2006 Summer Reading List

Sarah Potter

Each spring, the College Store solicits from members of the Bates community their suggestions for good summer reads:

Lee Abrahamsen, Associate Professor of Biology:

Blink   — The Power of Thinking WithoutThinking by Malcolm Gladwell
This very engaging book explores the value of making decisions in a moment — in the blink of an eye. Some part intuition, some part experience, and some part keen observation, Gladwell shows us how (and why) our split-second decisions are often just as useful as the decisions we obsess over. Gladwell has written for the New Yorker and the Washington Post, and his style is clear and connected. I enjoyed this one, and am looking forward to reading his other best-seller, The Tipping Point.

•  •  •

Martin Andrucki, Charles A. Dana Professor of Theater:


Just finished rereading J. Conrad's Secret Agent, a deeply ironic vision of suicide bombers, circa 1890, written in 1907. Read it and see how little has changed.

Also, G. Chesterton's The Man Who Was Thursday, another thriller about nihilists, same era as the Conrad novel, equally relevant.

•  •  •

Aslaug Asgeirsdottir, Assistant Professor of Political Science:

A Girl Named Zippy: Growing Up Small in Mooreland Indiana by Haven Kimmel

A delightful book about an unusual child. Very funny.

Appetite for Life: A Biography of Julia Child by Noel Riley Fitch
Great book about a fascinating woman whose career began in earnest in her 50s.

Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart: Thirty True Things You Need to Know Now by Gordon Livingston Well the title says it all. Livingston has some interesting observations about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

An African in Greenland by Tete-Michel Kpomassie
A biography about a Togolese man who reads about Greenland as a young boy and is determined to visit the frozen tundra of the north.

•  •  •

Pam Baker, Helen A. Papaioanou Professor of Biology:

One I really liked was City of Djinns by a British travel writer named William Dalrymple. It was the best portrayal of the Delhi we were living in as any we came across.

•  •  •

Anna Bartel, Associate Director, Harward Center for Community Partnerships:

I've been reading lately:
Gail Godwin's Evensong
Wendell Berry's Jayber Crow
Jane Austen out my ears
Donna Leon's Inspector Brunetti mysteries (set in Venice; much fun)
Len [Anna’s spouse] has been reading Seth Godin, especially All Marketers Are Liars.

•  •  •

Terry Beckmann, Vice President for Finance and Treasurer:

Mary Higgins Clark: Two Girls in Blue

•  •  •

Sarah Bernard, Programmer Analyst:

I would like to recommend Pocketful of Names by Joe Coomer (a Maine author). A very enjoyable read about an artist who inherits an island on the coast of Maine from her (great?) uncle. Great beach reading!

•  •  •

Jane Boyle, Library Assistant, Public Service:

Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

•  •  •
Dennis Brown, Office of College Advancement:

The Mermaid's Chair, Sue Monk Kidd

An enjoyable, relatively light and imaginative read that offers perspective and insights into the dynamics of long-term relationships and how they grow or die.
When Religion Becomes Evil, Charles Kimball

A timely distillation by an ordained Baptist minister and noted academic theologian of his decades of experience and observations of the inherent dangers in fundamentalist approaches to Christian, Muslim, and Jewish religions.

•  •  •

Marita Bryant, Assistant in Instruction in Geology:

Roadside Geology of Maine by D. W. Caldwell

Engel in Tiefflug by Heite Gerbig

This is a mystery series set in post-war Berlin, an interesting series if you are into Berlin and read German.

•  •  •

Ann Bushmiller '79, Trustee:

Spice: The History of a Temptation by Jack Turner

Made me want to cook!

•  •  •

Sean Campbell, Director of Leadership Giving:

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

I read it last summer — LOVED it.

•  •  •

Ned Carr, Assistant Treasurer:

Gift of the Jews by Thomas Cahill

It's about how the ancient Jews, through the development of a moral and legal code of conduct (Ten Commandments et al.), really set the tone and many of the specific details for the Western world's present-day moral, ethical, and legal framework.

•  •  •

James Charlesworth, Bookstore Stock Assistant:

First, a couple Maine things:

Fair, Clear, and Terrible by Shirley Nelson

This non-fiction chronicles the Shiloh movement — a Christian-fundamentalist sect, the remnants of whose decrepit fortress still stand on the sand hills above the Androscoggin River in Durham. What makes the story interesting (aside from the local stuff and the megalomaniac at its center) is the personal approach: the author’s parents spent their adolescence as members of the group and met at the compound just after the turn of the century. (And no, this is not a shameless pitch to get people to buy the lovely hardcover copies on display at the college store for the astonishing price of only $9.95.)

We’re All in This Together by Owen King

I’m happy to be the first person ever to recommend this book without mentioning it’s by the son of Stephen King. (Oops.) The short stories that comprise the second half aren’t so hot, but the novella that kicks it off is pretty special. Set in Maine, it tells the story of George, teenage son of a single mother and grandson of a union organizer obsessed with the 2000 election. Anthony Doerr put it best when he called it “hilarious and frequently bizarre but always — somehow — deeply sincere.” And, I think it’s getting ready to come out in paperback.

Some other older stuff I just got around to recently:

Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres

If you’re suspicious of any novel capable of spawning a big-trailer movie starring Nicholas Cage and Penelope Cruz, good for you. But don’t blame Louis if his book got Hollywood-ed. This one has all of his trademark humor and pathos and strangeness, and, unlike some of his other stuff, he manages to keep it all together right to the end.

Salt by Earl Lovelace

This one had me from the opening sentence: “Two months after they hanged his brother Gregoire, king of the Dreadnoughts band, and Louis and Nanton and Man Man, the other three leaders of African secret societies, who Hislop the governor claimed to be ringleaders of an insurrection that had a plan, according to the testimony of a mad white woman, to use the cover of the festivities of Christmas day to massacre the white and free coloured people of the island, Jo-Jo’s great-grandfather, Guinea John, with his black jacket on and a price of two hundred pounds sterling on his head, made his way to the East Coast, mounted the cliff at Mananilla, put two corn cobs under his armpits and flew away to Africa....” (Actually, that’s only the first half of the first sentence, but my fingers got tired.)

The Fall of a Sparrow by Robert Hellenga.

Hellenga seems to know a little bit about everything from classical literature to the blues, from Plato to NATO. Here he pulls it all together to tell the story of a Midwest classics professor overcoming the senseless death of his oldest daughter in an Italian terrorist bombing. (He also has a new novel out in hardcover called Philosophy Made Simple.)

Last but not least, I’ll also pre-recommend two new novels coming out in the fall:

A new one by Jane Hamilton, author of Map of the World, and Short History of a Prince, among others. And the new one by Janet Fitch, author of White Oleander, who’s kept us waiting for a while.

•  •  •

Margaret Creighton, Professor of History:

I have been listening to audio books and haven’t done much reading lately that I would recommend. However, my mother often recommends to others Saturday by Ian McEwan.

•  •  •

Marty Deschaines, Volunteer Office Coordinator:

March by Geraldine Brooks

Housekeeping, Marilynne Robinson
Abide with Me, Elizabeth Strout '77
The Giver, Gathering Blue, and Messenger, Lois Lowry
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, J. K. Rowling

•  •  •

Vicky Devlin, Vice President for Advancement:

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

I was conflicted about wanting to read this book, but it was a gift so I decided to soldier through. Grief is not an easy topic. It is an amazing book; Didion is a magical thinker.

The Lost Painting by Jonathan Harr

While this is non-fiction, it reads like a detective story. It is the story of the discovery of a lost Carravaggio. The characters alone make it a book that is difficult not to read in one sitting.

Abide with Me by Elizabeth Strout '77

A beautifiully written novel set in small town Shirley Falls, Maine. A minister suffers through a personal crisis that changes not just him but his entire congregation.

The Lobster Coast by Colin Woodard

A crash course about the geology, settlement, social history, triumphs and challenges of life on the Maine coast. A great book of insights and information for someone "from away."

•  •  •

Elaine Dumont, Dining Services:

Anything by Tom Robbins!

•  •  •

Ken Emerson, Associate Director of Human Resources:

I submit for my wife Melinda two books she read this past year by Michael Ondaatje. In the Skin of a Lion which is a predecessor book to his more famousThe English Patient. She did not know he was the author of the English Patient when she read In the Skin of a Lion and was pleasantly surprised when The English Patient carried on the tale.

Also, anyone enjoying outdoor adventure would find Nevada Barr's mysteries featuring the exploits of National Park Ranger/sleuth Anna Pigeon to be an easy fun read. However, I'm told that herHard Truth novel was somewhat of a disturbing departure from her usual yarn.

•  •  •

Melinda Emerson [spouse of Ken and submitting for herself!]:

Just wanted to add a book to the "Must Read" list, if it hasn't been put there already. It’s called The Travelers Gift, by Andy Andrews. A great story and an even GREATER lesson, we could all take to heart. My father in-law gave it to us for Christmas.

Paul Farnsworth, Project Manager, Facility Services:

Give Me a Break by John Stossel

1776 by David McCullough (like this one hasn't shown up on your lists)

The River of Doubt by Candice Millard

Applied Economics by Thomas Sowell (The Bates library has this one)

Through a Howling Wilderness by Thomas Desjardin (I'm biased on this one. I went to high school with Tom. Tom's recent presentation at the Lewiston Public Library was very good.)

•  •  •

Rob Farnsworth, Visiting Assistant Professor of English:

William Trevor,The Story of Lucy Gault (short novel)
Alice Munro, Runaway; Selected Stories (short stories)

John Banville, Athena (novel)
Tobias Wolff, Old School (novel)
Peter Carey, My Life As A Fake (novel)
Brian Turner, Here, Bullet (poems)** excellent, vivid work by an Iraq and Bosnia vet Kay Ryan,Niagara River (poems)
Seamus Heaney, District and Circle (poems) due out in the US soon.
Andrea Barrett, Servants of the Map (stories)

•  •  •

Sylvia Frederico, Assistant Professor of English:

I liked Elizabeth Strout's Abide with Me

•  •  •

Erin Foster Zsiga, Assistant Dean of Students:

My book is one I read to my 22-month-old son every night. How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Nightby Jane Yolen and Mark Teague. It is a rhyming story about going to bed. These authors also writeHow Do Dinosaurs Clean Their Room and How Do Dinosaurs Eat Their Food.

•  •  •

Rebecca Fraser-Thill, Visiting Instructor in Psychology:

Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri
A startling story collection. Particularly remarkable are her use of ordinary details that typically go unnoticed but that tell so much about character. My personal favorite is the first story, “A Temporary Matter,” about a couple’s life after having a still-born child. Remarkably, painfully rendered.

To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee
I revisited this classic for a reading series in my local library and I’m so glad that I did. To find such a pitch-perfect voice, depth of character, and resonance of theme in a book that’s also a true page-turner is, in my opinion, all too rare. This is a book worth revisiting every few years.

Any Bitter Thing
, Monica Wood
This novel about a woman who reexamines her past after being hit in a hit-and-run is captivating because of its structure (it moves backward in time while simultaneously moving forward) and the realistically flawed characters. Monica is a Portland-based writer with whom (full disclosure) I’ve taken classes, but I honestly would’ve loved this novel whether I knew her or not. A compelling, quick read.

Dog, Michelle Herman
A cute, short novel about a quirky professor who gets a dog. Not much more than that happens in the novel, but it’s a fun, quick read. And it’s short enough that I almost didn’t notice that nothing happens. Besides, can a book based around a dog really be all that bad? (Wait — don’t answer that!)

•  •  •

Rebecca Gilden, Mellon Learning Associate:

The Brothers K by David James Duncan
Jailbird by Kurt Vonnegut
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (I've read it 4 times!)
Katz on Dogs by Jon Katz

•  •  •

Lois Griffiths '51:

All of my favorite books this year have a Maine twist!

1491: New Revelations of America Before Columbus by Charles Mann has a segment about northeast native culture, although it covers the whole hemisphere with fascinating new insights.

The Lobster Coast by Colin Woodard is a human and natural history of the lobster industry, told by a native son, a real storyteller.

Through a Howling Wilderness by Tom Desjardin is a masterful retelling of the story of the Arnold Expedition to Quebec in 1775, based on the mens' journals, and garnering uniformly glowing reviews (and his mother works for Bates!)

Voyage of Archangell by James Rosier, annotated by David C. Morey, puts a new spin of the question of which river George Weymouth ascended in 1605, the Penobscot, the St. George or the Kennebec.

And it all happened here!

•  •  •

Lorraine Groves, Sales Floor Supervisor, College Store:

Daughters of the Earth by Carolyn Niethammer

Chronology of the native American Women past and present. Explores their lives and legends. Reads like rich tapestry!

Abram's Daughters a series of 5 books written by Beverly Lewis starting with THE COVENANT, THE BETRAYAL, THE SACRIFICE, THE PRODIGAL, and ends with THE REVELATION. Go right into the heart of the Amish in Lancaster County. Bittersweet with some suspense and romance.

Midwives by Chris Bohjalian

Very interesting and good story!

Pineland’s Past by Richard Kimball

Wonderful piece of history right in our back yard!

•  •  •

Ned Harwood, Associate Professor of Art & Visual Culture:

Cat from Hue by John Laurence

Laurence was a reporter for CBS in Vietnam.

Any of Robert Goddard’s mysteries.

•  •  •

Tamara Heligman, Maine Campus Compact:

If on a Winters Night a Travelerby Italo Calvino
The Alchemist by Paolo Coelho
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

•  •  •

Leslie Hill, Associate Professor of Political Science:

For relaxing reading, anything by Alexander McCall Smith or Janet Evanovich. The audio version of The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver was fabulous.

•  •  •

Bill Hiss '66, Vice President for External Affairs:

Getting ready to teach a First Year Seminar involving Vietnam and going to Vietnam with our family this spring to let our adopted daughter Jessie see her home country, I have been reading a lot of Vietnamese fiction. A great deal has happened in the last two decades; perhaps since few Americans are aware of modern Vietnamese fiction, this can be a kind of beginner's punch-list. Only with the arrival of the French in the 1850's did the Vietnamese begin to write in forms other than poetry and in Vietnamese instead of Chinese. Then after over a century of literary repression by the French and communists, there was an explosion of wonderful fiction starting in the 1980's as the economic and cultural lids began to come off. Most of this work has only been translated into English in the last decade, and while some of it is about war (the Vietnamese fought five back-to-back wars from the late 1930's through early 1980's, including the "American war"), much deals with the complex and fascinating transformation of a feudal oligarchy with an emperor through the wars into the attempt to create a pure communist economy, and now into a cautious evolution into an international market economy.

Dumb Luck, Vu Trong Phung

Regarded as a Vietnamese classic, banned in Vietnam until 1986, a funny satire of the rage for modernization and aping of the French in the late Colonial era.
Duong Tu Huong: Beyond Illusions, Memories of Pure Spring, Novel Without a Name, and Paradise of the Blind

Four expertly written novels about the last century in Vietnam, a loose series that are far more than historical novels, but collectively cover most of the time since WWII in Vietnam.

The Stars, The Earth, The River, Le Minh Khue

14 stories, some harrowing, from an author who was a girl sapper in a youth brigade. Written in the language of a patriotic soldier, but with painful and touching humor.

A Time Far Past, Le Luu

Beautifully written winner of the national prize for fiction in Vietnam, widely read there, and often cited as the most authentic, in that lots of the Vietnamese have experienced the book's description of the movement of the son of a Confucian scholar in rural Vietnam through war service to trying to adapt to the postwar world of urban Hanoi.

The Sorrow of War, Bau Ninh

Fictional account of a young soldier in war, with brutal detail and great sorrow. Of 500 men in the author’s brigade, he was one of 10 survivors.

Behind the Red Mist, Ho Anh Thai

Short stories dealing with the transformation of life in post-war Vietnam.

The Women on the Island, Ho Anh Thai

Dark humor about the bizarre economic redevelopment projects that tried to put people to work after the wars.

The General Retires and Other Stories andCrossing the River, Nguyen Huy Thiep Stories by a rural writer with a deft hand--a kind of Vietnamese Faulkner who focuses on the world he knows well.

And three anthologies:

Vietnam: A Traveler's Literary Companion, John Balaban and Nguyen Qui Duc, eds. Seventeen short stories, organized around the geography of Vietnam: the jungles, villages, rivers, Hanoi, HCM City, etc.

Night, Again: Contemporary Fiction from Vietnam, Linh Kinh, ed.

A collection of short fiction, some by authors living in Vietnam, but also including several ex-pats living elsewhere. Like the African-American literary diaspora in France in the early 20th century, a part of Vietnamese fiction is from writers who left for other countries, by choice or necessity.

The Light of the Capital: Three Modern Vietnamese Classics, Greg and Monique Lockhard, edoitors and translators

Two pieces of urban reportage and 1 autobiography. Interesting reading, but more essays on Vietnamese history or culture than fiction.

•  •  •

Kimberly Hokanson, Director of Alumni and Parent Programs:

Pretending that it was work-related, I dug into Abide with Me, by Bates' own Elizabeth Strout '77. Loved it. (Also liked Liz's first book, Amy & Isabel, but like the new one better). Also recommend anything by Elizabeth Berg. For women approaching the half-century mark, I particularly recommend reading The Pull of the Moon. Also enjoyed Range of Motion, but would have read it at a less hormonally-influenced time of the month if I'd had more of an idea what it was about. Very heart wrenching.

