services

•    •    •

I'm enjoying biologist Bernd Heinrich's Summer World: A Season of Bounty very much, though I think it should be titled, "Bug World: A Season of Bounty." I thought there would be more about flowers, other plant life, and mammals, but much of the book concentrates on moths, wasps, caterpillars, and other insects and their alternate forms. But that's fine, because it's fascinating! There's also some great stuff on why male wood frogs all sing together, when only one really needs to in order for them all to attract females. And he answers the question: Why do hummingbirds come north before many of the nectar-bearing flowers bloom? After I finish this book, I'm going to start in on his others. There are enough to keep me going for quite a while. He lives in Vermont, with a camp in Western Maine, and is a graduate of the University of Maine.

Sue Hubley, Senior Researcher, College Advancement

•    •    •

The Man Who Loved China, by Simon Winchester
The Control of Nature by John McPhee
This book has been around for awhile, but affected my thinking more than about any other.

Jim Hughes, Thomas Sowell Professor of Economics

•    •    •

I'd like to suggest Water Dogs by Lewis Robinson. A novel based in Maine.
Amy Jaffe, Career Counselor

•    •    •

Guy Delisle's graphic novel Burma Chronicles eloquently portrays daily life in Myanmar, the official name of Burma since 1989 when a militaristic government seized power. Canadian animator Delisle joins his French wife who works for the humanitarian organization Medecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) and their infant son for a year in this tightly controlled Southeast Asian nation. Humorous and observant, Delisle's treatment demonstrates that drawings with text can match solo prose, no sweat. Give me a comic book, please.

Phyllis Graber Jensen, Senior Staff Writer and Photographer

•    •    •

For fans of Patrick O'Brian's and C. S. Forester's naval adventure fiction try the collection of short stories edited by Mike Ashley, The Mammoth Book of Sea Battles, 2001. I laugh to tears with David Remnick's and Henry Finder's Fierce Pajamas. These are the best humor from the "New Yorker" magazine. A terrific new history of the Christian and Islamic struggle for the Mediterranean in the Middle Ages is Stephen O'Shea's Sea of Faith, 2006.

Michael Jones, Christian A. Johnson Professor of History

•    •    •

Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill, a book we read aloud to each other, is a powerful story of a young, intelligent, literate woman who is sold into slavery at the age of 12, and who is obsessed with being free and returning to her native village in West Africa for the rest of her life. We followed her through about sixty years of her life on three continents, with all the hardship, prejudice, and soul-wrenching pain of enslavement, which is often complicated by her abilities and intelligence which she must hide from her masters. Freedom does come decades later, but it is a freedom in a world where only the force of her will and personality keep her surviving. The ignorance of even the "good" whites to the implications and cruelty of slavery become a vehicle for her to further her goal, but only as a tool of the abolitionists and often at the cost of her personal dignity. (To a white authority figure who insists that she has "profited by being enslaved" and vehemently deny's slavery's cruel branding, she bares her old breast to show the brand she was given at 12.) Lawrence Hill has written a breathtaking book and created Aminata Diallo, a remarkable woman.

Birds Without Wings by Louis de Bernieres was a wonderful book, and I enjoyed it as much as a previous book of de Bernieres, Corelli's Mandolin. Both books deal with the everyday experiences of the life of civilians during a war. "Birds" takes place in Turkey at the decline of the Ottoman Empire and the beginning of the modern Turkish state. Greeks and Turks, some of each of whom are either Muslim or Christian, and most of whom happily rely on each other's religions when it suits their needs (Muslim woman concerned for her soldier son asks her friend to "light a candle to the Virgin for me"), live together in simplicity and peace until WWI starts far away in Europe. Turks and Greeks are forced to choose sides in a war that has nothing to do with them. And then religion and nationalism imposed by others starts ethnic cleansing, forcing Greeks who don't speak Greek to leave Turkey for Greece, where they are shunned, and Turks are forced from Greece to Turkey. The small town life and ambiance is destroyed, the friends and fellow citizens scattered, and no one has a clue about what it is all about. A poignant, anti-war story, and for me a reminiscence of my time in Turkey and Greece. I recommend this book to anyone who still thinks that war is an answer to any problems, and to all who think that Muslims and Christians can't live in peace and harmony together.

Laura Juraska , Associate Librarian for Reference Services
Richard Fochtmann

•    •    •

My suggestion for summer reading is: The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery (translated from the French). It is tender and funny, and a sly critique of French social conventions.

