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‘Read’-y or not, holiday book suggestions
Holiday shopping doesn’t have to be a chore. Books can satisfy everyone on your shopping list, from Aunt Martha who always bakes the traditional fruitcake to Uncle Bob who never shops anywhere but the Lowe’s tool section.
To help you find that perfect title, we asked faculty and staff to recommend a book they’ve recently read and loved, or their suggestion for that perfect book for holiday gifting.
"I would recommend Richard Russo’s Empire Falls. Some have called it ‘the great American novel.’ I don’t know about that, but it is a memorable book and it won the Pulitzer Prize. It’s the story of an industrial town in Maine that’s on the skids and of some of the very memorable people who live there. Russo is a master at creating characters who make an impression, who last in your memory long after you’ve finished reading the book. The book is pure Americana and well worth reading."
"I’d recommend an oldie but goodie. A few years back I got hooked on Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom. I loved the book so much that I purchased 10 copies and gave them to friends, asking them to ensure they were passed on as well. I plan on reading it again over the holiday break to be inspired one more time."
"Recently, I read and would highly recommend Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand. While I am not a big horseracing fan, a friend suggested I read it simply to experience the writer’s excellent writing and story-telling abilities. I couldn’t put it down.
"I recommend Fatema Mernissi’s Scheherazade Goes West: Different Cultures, Different Harems, a very readable account of Western misunderstandings of some Eastern (near, middle east) ways of thinking. Also, Anne Tyler’s Back When We Were Grownups about the choices we make in life and Annie Dillard’s For the Time Being, a thoughtful book with beautiful moments."
"Here are four wonderful books I have read this year; I would recommend all of them: The Forgotten Memoir of John Knox: A Year in the Life of a Supreme Court Justice in FDR’s Washington, edited and with a foreword and afterward by Dennis J. Hutchinson and David J. Garrow; The Emperor of Ocean Park by Stephen L. Carter; Jolie Blon’s Bounce: A Novel, by James Lee Burke; and Once Upon a Town: The Miracle of the North Platte Canteen, by Bob Greene."
"I grew up in an anglophile household with my Canadian-born mother, so I have always enjoyed British films and novels. Novelist and playwright John Mortimer created the character of Horace Rumpole for the BBC series, "Rumpole of the Bailey." The broadcasts caught my attention years ago and the Rumpole character continues to delight me as I re-read old stories. My holiday gift list would include the Rumpole omnibus volumes, and in particular, the most recent volume, Rumpole Rests His Case. I am giving it to myself for the holidays.
"I’ve been reading and would recommend The Forgetting: Alzheimer’s: Portrait of an Epidemic by David Shenk. This disease will afflict over 100 million persons in the next 50 years. The book breaks the disease progression into its three stages and describes them using medical terminology as well as presenting the patient’s and the family’s views. I like it because it flows and reads like a novel, yet I understand the reality of the serious impact this disease will have on our world."
"For my friends interested in academic life and local culture, I recommend Phyllis Hoyt’s Where the Peonies Bloom: A Memoir of My Years at Western College, published by the Western College Alumnae Association in 2000, and Marian Boyd Havighurst’s 1934 mystery novel, Murder in the Stacks, available as a reprint from King Library Special Collections.
My ten favorite 2002 novels in ranked order
1. Atonement, by Ian McEwan
My favorite poetry titles:
1. Holy Worm of Praise, by Philip Schultz
Date Published: 12/05/2002