•  •  •

Jim Hughes, Thomas Sowell Professor of Economics:

Mao: The Unknown Storyby Jung Chang and Jon Halliday
Anything but neutral, the authors spent over a decade combing archives and conducting interviews to write this biography of Chairman Mao. The compilation of information is impressive, and the work will change anyone's view of the Great Helmsman's role in China's history.
Not beach reading, or even light reading, but a thoroughly engaging read for those who like history.

John Illig, Men's and Women's Squash Coach:

Infinite Jest, by David Foster Wallace

1,000-plus pages of ingenious mayhem; set in the future, largely in Boston, in a time when even the calendar years themselves have corporate sponsors, such as 2012, "The Year of the Depends Adult Undergarment." Mind-boggling stuff. Not bad for a Williams College grad.

Sorry for shameless self-promos but I need the sales:

Pacific Dream, by John Illig

Review: editor D.W.St.John: "Unflinchingly honest, vividly told, funny, true, fascinating, exciting - - Pacific Dream is all these things. It's the best book I've read this year and I'll never forget it. John writes with a candor that's shockingly fresh and real." Review: Maine Sunday Telegram 8/7/05 L. Ferriss: "A fascinating, thought-provoking book that ranks with the very best literature on long-distance hiking." A narrative account of 2,657-mile Pacific Crest Trail hike. Book is available with reviews on Amazon; is also available 24 hours/day over the telephone at Book Clearing House: 1 (800) 431-1579.

Green Tunnel, by John Illig

Review: John Hanson Mitchell (Ceremonial Time; Trespassing; Living at the End of Time): "Just in time to counteract Bill Bryson's lumbering 'A Walk in the Woods,' here is a book by a guy who actually made it through. John Illig is light on his feet and writes with tripping prose." A narrative account of 2,147-mile Appalachian Trail hike (book formerly published by Windswept House as 'Trail Ways, Path Wise' - now out of print). Book is available with reviews on Amazon; is also available 24 hours/day over the telephone at Book Clearing House: 1 (800) 431-1579.

•  •  •

Rachel Jacques, Assistant to the VP for ILS:

Beauman: Kate Remembered

Julia Child-My Life in France

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

•  •  •

Phyllis Graber Jensen, staff writer and photographer:

Phone Ringsby Stephen Dixon
I was drawn to this novel by its cover but expected nothing. Once reading, I was swept off my feet. After a phone call in which he learns of his older brother's unexpected death, the aging narrator reminisces seemingly at random about their lives together. A series of tales about siblings and family over the course of a lifetime, Phone Rings overflows with exquisite emotion.

•  •  •

Charles Kovacs, Director of Career Services:

Hand-Me-Down Dreams. How Families Influence Our Career Paths and How We Can Reclaim Them. Mary H. Jacobsen. Three River Press, New York, NY

One of the more persistent issues in career counseling is the presence of the ‘gray eminence’ of family expectations. Students often express what their parents and family expect of them in terms of jobs, graduate schools, careers, and life. On occasion, some students express what their family expects them to major in! Clearly, students’ parents and families’ love and want only the best for the young folks in their lives. However, those expectations and hopes are often expressed in terms of what students ‘ought’ and ‘must’ do, become, think, and act. Living one’s own life is never easy; it is especially hard if you are living out another’s ideas and dreams.

Mary H. Jacobsen, a psychotherapist and career counselor, presents in some outstanding insights into the transference of generational expectations and the negative effects they can have in a young person’s life. She explains the dynamic of feeling trapped or disappointed in a career or job when one tries to live up to your “family’s wishes, rather than your own natural talents, interests, and passions.” She also touches on critical topics such as: identifying a family system and web of relationships, breaking the cycle, sibling order and gender, family values and how they work for and against us, overcoming beliefs that block change and personal success, and an outstanding section on reclaiming your career.

This book really should be required reading for every parent of a college age son or daughter or anyone who may feel the internal distress of an unhappy job. Or as a Wall Street Journal reviewer put it: “Any reader who has drifted into an unsatisfying career is likely to experience several shocks of recognition here, and to pick up helpful hints.”

10 Things Employers Want You to Learn In College. The Know-How You Need to Succeed. Bill Coplin. Ten Speed Press, Berkely, CA
It comes as no surprise that Bates graduates do well in the world of advanced studies and work: The Bates education experience and training has a profound relevancy. Bill Coplin is the director and professor of the public affairs program at Syracuse University. He identified in his book those core qualities that a college educated individual can offer to an employer. Coplin has developed a skills-based liberal arts curricular for over 30 years and has through his research and verified methodology identified 10 crucial skills groups: work ethic, physical performance, speaking, writing, teamwork, influencing people, research, number crunching, critical thinking, and problem solving. It was a delight to see the skills, work habits, and motivations the Bates curriculum instills affirmed in Colpin’s book.

Type Talk at Work. How 16 Personality Types Determine Your Success on the Job. Otto Kroeger, Janet M. Thusesen, and Hile Rutledge. Dell Publishing, New York, NY
The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator [MBTI] is the most widely-used style preference behavior scales in the world. We offer students the option of this diagnostic information gathering instrument through confidential counseling and interpretation. Based upon the personality theories of Karl Jung, the MBTI captures the essential comfort zones of an individual’s way of being energized, taking in and processing information, and engaging the world. The unique combination of ones’ preferences results in a profile with proven behavioral relations to academics, communication needs, management styles, and a host of other critical performance expressions. Kroeger and his team focus on the work styles of the MBTI and gives one of the best analysis of type in the work place. He expresses the unique dynamic of the MBTI typologies, their needs, natural expressions, and potential strengths and weaknesses. Within the workplace he covers for each profile such issues as: leadership, team building, and problem solving styles, conflict resolution, goal setting, time management, hiring and firing, ethics, stress management, and sales. Additionally, he offers in-depth profiles of all 16 types with specific emphasis on their workplace contributions, pathways to professional growth, leadership qualities, and team spirit.

•  •  •

Paul Kuritz, Professor of Theater:

The Second World War, Winston Churchill

The Presence of the Future, George Eldon Ladd

•  •  •

Jim Lamontagne, Library Assistant-Cataloging:

A tragic honesty: the life and work of Richard Yates/ Blake Bailey
A chilling look at the troubled life of a forgotten American novelist of the 60?s-80?s. Alcoholic and manic-depressive, a Fitzgeraldian disciple with a post-WWII outlook, Yates observed middle-class angst in America in relative obscurity with only occasional critical acclaim. This thorough bio may continue a well-deserved career re-evaluation that has begun already with re-issues of works such as Revolutionary Road and Easter Parade.

•  •  •

Charlotte Lehmann, Research Technician in Geology:

Wanderlust: The Story of Walking by Rebecca Solnit

Holy Clues-The Gospel According to Sherlock Holmes by Stephen Kendrick

What the Bleep Do We Know!? By William Arntz et al

•  •  •

Lynne Lewis, Associate Professor of Economics:

I have recently read, Marley and Me. And while it is very light reading it is immensely enjoyable for a dog lover.

•  •  •

Becky Lovett, Assistant Bookstore Manager:

I recommend two books of the pioneer West: Letters of a Woman Homesteader by Elinore Pruitt Stewart gives a remarkable view of the challenges, joys and sorrows experienced by homesteaders during the early twentieth century. And from a fictional point-of-view, Willa Cather’s My Antoniatakes you to Nebraska during the same time period. Cather’s descriptions of the weather and landscapes that defined daily life, as well as the immigrants struggling to manage, are so real that you feel the grit in your eyes.

•  •  •

Bill Low, Assistant Curator, Museum of Art:

Snow by Orhan Pamuk

A Turkish poet who spent 12 years as a political exile in Germany witnesses firsthand the clash between radical Islam and Western ideals in this enigmatically beautiful novel.

March by Geraldine Brooks

Brooks's luminous second novel imagines the Civil War experiences of Mr. March, the absent father in Louisa May Alcott's Little Women.

Kathy Low, Professor of Psychology:

March, by Geraldine Brooks

Fforde's trilogy: The Eyre Affair, Lost in a Good Book, Well of Lost Plots

Elizabeth Strout, Abide with Me

•  •  •

Judy Marden '66, Director, Bates Morse Mountain/Shortridge:

One of my Baxter-in-winter buddies let me take Alistair MacLeod's No Great Mischief after he was finished; a story of the MacDonald clan that settled on Cape Breton Island. It inspires me to go back to that lovely land for a visit --or farther, to find a few roots in Scotland.

Just re-read Kenn Kauffman's Kingbird Highway. Kenn took off to go birding at the age of 16--dropped out of high school, and followed his passion. His mantra: "Any day could be a special day, and you just had to get outside and see..." Now, an author of many books, he teaches at Maine Audubon's Hog Island Camp for part of the summer. Sometimes he leads groups to Morse Mountain. And maybe, if I get outside on just the right day, I will finally meet him.

I still love murder mysteries as candy, and one of the best this year is Tami Hoag's Kill the Messenger. Ever wonder what being a bike messenger might feel like? Great descriptions of urban and suburban chases!
Well, one of these days, my dream is to make my most interesting book, my own diary!

•  •  •

Maggie Maurer-Fazio, Associate Dean of the Faculty:

Two books on China:
River Town by Peter Hessler
China Candid: The people on the People's Republic by Sang Ye
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon

•  •  •

Lisa Maurizio, Associate Professor of Classical and Medieval Studies:

I recommend Sacred Country by Rose Tremain.

Sigrid Nunez: A Feather on the Breadth of God
Kate Atkinson: Human Croquet

•  •  •

Laurie McConnell, Area Coordinator, Carnegie Science:

The Dive from Clausen's Pierby Ann Packer
Emotional roller coaster! Moral complexity. From the jacket: "How much do we owe the people we love? Is it a sign of strength or weakness to walk away from someone in need? Carrie Bell is 23 years old, engaged to her high school sweetheart and has had the same 'best friend' forever when her fiance is paralyzed in a diving accident. She has lived her entire life in Madison, Wisconsin and had lately been finding this life suffocating. But now, leaving seems unforgivable." Carrie's response to this dilemma makes you delve into your innermost feelings and keeps you wondering how you might react. And, of course, there is no right or wrong answer. But there is inner turmoil no matter what you decide. Provocative!

•  •  •

David McCullough, the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author and recipient of an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at Commencement, offered titles in his address:

For your summer list let me recommend just three, none long, all marvelous: Wind, Sand and Stars, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, about the pioneer days in aviation and about responsibility as the core of morality; The Lives of a Cell, by Lewis Thomas, which is about fish and bats and social insects, birdsong, and the miracle of language; and read the funny, very wise essay on the devil and his ways called The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis.

•  •  •

Monica McCusker, Office Coordinator, College Store:

Cold Sassy Treeby Olive Ann Burns
I read this book as a "relief" book between a series of books I was reading and was genuinely refreshed by Ms. Burns' way of writing. It's a coming-of-age story as told by a young man living in the small town of Cold Sassy Tree, Georgia, in the early 1900's. With a keen knack for story-telling, he describes events in his family life with a focus on the personal interactions and aspirations of his patriarchal grandfather whose independent way of thinking and philosophies on life are passed on to his grandson. The author writes in the vernacular of the characters and I found myself "thinking southern" as I read. Having lived in the southern part of the country during parts of my life, I could relate to the slang and way of thinking of the people in the story. I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for an easy and enjoyable story.

•  •  •

Chris McDowell, Assistant Professor of Theater:

Books I like, in no particular order:
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
The story of an inflexible Baptist minister and his wife and four daughters who travel to the Congo on the eve of its revolution and independence. The book is told from the point of view of the women in the family.

Arcadia by Tom Stoppard
Brilliant theatrical language in two parallel stories set 150+ years apart in the same English country house. The story of a young girl in the early 19th century who has an amazing grasp of theoretical mathematics and physics.

The Moor's Last Sigh by Salman Rushdie
Not his best known work, but a very sensitive story about a Christian family in Goa.

The Master and Margherita by Mikhail Bulgakov
An early Russian surrealist novel about the Devil's visit to Moscow, Pontius Pilate and his dog, and a woman who turns herself into a witch for the love of a writer.

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn
The story of a family of "genetically engineered" sideshow freaks. Very dark and bizarre, but hard to put down.

What's Bred in the Bone
by Robertson Davies
The life and career of a Canadian art forger. Part of a larger trilogy by Davies (the master of trilogies), all involving the fine and performing arts.

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
A comic look at the Apolocalypse (no, really!). For anyone who knows the writing of Terry Prachett (the author of the Discworld series), this book has all of his wit, but is set here on earth. Neil Gaiman is also known as the author of the graphic novel series The Sandman.

•  •  •

Bryan McNulty, Director of Communication and Media Relations:

Benjamin Franklin: An American Life, by Walter Isaacson. (Paperback came out in 2004.)

Of all the Founders, I think that Franklin would be the least distressed by time travel to the present day. He was amazingly multifaceted, and had such a modern and practical approach to life. He was a skeptic and world-class scientist, an entrepreneur and editorial spinmeister. Most fortuitously for the new country, he was brilliant and wise in crafting compromise, and in building French support for the United States. All of this and a great sense of humor. This is the American historical figure that I would most like to invite to a party.

Testament of Youth, by Vera Brittain

This was written in 1933, but it's new to me. Brittain turned 18 in 1914, and she writes about her youth through 1925. I am not halfway through the book, but I find it fascinating to see World War I through the lens of her life, with all of its intensity, love and loss. There was certainly a more pronounced societal naiveté about the glory of war for king, kaiser and country. But we still go on making bad choices, don't we?

•  •  •

Jessica Mellen, Residence Life & Student Activities Assistant:
Plum Island by Nelson Demille--a great thriller
Sloppy Firsts; Second Helpings; Charmed Thirds-- an ongoing series by Megan McCafferty--great for anybody with teenage daughters or any woman who remembers that awkward phase of life! Chick lit at its snarky best.
Lily White by Susan Isaacs--simply wonderful--about family and how they come in all forms.
A Widow for One Year by John Irving--I think one of his less-well read novels, but I really enjoyed it.

Without Reservations: The Travels of an Independent Woman by Alice Steinbach--absolutely wonderful--one of my favorites.
The Sweet Potato Queens' Book of Love by Jill Conner Browne--hysterical. I actually laughed out loud through most of the book--chronicles the adventures of some self-made queens in Mississippi, and includes recipes for some of the most delicious and fattening things EVER.
The Third Chimpanzee: The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal by Jared Diamond--a very interesting look at why we do the things we do, and how close we really are to chimps!
Bone Voyage: A Journey into Forensic Anthropology by Stanley Rhine--true forensic tales, anybody who loves CSI/Bones/that genre of TV would find it super interesting.

•  •  •

Erika Millstein, Biology Research Assistant:

Barbara Kingsolver, Prodigal Summer
Ian McEwan, Atonement

•  •  •

Michael Murray, Charles Franklin Phillips Professor of Economics:

Handling Sinby Michael Malone - A rollicking, somewhat surreal road-trip and redemption novel.

Mountains Beyond Mountain: the Paul Farmer Story - The inspirational story of Dr. Paul Farmer, a man who would cure the world. Farmer's unorthodox pursuit of better medical care for the indigent of the world is fascinatingly well told by Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy Kidder.

Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi - an enlightening window into women's lives in revolutionary Iran and the nourishment that literature can furnish to hungry souls.

Econometrics: A Modern Introduction by Michael Murray - a drug-free soporific to put on your bedside table.

Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss - Never has understanding grammar been so much fun.

•  •  •

Dan Nein, Assistant Director of Facility Services:

Outdoor Life

Maine Sportsman

Northland Journal

All magazines—


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2005 Summer Reading List

Sarah Potter

Each spring, the College Store solicits from members of the Bates community their suggestions for good summer reads:

Paula Jean Schlax, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biological Chemistry:

…Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami. This was a fascinating story about Kafka, a 15-year-old boy who runs away from home and ends up at a small private library and Nakata, a strange old man who has a connection to Kafka and the people he meets. The story delves in and out of time and dream type reality. The prose, even in translation, is great.

Harbor by Lorraine Adams. This story is about an illegal immigrant from Algeria and his experiences. He is accused of being a terrorist (because of his associations with others that conduct illegal activities). His interactions with others are intriguing.

Mirrormask: Script book by Dave Mckean and Neil Gaiman. It is the storyboard and script of an upcoming movie by (Jim) Henson films. Dave McKean's storyboards are so interesting that I enjoy looking at it and reading it.

Andrew White, Director of Academic Technology:

The busier I get at home and work, the more I read--go figure.

The Baroque Cycle--Neal Stephenson
A tale told across 3 volumes and over 2700 pages. I could say it's about the origins of our modern economic system in Baroque Europe-but it's really a fantastic, picaresque adventure story which blends Newton, Leibniz, Louis XIV, piracy, European aristocracy, Peter the Great, voyages round the world, and cross-dressing into a rollicking read. You can go deep or stay on the surface. Either way it's a blast.

