2003 Summer Reading List
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 The Charm 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
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 VIII, Mary 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 Sword, The 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 Mine; Heaven, Texas; Dream a Little Dream; This 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 is Morality 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 Johnson : Volume 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
Atonement, by Ian McEwan.
As of the writing of this recommendation, I haven’t actually finished the book, but I can’t wait to tell others about it. After 100 or so pages, I can tell that this is an insightful, imaginative, and beautifully written novel, worthy of the acclaim it has already received.
— Michael Sargent, Assistant Professor of Psychology
I used this in a course but think that it would be of general interest, especially for readers who are looking for stories coming out of where we are–the northeastern woods. Howard Frank Mosher’s Where the Rivers Flow North is a collection of stories set in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom near the Vermont border. The title story especially is memorable, depicting the responses of an old lumberman and his Penobscot “housekeeper” to an electrical company that wants to drive them off the family land in order to build a dam. All the voices and the personalities are “just right.”
— Sarah Strong, Associate Professor of Japanese
Sometimes a Great Notion, by Ken Kesey
Dahlgren , by Samual Delany
The Sirens of Titan, by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
Also if anyone is traveling long distances by car I highly recommend listening to The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings Trilogy on books on tape. I read these years ago but having them read to you was so much better because someone else gets to pronounce all the weird names and they even sing the songs that when I read the book I would typically skip through. I found the book on tape a much more enriching experience.
In the same manner I found listening to Les Miserables and the Count of Monte Cristo also much better than reading because they pronounce all the French names for me. The Dickens classics, with some of the old English grammar, I find is also easier to listen to than read.
— Ken Emerson, Assistant Director of Human Resources
You Shall Know Our Velocity, by Dave Eggers
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, by Dave Eggers – – a memoir (Pulitzer Price Finalist)
You’re An Animal Viskovitz!, by Alessandro Boffa
Close to Shore, by Michael Capuzzo
A light summer, hair-raising page-turner about shark attacks of 1916 on NJ shore.
— John Illig , Men’s and Women’s Squash Coach
Non Campus Mentis, by Anders Henriksson
A hilarious book of malapropisms and other blunders compiled from history students’ college exams and term papers (none from Bates, of course).
— Anonymous Recommendation
Carro’s third LBJ volume, Master of the Senate is superb.
— Jim Carignan, Dean of the College
A Return to Modesty: Discovering the Lost Virtue, by Wendy Shalit
Generation X Goes to College: An Eye-Opening Account of Teaching in Postmodern America, by Peter Sacks
The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis
I chose the first book because it critiques a part of the modern world these students experience, emulate, and help to shape every day. The author is a graduate of Williams College, so the students might identify with her perspective. The second book will help them view their college experience from a new perspective that they might not have considered before. The Chronicles are always good for leisure reads, for people of any age, and were my favorite books growing up, so I had to include them.
— Kent Ratajeski, Visiting Assistant Professor of Geology
The Missing Piece, by Antoine Bello (Harcourt, 2003) is mystery novel cum sendup of both academia and professional sports. Highly recommended for those who enjoy puzzles.
— Anne Williams, Professor of Economics
These are both quick reads and great for a rainy day or day at the beach.
Two For the Money, by Janet Evanovich
Field Guide, by Gwendolen Gross
— Joline Froton, Office Coordinator, Bates College Store
The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold
This is the story about the murder of a young girl, named Susie. Susie narrates the story from “her” heaven. You get to follow, the grieving family, friends as they come to grips with life without Susie, as told through the eyes of Susie. I am a grieving mother and many friends and family, told me not to read this book but, I did, and I do not regret it. Yes, I cried but, I also laughed, was a little scared and thoroughly enjoyed the book. Unless you have been down this road yourself, there is no way, you can understand. I found the range of emotions Susie watched her family deal with, were quite accurate.
— Kathy Peters, Costume Shop Supervisor
Dreamcatcher, by Stephen King
A Beautiful Mind, by Sylvia Nasar
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, by J.K. Rowling
Several of Anne McAffery’s Dragonriders of Pern series
The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkien
All the President’s Men, by Bernstein and Woodward
Re-read Contact, by Carl Sagan
— Gary Dawbin, Programmer/Analyst
I would recommend Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex (and it just won the Pulitzer…)
I just finished reading this wonderful book: The Blackwater Lightship, by Colm Toibin
(It was short-listed for the Booker Prize, last year I think…)
Dirty Weekend, by Helen Zahavi (the feminist answer to American Psycho) was an interesting one also…
— Perrin Lumbert, Library Assistant, Interlibrary Loan
I’ll stick my neck out and add the book I have almost finished reading. The title is Welcome to the World Baby Girl, by Fannie Flag.
