Just about everyone loves a good book, especially while lounging at the beach to the soundtrack of crashing waves. But choosing the right book can be a bit daunting.

Need a few ideas for a thought-provoking summer read? Here’s what some of our faculty are reading this summer.


Mary Ann M. Hartshorn, visiting assistant professor, Department of Teacher Education

The book: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. “It’s an incredibly amazing read! Owens’ vivid descriptions foster an appreciation for nature and explore an emotional longing for connection. Those depictions are cleverly linked to a suspenseful mystery. Owens, a zoologist with a Ph.D. in animal behavior, has co-authored many factual books about animals in the wild, has spent decades isolated in the wilderness herself, and, according to a CBS Sunday Morning interview, ‘wanted to write a book about the effects isolation and loneliness can have on a person.’ A movie is pending, but it will never duplicate the imagery that these pages bring to life.”

Also: Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver for its “insightful look at how climate change might affect those who least suspect a problem.” (Print edition available to students, faculty and staff at Addlestone Library.)


James D. Melville, Jr., associate dean for International and Community Outreach, School of Languages, Cultures, and World Affairs

The book: The Back Channel: A Memoir of American Diplomacy and The Case for Its Renewal by William J. Burns, a former foreign service officer and deputy secretary of state. “Bill is a great storyteller and subtly reminds readers throughout of the value of diplomacy and the great importance of fidelity to the institutions and interests of our great country. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in world affairs and public service.”


Stephen Barnes, adjunct lecturer, Hispanic Studies

The book: Monsoon Mansion by Cinelle Barnes. “I’ve enjoyed rereading my wife’s memoir about her riches-to-rags childhood in the Philippines and her forthcoming essay collection Malaya. I’m reminded of her resilience when I read her work. I am left feeling encouraged by the sense of hope that she instills in her writing.” (Print edition available to students, faculty and staff at Addlestone Library.)


Morgan Hughey, assistant professor, Department of Health and Human Performance

The book: Breakthrough series by Michael Grumley. “There are now five books in the series – a realistic science fiction tale with plenty of action, suspense and communicating with animal species – with the latest released this summer. They’re easy and enjoyable reads.”

Also: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. “A classic novel that I have read numerous times. Each time, I draw something new from the characters and story, including this summer.” (Print edition available to students, faculty and staff at Addlestone Library.)


Godfrey Gibbison, dean of the School of Professional Studies and interim dean of the Graduate School

The book: The Sirens of Titan by Kurt Vonnegut. “Great commentary on the human struggle for relevance.”

Also: Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup “because it helps white Americans understand why they are distrusted by black Americans.” (Print edition available to students, faculty and staff at Addlestone Library.)


Nancy Muller, associate dean, School of Professional Studies

The book: Selected Poems by Don Paterson. “It represents a lovely gathering of works from one of the world’s most gifted and celebrated poets of our time. One doesn’t just read his poetry, much that speaks to his native Scotland, but rather inhales and exhales it like a cleansing breath while giving birth to a newborn. One of my favorites is Profession of Faith, which I read over and over and still find crisp and consoling, as if I am there in Dundee right beside him and the sea.”

Also: Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver. “The exciting work of Charles Darwin is interlaced with Kingsolver’s riveting descriptions of human pain, wit, compassion and misfortune.”


Anthony James, director, Minority Education & Outreach, Department of Teacher Education

The book: Slavery by Another Name: The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II by Douglas A. Blackmon. “I really enjoyed how the author shined a light on one of the darkest chapters in American history. It shows how the criminal justice system was not and is not a fair system for people of color. The perceived practice of imprisoning black males for free labor is still an issue in America. The book can be useful in understanding the Black Lives Matter movement.” (Print edition available to students, faculty and staff at Addlestone Library.)


Carrie Blair Messal, associate professor and associate chair, Department of Management and Marketing

The book: Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic by Sam Quinones. “It’s the best explanation of the opioid epidemic that I’ve found. It is well-written and feels like fiction, yet it isn’t. What will interest business school students is that just as other networks and types of businesses have been decentralized via technology, so has the black tar heroin distribution network out of Mexico, making it more difficult to battle.” (Print edition available to students, faculty and staff at Addlestone Library.)


Elise Perrault, associate professor, Department of Management and Marketing

The book: The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates. “It is told like an intimate conversation with Mrs. Gates on her incredible and deep work around the world to lift up women. She explains why lifting women lifts humanity and is the key for everyone’s prosperity by touching on deep and intriguing topics such as contraception, child marriage, unpaid work and why these matter to men, women and our goals for healthy societies. I learned on every page and had several breakthrough moments. Mrs. Gates connects the dots for all of us and shows us the path to doing business with purpose.”


Anna Saunders, research associate, Department of Classics 

The book: The Lucia series of novels by E. F. Benson. “Very amusing English satire about a delightful character.”


Susan Klein, assistant professor of art, Department of Studio Art

The book: Daybook by Anne Truitt. “Beautifully written journal entries from the artist give insight into the nature of being an artist.”

Also: Collected Essays by James Baldwin. “Important writing on race, art and America.” (Print edition available to students, faculty and staff at Addlestone Library.)


Kate Greenburg, adjunct faculty, Department of French, Francophone and Italian Studies

The book: Born a Crime by Trevor Noah. “I have been recommending it to everyone. I learned so much about what it was like in South Africa during and in the immediate aftermath of apartheid, with Trevor Noah’s wry humor thrown in. An informative and entertaining read, and a film version is being made soon.”


Mark Swick, Jewish community liaison, Yaschik/Arnold Jewish Studies Program

The book: Grace Will Lead Us Home by Jennifer Berry Hawes. “It’s about the Emanuel A.M.E. tragedy and aftermath. It is a quick, informative and powerful portrait of that terrible event that rocked our city four years ago. I was struck by Hawes’ sympathetic and comprehensive narrative, and her ability to highlight the resilience of the survivors and the family members of the deceased, without whitewashing the healing and growth our city still requires.”