Gilead and Housekeeping--both by Marilynne Robinson

Housekeeping has always stayed on my reread shelf. It reads like a single breath. Reading Gilead is like reading a prayer.

Buddha in the World--Pankaj Mishra
A somewhat disjointed, but enjoyable overview of the Buddha's legacy.

One Man's Wilderness--Sam Keith
Touted during endless PBS beg-athons, this reconstruction of Dick Proenneke's journals of his time near Lake Clark, Alaska fuels the wanderlust of those of us trapped behind our desks.

How Soon is Never?--Marc Spitz
A great read for us Reagan-era adolescents. A primer for saving your life by reuniting your favorite band.

Lobster Coast--Colin Woodward
Entertaining cultural history of the Maine coast, useful for those of us perpetually from away. It explains a lot.

Laura Faure, Director of Bates Dance Festival:

Time Traveler's Wife (by Audrey Niffenegger) and The Kite Runner (by Khaled Hosseini). Both were excellent.

Elizabeth Eames, Associate Professor of Anthropology:

Finally got around to Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver--been meaning to read it for ages--I thought the first three-quarters were inspired and brilliant. (Even though it went on a bit too long, it was all in all enlightening, poetic and evocative).

Alli Lambert, Coordinator of Alumni and Parent Programs:

Night Fall by Nelson Demille...finished it in one day! A fast and funny read.

Gene Wiemers, Vice President for Information and Library Services and Librarian:

Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, a Man Who Would Cure the World, by Tracy Kidder. Out in paperback from Random House in 2004. Required reading for the human race. I'm interested in it because it shows that it is possible to be an effective professional one person at a time, and at the same time influence political systems, national, and international policy. Some Bates readers will remember Farmer's visit here several years ago, and many will have read Kidder's other books. Kidder wrote this book as a first person narrative, which some readers may find jarring. In a recent visit to Maine, he said that he used this approach in order to keep Farmer on a human and personal scale, as his accomplishments are so great that a third person narrative might make Farmer seem unbelievable.

We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda, by Philip Gourevitch. The 1998 book available in paperback from Picador. You may not think about the Rwandan genocide as summer reading. Many readers may have been put off by the topic, which makes this book of value to this list many years after it was published. Don't let the subject matter stop you. This is a gripping, dispassionate and compelling account of how human beings can instigate, accept, witness and ignore unspeakably inhuman acts. It reminds you that it can happen here. A very good and very important reading experience.

Charles Kovacs, Director of Career Services:

Getting a job is really a job; it involves as much, possibly more, time, energy, effort, and skills than a nine to five occupation. More, job hunting hurts: loss of self-esteem, wages, identity, and status. Yep, unemployment can be a bummer, for the first time, job seeker no less than the seasoned professional. Consequently, there is a proliferation of books, web sites, newsletters, self-help guides, and multi-media materials aimed at making the transition a bit less painful. After a while, the literature in the field resembles variations on predictable themes, like the “gothic” novels of pulp fiction fame. It was refreshing to discover that a recent book returned to a provocative technique that has not been covered in the literature for a while and is most deserving of another serious review.

Brian Graham’s new monograph, Get Hired Fast! Tap the Hidden Job Market in 15 Days, [Adams Media, Avon, MA, 2005] recommends that the older techniques – cover letters, resumes, email spam “blasts” of your documents, web postings, and networking – are too time-consuming and less effective, especially the technology over-kill approach. Graham advises a simple, direct, and seemingly swift approach: identify the key contact in any organization, do research on the organization, target appropriate companies, and execute a professional scripted phone call. If this is done in a focused manner, he states, you could see results in 15 days.

While this sounds too good to be true, it does work. The catch: focus, time, and intentional effort. Graham’s style is direct, clear and exact, just what you would expect from a successful founder of an executive search firm with major clients. Especially useful is his chapter on scripted calling. His advice there is particularly useful for the neophyte and experienced job hunter.

Guy Kawaski is perhaps best know for his work with Apple Computer as their corporate “evangelist” and the positive effect wrought through an intentional and enthusiastic expression of a product. He has published many popular and substantial books, is a motivational speaker, and entrepreneur. His most recent book, The Art of the Start. The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide for Anyone Starting Anything [Portfolio/Penguin, New York, 2004] provides the reader with a great benchmarking tool for starting any new venture be that a company, family, career, or writing a book.

In 11 chapters, Kawaski presents his distilled experience, insights, and sense of the phases of new venture development: starting, positing, pitching, business plan crafting, bootstrapping, recruiting, capital raising, partnering, branding, and rainmaking. His last chapter is perhaps his best – he recommends reading that chapter first – on “The Art of Being a Mensch.” Essentially, if you are not engaged in your new venture for anything less than being ethical, decent, and admirable, your success – or failure – will never satisfy or lead to a higher level of personhood. I was struck with the resonance of his admonition with aspects of the Bates philosophy: “The three foundations of menschhood are helping lots of people, doing what is right, and paying back society – simple concepts that are hard to implement.” He inspires too: “When telescopes work, everyone is an astronomer, and the world is full of stars. When they don't, everyone whips out their microscopes, and the world is full of flaws.”

This easy to read book will delight, entertain, and inform your next great venture. It is a funny, witty, and delightful book and if you want to check out his corresponding web site for a taste of it try http://www.artofthestart.com. Just be sure you focus your telescope, not your microscope, as you start your new venture.

Jim Hart, Academic Technology Project Manager:

I often like mysteries by British authors, especially the series that feature a central cast of characters through a number of books. In that vein are the Lord Peter Wimsey books by Dorothy Sayers. While the early ones are good to excellent mysteries, the Lord Peter Wimsey/Harriet Vane books are even more interesting. They interlace a sophisticated love story into a series of 4 mysteries. Sayers' command of dialogue in these books is outstanding and, sometimes, memorable. She conveys so much without having to tell the reader overtly what the characters are thinking and feeling.

The books are: Strong PoisonHave His CarcaseGaudy Night and Busman's Honeymoon.

Do read them in that order. While the mysteries in each stand alone, the progress of the romance between the two protagonists moves in a continuum through them.

Sarah Strong, Associate Professor of Japanese

I recommend Ceremony by Leslie Silko. Written in the 1970s and set in northern New Mexico, it tells a story of recovery from the trauma of war. Healing comes in multiple ways but especially through the power of traditional stories of the Laguna Pueblo people and Navaho ceremonies. There are lots of cool desert springs, warm sandstone cliffs, rhythmic voices and wise animals. The narrative thread is both engaging and complex. I really like this book.

Paul Kuritz, Professor of Theater:

Will in the World. How Shakespeare Became Shakespeare by Stephen Greenblatt

Father Joe. The Man Who Saved My Soul by Tony Hendra

Right Turns. Unconventional Lessons from a Controversial Life by Michael Medved

Gilead. A Novel by Marilynne Robinson

Sawyer Sylvester, Professor of Sociology:

John Adams by David McCullough is an immensely readable biography of the quintessential New Englander and second president of the United States, without whose efforts there probably would not be a United States. If this book rekindles your interest in early American history, you might also enjoy Joseph Ellis’s Founding Brothers and Alden Vaughan’s The Puritan Heritage in America.

A Solitude of Space is a collection of paintings by Thomas Crotty. I suppose it’s not necessary to have been born and raised in Maine to like Crotty’s spare, cold, silent landscapes—but it helps. For those not fortunate, go alone to a place like “Backyard Winter South”, “Wolf’s Neck Pasture” or—especially—“Frost Gully, New Snow”, take a deep breath of the frozen air, and listen.

Oxymoronica by Marty Grothe is a little collection of those pithy sayings with the snap of illogic at the end. One from a church bulletin is: “The cost for attending the Fasting and Prayer Conference includes meals.”

Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code, with some suspension of critical faculties, is a romp. P.D. James’s The Murder Room is a solid read, requiring no such suspension.

In an age enamored of alternative medicine, Dangerous Garden by David Stuart is a sober reminder of the double edge to herbal remedies.

Sailing the Wine Dark Sea is the fourth in Thomas Cahill’s “Hinges of History” series, and a book-long paean to ancient Greek culture—including its language which he says had a word for just about everything. Hebrew, by contrast, was a language of silences, and Latin, “a language ideal for recordkeeping.” That last is a bit harsh, I think.

Outwitting History by Aaron Lansky is the story of a college student who, in order to gain a “sociological view of Jewish history,” takes a course in Yiddish and soon discovers that there are very few Yiddish books. This is because such books in America are rapidly being lost, abandoned, or destroyed. The author begins a country-wide rescue, raiding attics and dumpsters, and finally establishing the National Yiddish Book Center.

Anthony Shostak, Education Coordinator/Museum of Art:

The Elementary Particles by Michel Houellebecq
This tale of two half-brothers encompasses genetic engineering, wife swapping, and the consequences of growing up motherless.

Platform by Michel Houellebecq
This homage to Camus focuses on how sexual tourism and religious intolerance change the life of a middle-aged French bureaucrat.

Sylvia Federico, Resident Learning Associate/Classical and Medieval Studies:

I recently read, and thoroughly enjoyed, Jonathan Lethem's novel titled Motherless Brooklyn. It's about a detective with Tourette's syndrome, set in contemporary New York.

Leigh Weisenburger, Assistant Dean of Admissions:

Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingslover

Camille by Alexandre Dumas

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

11 Minutes by Paulo Coehlo

The Big House by George Howe Colt

Rob Farnsworth, Lecturer in English:

I recommend: Ian McEwan's new novel Saturday, skillfully done and quite absorbing/disturbing; John Banville's strange novel Athena; William Trevor's novel pathetique The Story of Lucy Gault;Botanies of Desire by Michael Pollan, engagingly written horticultural and cultural musings in four chapters concerning respectively the apple, the tulip, marijuana, and the potato; and for those still picking up thin volumes of verse, of whom I wish there were many more, poetry: by James Richardson--Interglacial: New & Selected Poems; by Glyn Maxwell--The Nerve and The Boys At Twilight: Poems 1990-95; by Sydney Lea--Ghost Pain.

Roxanne Prichard, Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology:

Oryx & Crake- Margart Atwood

Maggie Maurer-Fazio, Associate Professor of Economics/Associate Dean of the Faculty:

Books that I read this year and would recommend are:

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Michael Haddon

Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Lipstick Jihad by Azadeh Moaveni

The Wind-up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

Karen McArthur, Systems Administrator/ILS:

For those of you who enjoy a bit of humor, I recently read Yiddish with Dick and Jane by Ellis Weiner and Barbara Davilman. It's very enjoyable! And it has a Yiddish index in the back that helps you figure out that childhood mystery ... What "Bobe" was saying?

Ray Potter, Environmental Health and Safety Specialist:

I Am Charlotte Simmons by Tom Wolfe
I was looking for some answers. I hoped to gain some understanding of today’s college student. I found more questions. I don’t know whether the novel is an accurate reflection of Wolfe’s research or a serious case of literary and “older generation” exaggeration. There seems to be a convergence of what I have observed and what Wolfe writes but it’s not clear how widespread the behaviors are in the population.

Anyway, it’s an interesting tale of one young woman’s painful maturing process in the first six months of college. It’s not a good read for a parent sending a teenager off for the first time. The end product of this process is not thoroughly likable. It might make one consider home schooling at the collegiate level.

Ice Hunt by James Rollins
For sheer escapism featuring science fiction, international intrigue, marriage rebuilding under extreme circumstances with a side order of Navy Special Forces, this is the book for you. Rollins seems to have a formula which he sticks to in his books but if you’re not looking for great literature, it’s a good entertaining read. This tale takes place in the extreme northern hemisphere beginning in the Alaskan wilderness and proceeding to a research station buried in the ice above the arctic circle. There are prehistoric creatures, a favorite of Rollins, evil scientists, a wolf, an Alaskan Fish & Wildlife agent and an Alaskan law enforcement person. All these characters are wrapped up into a compelling adventure that’s pretty hard to put down. Other books by Rollins that might be of interest: ExcavationSubterranean, and Amazonia.

Jack Whyte has written a series of books that put a new, and perhaps more believable spin on the Arthurian legend. He starts with Roman legionnaires in the fifth century and weaves an earthy and fascinating story of how Arthur and his knights may have evolved. There are characters of all kinds: likable, despicable, endearing, lovable, creative, bellicose. I liked the new Merlin, a real, clever person, not a wizard. It’s a great series and I’m not sure we’ve come to the end yet. There was a new book released in hardcover in November 2004. The titles, including the newest are: The SkystoneThe Singing SwordThe Eagles BroodThe Saxon ShoreThe Fort at River’s Bend,The Sorcerer: MetamorphosisUther, and The Lance Thrower.

Bill Hiss, Vice President for External Affairs:

Thomas Cahill, How the Irish Saved Civilization. A lovely slender volume to cover eons of history, this book tells how the Irish monks copied the classics and Biblical texts during the Dark Ages when the books were being lost almost everywhere else. Gracefully and sympathetically written, hopping nimbly about the Western and Middle Eastern world over centuries, it is a rewarding short read about what we owe the Irish and especially the unpromising, isolated Irish monasteries, from which no one then alive would have expected much in the way of cultural contributions.

Dallas Murphy, Rounding the Horn. A well-written history and sailing tour of Cape Horn, with its hideously difficult weather and seas, and some fascinating portraits of who ended up there, by choice or literal accident. A good summer read, perhaps an amalgam of "The Perfect Storm" and Patrick O'Brien's wonderful sea novels.

William H. Tucker '67, The Funding of Scientific Racism: Wickliffe Draper and the Pioneer Fund. Bill Tucker, a professor of psychology at Rutgers, has written a powerful scholarly account of how a wealthy man funded a foundation--The Pioneer Fund--which for decades has surreptitiously funded much of the very worst racist research to try to establish the genetic superiority of the Nordic races and influence public policy against any forms of civil rights or opportunity for non-whites.

Charles E. Clark '51, Bates Through the Years: An Illustrated History. Charlie Clark, an emeritus professor of New England history at UNH, was commissioned by Bates to prepare a volume of topical essays on the history of Bates as part of the Sesquicentennial celebrations. Written with an eye for detail and some humor, the book deals with major facets of Bates--the Presidents, the faculty, the curriculum, student life--and is illustrated with many dozens of wonderful photographs from Bates history over the decades. The book will be published for the opening of College in the fall.

Michael Shapiro, The Last Good Season: Brooklyn, the Dodgers, and Their Final Pennant Race Together. Another good summer read, on the last season the Dodgers played at Ebbets Field before moving to Los Angeles. It is certainly for baseball aficionados, but also for those interested in the social and political history of the 1950's. The collection of very fallible players have survived as cult heroes: Pee Wee Reese, Jackie Robinson, Duke Snider, Roy Campanella. But the equally engrossing story is the political battle between team owner Walter O'Malley and city planning czar Robert Moses over whether the Dodgers could build a new stadium in Brooklyn--imagine a time when public housing and transportation was a higher priority for tax dollars than a professional sports stadium!

Jane K. Frizzell, Network Services Administrator:

May I recommend Eric Garcia (Matchstick Men) and his 3 book series about the dinosaurs who walk amongst us. Anonymous RexCasual Rex and Hot and Sweaty Rex are lots of fun to read. They are adult detective mysteries, and Garcia is a good writer. The writing is the best part along with the humor, strange plots and absurd situations. Dinosaurs are not extinct, just in hiding. You may not know it, but many of the people you see every day are actually dinosaurs in sophisticated people suits. They have a sub-culture that helps keep their secret, can get inebriated when exposed to sage and oregano and have great senses of humor.

Kimberly Hokanson, Director of Alumni and Parent Programs:

Paranoia, by Joseph Finder
A great story of corporate espionage--easy reading, lots of suspense to keep you turning the pages. Added bonus for me--Joe was my expository writing teacher way back in graduate school, at which point he was writing his first novel!

Holly Lasagna, Service Learning Program Coordinator:

Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri. Even though I have been so busy that I don't get to do much reading these days, this book was great to pick up, read one of the stories and then come back to it at any point. She has an incredible eye for the detail that defines a person, relationship, life. Great subtle commentary on the immigrant experience.

Sue Hubley, Senior Researcher/Office of College Advancement:

This is my first time submitting a book. I've meant to other years, but got sidetracked and never did. But right now I'm reading a book that I'm finding so powerful that I just had to submit it. It's titled, At Hell's Gate, and the author is Claude Anshin Thomas, a Soto Zen Buddhist monk. He was in Maine a couple of weeks ago to publicize the book and to do daylong retreats on mindfulness, and I attended one of those retreats. He was a soldier who went to Vietnam believing the war was right, was severely traumatized by what he saw and did there, came back, had a breakdown, and has spent years trying to achieve peace inside and to atone for his actions. He experienced a complete turnaround, believes that war and violence are wrong, and is trying to spread the message that violence -- and peace and compassion as well -- begin inside each of us.

The book is absolutely compelling, from my point of view. It's not light reading, though. It was published in 2004 by Shambhala Publications.

Sagaree Sengupta, Lecturer, Asian Studies:

Books I have read that would make good summer reading:

Pico Iyer, The Lady and the Monk

Monica Ali, Brick Lane

Michael Chabon, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh

Edith Wharton, The Age of Innocence

Seamus Heaney's translation of Beowulf (yeah, on a stormy day at the shore!)