Leila Kawar, Visiting Instructor in Politics

•    •    •

I have just finished reading the new autobiography by Harold Varmus, The Art and Politics of Science. Dr. Varmus was the director of NIH under Clinton and the co-winner of the Nobel Prize in 1989 for his work on oncogenes, and he is now the director the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. The book is a generally well written summary of his career and his opinions of and his involvement in the major health issues of our day. Written for a general audience, I learned a lot about retroviruses, oncogenes, stem cells, Congress, pharmaceutical companies, publishing companies, and open access journals.

John E. Kelsey, Professor of Psychology

•    •    •

Here are two suggestions for the book list, each arguably a "coming of age" story but from distinctly different cultural contexts and literary styles: Fun Home by Alison Bechdel (2006) Main Street by Sinclair Lewis (1920)

Nancy Koven, Assistant Professor of Psychology

•    •    •

Home by Marilynne Robinson; Memorial Day by Vince Flynn; Notre-Dame de Paris by Victor Hugo; American Babylon by Richard John Neuhaus; Christ the Lord by Anne Rice.

Paul Kuritz, Professor of Theater

•    •    •

The English Major by Jim Harrison (N.Y., Grove Press, 2008)
Works by this modern master now come fewer and farther between, sparser and at times even less erudite than previous writings, but nonetheless still brilliant: here an academician in mid-life crisis roams the western landscape with a younger woman.

Dark summit: the true story of Everest's most controversial season by Nick Heil (N.Y., Henry Holt, 2008)
Could things on our highest mountain get any worse after the 1996 disaster (see Into thin air)? Well, ten years later, in a world that is as ever totally unforgiving to careless humans, risky expeditions and unscrupulous outfitters have done it: eleven deaths, two abandonments, and recriminations galore.

Jim Lamontagne, Ladd Library Assistant, Cataloging

•    •    •

What is the What? by Dave Eggers, and if I have never given you this before, and even if I have,Here's Your Hat, What's Your Hurry, by Elizabeth McCracken

Peter Lasagna, Head Men’s Lacrosse Coach

•    •    •

I'm on a mystery jag. Margery Allingham's brilliant Albert Campion mysteries. A real delight. And, Akunin's two different mystery/detective series. Great distractions.

Kathy Low, Professor of Psychology

•    •    •

Book of Embraces (Eduardo Galeano); L'Assommoir (Emile Zola); Design in the Age of Darwin: From William Morris to Frank Lloyd Wright; (Stephen Eisenman)

End of the World Book: A Novel (Alistair McCartney) The Night Watch (Sarah Waters)

Perrin Lumbert, Library Assistant-Interlibrary Loan

•    •    •

Grown Up Digital by Dan Tapscott. Here's a link to the book's site.

Ethan Dahlin Magoon, Online Media Producer, CMR

•    •    •

Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson
This is the intriguing story of Trond, an aging, grieving man living in a self-inflicted isolation. He has given up his former life for a solitary existence partially out of a life-long yearning to be left alone, but mostly out of grief for the sudden death of his wife. But when he realizes that his new neighbor is a figure from his past it triggers a host of feelings and memories that Trond has been trying to avoid for a long time, and in flashbacks we are taken back with him to the summer of his fifteenth year — a summer that forever altered the course of his life. Beautifully written and memorable!

Ines of My Soul by Isabel Allende

Based almost entirely on the life of Ines Suarez who lived from 1507 to 1580, this is the historical fictional account of life in the 16th century and the birth of a nation. I love Allende’s wonderful descriptions and just as in her book, Zorro, she brings her characters to life. Poor and nearly destitute, Ines had a rough life in Spain. Alone because her husband has left to make his fortune in the new world she eventually sets out to search for him. When she arrives Ines learns he has been killed. Determined to make a new life for herself Ines decides to remain in the new colony. She eventually meets Don Pedro de Valdivia, field marshal of Francisco Pizarro. Together they undertake the founding of the country of Chile. You will not be able to put this book down!

The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry
The book starts when the main character, Towner, receives a call from her brother telling her that her 80-something-year-old Great Aunt, a lace reader, is missing and she must return home to Salem, Massachusetts. The reading of lace had been a tradition of the all the women in their family, and Towner was no exception. Although she wants no part of it anymore, she loves her aunt and feels she has to face her bad memories and go home. Towner returns after being away for over 15 years and is immediately immersed in all the troubles of the past. It is interesting to follow the writing of author Barry as she writes through the eyes of Towner, who sometimes lives in her dreams of the past. The story moves quickly as you try to determine if what Towner is thinking is real, or the memories from childhood twisted over time. Interesting information about lace reading and lots of surprises in this book!