— Julie Retelle, Assistant College Librarian for Access Services
Science Fictions,by John Crewdson. This is a very detailed account of the discovery of HIV and the behavior of Dr. Robert Gallo at the National Cancer Institute. It is well written and well documented.
Robert Gallo made numerous statements (in high profile journals such as Nature and Science, and even in Scientific American) that were later shown to be blatantly untrue. The book chronicles, among other things, the investigation of misconduct by the Office of Scientific Integrity and congress (led by Dingell). At stake was potentially the Nobel prize, the patent earnings of the HIV blood test and recognition for the first discovery of HIV.
Coraline, by Neil Gaiman. A spooky fairy tale. Coraline moves to a new flat and finds a door in her living room is locked. After her parents are gone, the door opens into a world where she has an “other” mother and an “other” father that allow her to eat better food (not made from recipes) and play with fun toys. The condition for staying is that she must have black buttons sewed over her eyes (and really, lose her soul). The story develops quickly and is aimed at young readers, but its very well done.
Empire Falls and The Whore’s Child: and Other Stories, by Richard Russo
Russo is adept at making his characters seem very real.
Germs, by Judith Miller, Stephen Engelberg and William Broad
A good description of germ warfare programs around the world and biodefense in the US. It includes a variety of topics, including the deliberate salmonella poisonings in Oregon nearly two decades ago and what we learned after the first Gulf War about Iraq’s biowarfare capabilities.
The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, by Alexander McCall Smith. An interesting and entertaining read for a rainy day. The novel describes how Precious Ramotswe becomes the only lady detective in Botswana and some of her first cases.
— Paula Schlax, Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Savage Beauty, by Nancy Milford
Nancy Milford is never tedious and always thorough in her deeply researched biography of Edna St. Vincent Millay–Savage Beauty–that features the often-testy personal responses of the poet’s sister Norma to the author’s probing questions. The immediacy of those personal interviews enhances Milford’s credibility even as it gives rise to questions of reliability on the part of the sister-witness, whose personal shared history with her sister was at least fraught. Edna we hardly knew y’.
— Judith Robbins, Learning Associate, Dean of the Faculty’s Office
An Arrow Through The Heart,by Deborah Daw Heffernan. This book is probably one of the best I have ever read regarding a patient’s view of coping with an illness. Whether you are a caregiver or the person dealing with an acute or chronic illness, much insight is shared from Ms. Heffernan. It is very easy to read and is not at all sad and draining as so many books are that chronicle a severe illness. I found this story to be accurate with medical information, and to answer some of the mysteries that are often felt by patient, family, and friends during recuperation and the aftermath of a crisis. Very uplifting!
La Cucina, by Lily Prior
A book of RAPTURE! Very entertaining and different from anything I have ever read. You will learn how to appoint spices to a meal leaving you craving Italian Food! Sex , murder, and a mystery is really what it is all about. I hated the ending, and I hated to see it end, but it was entertaining. I have given this book as a gift to several people with pasta and a bottle of wine, and they still consider me their friend!!
— Lorraine Groves, Sales Floor Supervisor, College Store
The Whore’s Child and Other Stories, by Richard Russo
Richard Russo read this first story when he was at Bates. If you are a short-story fan you will really enjoy his true to life characters.
The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd
A very easy-to-read coming-of-age story set in the South in the 1940s.
Memoirs of a Geisha, by Arthur Golden
A long but enjoyable book that chronicles a young Chinese girl as she grows up and grows old in two different cultures.
The Color of Water: A Black Man’s Tribute to His White Mother, by James McBride
This was a recent suggested book for first-year students. It deals with growing up and raising one’s children in an environment of cultural and racial struggle.
Girl in Hyacinth Blue, by Susan Vreeland
A different historical novel that combines art history and a family saga
— Sue Martin, Coordinator, Longley School Project, Center for Service Learning
I recommend Robert McNamara & James Blight’s Wilson’s Ghost. A chilling account of contemporary foreign affairs, placed in the context of Woodrow Wilson’s post-WW I proposals for international conduct. It is chilling because of the numerous parallels between what he warned against and the mistakes he and others made … and our foreign policy today. History is repeating itself.