There is some great English poetry from India, but I'm afraid they'd be hard for people to get their hands on. Names of poets:

Arvind Krishna Mehrotra
Jayanta Mahapatra

The book I really want to read this summer:

Suketu Mehta, Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found (non-fic).

Bonnie Shulman, Associate Professor of Mathematics:

Don't Think of an Elephant by George Lakoff--I know it's "trendy" and all the rage in some political circles, but I STILL want to recommend this book by an academic linguist, written for a more general audience. He boils down some principles about "framing" (marketing?) one's issues and values to get them across to a larger public. Some have criticized the book as touting form over substance ("it's all spin"), but I do NOT think that is what he is saying. Many of us were perplexed in the last election cycle about how and why we were ineffective at communicating with others, especially about "values." This book helps one to understand some of the dynamics that might be going on, and, ultimately is a primer on how to communicate respectfully with those with whom you might disagree. A good antidote to polarizing rhetoric!

Wild Steps of Heaven by Victor Villasenor--Second book in the series after Rain of Gold, but I would read this one first. It's the history of the paternal branch of "la familia" telling the story of his grandfather's life as a young boy in Mexico, during the Revolution. A little reminiscent of the magical realism of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the sometimes quite violent scenes are tempered by passion, faith, and love. It is a great summer read.

The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove by Christopher Moore
How to describe this book? It's not easy...but trust me, you will laugh out loud from page 1! As a parody of Monster Who Ate New York (Godzilla) type fiction, it is a real send-up! But there is more--characters like a stoned constable, a pharmacist with a fish-fetish, a bartender with more "augmented" (artificial) body parts than her originals, and more. I know it sounds weird (wired?) but it's even weirder than it sounds, and 100 times as funny!

Michael Sargent, Assistant Professor of Psychology:

Amsterdam, by Ian McEwaw
As is typical for McEwan, this novel begins with a great deal of rich character development, which continues for a while, until something dreadful happens. If you like dry, witty banter and also have a dark sense of humor, you're likely to enjoy this book. It's a quick read too. Once you've finished, if you're in the mood for more McEwan, I also recommend The Comfort of Strangers.

Tanisha Scottham, College Advancement:

Isabel Allende’s newest book Zorro: A Novel looks like a good read!

Anita Charles, Instructor/Dept. of Education:

Interpreter of Maladies, by Jhumpa Lahiri
A Pulitzer-Prize-winning collection of short stories featuring families from India integrating into American culture. I do not recommend, however, her later novel The Namesake. Guess she doesn't do longer fiction as well as she does short stories.

Beloved, by Toni Morrison
One of my all-time favorite books. I could read it over and over, and it would definitely be one I'd want if I were stranded on a desert isle. It's not an "easy" read, but it's beautifully written and thematically deep.

The Sound and the Fury, by William Faulkner
It's like a puzzle that you get to put together as you read, with many moments of sudden realizations. Faulkner's influence on Toni Morrison is evident in the previously-mentioned book. This is another book worth reading a few times.

The Lord of the Rings trilogy, by Tolkien
Yes, okay, I'm behind the 8-ball on these and probably the last person on earth finally reading them, but I am thoroughly enjoying the language and the story. I am reading them bit by bit with my boys, ages 9 and 11.

Don't forget to revisit Shakespeare! Some great ones to read or reread would include Twelfth NightOthello, and of course Macbeth and Hamlet.

City of the Beasts, by I. Allende
This is actually a Young Adult coming-of-age novel about a 15-year-old boy who takes a trip into the Amazon with his grandmother, while his mother faces cancer back at home. It's a wonderful novel by a wonderful author.

Walk Two Moons, by Sharon Creech
Another Young Adult coming-of-age novel, this one about a girl who travels by car with her grandparents to try to discover more about her mother.

Lois Griffiths, Alumna and Retiree:

My favorite book this year was Doomsday Book by Connie Willis, recommended by my granddaughter - I read it last fall, and still think about it often.

It is set in Oxford in the near future, when scientists are perfecting a time travel method, and the same Oxfordshire area in the fourteenth century. The modern academic scene contrasts ironically with the 1300's.

If you have ever wondered what it would really be like to go back there, especially with a chance of never returning, try this!

Jack Pribram, Professor of Physics:

Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, 2003
Fiction. A good story line narrated by a British teenager with autism and special math skills. The book is beautifully constructed and gives the reader a sense of the logic this boy uses as he negotiates life with his parents and neighbors. Think a young Rain Man with different skills and personality. A fast read.

Simon Winchester, Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded: August 27, 1883, 2003
An account of one of the greatest volcanic explosions of all time and the impact on the people of Indonesia and the world. The first event to be reported almost instantaneously around the earth because of the recent completion of the laying of telegraph lines. Winchester is an experienced writer [The Professor and the Madman] whose training is in geology. He also brings in the history of Dutch colonialism. The December tsunami renewed interest in Krakatoa.

Erik Larson, The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America, 2003.
The magic was the Chicago's world fair (the white city) of 1893, the murder and madness were the unnoticed disappearances due to a serial killer. The parallel stories of lead architect and the killer make for a good narrative, even when you'd rather not read about deaths. Larson gives a good sense of the incredible effort to put the fair together by the major architects of the day, of parts of America before 1900, and of Chicago coming into its own as a major city.

Ruth Wilson, Alumna and Retiree:

Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss.
Right down and editor’s “alley.”

One Man’s Meat by E.B. White
Reprise with one of my favorite writers.

Madam Secretary, a memoir by Madeleine Albright
What a woman! Should be on everyone’s reading list.

Abe by Richard Slotkin
Interesting, probably somewhat fictional, good account of Lincoln’s early days.

Numerous mysteries by P.D. James, Elizabeth Peters, Anne Perry, and the Laurie King series about retirement years of Sherlock Holmes sleuthing with his wife.

Ellen Peters, Institutional Planning and Analysis:

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
A beautifully written book about the intersection of a boy's emotional development and war-torn Afghanistan.

Odd Girl Out: the Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls by Rachel Simmons
A ground breaking study of the passive bullying of girls.

Under the Banner of Heaven : A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer
An admittedly biased account of fundamentalist Mormonism, sprinkled with history.

Postville:A Clash of Cultures in Heartland America by Stephen G. Bloom
About the influx of a group of Orthodox Jews into a rural Iowa community.

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
An old classic I'd never read and am delighted to have finally found the time to pick up...a telling book about a girl's coming of age in a working poor family a century ago.

Zach Potter, Bookstore:

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison and The Autobiography of an Ex-colored Man by James Weldon Johnson
Great, classic stories depicting the “passing” between black and white society and the main characters’ finding of themselves within these societies.

Nobody’s Fool by Richard Russo
Great story. Even better that the movie with Paul Newman.

Pat Meader, Local Bibliophile:

March Cost, The Year of the Yield

J.B.Priestly, The Good Companions

Margery Allingham’s The Estate of the Beckoning Lady

Lillian Beckwith’s The Hills are Lonely

Margery Sharpe: Britannia Mews

Most of these entertaining reads will be out of print but perhaps you can find them at your local library! They are worth the hunt. If you can’t find them, anything by Elizabeth Berg is good.

Carole Parker, Library Assistant/Acquisitions:

I got 2 new books for Christmas, and I actually got to read them. Bob Dylan's Chronicles I is great if you're a Dylan fan; it reads very much like he sings. Frieda Hughes' release of Sylvia Plath's Ariel: The Restored Edition: A Facsimile of Plath's Manuscript, Reinstating Her Original Selection and Arrangement was interesting for its history together with her fine poetry.

Lorraine Groves, Bookstore:

The only suggestion I have is The Power of NOW by Eckhart Tolle. Visit your inner self for a transforming experience.

Debbie and Dick Williamson, Charles A. Dana Professor of French:

Ron McLarty, The Memory of Running. Why does Smithy Ide, an overweight, chain-smoking 43 yr old, drunk go on a cross-country bike ride?

Michael Sanders, Families of the Vine. Sanders from Brunswick, Maine and the author of From Here, You Can't See Paris, presents the insider's view of winemaking in Southwestern France.

Victor Hugo, The Toilers of the Sea. In French, Les Travailleurs de lamer, this novel by Hugo is as profound and as challening as Moby Dick. Great beach reading.

And we are sure that this one will appear on other lists:

Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner.

Erica Rand, Professor of Art and Visual Culture:

I recommend the novel Crybaby Butch (Firebrand Books, 2004) by Judith Frank. It's a great read about gender, generation, dyke identities, and adult literacy.

Claire Schmoll, Administrative Assistant to the President:

Trace by Patricia Cornwell is the most recent book I’ve read.

Laura Juraska, Associate College Librarian for Reference Services:

Master Butcher Singing Club by Louise Erdrich
If you've not read anything by Louise Erdrich, this is a good place to start because she is at her best once again in this story weaving together tales of life and love like no other.

Good Scent from a Strange Mountain by Robert Olen Butler
What is striking about this book is that the narrators in most of these stories are women, Vietnamese women. How an American male author can write in the feminine voice, about the feelings and experiences of the Vietnamese diaspora here in America, is what amazed me. Butler has written a beautiful, sensitive collection of stories about their lives past and present. Not like any novel or collection of stories written after the war that you have read. It won, and deserves, the Pulitzer Prize.

Lusty Lizard of Melancholy Cove by Christopher Moore
The author of "Coyote Blue" has done it again. Moore has a way with putting words together that often brings a chuckle. He is irreverent, given to the absurd, and has an imagination that catches one unawares and makes one shake one's head at the preposterousness that just seems to flow out of his mind - yet it all makes sense in the context of the story. Can't imagine what it would be like to live with someone whose synapses are so twisted, but it sure was fun reading it.

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
I finally got around to this revived classic and found that one of the best ways to enter is through this wonderful audiobook edition. The story and language come to life through the artful interpretation and reading of Michele-Denise Woods.

John Harrison, Associate College Librarian for Collection Development:

Two extremes, both wonderful in their way:

Bleak House by Charles Dickens

The Stories of John Cheever

Anne Thompson, Professor of English

Brick Lane, by Monica Ali
This novel tells of the life of a Bangladeshi woman in an arranged marriage, in a community of Bangladeshi in London. It's a wonderful read, both serious and funny, and also illuminating about a culture with which I was completely unfamiliar. Recommended to me both by a Bates professor and a Bangladeshi undergraduate, so you know it must be good.

The Spiral Staircase, by Karen Armstrong
The spiritual autobiography of a woman who spent seven years as a Catholic nun, beginning when she was seventeen, and has now become an authority on all the world religions. I think what I liked best about this book was the tracing of her journey from her initial complete disaffection and indeed hostility to Catholicism, to her current profound engagement with and respect for all religious and spiritual traditions, though without committing herself to a conventional belief in any.

Kerry O'Brien, Dean of the Faculty's Office:

The Plot against America, by Philip Roth
By far my favorite read of the year. Roth places his own family in an alternate-history scenario, as seen through his own 9-year-old eyes: what if Nazi-sympathizer Charles Lindbergh had become president in the 1940s? The ominous anti-Semitic escalation is harrowing, as what was one thought to be impossible begins to unfold. The family is wrenched apart as they take various sides; the broader message is a warning about the dangers of chummy, plain-spoken ideologues in the White House and their catastrophic influence on clueless Americans.

Everything is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
It's astonishing that this book was written by someone who was barely out of his teens. It's at once hilarious and tragic, crossing back and forth across several centuries as it depicts life and death in Jewish shtetls and a present-day American's search for the truth about his family's near-annihilation in the Holocaust. Maybe the person who gets most enlightened is the Ukrainian translator-tour guide coming to terms with the past, his family's complicity, and the future.

Another chronological moving target is The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.
Weird as it got sometimes, I could not put this book down. Talk about love standing the test of time: could you stand it if your husband disappeared for days on end, genetically predisposed to time-travel, only to reappear naked and beat up in the stacks of the library?

Runaway by Alice Munro
Alice Munro is amazing at capturing the lives of women, which are filled with traps and opportunities. Her stories are like tiny epic novels, huge in scope, yet she has cut away all the extra junk: perfectly distilled.

Lorelei Purrington, Area Coordinator:

A Painted House by John Grisham
A Novel written about rural Arkansas in 1952 and a little boy, Luke, who lives with his parents and grandparents in a house that’s never been painted. They hire a truck-load of Mexicans and a family from the Ozarks to help harvest the cotton. Luke sees and hears things that he never should. Excellent book, which I loved and could not put down!

Joy Comes in the Morning by Jonathan Rosen
A novel about a woman rabbi who has passionate contradictions, doubts and desires and who searches for something sacred in the midst of modern chaos. Wonderfully written.

An Enduring Love, My Life with the Shah by Farah Pahlavi
A memoir about the empress, Farah Pahlavi, wife of the last emperor of Iran—Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi and her devotion to social and cultural causes. Farah tells the heart-wrenching story of love she had for a man and his country during a tragic national struggle. Terrific book along with being very informational.

Good Harbor by Anita Daiment
A quick read about a new friendship that empowers two women going through personal challenges in their lives. Very realistic and touching.

Victorine by Catherine Texier
A story of adventure and self discovery of a woman’s struggle between duty and independence, tradition and freedom, longing and regret as she looks back at her life told by her great granddaughter. Very enjoyable read.

Sue Martin, Assistant Director of Center for Service Learning:

Dogs of Babel by Carolyn Parkhurst
An unlikely topic- teaching a dog to talk- that turns into a great book.

Taft by Ann Patchett
I keep hoping one of her books will come up to Bel Canto. This one doesn't but it's entertaining.

The Ground Beneath Her Feet by Salman Rushie
A wonderful book I just got around to this year.

Unless by Carol Shields
The struggles of watching young adult children lead their own lives.

Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Hadden
I kept ignoring it because I thought it was overrated, but it was intriguing.

John Adams by David McCullough
I'm reading it in sections and really enjoy the integration of original letters, journals, etc.

Laurie Henderson, Director of Office Services:

Mental-pause...and other midlife laughs by Laura Jensen Walker
Good simple and fun read. Looking at your mother's face in the mirror? Or forgetting simple words for the common things, like husband and sink? If subzero temperatures are suddenly pleasant, this is a good "been there, done that" book.

Phillips' Treasure of Humorous Quotations, Bob Phillips
What can I say, a quote a day keeps me happy.

Me Talk Pretty One Day, David Sedaris
Great quick read. David has a unique sense of humor recalling many childhood and adolescent memories.

Jane Costlow, Professor of Russian:

Mary Gordon's new novel Pearl took me a while to get into - her narrator's voice was off-putting at first; but I was glad to have persevered - this is a mother/daughter story in which the study-abroad year ends with Pearl (the daughter) staging a hunger strike in front of the American embassy in Dublin. Many of Gordon's persistent themes are here - women's relationships to Catholicism, to their bodies, and to each other. And perhaps the naivete of Americans meddling in other folks' politics?

Gilead is an extraordinary book - an elderly protestant minister's long letter to his very young son, about the history of the family, which is also a history of religiously-grounded protest against slavery. A wonderful, wonderful book, with a gentle voice and great wisdom.

Finally - short stories by Alice Munroe, who is quite simply an AMAZING writer. Just read her Friendship, Hateship, Courtship.... (there's more but I'll get it wrong). Her evocation of character is extraordinary - the lives of women in Canada in a generation just on the cusp of feminism - written with wit and insight into the ways in which people do marvelous things with lives that are in many ways constrained.

Leslie Hill, Associate Professor of Political Science:

Turtle Baby: A Mystery Novel by Abigail Padgett
I found this a good read because the detective was a flawed character.

Jill Reich, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculty:

I fear my reading habits are rather prosaic - but perhaps there are others among us who seek calm in their good reads. My favorites from the past year are: Joseph Ellis' George Washington and R. Chernov's Alexander Hamilton.

Michael Hanrahan, Assistant Director and Instruction Coordinator, ILS:

Dark Star Safari by Paul Theroux
Recounts overland journey form Cairo to Cape Town. Quite a good read!

Denise A. Begin, Staff Assistant/Dean of the Faculty’s Office:

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, by John Gray.
A first-year marriage manual!

Kirk Read, Associate Professor of French:

Arabian Jazz by Diana Abu-Jaber, family sadness and humor and hijinx among Lebanese immigrants in Upstate New York

In Search of Time Past by Proust. Just bathe in the first volume if that's all you have time for. At 3500 pages total, your French professor would understand. Extra credit for the original, A la recherche du temps perdu. Great summer reading. Torpor, angst, poetic prose, the most gorgeous impressionistic prose imaginable.

Testament of Devotion, Thomas Kelly for the spiritual questers, Quaker, Christian.

Annie Lamott, Plan B: Further thoughts on faith; more spiritual questing, great sense of humor, hilarious, christian.