Mary Main, Director of Human Resources

•    •    •

This year, my three personal favorites are recent reads: Olive Kitteridge, by Elizabeth Strout
I finished it just before her Pulitzer Prize was announced, and was happily surprised that she received recognition for a really special book. All through the book, I felt: "I know these people. I know this town—maybe better than the people I really know, and the town where I really live." But what I can't understand is how a young woman from the Class of 1977 knows how it feels to be as old as the characters she creates.

The Help, by Kathryn Stockett Jackson, Mississippi, in the early 60's—as seen through the stories of black "maids" in upperclass white households, written by a young white woman who has grown up in the culture and encourages the middle-aged women to tell her their stories. The stories are powerful, chilling, and especially shocking to me, as a college student from the 60's. Perhaps reading it then would have made me more of an activist.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
A book of letters, written in the aftermath of World War II, about the residents of Guernsey, and a writer who comes to the island by a chance connection. Her involvement with characters who grow real though their letters and telegrams weaves a heartwarming story of love, quiet heroism, friendship, and loyalty over time.

Judy Marden, Bates Retiree and Class of '66

•    •    •

History: A Novel by Elsa Morante. Trans. by W, Weaver
Set in WWII in Italy, Morante explores the intersection between individual lives and the larger forces of political events in a way that is utterly compelling and authentic. Never preachy, Morante forces us to see that we are always subject to political forces, even when we don't want to be. Morante herself went into hiding from the Germans during WWII in the mountains south of Rome. She won several awards for her novels and is one of Italy's premier authors.

Against Happiness: In Praise of Melancholy by Eric G. Wilson
He came and spoke here. His book celebrates those moments when we are not quite right with the world and our lives, and when we are compelled to reflect and generate new ideas and new ways of being in the world.

Lisa Maurizio, Associate Professor of Classical and Medieval Studies

•    •    •

The Oregon Files are a group of novels written by author Clive Cussler and co-author Craig Dirigo and later co-author Jack Du Brul. The books follow the mysterious "Corporation" and its leader Juan Cabrillo. Juan Cabrillo is Chairman of the Corporation, a special US Government-sponsored group that operates out of a ship called Oregon, a marvel of scientific research equipment bristling with state-of-the-art weaponry - but disguised as a heap of junk. Cabrillo and his crew of mercenaries with a conscience are able to cross the high seas in their 'rusting' tub unmolested, seeking out those beyond the arms of the law and dealing out justice to any who would plot chaos on a global scale. The Oregon Files series currently consists of 6 books: Golden Buddha (2004), Sacred Stone (2004), Dark Watch (2005), Skeleton Coast (2006), Plague Ship(2008) and Corsair (2009).

Karen McArthur, Systems Administrator, ILS

•    •    •

My favorite book this year was Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert. It was probably on last year's recommended list. I also liked Loving Frank: A Novel by Nancy Horan, "a historically imagined novel that is at once fully versed in the facts and unafraid of weaving those truths into a story that dares to explore the unanswered questions of Frank Lloyd Wright and Mamah Cheney's love story." In line with our Bates year of contemplating food, I recommend Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver, Camille Kingsolver, Steven L. Hopp (I love every book by Kingsolver) and, The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals and In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto by Michael Pollan. Here if you need me: A true story by Kate Braestrup. A wonderful memoir by the chaplain to the Maine Warden Service.

Laurie McConnell, Academic Administrative Assistant , Carnegie lobby desk,

•    •    •

I'm not one who usually reads autobiographies, but I recently picked up the book, What's It All About by Michael Caine. His writing style is friendly and conversational, as though he is telling his story face to face with the reader. His story as a struggling actor making it into the limelight of celebrity carries you on a personal journey that is laced with comedy and sadness. With the pending release of yet another acclaimed movie, one may be interested to learn what life experiences made him the person and actor that he is today.