— Richard Wagner, Professor of Psychology
Agents of Innocence, by David Ignatius. A very readable trip into the multiple layers of espionage and loyalties in the Middle East.
**Avoid Tom Clancy’s latest book, Red Rabbit. He must have fired his editor as the book is laboriously long and redundant.
— Stephen Sawyer, Associate Dean of Students
The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd. A moving story of a 15 year old girl’s search for familial love and forgiveness; set in South Carolina during the summer of 1964. Moved me to laughter and tears! Great characters! A good summer read!
— Camille Parrish, Learning Associate, Environmental Studies
Here are five good reads all available at Ladd Library.
The Moon Pearl, by Ruthanne Lum McCunn
Rather than be married off to become slaves to their husbands and mother-in-laws, three girls in 1830’s China take a vow of spinsterhood.
Look at Me, by Jennifer Egan
Charlotte, a model from New York, suffers a disfiguring accident and has to rebuild her life. The stories and quirky characters that surround her will be what keeps you reading.
Drop City, by T.C. Boyle
A group of hippies get kicked out of their commune by “the man” in 1960’s California. They head to the Alaskan bush to live off the land.
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, by Sijie Dai
Two teenage boys are taken from their families in the city to be “re-educated” in the countryside of Communist China. Lonely, faced with a life sentence of manual labor, the boys uncover a hidden treasure: a suitcase full of western-lit.
When the Emperor was Divine, by Julie Otsuka
Four chapters narrated by different members of a Japanese-American family faced with evacuation during World War II. This is a very short read but says a lot about prejudice and politicies of the times.
— Sarah McLellan, Library Assistant, Public Services
Middlesex,by Jeffrey Eugenide
Trans-sister Radio, by Chris Bohjalian
The Nautical Chart, by Arturo Perez-Reverte
The Fencing Master, by Arturo Perez-Reverte
The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold
The Secret History, by Donna Tartt
The Little Friend, by Donna Tartt
The DaVinci Code, by Dan Brown
The Dante Club, by Matthew Pearl
Blood in the Sun Triology, by Nuruddin Farah, Somali Novelist: Maps, Gifts, and Secrets
— Heather Lindqvist, Lecturer in Anthroplogy
For a true summer read that will deliver you immediately to the water’s edge, read James Sterba’s Frankie’s Place. Sterba combines a fine sense of place–the very banks of Somes Sound on Mt. Desert Island–with the tempo of a true Maine summer life, adds some marvelous recipes, the idiosyncrasies of an old Volvo and a new love, and creates a wonderful story. Sterba may be familiar to many as a foreign correspondent, writing for the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times for the past three decades.
And I have just begun Pat Conroy’s Losing Season, because I am told, by someone who seems to know, that I will learn something about life’s great lessons, and I am itching to discover them! From Publishers Weekly: “In a re-creation of the losing basketball season Conroy and his team endured during his senior year at the Citadel, 1966- 1967, Conroy gives readers an intimate look at how suffering can be transformed to become a source of strength and inspiration. Drawing on extensive interviews with his teammates, he chronicles, game by game, their talent and his sheer determination and grit. In Conroy’s hands, sports writing becomes a vehicle to describe the love and devotion that can develop between young men. Toward the end of this moving work, Conroy explains that writing books became ‘the form that praying takes in me.’ But readers will see how basketball can also be a way of reaching for something finer than a winning score. What emerges is a portrait of a young man who isn’t a soldier but a knight with a great and chivalrous heart. Anyone who was a son or knows a son will be touched by this book.”
— Sarah Potter, Bookstore Director and Contract Officer
Cassada,by James Salter
This novel is based on Salter’s experience as a fighter pilot in Europe, during the 1950’s. Also recommended is his novel about flying during the Korean War, The Hunters; Solo Faces , about his experiences climbing in Europe, and his autobiography, Burning the Days.
— Bill Low, Director, Museum of Art
John Maynard Keynes: Hopes Betrayed 1883-1920, by Robert Skidelsky.
This is the first of a three-volume biography; the last volume came out quite recently. For an academic (not necessarily an economist), the account of Keynes’ years as a young hotshot at Cambridge is fascinating. There’s also lots of stuff on the Bloomsbury group, if you like that sort of thing.