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2004 Summer Reading List

Sarah Potter

Each spring, the College Store solicits from members of the Bates community their suggestions for good summer reads:

Selected Poems 1950-1985 and His Lifelines: Selected Poems 1950-1999, both by Philip Booth
The first book of poems of the Castine resident are as consistently modest as the poet himself, who declines public attention at every opportunity - modest, yes, but lit from the inside because of the clean, hardworking words he always chooses. Although the latter book is out of print, it can be found online or perhaps in your favorite out-of-the-way used bookstore. It incorporates much ofRelations, however, and includes poems from his other collections - probably the more sensible buy.
— Judith Robbins, Learning Associate, Dean of Faculty’s Office

The Half-Life of Happiness
(novel), by Jon Casey
The Big House (non-fiction/memoir), by George Howe Colt
Tar, Repair, Flesh & Blood (poems), or any other book by C.K. Williams
The Invention of Clouds (science/history), by Richard Hamblyn
— Rob Farnsworth, Lecturer in English

Jung: A Biography, by Deirdre Bair
If you are interested in the history or psychology, analytical psychology in particular, Carl G. Jung, and/or issues that surround him, i.e., the Jungfrauen, anti-feminism, anti-Semitism, or the conflict between Jung and Freud, this is a must read. It’s an extremely well-documented look into the life of Jung by a biographer who was given incredible access.
Ms. Bair spent years documenting the personal papers of many of the people who were there with Jung, surrounding him as his life progressed. To my knowledge, hers is the only biography of Jung to be written by someone who did not have a psychological ax to grind, or who comes from either the Jungian or Freudian camps (I know, that’s redundant).
I came away from this book with the first picture of C.G. Jung as a very human being with many foibles, as well as a good look at the humanity of him and many of those in his life. My hat is off to a truly great biographer.
— Richard Fochtmann, partner of Laura Juraska, Associate College Librarian for Reference Services

The Corrections, by Jonathan Franzen
An interesting take on an interesting family, and a very enjoyable read.
Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides
I’ve just started it, but I like the way it is written, and I’m eager to get back to it.
The East End Plays, by George Walker
For those who like to read plays, this series of very dark comedies is intriguing.
— Ellen Peters, Associate Director for Institutional Research

The Liberated Bride, by A.B. Yehoshua
The author is a magnificent storyteller who ponders the personal and political in unforgettable ways.
— Phyllis Graber Jensen, Senior Staff Writer and Photographer

My reading this year has been devoted to reading lesser known books by great writers. Among my favorites are the following:
A Mother’s Recompense, by Edith Wharton
A book about a mother and daughter, it’s full of tension and love.
A Pair of Blue Eyes, by Thomas Hardy
This is harder to read, but very fulfilling.
The Master Butcher’s Club, by Louise Erdich
I also loved this book. It was almost impossible to put down, and I was very sad to finish it. I wanted it to go on and on.
From Here You Can’t See Paris: Seasons of a French Village and Its Restaurant, by Michael S. Sanders
Dick Williamson recommended this final selection, an account of a Maine family’s year in a remote French village. If you love France and cooking, it is a fabulous book.
— Vicky Devlin, Vice President for College Advancement

Harvard Yard and Back Bay, both by William Martin
A long historical college novel, Harvard Yard wraps around you and pulls you into the lives of the people (both real and fictional) who built Harvard. It will have special meaning for those who have spent their lives in academia, and who may have fantasized about writing the comprehensive novel about Bates...
If you like Martin’s style and want more, try his earlier novel, Back Bay, which involves some of the same characters as the city of Boston developed. A sidelight for me was the realization that Back Bay was once a saltmarsh—just reinforcing how many of our Eastern coastal saltmarshes have been filled and destroyed in the name of progress since European settlers came to North America. “Waste-land” indeed!
On an entirely different note:
The Introvert Advantage: How to Thrive in an Extrovert World, by Marti Olsen Laney
At last, somebody understood!
— Judy Marden, Director, Bates-Morse Mountain Conservation Area

Digital Fortess, by Dan Brown
One of the other books from the author of The DaVinci Code, this was also very good.
The Eight, by Katherine Neville
This is excellent too.
— Jim Bauer, Director, Information and Library Services

I know it’s somewhat disreputable for a person working in the library to have such a...let’s just say “challenge free” little list, but this is what I like to read!
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, by J.K. Rowling
This is Book Five in the ‘Harry Potter’ series. What can I say? You probably got this one on just about everyone’s list!
The Golden CompassThe Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass, from the ‘Dark Materials’ trilogy, all by Philip Pullman
I might love them more than Harry Potter! It’s hard to decide since there are only the three.
The Path of Daggers, by Robert Jordan
This is Book Eight in the ‘Wheel of Time’ series. I’m falling a little behind with this series with all these kids’ books stealing my attention. This is a great fantasy series, very complex, with a cast of hundreds that you get to know very well.
A Wrinkle in TimeA Wind in the Door, and A Swiftly Tilting Planet, all by Madeline L’Engle
These are old school favorites of mine, but I really enjoyed re-reading them last Fall.
Baseball by the Rules, by Glen Waggoner et al.
Copyright 1987, it’s not the most recent, but is still one of the most fun anecdotal tomes around.
— Brenda Reynolds, Library Assistant, Public Services (Audio)

The Teammates: A Portrait of a Friendship, by David Halberstam
Ted Williams is ill in Florida; three Red Sox friends—Dom DiMaggio, Johnny Pesky, and Bobby Doerr—want to visit. This is the story of the trip and the reminiscing about their parallel careers, especially on the great Red Sox teams of the 1940s. An easy and enjoyable read.
Spies, by Michael Frayn
A delightful novel with a serious backdrop. Children in World War II Britain try to help the cause by spying in their neighborhood while everyday life and school go on. Beautifully written with a light touch.
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, by Michael Chabon
A novel based on the comic book craze of the late 1930s and early 1940s, it centers around two fascinating young cousins and their entry into the world of creating comic book characters. Starting in Prague and then moving to New York City, it’s deeply evocative of those cities at that time and then as World War II intrudes. The first two-thirds of the book is terrific; the last third is quite different.
The Perfect Mile, by Neal Bascomb
The story can be summed up as three athletes, one goal, and less than four minutes to achieve it. Just published, it should be a good tale, being the background and story of Roger Bannister, John Landy, and Wes Santee and their efforts to break the four-minute mile in 1954.
— Jack Pribram, Professor of Physics

Lost Nation, by Jeffrey Lent
A rather (okay, very) grim and bloody but wonderfully written story of life on the margins of the New Hampshire frontier. A man fleeing his past and the young prostitute he won in a card game move to rural New Hampshire and set up shop. Its themes include community, struggle, and ultimately, love and forgiveness... not a light beach book, but a rewarding read.
Walking the Bible: A Journey by Land Through the Five Books of Moses, by Bruce Feiler
An American journalist decides to literally walk in the footsteps of Moses and the biblical giants depicted in the Five Books of Moses. Traveling with Israeli archeologist Avner Goren, Bruce Feiler visits historic biblical sites in Egypt, Jordan, and throughout the Middle East—the possible site of Noah’s Ark, where Moses crossed the Red Sea, the monastery where the burning bush grows—and writes about what he sees, how he connects this land to the stories in The Bible, and how he can (or cannot) connect this land to God. I learned a lot reading this book last summer, and still find myself thinking about it almost a year later.
Jenny and the Cat Club: A Collection of Favorite Stories About Jenny Linsky, by Esther Averill
For those young (and younger) readers on the list, my five-year-old adores these stories. Jenny Linsky is a small, slightly timid black cat with a bright red scarf. These very sweet (but not saccharine) stories are about her adventures with the neighborhood cats and their Cat Club. For example, the cats must do something special to gain membership, and Jenn can ice skate beautifully. I don’t mind reading them over and over and over and over...
— Stephanie Richards, Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology

Blood Brothers, by Elias Chacour
This is a deeply moving and wonderfully told autobiographical account of the life of a Palestinian Christian who is a Melkite Catholic priest and works for peace and reconciliation. He was designated “Man of the Year” in Israel in 2001.
— Mehrene Larudee, Visiting Associate Professor of Economics

Liverpool Lullaby, by Anne Baker
I don’t have enough time to read... or I do, but I don’t. Anyway, I got this novel, a fantasy “what if” story about The Beatles, as a Christmas present for my husband, John Smedley. He hasn’t read it, but when I broke my arm, I did. I don’t know as I’d label it “phenomenal,” but I think it’d be fun for Beatles fans.
Rosie, by Ann Lamott
This is an older novel which I enjoyed. I’d recommend any of the author’s books.
Love, by Toni Morrison
I’m currently reading this, and enjoying it.
— Carole Parker, Library Assistant, Acquisitions

Boy Meets Boy, by David Levithan
I was desperate for reading material one day, and pulled this out of my middle schooler’s backpack, thinking I was getting some juvenile lefty moralistic dreck. But it turned out to be one of the most captivating books I’ve read this past year! It’s both a tender sendup of teenage angst-filled romance and an off-the-wall image of what high school would be if sexuality weren’t taken so seriously and could stretch to accomodate us all. It’s funny— very, and though middle school students can certainly read it, I think adults will appreciate it even more!
— Liz McCabe Park, Director, Maine Campus Compact

Walking ShadowSmall Vices, and Hush Money, all by Robert Parker
Three of the excellent ‘Spenser’ novels, the last involves murder, blackmail, and skullduggery on a tenure committee.
Uniform Justice, by Donna Leon
Her newest novel, it features Commissario Brunetti of the police in Venice, Italy.
The DaVinci Code, by Dan Brown
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, by J.K. Rowling
Library: An Unquiet History, by Nathan Battles
A rare book librarian at Harvard, Battles has written an intricate history of the library as a social institution.
The Most Beautiful Libraries in the World, by Guillaume de Laubier
This is perhaps the most beautiful collection of photographs of libraries.
The Bowmen of England, by Donald Featherstone
This is a history of the English longbow—a weapon so technically superior to any other at the time of its use and made more so by its being in the hands of English yeomanry.
God’s Secretaries, by Adam Nicholson
Nicholson describes the scholars who produced the King James Bible as a “...group of near anonymous divines, muddled, drunk, self-serving, ambitious, ruthless, obsequious, pedantic, and flawed...; but who, nonetheless, put The Bible into language that was ‘boisterous, elegant, subtle, majestic, finely nuanced, sonorous, and musical...’”
— Sawyer Sylvester, Professor of Sociology

At the Tomb of the Inflatable Pig, by John Gimlette
Ever been to Paraguay? Ever heard of Paraguay? This is a delightful, amusing, irreverent but affectionate tour and history combo by an English tour writer. I feel I really know Paraguay now. I am almost convinced that a visit would be worthwhile. Almost! If you have any Latin-America-philiac sentiments, you will enjoy Gimlette’s explorations of this country that was a haven for many WW II bad guys, that took on Brazil, Argentina, and Bolivia all at once—leaving a 10-1 female to male population ratio after the war, that suffered through some of the most ludicrous dictatorships in Western hemisphere history.
— Dick Wagner, Professor of Psychology

The Shape of WaterVoice of the ViolinThe Snack Thief, and The Terracotta Dog, all by Andrea Camilleri
These titles are the English translations of works by Italian novelist Andrea Camilleri, and I recommend anything by him. Camilleri’s mysteries starring the blunt, intuitive Inspector Montalbano are fast-paced, earthy, and very funny. I find the insights into Sicilian culture particularly engaging. The books are popular in Europe, and poet Stephen Sartarelli is translating the series for the Anglophone readership, even providing helpful endnotes.
— Doug Hubley, Staff Writer, Office of Communications and Media Relations

Without Reservations: The Travels of an Independent Woman, by Alice Steinbach
For pure summer entertainment, I recommend this delightful travel/memoir by the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist from The Baltimore Sun. Engaging characters, fine wines, and a bit of romance, although I honestly don’t recall exactly which European cities she visited!
Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons, by Lorna Landvik
When I want a book to give me humor, humanity, and close-to-home truths, I read Lorna Landvik. This novel takes five women through nearly forty years—and focuses on the value and saving grace of friendships.
Selected Writings, by Ralph Waldo Emerson
To keep my brain cells active, I am reading an old Modern Library version of this book. Unlike in my undergraduate days, I am trying to absorb theses writings in a measured and thoughtful way. From the dust jacket: “These selections span Emerson’s career as author and traveling lecturer, and chart his evolving thought: the concepts of the “oversoul,” individualism without egotism, and antimaterialism; a belief in intuition, independence, and “the splendid labyrinth of one’s own perceptions.”
— Sarah Potter, Bookstore Director

Journey Back to Eden: My Life and Times Among the Desert Fathers
, by Mark Gruber, O.S.B.
— Paul Kuritz, Professor of Theater

Anything by Nora Roberts! Guilty summer reading! Meant for leisurely summer days at the beach or in the pool (floating on an inner tube, drink in the other hand).
— Kathy Peters, Costume Shop Supervisor

A Noble Radiance
and Uniform Justice, both by Donna Leon
I’ve enjoyed reading these mysteries set in Venice.
The Namesake, by Jhumpa Lahiri and The Great Fire, by Shirley Hazard
These two novels by Lahiri and Hazard also stand out. Both authors write so effectively to create believable worlds with unforgettable characters.
— Becky Lovett, Assistant Manager, Bates College Store

, by J.M. Coetzee
This is a modernization of the Crusoe ale by the Nobel-winning South African author. HisDusklands is also a gem.
The Well of Lost Plots
, by Jason Ffordes
The third installment in the ‘Thursday Next’ series... more from Bookworld, where grammasites and text runners roam, and literary characters come quite alive.
— Jim Lamontagne, Library Assistant - Cataloging

Dream of Scipio
, by Iain Pears
This book is a lyrical mediation on the way small things can shape history. Through three layers of stories, Pears links together the development of early Christianity in Roman Provence, the Aligensian Crusades, and World War II. It’s a book to savor slowly, and to think about long afterwards for its insights into how someone can start out with good motivations and still cause unmitigated disaster and suffering. (For something lighter from Pears, try any of his ‘Jonathan Argyll’ mysteries, which are smart and amusing.)
City of the Mind, by Penelope Lively
A lovely book, it’s haunted by the layers of history in modern London. Lively makes much of the everyday in this quiet, but satisfying novel.
Knitting Without Tears and Knitter’s Almanac, both by Elizabeth Simmermann
These two classics for knitters are well-written and a pleasure to read, along with being full of useful ideas, suggestions and projects.
— Rose A. Pruiksma, Visiting Assistant Professor of Music

Daniel Deronda, by George Elliot
Since I am a faithful follower of the Bookstore’s Non-Required Reading List, I read this pick. Because it’s a million pages long (and wonderful), I scarcely read anything else!
A Tale of Two Cities, by Charles Dickens
This is the “favorite book” of an uncanny number of people I know. Best of times, worst of times, Paris, London, love, death, revolution, militant knitting, far, far better things—it’s all here and is, as they say, “well worth reading.”
That Old Ace in the Hole, by Annie Proulx
This is a great book. Here Proulx intertwines the psyches of the Texas panhandle with the land itself, through a host of deadpan locals, carpetbaggers, and hogs.
The Devil in the White City, by Erik Larson
It tells two parallel stories: one, of the design, short life, and meaning of the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893; and the other, of the antics of a creepy serial killer on the loose nearby. The ambigious and fraught story of the fair was tale enough for me...
Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West, by Gregory McGuire
A political satire in a fully honed world of Oz in which the witch was really just misunderstood, it gives you her point of view.
— Kerry O’Brien, Assistant Dean of the Faculty

Here’s a handful of favorites from the past year:
Prague, by Arthur Phillips
This novel’s an intelligent and witty examination of the life of young American expats in Budapest in 1990.
The History Man, by Malcolm Bradbury
Published in the early ’70s, it’s a wickedly funny portrait of an academic hustler at a British university in the late ’60s.
Carnage and Culture, by Victor Davis Hanson
It examines how the particulars of Western culture affected the practice of warfare in 10 crucial battles, from antiquity to the twentieth century.
Life at the Bottom, by Theodore Dalrymple
A physician uses essays to reflect on his experiences treating the “underclass” in a British prison.
Michaelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling, by Ross King
It’s an absorbing and informative account of the painting of the Sistine Chapel ceiling.
The Adolescent, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
The least known (to me, anyhow) of his big novels, it’s a great study in father-son tensions.
Prejudices, by Robert Nisbet
These are sharp little essays on a wide variety of central intellectual topics.
Some new plays worth reading:
Ten Unknowns, by Jon Robin Baitz
Topdog/Underdog, by Susan Lori Parks
The Late Henry Moss, by Sam Shepard
— Martin Andrucki, Charles A. Dana Professor of Theater

Some of my favorite reads this year came from family and friends’ suggestions.
Plain Truth, by Jodi Picoult
This is a murder mystery with a fascinating portrait of Amish culture. Thank you, sister-in-law Sue!
Open House, by Elizabeth Berg
From my friend Elaine came this suggestion of a delightful story on how to rebuild a life after divorce, with humor, of course.
Praise the Human Season, by Don Robertson
I’d like to share a secret with all of you. If you look closely at faces in the Den while a person is reading, you can pick up a lot of “good reads.” Praise the Human Season was one of those, and it was one of the most delightful books I have read in a long time.
Printed in 1974, it’s a timeless and wonderful story of a man and the family, friends, and acquaintances that made up his life. The script is so well done as told in past and present form. We can all relate to the characters and that made it ordinary but so real. If you love the English language, you will treasure this story. Watching Lorelei Purrington reading this book made it a ‘must’ for me! Thank you, Lorelei, for sharing this wonderful novel.
— Lorraine Groves, Sales Floor Supervisor, Bates College Store