Monica McCusker, Office Coordinator-College Store

•    •    •

The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie — One of the best books I have read in recent memory. An engaging story, memorable characters, and a dynamic writing style. And the extreme controversy surrounding the novel only makes it more appealing! A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry — This is a story about India in the 70s, during the State of Emergency. Four strangers are thrown together and are forced to live together and grow, learn, and develop together during troubling times. A very moving and deeply emotional story. The Brother Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky — A very long, very interesting Russian novel centering on the four Karamazov brothers and the murder of their father. It combines courtroom drama with mystery with many musings on man's place in the world and the existence (or lack thereof) of God. Gripping and powerful! Saving Fish From Drowning by Amy Tan — A story that centers on a fateful trip to Burma. Narrated by the ghost of the trip organizer who dies before the trip commences. This book includes a lot of historical fact regarding Burma. A very engaging and interesting read. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver—This book is about a family of missionaries who are working in the Congo. Each chapter is narrated by a different daughter. Another book that integrates the actual history of the Congo and its post-colonial history.

Andrew McGeehan, Housing Coordinator and Residence Life Assistant

•    •    •

Gilead, by Marilynne Robinson (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2004)
Only 247 pages, this was a surprisingly rich and welcome meditation each night. Really fine, spare writing. Readers are transported to a small town in 1950s Iowa, where we get to intimately understand John Ames, an old Congregationalist minister with a young second wife and a six-year-old son. Ames is dying of heart disease, and he is crafting a family history and memoir to leave behind for his boy. At the same time, he is feeling conflicted about how much he should say to his wife about a friend's son who left Gilead in disgrace but recently returned, befriending and bonding with his wife and son. It is truly wonderful how the author gets inside the head of this 80-year-old man and shares his thoughts as he is approaches the end of life, and the peace he wants to make with life. (This novel won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2005.)

Bryan McNulty, Director, Communications and Media Relations

•    •    •

The Gathering by Anne Enright - The Irish family can be a rich trove of sadness, and Enright mines it as few can. The Art of Strategy by Dixit and Nalebuff - Game theory offers myriad strategic insights. Here those insights are illustrated with examples from everyday life, business, and sport. An easy introduction to better strategic thinking.

Michael Murray, Charles Franklin Phillips Professor of Economics

•    •    •

Here are some great books I've read lately: Thinking In Pictures: My Life with Autism(Expanded Edition), by Temple Grandin — A very interesting perspective on the world. I learned things in this book — about animals, about the different ways people think, about 'disorders,' and so much more — which, I think, will forever influence my own perspective on the world. It certainly has defended my desire for lots of hugs (or squeeze machines) — you'll know what I mean if you read the book! Water for Elephants, but Sara Gruen — This book sweeps you up, right along with its protagonist, onto the traveling circus train.

Boy's Life, by Robert McCammon — This book is filled with the magic of being young but also the realities of change and the passing of time. It takes place in a small, Alabama town, but every chapter is action and imagination-packed, from shoot-outs to dinosaurs. McCammon encourages nostalgia in the reader, not only for the innocence of childhood, but that time in history, not too long ago, in which people were sure that "the world'll always need milkmen." But he also plays close attention to the darker facts of life (and death), using clever metaphor and skilled writing to blur the lines between fact and fiction, and to ask us to question the need for this distinction in the first place. Omnivore's Dilemma, by Michael Pollan — This might be a cliche choice, but, more than any other book, this has made me rethink my lifestyle. I like that Pollan not only presents the problems with our current food consumption, but offers more efficient solutions. The book is full of wellthought-out points and counter-points which force you to chew on your own daily decisions, as well as lots of tasty factoids. I just fine Pollan's writing so persuasive, and yet so honest and common-sensical.

Aubrey Nelson, Americorp VISTA

•    •    •

Leo Lerman, The Grand Surprise: The Journals of Leo Lerman. Knopf, 2007
Tab Hunter with Eddie Muller, Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star. Algonquin Books, 2005
Bob Morris, Assisted Loving: True Tales of Double Dating with My Dad. Harper, 2008
Max Birkbeck, Deconstructing Sammy (Davis, Jr.): Music, Money, Madness, and the MobAmistad, 2008.
Aravind Adiga, The White Tiger (A Novel). The Free Press, 2008

Charles Nero, Associate Professor of Rhetoric

•    •    •

Two novels I enjoyed this year: The Swarm by Frank Schätzing is a big, fat thriller for readers who love science as well as speculation about alien forms of intelligence. If you don’t enjoy science fiction, you might still enjoy this thriller because the alien form of intelligence turns out to share the planet with us. The story explores possible outcomes of our unsustainable ways of treating the world’s bodies of water.

Mr. Emerson’s Wife by Bates graduate Anne Belding Brown is a fictional imagining of the life of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s second wife, Lydia(n). She was a fascinating member of the transcendental circle, who may or may not have reacted to Emerson’s request that she modify her common name to the less common Lydian, as Brown has her do. But whether she spoke up or not, we understand something about the shape of the marriage to come.