Harvard and the Unabomber, by Alston Chase
This author feels himself uniquely qualified to discuss the unabomber, in that he was a Harvard undergraduate several years before Ted Kaczynski was, and he also dropped out of academia and moved to Montana (albeit to somewhat better accommodations) in the early 1970s. Chase puts a great deal of the blame on the Harvard years in this very interesting if ultimately unsatisfying account. One wishes that Chase knew more about mathematics, and Kaczynski’s years as a graduate student at Michigan cry out for greater scrutiny.
Number 9 Dream, by David Mitchell
This is the most interesting novel I read in the past year. Mitchell aims to show he can write a weird Tokyo novel just as well as any Japanese author, and he succeeds at it remarkably well.
Why Orwell Matters, by Christopher Hitchens
This short book is reminiscent of Nicholson Baker’s classic discussion of Updike, U and I, though naturally concerned much more with politics. Hitchens’ main point is that Orwell was right about the three most important issues of his time: communism, fascism and imperialism.
— Warren Johnson, Department of Mathematics
Three Junes,by Julia Glass
I’m most of the way through the second June in this beautifully written novel in three parts set in Scotland, Greece and New York City. The author brings you inside the main characters so well that you feel like a member of this family that struggles with death, happiness, bonds between siblings, parents and children. This book is a quiet, deep drink of the small and large parts that make up life.
Other novels I’ve read recently and recommend:
The Quiet American, by Graham Greene
Written in the 1950s and set in Vietnam as the French are battling the Vietminh. The main characters are an aging British journalist and a young American military advisor who love the same Vietnamese woman. A remarkable interweaving of the personal and the political.
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, by Dai Sijie – two city boys are exiled to a remote mountain village in China during the Cultural Revolution and there find a cache of Western classics.
— Rebecca Lovett, Assistant Manager, Bates College Store
An Underground Life: Memoirs of a Gay Jew in Nazi Berlin, by Gad Beck
The narrator tells his story of survival with candor and character, both remarkable given his surroundings. But Gad Beck did more than survive, and he describes his life and exploits in the most joyous of terms.
— Phyllis Graber Jensen, Senior Staff Writer, College Relations
She’s Come Undone, by Wally Lamb.
I really enjoyed it although it was not an upbeat read. It was still a great book.
— Erin Foster Zsiga, Housing Coordinator, Ass’t. Coordinator of Student Activities
Cordelia Underwood, Mollie Peer, and Daniel Plainway
The first three titles in the Moosepath League series of novels by Mainer Van Reid take a look at turn-of-the-century (that’s the 20th century) Maine with a dazzling combination of dry, folksy, and slapstick humor. Best read in sequence (two other titles follow the Plainway episode, both soon to be read by this observer).
Himalayan Quest , by Ed Viesturs.
A photographic and cartographic account of an American climber’s attempt to join the exclusive club of those who have summitted the earth’s 14 8000-meter peaks; entering the 2003 spring climbing season Viesturs lacked only Annapurna and Nanga Parbat. The astonishing photographs here owe their uniqueness to the spontaneous nature of their creation, i.e. en route, on steep pitches, away from the relative safety of campsites. One shot of Everest’s shadow, snapped just below the summit at first light from within the shadow, is breathtaking. For a muggy summer day.
— Jim Lamontagne, Library Assistant, Cataloging
The First American. The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin, by H.W. Brands
The Autobiography of Quincy Jones, by Quincy Jones
Body for Life: 12 Weeks to Mental and Physical Strength, by Bill Phillips
Muscle and Fitness Training Notebook (can’t remember author)
Magazines – Muscle and Fitness, Oxygen, Fitness, and Energy
— Lori Ouellette, Administrative Assistant, Dean of the Faculty’s Office
As an innocent and poorly informed bystander, I usually hang around the area while the famous Mel is tuning our piano. He and my husband discuss the resonance of various woods or the sources of “old ivory keys”.
While keeping his professional demeanor, Mel lies on his back under the piano installing the new “waterworks” while we stand nearby at the ready with the vacuum cleaner or the pliers should he need them. It’s a wonderful and mysterious business this piano tuning, and through the years I’ve caught snippets of conversation that let me know that pianos have personalities and idiosyncrasies; but even more wonderful are those who deal in used pianos…all of which leads up to this book recommendation: The Piano Shop on the Left Bank, a nice story for players or owners.
— Jane Zocchi, Staff Nurse, Health Center