Out of Gas, by Daniel Goodstein
Out of Gas looks at the world’s supply of oil and the environmental impacts of using fossil fuels. This includes some nice descriptive science for non-specialists. For more detail on the history of the fossil fuel era we’re in, try The Prize by Daniel Yergin. The book selections don’t need to be necessarily comforting, I assume.
— John Smedley, Professor of Physics

The first two books are fairly recent; the third one older, tried and true.
Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides
Three Junes, by Julia Glass
Animal Kingdom, by Barbara Kingsolver
— Sheri Kunovich, Visiting Instructor of Sociology

This year’s reading list has an escapist bent; no surprise, given the Maine winter and the state of the world.
The Golden CompassThe Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass, ‘His Dark Materials’ trilogy, all by Philip Pullman
A rollicking mix of fantasy, science fiction, and mysticism—far better than ‘Harry Potter.’
The Eyre AffairLost in a Good BookThe Well of Lost Plots, and Something Rotten, all by Jasper Fforde
Think Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Jane Tennison... a promising new literary/horror detective series.
In the Bleak Midwinter, by Julia Spencer Fleming
The first entry in a new crime series set in a decaying upstate New York mill town. The author lives and writes in Portland.
The Great Influenza, by John Barry
Fascinating study of the great flu epidemic of 1918-1919. You’ll never forgo that flu shot again! The story encompasses the professionalism of medicine and the policial climate leading up to our entry into World War II. The Wilson administration and our current government have much in common, surprisingly.
Interpreter of Maladies, by Jhumpa Lahiri
These stories glow from within and stay with you long after. One of the best collections I have ever read.
The Namesake, by Jhumpa Lahiri
This novel about a Bengali family’s journey to and within America more than lives up to the promise of the author’s debut.
Passage to India, by E.M. Forster
I found this book when sorting through a box of graduate school texts. Hopelessly oldfashioned, but beautifully executed.
Undaunted, by Stephen Ambrose
If you can get past the purple prose, this story of the Lewis and Clark expedition is a great adventure story and a sad blueprint for our invasion of the continent.
The Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919, by Stephen Puleo
A look at class issues and corporate malfeasance in the early twentieth-century Boston. Fascinating read.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon
Beautifully written. As an adolescent autistic boy, the narrator takes everything at face value, and is unable to sort out the strange and irresponsible behavior of the adults around him. Read this book.
— Andrew White, Director of Academic Technology Services

Here are a few, some old, some more recent:
Don’t Lets Go to the Dogs Tonight, by Alexandra Fuller
There’s a brand-new follow-up to this memoir that I have yet to read— Scribbling the Cat: Travels with an African Soldier.
The Power of One, by Bryce Courtenay
An oldie but goodie!
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Tme, by Mark Haddon
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, by Jean-Dominique Bauby
Another memoir and an amazing story.
— Liz Sheehan, Assistant Curator, Museum of Art

My annual reading list is perhaps even a little longer than usual, but here goes.
A new generation of books—e-books, downloaded from Palm Digital Media and read on my Palm handheld PDA:
Inside the Tornado, by Geoffrey A. Moore
The author provides highly useful guidelines for moving products beyond early adopters and into the lucrative mainstream market,providing strategy lessons needed for introducing high technology products in the 21st century.
Angel’s Flight, by Michael Connelly
The man most hated by the LAPD has been found murdered and Harry Bosch is chosen to head the investigation. A gripping and suspenseful murder mystery.
Star Trek: The New Frontiers, Books 1-4, all by Peter David
Captain Mackenzie Calhoun takes command of the U.S.S. Excalibur, which is manned by Starfleet’s best and brightest, including some old friends from Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Chronospace, by Allen Steele
The crew of the time ship Oberon, investigating the destruction of the Hindenburg, replaces two of its passengers with 24th-century chrononauts and then gets lost in a parallel universe. Their mistake will be felt by every single human being...
Why America Slept, by Gerald Posner
A thorough and detailed investigation into anti-American terrorist activity leading up to the 9/11/2001 attacks, and the missed opportunities to thwart them. “The story of the years leading up to 9/11 is the story of what might have been, and also serves as a call to the defense of America’s future. Since 9/11, one important question has persisted: What was really going on behind the scenes with intelligence services and government leaders during the time preceding the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks? After an 18-
month investigation that uncovered explosive new evidence through interviews and in classified documents, Gerald Posner reveals much previously undisclosed information.”
Prey, by Michael Crichton
A release of deadly, and seemingly intelligent, nano-organism in a desert research laboratory threatens to spread into populated areas.
God’s Debris, by Scott Adams
Written by ‘Dilbert’ comic creator Scott Adams, God’s Debris is not like anything you’ve read before. On the surface it’s an engaging fictional story about an old man who knows the answers to literally all of the “Big Mysteries” in life—everything from God to gravity to the bizarre qualities of the speed of light. The old man even explains how they all fit neatly together. Adams uses what he calls “the skeptic’s trick,” along with some hypnosis techniques (he is a trained hypnotist) to make the old man’s fictional explanation of reality so simple and believable that you’ll have fun trying to figure out what’s wrong with it.
Below are some “old-fashioned” printed books recently read, or works in progress. Some were passed by in my youth, but seem to be coming back into vogue, either via media productions, or politics. Others were read out of just plain curiousity about what I missed “back then.”
Catcher in the Rye, by J.D.Salinger
The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, both by Ayn Rand
The Hobbit and Fellowship of the Ring, both by J.R.R. Tolkein
The Silent Takeover, by Noreena Hartz
This explains how multinational corporations are now running foreign policy and international affairs utilizing their dominant economic power.
— Gary Dawbin, Programmer/Analyst

There are a couple of historical books I recommend:
Bosworth 1485: Psychology of a Battle, by Michael K. Jones
It retells the story of the Battle of Bosworth with some very intriguing new ideas.
The Perfect Prince, by Anne Wroe
A long detailed portrait of the so-called Perkin Warbeck, this book delves into the story of whether or not he was the younger of the “princes in the tower.”
Master and Commander, by Patrick O’Brian
When my oldest son strongly recommended the movie Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, I saw it twice and really liked it. Then I started reading some of the novels it was based on. So far I have read five, and plan to read some more. I recommend reading the first one (Master and Commander) first, as that sets up the meeting and characters of the two friends, but they can be read in almost any order after that. The little details of 18th-century life in the British Navy are beautifully portrayed.
— Lois Griffiths, Alumna and Retiree

My suggestion for the list this summer is a series of fiction:
The No. 1 Ladies Detective AgencyTears of the GiraffeMorality for Beautiful GirlsThe Kalahari Typing School for Men, and most recently, The Full Cupboard of Life, all by Alexander McCall Smith
I liked some more than others but have enjoyed them all. In particular, I recommend listening to these on tape. The narrator, Lisette Lecat has a wonderful voice and a special way of reading that I think has much to do with my enjoyment of these stories. It has been a new form for me; I hope others will enjoy the experience.
— Jill Reich, Dean of the Faculty

The Once and Future King
, by T.H. White
Fast Food Nation, by Eric Schlosser
— Marc Johnson, Associate Director of Alumni and Parent Programs

Angels and Demons
, by Dan Brown
I just finished reading this. If it’s not on your list already, it should be. It was a great read. I lost a lot of sleep staying up late in the night to read as I couldn’t put it down.
— Terry Beckmann, VP for Finance and Administration and Treasurer

The DaVinci Code, by Dan Brown
The DaVinci Code is a good read. Maybe everyone’s already read it as it has been on the best sellers lists for quite awhile.
— Shirley Govindasamy, Payroll Manager

Here are the ones I will suggest. I read a lot of books, but these are the ones I remember flying through!
For leisure and fun:
Interpreter of Maladies, by Jhumpa Lahiri
As good as everyone said it was!
Pattern of Recognition, by William Gibson
More of a mystery, not really science fiction.
The Crazed, by Ha Jin
I liked this more than his book Waiting.
Mystic River, by Dennis Lehane
One of the best mysteries I have read in awhile—great character development. Don’t Lets Go to the Dogs Tonight, by Alexandra Fuller
Recommended last year by many, it was a quick and interesting read.
For all young adults:
Inkheart, by Cornelia Funke
City of the Beasts, by Isabel Allende
The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread, by Kate Dicamillo
— Paula Schlax, Assistant Professor of Chemistry

The DaVinci Code, by Dan Brown
I actually have not done a lot of reading this year, but did greatly enjoy The DaVinci Code.
Murder in the Rough, by Judy S. Borthwick
It’s light reading, but enjoyable because it’s set in Maine and they mention all the local landmarks, Bates, and other items unique to Maine.
— Ken Emerson, Assistant Director of Human Resources

How Would You Move Mt. Fuji? Microsoft’s Cult of the Puzzle - How the World’s Smartest Company Selects the Most Creative Thinkers
, by William Poundstone
Ostensibly about the puzzle-oriented interviewing of job candidates at Microsoft, this non-fiction book actually covers much more, including interesting historical perspectives on measuring intelligence and predicting future success.
The Body on the Beach, and Death on the Downs, both by Simon Brett
I’ve always liked Simon Brett’s mystery series about Charles Paris, the bumbling and perpetually “resting” actor. His new series features an unlikely pair of women investigating bodies in the small seaside village of Fethering. The characters in the The Body on the Beach and Death on the Downs are very different characters, but just as much fun.
— Anne Williams, Professor of Economics

The DaVinci Code, by Dan Brown
I’m sure I won’t be the only one to recommend this book, but I found it a really fun read, riveting, a pageturner—all that was promised! Being a mathematician, I especially enjoyed the cryptographic sleuthing and the way the pieces of the puzzle/mystery came together. I hear that the “prequel”— Angels and Demons—by the same author is even better!
Reading Lolita in Tehran, by Azar Nafisi
This is a book lover’s book, and really a ‘must read’ for anyone who belongs to a book club, or wishes they did (probably all the readers of this list!). The author, a writer and professor of literature in Iran (now at Johns Hopkins) tells the story of a group of women—she and seven of her favorite students—who met in secret every week for two years to discuss fiction: works by Henry James, Jane Austin, Vladamir Nabokov, and more.
Seabiscuit, by Laura Hillenbrand
I saw the movie on a transcontinental plane ride, and wasn’t all that keen on reading the book, but my husband convinced me, and I’m glad he did! The movie covers about one percent of what is in the book. A moving tale of courage, perseverance, love, and triumph over adversity.
Fast Food Nation, by Eric Schlosser
I read The Jungle in sixth grade, and I thought it was gross and awful, but that was then and this is now, right? Think again! Beware, you may never want to eat a hamburger (or any other processed food) again, after reading this book. A thorough, well documented look at the fast food industry and the horrifying labor practices, health hazards, agricultural devastation, and the way it manipulates the eating and buying habits of entire populations. I was surprised and pleased to learn it was on the New York Times’ Best Seller List for many weeks.
— Bonnie Shulman, Associate Professor of Mathematics

I’m recommending two “older” books this year:
The Case of the Journeying Boy, by Michael Innes
Even though in theory I will read any piece of trash after a day of brain work, I find I can’t read thrillers that aren’t well written. I’ve just reread this classic Innes and it has to be one of the best ever of the genre. He writes like an angel, and the suspense will keep you on the edge of your seat. Plot involves boy fleeing to Ireland from would-be kidnappers because of his father’s fame as a nuclear physicist.
The Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day, by Winifred Watson
I’d like to introduce Persephone Books to some new readers, in the hope that some of you will become as enthusiastic as I am about their elegantly produced reprints of books from the first half of the 20th century. You can find out more about them by going to their website at:http://web.archive.org/web/20041023213324/http://www.persephonebooks.co.uk/.
Meanwhile, though, I recommend Miss Pettigrew as one of the world’s most charming escapist reads, described by Persephone as follows: "Miss Guinevere Pettigrew, a spinster who has led a sheltered life, is sent to the wrong address by an employment agency. Instead of finding a fraught mother with a fractious brood, she encounters glamorous nightclub singer Miss LaFosse who 'had as many male admirers as Miss Pettigrew had
had children to watch over in her long years as governess.' A fish out of water, Miss Pettigrew proves equal to the task of sorting out this flighty young thing’s life, deftly disposing of the cocaine (shocking then as now) which she finds in her bathroom. It is an enchanting version of Cinderella, an escape into laughter and joyful fantasy...the sheer fun, the light-heartedness...feels closer to a Fred Astaire film than anything else I can think of."
— Anne Thompson, Professor of English / Euterpe B. Dukakis Professor of Classical and Medieval Studies

The DaVinci Code
, by Dan Brown
It’s a must-read. However, make sure you allow adequate time to read the entire thing in a short period of time, because it is truly a “I couldn’t put it down” book.
Angels & Demons, by Dan Brown
Once you get bit by the DaVinci Code bug, it’s hard not to get another fix of Dan Brown’s writing!
The 5 People You Meet in Heaven, by Mitch Albom
A lovely, uplifting little book—a short but meaningful read.
— Kimberly Hokanson, Director of Alumni and Parent Programs

The Extraordinary Tide: New Poetry by American Women, Susan Aizenberg and Erin Belieu, eds.
Fighting the Lamb’s War: Skirmishes with the American Empire, by Phillip Berrigan (with Fred A. Wilcox)
Universities in the Marketplace: The Commercialization of Higher Education, by Derek Bok
The Heart of Christianity: Rediscovering a Life of Faith, by Marcus Borg
Comfortable with Uncertainty: 108 Teachings, by Pema Chodron
Credo, by William Sloane Coffin
The Wisdom of Solitude: A Zen Retreat in the Woods, Jane Dobsiz
The Life You Save May Be Your Own: An American Pilgrimage, by Paul Elie
Same-Sex Marriage? A Christian Ethical Analysis, by Marvin Ellison
Complications: A Surgeon’s Notes on an Imperfect Science, by Atul Gawande
Strength for the Journey: Biblical Wisdom for Daily Living, by Peter J. Gomes
The Painted Bed, by Donald Hall
Creating True Peace: Ending Violence in Yourself, Your Family, Your Community, and the World, by Thich Nhat Hanh
Beyond Belief: The Secret Gospel of Thomas, by Elaine Pagels
War Talk, by Arundhati Roy
The Serenity Prayer: Faith and Politics in Times of War, by Elisabeth Sifton
Early Morning: Remembering My Father, by Kim Stafford
Not Always So: Practicing the True Spirit of Zen, by Shunryu Suzuki
— Kerry Maloney, College Chaplain

The Colony of Unrequited Dreams
, by Wayne Johnston
Johnston’s historical fiction focuses on the premier responsible for Newfoundland joining Canada in 1949. It weaves together the history of the island with the character of the premier in an interesting way.
Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters, by Mark Dunn
This one is an interesting take on censorship and unchecked authority of the government.
— Aslaug Asgeirsdottir, Assistant Professor of Political Science

For the summer list may I suggest the following:
Sacred Hunger, by Barry Unsworth
Nehanda and The Stone Virgins, both by Zimbabwean novelist Yvonne Vera
— Sue E. Houchins, Associate Professor of African American Studies

Ella Minnow Pea, by Mark Dunn
Dunn seems to enjoy himself hugely with language while at the same time spinning social commentary about the dangers of limiting speech.
Endurance, by Caroline Alexander
This is another story I truly love and think everyone should read. It’s the amazing tale of Shackleton’s survival in Antarctica for 20 months without any loss of life, accompanied by Hurley’s beautiful black and white photographs. Puts all my problems in perspective! I love this story and this book so much.
— Anna Broome, Lecturer in Political Science

A Fine Balance, by Rohinton Mistry
A rich, yet simple, tale of life in India soon after the partition of India and Pakistan. Good for a week’s vacation.
Interpreter of Maladies, by Jhumpa Lahiri
A fine collection of short stories.
— Michael Murray, Charles Franklin Phillips Professor of Economics

Politics, Adam Thirlwell
Amusing reading in preparation for the election blitz in the fall. But certainly not just politics in the strict sense.
Something to Declare, by Julian Barnes
Enlightening essays by an Englishman on the French during this anniversary of the “Entente cordiale.”
The Cheating Culture, by David Callahan
It’s happening not just at Bates!
Unveiling Traditions: Postcolonial Islam in a Polycentric World, by Anouar Majid
By a colleague from the University of New England who wants to diminish cultural misunderstanding.
— Dick Williamson, Charles A. Dana Professor of French

Why I Am Not A Muslim, by Ibn Warraq
Warraq, writing under a pseudonym to protect himself from the consequences of apostasy, clearly defines fundamental flaws in one of the world’s largest religions, from adherence to the Koran to systematized misogyny. The writing is lucid, rational, and is a welcome counterpoint to cultural relativism.
Why I am Not a Christian, by Bertrand Russell
Not as relentless as Warraq (it is more an essay than a book), but worth a read.
— Anthony Shostak, Education Coordinator, Museum of Art