Georgia Nigro, Professor of Psychology

•    •    •

The Broke Diaries by Angela Nissel
A short read, certainly a summer beach read. Angela tells her hilarious stories of being broke in college. Great comical detail and a fun read.

The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
You probably already have this suggestion, as it was a big seller this year. But this is an excellent book and a great graduation gift! Highly recommended.

The New Kings of Nonfiction - Edited & Introduced by Ira Glass (NPR's "This American Life")
A great collection of short non-fiction stories by popular names such as Malcolm Caldwell and Chuck Klosterman.

Sara Noyes, Residence Life and Student Activities Assistant

•    •    •

The Air We Breathe, by the great Andrea Barrett, is a brilliant, transcendent book. Written in the first person plural (go figure, but for a reason), it chronicles the lives of inmates at a New York TB sanitorium, hitting on class, immigration, anarchism, women in science, public health, power, and of course love, deception, healing landscapes, big meals, revenge: this book has everything! Go immediately to the College Store and buy it! The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery is a very different book but has some of the same themes about class, knowledge, and humanity. Its protagonist is the concierge of a swanky apartment building in Paris who is compelled to hide her formidable intellect, till she is discovered by two other outsiders. A great book about why it matters to educate yourself. And I did read and love Olive Kitteridge, by Elizabeth Strout ’77, long before it won the Pulitzer Prize. Life in a small Maine town told in a series of precise and unnerving stories. Liz Strout has an uncanny ability to make you love and loathe a character at the same time: so lifelike!

Kerry O’Brien, Assistant Dean of the Faculty

•    •    •

I wish I could remember the others I've read this year, but those are ones that stand out to me. The Latehomecomer, A Hmong Family Memoir, by Kao Kalia Yang The author is a young woman, not too much older than our students when she wrote this. She writes beautifully about her experiences as her family is resettled in Minnesota after the Vietnam War. I Remember Warm Rain, Telling Room's Story House Project This is a collection of writings by immigrant and refugee teens living in the Portland area. It is a very quick read that provides a glimpse into the lives of these young adults as they begin to make their ways here. Godmother, The Secret Cinderella Story, by Carolyn Turgeon This is the Cinderella story from her fairy godmother's point of view. It is an interesting take on the story, one you don't expect at all. It would be a great choice for a book group. On the darker side, though.

Karen A. Palin, Lecturer in Biology

•    •    •

Here are two novels I'm very excited about: Steven Galloway, The Cellist of Sarajevo Amitav Ghosh, Sea of Poppies

Jim Parakilas, Music, James L. Moody Family Professor of Performing Arts

•    •    •

I recommend The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall. It is the story of an autumn's adventures of a very quirky family of four young (ages 4-12) sisters and their dad. The characters are marvelous: quirky, like I said, and some nerdy, some obstinate, all well-meaning and very accepting of one another. Lots of laugh-out-loud moments.

Liz McCabe Park, Director, Maine Campus Compact

•    •    •

I'm just finishing up Wally Lamb's newest novel, The Hour I First Believed. I gave it to Ian, who loved Lamb's previous novel, I Know this Much is True, for Christmas. He recommended I read it but be prepared. It's not for everyone, and it brings in the Columbine tragedy and images thereof in a big way, but if you like Lamb's other books, you should like it. I still think I like his previous one better. I also have been reading..."They were very beautiful. Such things are" : memoirs for change from Dadaab, Kenya and Lewiston, Maine, which I've enjoyed very much. In a different genre, Julian was telling me about the wellknown juvenile fiction novel Holes, by Louis Sachar, which I had come upon in one of my cleaning forays. I knew the other 2 kids had read it and that a movie had been made of it, but he piqued my curiosity, so I read it, quickly of course (a treat in itself). I liked it!
Ian and Julian are Carole's sons  — Editor.

Carole Parker, Library Assistant-Acquisitions

•    •    •

I would like to recommend Kenneth Roberts' novel Lydia Bailey. With action ranging from New England in the early 1800's, to Haiti during Toussaint L'Ouverture's rebellion, to the Barbary Coast, this novel is fairly typical of Roberts' style. It is a little bit detective story, a lot of adventure and a little bit of romance, extensively researched with plenty of historical details.

Heather L'Hommedieu Perreault, Assistant Director, Financial Offices


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

Read more →