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2003 Summer Reading List

Sarah Potter

Each spring, the College Store solicits from members of the Bates community their suggestions for good summer reads:

Year of Wonders, by Geraldine Brooks.
Engrossing novel, set in England 1666 during an outbreak of plague. Makes great use of language of the period and is in the tradition of picaresque tales, like Moll Flanders.
Blood Doctor, by Barbara Vine (Ruth Rendell). I take the risk of recommending a book I'm still reading because Rendell is such a good mystery writer. Her Barbara Vine series tends to be darker and more disturbing than her Wexford mysteries. This book follows two story lines--the research of a biographer into the life of his great grandfather (the blood doctor of the title), and the move to do away with heredity peerage in Parliament.
The 3,000-Mile Garden, by Leslie Land. I came late to this collection of letters exchanged between two gardeners. Leslie Land, then gardening in Maine, and her British friend (whose name escapes my addled and aged brain) exchanged letters over several years, discussing their gardens, struggles against encroachments on London's park squares, recipes, love and life. I read these letters over breakfast in the dead of this past winter--they got me through the worst of it.
And finally, for those who enjoy well-written books on gardens and gardening, I recommend Louise Beebe Wilder, who wrote between 1908 and 1935. A number of her books are available in reprint or in used editions. Many of the great standards in garden writing are by British authors, who contend(ed) with the mild (zone 7) climate of the UK. Wilder was an American, fully aware of the demands of gardening in our much more extreme climate(s). For the power of her descriptions alone, I'd recommend her works.
— Joyce Seligman, Director of the Writing Workshop

My Year of Meats, by Ruth Ozeki.
— Leslie Winston, Visiting Assistant Professor of Japanese

The Shipping News, by Annie Proulx
Message in a Bottle, by Nicholas Sparks
The Redemption of Sarah Cain, by Beverly Lewis
Who Moved My Cheese? , by Spencer, M.D. Johnson
Self Help, by Lorrie Moore
All the Pretty Horses, by Cormac McCarthy
— Simone Marie Henderson, Government Documents Library Assistant

Anything by Nelson DeMille is a must-read. He writes crime fiction that usually revolves around the government and the military. His most recognizable book is probably The General's Daughter, because it was made into a film with John Travolta. However, while that is a great book (and of course, the book is much better than the movie), I do not think it is his best. My favorites are TheCharm School and The Lion's Game. His books are fast paced, edge-of-your-seat page-turners, perfect for the summer. The Talbot Odyssey is another great one, and like The Charm School, tells a tale of Russia-U.S. relations during the cold war days of of the 1980s. Happy reading!
— Kristen Andersen, Assistant Director of Annual Giving

Good Poems, collected and with an introduction by Garrison Keillor. "The Writer's Almanac" on public radio is part of my morning ritual, and this collection of short, accessible poems is a nice companion.
The Hours , by Michael Cunningham.
After all the fuss about the movie, I needed to read this and am glad I did in conjunction with rereading Mrs. Dalloway.
The Painted Bed, by Donald Hall. Poems about the death of his wife, poet Jane Kenyon, and his life without her.
And, for the beach, I Don't Know How She Does It: The Life of Kate Reddy, Working Mother, by Allison Pearson. Marred by a fairy-tale ending, it still has drop-dead funny moments -- such as the opening scene, which finds the heroine "distressing" store-bought goodies to take to the school bake sale so that they'll look homemade. Ouch! Too close to home!
Also for the beach (but cover it up with a towel so no one can see what you're reading), Martha Inc : The Incredible Story of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, by Christopher M. Byron. Meow, meow.
— Beth Sheppard, Director,,Office of Alumni Relations

Guns, Germs, and Steel, by Jared Diamond
A fine example of the synthesis of science, history, and anthropology for the general reader. Makes a nice companion read for The Botany of Desire. You'll never look at an ear of corn the same way again.
Midnight's Children, by Salman Rushdie
A history of modern India and Pakistan filtered through the lens of fantasy, Bollywood style.
Whale Rider, by Witi Ihimaera
A familiar coming of age story, integrated with Maori creation myths. Read it before you see the film adaptation.
Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight, by Alexandra Fuller
Unforgettable scenes and thoroughly unlikable characters.
— Andrew White, Director of Academic Technology Services

The Brothers of Gwyneddquartet, the Heaven Tree Trilogy all of the Brother Cadfael mysteries, by Ellis Peters. I had read a few of these before, but wanted to read them again as well as try some new ones - she creates a compelling vision of 12th century Shropshire.
A Painted House, and The Client, by John Grisham
All of his books have a jaded view of the legal profession, but the plots are page-turners, and his childhood memories are compelling.
Peter Loon, by Van Reid
The author lives and works in the Damariscotta area. This is a historical novel of a teen-age boy in the War of 1812 era, living in the wilderness and then discovering the wider world. It has the most amazing description of traveling through the woods at night, in a "world lit only by fire."
— Lois Griffiths, Alumna and Retiree

Well, of course I would have suggested Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett as my absolute number one pick of the year, but was advised by the editors that EVERYONE will be suggesting Bel Canto. So I will refrain from gushing (but you MUST read it!).
Two less recent books but haunting and thoughtful: In the Fall, by Jeffrey Lent (begins in the Civil War and traces a biracial family across three generations) and Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier (amazing journey on foot but also through two people's lives during the Civil War).
My favorite not so new book by far was The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx, a corker of a book about redemption amidst the kelp in Newfoundland.
The Hours, by Michael Cunningham (How did a man write this book about the ways women are defined by others and by themselves?).
In the really-not-so-new literary classics department, just finished Babbitt, by Sinclair Lewis, which I had never read. You've got to love any book that uses terms like "swell" and "for the love of Mike" - and don't we all KNOW Babbitt himself?
Also read: Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight: An African Childhood, by Alexandra Fuller. A memoir of growing up in Rhodesia/Zimbabwe and Malawi and in the years when white farmers in Africa were losing their century-old grip on the continent. Amazing, I highly recommend.
In the children's lit dept, I recommend many by Raold Dahl, but especially Esio Trot, a love story;The Wonderful World of Henry Sugar, in which goodness triumphs over greed; The BFG, in which goodness prevails over everything.
My next book is Three Junes by Julia Glass.
— Kerry O’Brien, Assistant Dean of the Faculty

For Children:
The Worst Band in the Universe, by Graeme Base explores a planet where music is censored and something happens to those who don't conform. The lyrical text and detailed illustrations are absorbing, as the exiled bands battle for their right to create music. A music CD is also included with a diverse collection of original songs.
— Andrea L'Hommedieu, Muskie Oral History Project

Seabiscuit: An American Legend, by Laura Hillenbrand
Read it before the July movie. Others have recommended this before; it's a great story and reads like a novel.
Trains of thought: Memories of a stateless youth, by Victor Brombert
Beautifully written memoir of life in Paris as a teenager in the 1930's followed by escape to the United States and back to Europe to serve in the US armed forces. Brombert is an emeritus professor at Princeton.
— Jack Pribram, Professor of Physics

Robert Cowley, Ed., No End Save Victory. Essays on W.W.II by 46 authors, some historians, some participants. A good book to read a chapter at a time or in any order. A helpful reminder for all of us who think of wars as having a few weeks duration.
John Adams, by David McCullough. 650 pages , arguably a fine read for the uninitiated into the Adams family or interested in the "life and times" approach, and less satisfying for a serious reader of revolutionary history. The voluminous Adams correspondence is partly due to John and Abigail spending about half their married life apart, as he helped invent America, and she, while providing him with constant political and moral advice, somehow kept farm, family and finances afloat for years at a time.
Personal History, by Katherine Graham. Published in 1997, it is a powerful and revealing book by a most honest journalist who was front and center at many of the important events of the 20th century. Born to privilege in 1917, she took over the Washington Post after her husband's suicide, and built the paper into a national institution. Annoying for name dropping of the famous, but admirable for her unflinching telling of painful experiences, both her own and the country's.
After the Fall, by Jeffrey Lent. A five-star historical novel that follows four generations of a farm family in rural Vermont, after the son comes home from the Civil War with a wife who is an escaped slave. Beautifully written, with subtle and complex characters.
— Bill Hiss, Vice President for External and Alumni Affairs

These five short science fiction novels include clever revelations about the experience of consciousness, the soul, emotions, and individual rights, mostly as related to artificial intelligence and/or technology-based reality.
Archangel Protocol and Fallen Host, by Lyda Morehouse
In a complex, technology-dependent society, cybernetic manifestations take on lives and missions of their own. Humans socialize with angels, electronic page-identities assist humans against psychotic hackers, AI's discover "self," and rebellions bear fruit in freedom.
Technogenesis, by Syne Mitchell
An outcast from the plugged-in world discovers that the Net's human controllers are neither fair nor completely sane - and are possibly being controlled by an AI, the Net-consciousness itself.
Vectors, by Michael Kube-McDowell
A neuroscientist researches the existence of the human soul by utilizing "virtual reality" technology to map personalities and, finally, to explore the concept of reincarnation.
Body Electric, by Susan Squires
A hacker-turned-legit computer programmer creates an AI who must upload into a human body to survive. When electronic impulses trigger conscious emotion during the crisis, their love converts from virtual to real reality.
— Theresa L. Arita, Secretary, Development Services & Corporate and Foundation Relations

The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives, by Zbigniew Brzezinski.
For those among you who share my "shock and awe" and incredulity at this administration’s Middle East actions and apparent policy priorities, here is the definitive statement of rationale, including a blueprint that proposes a clear set of highest priority US actions and goals. That Brzezinski wrote this short, readable tome in 1997 as a parting gift to his foreign service "students" and colleagues and that it accurately "predicts" our nation's policies and actions in Afghanistan, Iraq, China and the Koreas over the past 3 years is just plain spooky. Whatever my opinion of the man and his politics, his command of historic and current geopolitical and geostrategic imperatives of global alliances and nation states is breathtaking. If you have a fairly strong interest in the topic, this can be beach reading. Honest!
Andorra, by Peter Cameron. A light, romantic mystery that is pleasant and easy reading with a surprising twist at the end.
— Dennis Brown, Director of Leadership and Planned Giving

Mysteries, Romances and Adventures: a wide selection is found in Lane's Hall Lunch Room on the ground floor. I have read many of these and new selections appear now and then.
RealSimple’: a magazine that features ways to simplify your life/home/body/soul. Lots of great information and relaxing to read. Even my fiance will pick it up now and then.
Sports Illustrated: my fiance gets this one but I do pick it up and read some of the interesting articles. This magazine is not just sport facts but also the human side of sports.
The Lewiston SunJournal - read it everyday to keep up with the local news and the Portland Paper on Sunday especially for the comics (it has different ones than the SunJournal).
— Denise Schreiber, Secretary, Dean of the Faculty’s Office

I'd recommend a book I just read after hearing a review on NPR. It's called Leaving Mother Lake: A girlhood at the edge of the world, by Yang Erche Namu and Christine Mathieu. It's about a Moso woman in China who leaves her remote village to embark on a singing career. Very interesting perspective on her culture (in which there is no such thing as marriage) and her transition between her village and more industrialized settings.
— Amy Bradfield, Assistant Professor of Psychology

This year, in my reading I have looked for well written and books about the resilience of the human spirit. My favorites are:
The Secret Life of Bees and Bel Canto
Both are remarkable for their subtlety and character development. I would recommend reading them slowly and savoring them. I felt very alone after finishing them; it was hard to start another book because I knew that it couldn't be nearly as good.
Another must read--The Map of Love. It's a wonderful book, a story within a story and a look at Islamic Egypt in the 19th century and today.
— Vicky Devlin, Vice President for Development

I highly recommend:
This Present Darkness: Piercing the Darkness; The Prophet; and The Visitation, all by Frank Peretti
A Day Late and a Dollar Short, by Terry McMillan
— Monica Parker, Technology Support Specialist

I will be the 28th person to recommend Atonement, by Ian McEwan which is one of my new favorite books about forgiveness, atonement (strange...) and really good on the inner mind of a confused, creative and vengeful 13 year old girl. Reminded me of myself. Beautiful writing. I'll be the 290th person to recommend Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett which is about a hostagetaking in a South American country, a diva and the spell she casts on the imprisoned party-goers. The best prose description of music I've read. I think everyone who ever heard of South Park, Fear Factor or Jackass should reread Rabelais's Gargantua (16th century), a man who got bodily humor and satire really well. David Sedaris: Me Talk Pretty One Day and Naked. If you don't like him you're a bad person.
— Kirk Read, Associate Professor of French

The Translator, by John Crowley--A novel set during the Bay of Pigs crisis, involving a college student/poet and her relationship with a visiting Russian poet whose political connections are ambiguous. Beyond being politically timely in its presentation of the various ways the crisis was spun for public consumption and the surveillance and subtle suppression of dissent, this novel is a thoughtful meditation on the act of translation.
Whistling Woman, by A.S. Byatt--The fourth book following the various members of the northern English Potter family through the turbulent sixties--following Virgin in the Garden, Still Life, and Babel Tower.
The Master Butcher's Singing Club, by Louise Erdrich--A multi-faceted novel loosely based on the life of Erdrich's German immigrant grandfather in post WWI America. Erdrich's depiction of life in a small prairie town teems with life, mystery, and the sweetness of the every day.
— Rose A Pruiksma, Music Department

Beethoven’s Hair, by Russell Martin is a sort of mystery, the travels of a lock of hair - Ludwig van Beethoven’s hair - until it comes into the hands of forensic scientists who finally discover the cause of Beethoven’s chronic ill health, deafness, and death.
Mauve, by Simon Garfield is the story of William Perkins, a chemist, who tried to make artificial quinine and ended up making dye - mauve. The color became hugely fashionable, and Perkins stood at the threshold of modern chemistry.
In the Beginning, by Alister McGrath is the history of writing the King James Bible - surely a masterpiece of English literature and one of the few things ever done well by committee. McGrath also demonstrates that it was the product of bitter political strife within the Protestant Reformation in England.
Suspect Identities, by Simon Cole, although slightly redolent of Foucault, is probably the best history of the forensic use of fingerprints. Cole details the gradual acceptance of fingerprinting by the courts to the point of near infallibility - until our own time when DNA analysis has so raised the bar that some now question the very premises on which identification by fingerprints is based.
— Sawyer Sylvester, Professor of Sociology

A lot of my reading this year has been done in the company of children. Looking back, two books jump to mind. The first is called Who Will Comfort Toffle, by Tove Jansson. It is an intricately metered and rhymed book, mind-bogglingly translated from Finnish with beautiful illustrations. It's sort of a Scandinavian version of Dr. Seuss, but with more characterdevelopment. I've read it at least 20 times and haven't tired of it yet.
My second recommendation is much more well known. If you haven't read Oliva, or Oliva Saves the Circus, by Ian Faulkener, you should! It's the story of a sassy and classy pig and all of her big little adventures. Both books are great for the 4 to 84 year old set.
— Alison Hart, Dance Festival

Strong Motion, by Jonathan Franzen
Bel Canto (exceptional)
— Kathy Low, Associate Professor of Psychology

Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight,, by Alexandra Fuller.
Somewhat opaque title but a wild truth-is-stranger-than-fiction account of a childhood in Zambia-Zimbabwe.
Yann Martel, Life of Pi. This year's Booker (fiction) Prize and I started it without expecting to like it much, thinking it sounded pretentious and dull. BUT, it turned out to be a very entertaining and imaginative yarn about a shipwrecked youth who spends nearly a year in a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger. Go figure.
Sigh. Some of us never quite grow up so Ursula LeGuin's The Other Wind was kind of a nostaglia trip for the part of me that still loves to reread her Earthsea books. I think this one is really the last and it's a little sad to find Ged and Tenar getting old. It's probably not quite as good as the original trilogy but sometimes it's impossible to read objectively, especially when you've grown to love the characters over time.
— Anne Thompson, Euterpe B. Dukakis Professor of Classical and Medieval Studies

The Heart of the Soul, by Gary Zukav and Linda Francis
Three Club Juggling: An Introduction, by Dick Franco
Mindfulness, by Ellen J. Langer.
Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys, by Dan Kindlow and Michael Thompson.
The Mathematics of Juggling, by Burkard Polster
The Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to recognize it and how to respond, by Patricia Evans.
Healing the Addictive Mind: Freeing Yourself from Addictive Patterns and Relationships, by Lee Jampolsky
Un mundo para Julius, by Alfredo Bryce Echenique,
— David Haines, Professor of Mathematics

Summer in Baden Baden, by Leonid Tsypkin, but you must read Dostoevsky's short work The Gambler.
— Dennis Browne, Associate Professor of Russian

Leading Quietly. An Unorthodox Guide to Doing the Right Thing, by Joseph L. Badaracco, Jr.
Leadership can be studied but in the final analysis, it must be lived. Courageous risk taking, the larger-than-life tabloid and hero stories, are not discussed in this book. Rather the author takes a look at the "quiet leaders" folks like most of the people we meet every day "... who choose responsible, behind-the-scenes action over public heroism to resolve tough leadership challenges." There are abundant lessons and case examples of quiet leaders in this book. It is easy, and challenging, to realize that we all can be and in fact are called on to be responsible, ethical, moral decision makers every day of our lives. Well written, easy read, and an eye opener.
The Tipping Point. How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, by Malcolm Gladwell.
The author - a former business and science writer at the Washington Post; currently a staff writer for The New Yorker - takes us on a fascinating journey into the biography of an idea. In essence, according to the Gladwell, "...the best way to understand the emergence of fashion trends, the ebb and flow of crime waves, or...the transformation of unknown books into bestsellers...is to think of them as epidemics." Gladwell traces the evolution of trends as behaviors - virus really that infect and spread - that have predictable growth curves and points. We need just to read the clues each phenomenon presents to understand when at what point it will "tip in" to a trend. The book, like its subject matter, is infectious. Smoothly written with many "ah ha!" discoveries.
— Charles Kovacs, Director of Career Services

The Danish Girl, by David Ebershoff. A "gender bender" with lots of provocative passages about art, love, and some disturbing questions about what constitutes the self. The writing is lyrical and at times stunning. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. I'm sure others will also recommend this one. Many people told me to read it, but when they told me what it was about, I resisted: a group of people in a nameless South American country are taken hostage, and bond with their captors. It sounded like it didn't end well (I saw my husband crying when he finished it). But finally, yielding to pressure, I read it. It was as good as everyone said. And THEN I found out it was based on a "true story" (liberties taken, for instance there was no opera singer involved in the actual takeover in Peru). This made the epilogue even more poignant. Finally, let me recommend an old one, Robber Bride, by Margaret Atwood. An absolutely despicable female villain and the havoc she wreaks on the lives of her three "best friends"--I kept thinking, there's going to have to be some redeeming quality in her--but there wasn't!!! Riveting and characters that stick to your ribs long after you've finished reading.
— Bonnie Shulman, Associate Professor of Mathematics

Among the books I have found provocative and engaging this year are the following:
Complications: A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science, by Atul
Power Politics, by Arundhati Roy
The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy
Learning to Fall: The Blessings of an Imperfect Life , by Phillip Simmons
The Silent Cry: Mysticism and Resistance, by Dorothee Soelle
Firebird: A Memoir, by Mark Doty
Reading the Bible Again for the First Time: Taking the Bible Seriously But Not Literally, by Marcus J. Borg
Small Wonder, by Barbara Kingsolver
Reverence: Renewing a Forgotten Virtue, by Paul Woodruff
— Kerry Maloney, College Chaplain

I just finished a book by Margaret George called Mary, Called Magdalene, which is written in the first person (from Mary's perspective) about the life of Mary Magdalene. The author took into account secular history and Biblical history when creating Mary's character. Margaret George has also written other books in the same way - The Autobiography of Henry VIIIMary Queen of Scotland and the Isles and The Memoirs of Cleopatra. All of them were also fabulous.
Another series I've recently read is called the Camulod Chronicles, by Jack Whyte. They are The Sky Stone, The Singing SwordThe Eagle's Brood, The Saxon Shore, The Sorcerer, the Fort at the River's Bend, The Sorcerer, Metamorphosis, and Uther. The books are about 5th century England and the probable "truth" underlying the legends of Merlin, Arthur, and Excalibur. Whyte set out to tell the story in a realistic and feasible historical context. In my opinion, he succeeded.
— Karen McArthur, System Administrator

I read and liked Rivertown by Peter Hessler(sp?). This is about his experiences teaching in China. I liked the book so much that I even gave copies to my dad and my mother-in-law. They can't stand each other, but they both loved the book...it must be good.
— Melinda Harder, Mathematics

I have a suggestion for summer reading--a collection of short stories called Officer Friendly; the author's last name is Robinson, I think, and he lives in Maine. Perhaps someone else has already suggested this.
My favorite story is called "Puckheads," in which high school students (at a school based on NYA) put on a production of "Oliver!" but with some hilarious variations in the plot.
— Lillian Nayder, Associate Professor of English

In a Dark Wood Wandering,by Hella Haasse. This historical novel, set in the late 14th and early 15th centuries, is the story of the life of Charles d'Orleans.
— Anthony Shostak, Education Coordinator~Museum of Art

John Adams,by David McCullough - History - the way it should be.
The Wild Flag, E.B. White - A series of essays on world government.
The Rapids, by Doris Provencher-Faucher - Second novel of Le Quebecois Series. The first was The Virgin Forest. Interesting historical fiction. Great for those interested in the French settlement of Canada.
Bachelor Brothers' Bed and Breakfast, Bill Richardson - Reads like a Bibliophiles' Prairie Home Companion.
Anything by Jane Austen - reread every 5 years or so. The longer you live, the more you get out of them.
The Children's Corner:
Not Now Said the Cow, Joanne Oppenheim for grades 1-3, also loved by the preschool set.
One Morning in Maine, Robert McCloskey - Little Sal loses her first tooth.
Scrambled Eggs Super, Dr. Seuss - good for giggly preschoolers.
Ramona Forever, Beverly Cleary - great if you are prepping the kids to be in or attend a wedding.
— Carol Thomas, faculty spouse

I have discovered Kathy Reichs (at the suggestion of my niece) and I have read four of her five books (I have just started the last one). I would recommend her first book, Deja dead, but the others are equally as good (Death du jour, Deadly decisions, Fatal voyage, and Grave secrets). These make for wonderful recreational/vacation reading. The central character, Tempe Brennan, is a forensic anthropologist who teaches at UNCC but also does some work for the Laboratoire de Medecine Legale in Montreal. Tempe, of course, gets caught up in solving murders and it makes for some very suspenseful reading!
— Sarah Bernard, Programmer/Analyst

The Discworld Series, by Terry Pratchett - the first several books in the series are sci-fi/fantasy but they evolve into fiendishly funny satires that leave you chuckling (and thinking) for a long time afterwards. A wonderful cast of characters.
Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson - a vivid and compelling story of cryptography, soldiers and hackers in WWII and the present. Three years after reading it some scenes still make me laugh out loud and others still haunt me.
Susan Elizabeth Phillips - Nobody's Baby but MineHeaven, TexasDream a Little DreamThis Heart of Mine, etc. - intelligent, witty romances. You'll fall in love with her characters.
Nursery Crimes, by Ayelet Waldman - One in a series of "Mommy Track Mysteries" about a stay-at-home mom turned detective. The characters are funny and lovable and the mystery plot is high on twists and low on gore.
The Scarlet Pimpernel, by Baroness Orczy - a breathless, riveting adventure and romance all tied up in one incredibly fun package. Enjoyable and accessible.
Me Talk Pretty One Day, by David Sedaris - a collection of autobiographical essays that left me laughing so hard I was gasping for air.
Founding Brothers, by Joseph Ellis - a wonderfully written history of the creation of our country and Constitution. I was amazed at Ellis' ability to make the reader feel the uncertainty of the times. Despite my years of schooling in American history I actually found myself wondering "will they be able pull it off?"
— Hilary Rice, Assistant Dean of Admissions

Quantum Theology: Spiritual Implications of the New Physics, by Diarmid O'Murchu.
After the Ecstasy, the Laundry: How the Heart Grows Wise on the Spiritual Path
, by Jack Kornfield.
The Tao of Physics: An Exploration of the Parallels Between Modern Physics and Eastern Mysticism, by Fritjof Capra.
The Fourth Dimension: Toward a Geometry of Higher Reality, by Rudy V.B. Rucker.
Flatland: A Romance of Many Dimensions, by Edwin A. Abbott.
Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey Through Parallel Universes, Time Warps and the Tenth Dimension, by Michio Kaku.

— Jim Fergerson, Director of Insitutional Planning and Analysis

For anyone interested in knowing more about Afghanistan I can suggest West of Kabul and East of New York, by Tamin Ansary. It's a beautifully written book by an Afghan-American who tries to bridge the two cultures. In a much different vein, there's Ted Rall's To Afghanistan and Back. This is about his experiences covering the war in Afghanistan.
— Jan Lee, Audio Supervisor, Ladd Library

Daniel Deronda, by George Eliot
— Cristina Malcolmson, Associate Professor of English

Three books by Peter Kreeft. The full titles are:
Socrates meets Jesus: History's Greatest Questioner Confronts the Claims of Christ
The Best Things in Life: A 20th Century Socrates Looks at Power, Pleasure, Truth and the Good Life
A Refutation of Moral Relativism: Interviews with an Absolutist.
Paul Kuritz, Professor of Theater and Rhetoric

In preparation for #1 grandchild (Ethan Christopher, due May 14th), I have been reading and recording:
Pat the Bunny, by Dorothy Kunhardt
The Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams Bianco
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, by Bill Martin, Jr./Eric Carle
Goodnight, Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown
The Runaway Bunny, by Margaret Wise Brown
The Very Hungry Caterpillar (to match Master Ethan's new little clothes) by Eric Carle
Guess How Much I Love You, by Sam McBratney
Sam and the Firefly, by P.D. Eastman
Miss Rumphius, by Barbara Cooney
Blueberries for Sal, by Robert McCloskey
The Far-Away Grandma, by Kathleen Haines
— Kathy Haines, Associate Director of Student Financial Services

My favorites this year are the series by Alexander McCall Smith (I think ) that starts with the book called The Number One Ladies Detective Agency. Second is Tears of the Giraffe. Third isMorality for Beautiful Girls.
They are mysteries, but more than that they are vehicles for gentle musings about cultures (Botswana in particular) and life in a changing world.
— Pam Baker, Associate Professor of Biology and Associate Dean of the Faculty

The Passion of Artemisia, by Susan Vreeland.
A novel about a female post-Renaissance painter in Italy. This book is a powerful portrait of woman who challenged the norms for women at the time because of her passion to paint. The author also wrote The Girl in Hyacinth Blue.
Bel Canto, by Ann Patchett.
Who would think that a novel about a diverse group of people held hostage in a vice-president's house somewhere in South America could be so riveting? Instead of terror and hopelessness, though, the reader sees friendship and love develop and "hears" some beautiful music.
— Anne Dodd, Visiting Senior Lecturer in Education


Good Poems, selected and introduced by Garrison Keillor.
This is a selection of poems from the Writers Almanac, on NPR every morning. Lots of old familiars and some new ones, too.
Couldn't Keep It to Myself, by Wally Lamb and the Women of York Correctional Institution. An amazing collection of work that defies easy description.
Wide Sargasso Sea, by Jean Rhys. Story of a young woman's life as she grows up in the Carribbean and marries an Englishman. Narrated from several points of view. Easy read, engaging writing.
Any work by Alice Hoffman.
— Karen Palin, Lecturer in Biology

After fumbling around with different instruction programs for the Italian language, my wife, Gretchen Schaefer, and I have concluded that Hugo's Italian in Three Months is the best so far. What works for us is its light tone, a nice balance between conversational and grammar exercises, and a pace that convinces one that actual progress is being made. Trade-offs: lax copy-editing and a certain, probably inevitable, superficiality. An Italian-English dictionary and 501 Italian Verbs are good supplements, as is the Learn in Your Car cassette series. (The Hugo is available from Amazon.uk with cassette tapes that are of some use, but are too badly mastered to use in the car, and the price is shocking.) What could be better for a summer in Maine than preparing for a summer in Italy?
— Doug Hubley, Staff Writer, College Relations

Here is a book that gives you a first-hand experience and understanding of how ethnic and religious differences and nationalism destroyed the Balkans and how complicated it is for people like us Americans who might want to "fix it." Christopher Merrill's Only the Nails Remain tells the story of the Balkan wars through lots of brief vignettes of people he meets and works with in Slovenia, Croatia, Dalmatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Kosovo, Sarajevo and Albania, letting them speak in their own words. He himself was there in a cultural exchange program as a poet, author and teacher of English that got cancelled. The confusion of views that emerge through the leaders and intellectuals, artists and ordinary people that he interviews is astounding. You come out of this reading with a good understanding of the political complexity created by nationalism and ethnicism (if there is such a word) in this part of the world. Each part begins with a brief history of the region in layman's terms, and because it is composed in short vignettes, it can be read in short snippets if, like me, you've only got brief moments for reading each day.
— Robert Allison, Professor of Religion

These four novels I discovered while teaching here on the CBB Cape Town program:
Dance with a Poor Man's Daughter/Jooste
And They Didn't Die/Ngcobo
The Heart of Redness/Mda
Madonna of Excelsior/Mda
— Elizabeth Eames, Associate Professor of Anthropology

The Years of Lyndon JohnsonVolume 1: The Path to Power ;Volume 2: Means of Ascent ; and Volume 3: Master of the Senate , by Robert Caro.
My summer reading project for 2002. You might think that this monumental biography is strictly for LBJ fans, or at least die-hard history fans. Actually, quite the opposite. Caro gives an amazing amount of detailed information and so much historical background, it's a great introduction for the history neophyte. All three books are riveting, but if you were to choose just one Vol 3 would be my recommendation. It opens with a mini-history of the U.S. Senate which every American should read.
Johnson himself comes across as a jerk, but a jerk on a grand scale. Caro's thesis: LBJ was the ultimate lying, scheming, cynical, vote-stealing, power-hungry politician, until the final attainment of power allows him to reveal his humanity. A grand, sweeping, eminently readable political biography.
President Kennedy, by Richard Reeves (1993)
Omnipresent fear of nuclear war; the Berlin wall; Cuba; nuclear test ban treaties; civil rights struggles in the South. The issues here are never boring ... well, until the end, when Kennedy and the book gets bogged down a little too much in Vietnam. Reeves' almost day-by-day "journal" format gives a good sense of Kennedy's almost surreal daily life. In a single day he might have a meeting about a test ban treaty, then one on Vietnam, then a phone conversation with Martin Luther King on civil rights; squeeze in a quick meeting with high school students in-between (including young Bill Clinton), and cap it off at the end of the day with a hot bath for his back and a secret liason with a mistress.
Truman, by David McCullough (1992)
Harry Truman, world's most boring man, is "accidently" thrust into the Presidency during some of the 20th Century's most interesting times. Funny how Republicans love him today, they hated his guts when he was President ...
Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going where Captain Cook has gone before (2002) Tony Horwitz
Truly an easy, fun, but informative read. Not a biography of Captain Cook, it is a compelling hybrid of two genres: travelogue and history. It's informative and interesting, while managing to maintain a light touch and breezy style. Not unlike Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods in its mix of breezy humor and serious research. This is exactly the kind of book I would love to write, if I had the talent for it. My only complaint with the book was that I wish Horwitz was a photographer as well as journalist; I wanted to see the places that he visited. After this, I had to read Horwitz' other books:
Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the unfinished Civil War The formula of mixing contemporary travelogue with serious historical background again won me over. He has a terrific way of finding out ordinary people's attitudes about big topics such as history, race, oppression, and such, and does it with a deft, even light, touch. Horwitz is the perfect travelling companion, and he manages to ask the probing questions that I wish I was smart enough to ask people when I travel.
Baghdad without a map and other misadventures in Arabia
Although this book seems cobbled together from news reports that did not get published at the time he wrote them, the essays offer an interesting picture of the mix of cultures in Middle East, mostly before the first Gulf War.
One for the road: an outback adventure
Frankly, the Australian outback doesn't offer Horwitz much to go on. It's a whole lotta nothing, although he does his best with what he has. The book would be helped by an amusing sidekick, or at least a more interesting part of the world to visit. That said, it's still a pretty good -- and short -- travelogue of Australia and its people.
Look Away! A history of the Confederate states of America , by William C. Davis. I picked up this book thinking I would give the Confederacy the benefit of the doubt: "hey, this was an experiment where they built a new society and government! They must have had at least some interesting improvements and reforms on the American system." I came away simply depressed at the small-mindedness of the whole enterprise. Davis confirms that the Confederacy really was as bad as you thought it was, maybe even worse. Not only were Confederate ideals bankrupt, even immoral, they were compromised from the start. This book was so depressing that I could not finish it.
The Nanny Diaries: A Novel , Emma McLaughlin, Nicola Kraus
This best-seller about a NYU student who works as part-time nanny to a Park Avenue family is a really weak book, but a good guilty pleasure. In truth, I could not put it down; it was a wonderful distraction from *ahem* taking care of my own kids over a long Thanksgiving weekend. Definitely recommended if you take care of young children, or if you love to poke fun at the foibles of the ultra-rich.
Live from New York , Tom Shales etc
Absolutely compelling "oral history" of Saturday Night Live, as told by the show's performers, writers, producers, and guests over the years. Especially fun is seeing each of the stars revealed. Who is a major jerk? Who is a sane pragmatist? Who's a whiny insecure crybaby? Which performers were generous, which were screen-hogs? And of course there's all kinds of inside dope on celebrity excesses, drugs, sex, and the like.
Empire Falls, byRichard Russo
At first I was blown away by the way Russo can add so much background detail into seemingly meaningless encounters and situations ... but frankly it started to annoy me about halfway through. Every conversation becomes an excuse for a page-and-a-half of expository background detail. And in the end, the characters seemed too calculatedly drawn to be real (our research tells us that most book buyers see themselves as smarter than their jobs, so let's make our main character like that! And we need a hot babe for him to lust after! And a crazy old man for comic relief!). On the other hand, it's by no means a bad book. Russo is truly talented, he just doesn't live up to the hype.
— Ken Zirkel, Web and Systems Coordinator


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