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Summer 2018 Recommended Reading List

Finals are over and three long months of downtime loom ahead. You know what that means, right? The return of reading for fun! A UHPer recently asked the faculty for some recommended summer reading, and they were eager to oblige. So if you’re looking for a book to keep you company as you come down from finals, take a look at these suggestions:

Maria Frawley. “I’d like to recommend George Eliot’s Middlemarch, the novel Virginia Woolf famously declared to be ‘one of the few English novels written for grown-up people.’ It’s a door-stopper of a novel (800 some pages!) that needs to be enjoyed over several months, and it’s the best study I’ve ever encountered of the hows and whys we fail to live up to our ideals.”



Bethany Cobb Kung: “Oops, I can’t pick just a single book!  I’d recommend Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life by William Deresiewicz. Many parts of this book frustrated or infuriated me — many other parts I wholeheartedly agreed with. AND/OR Apollo 8: The Thrilling Story of the First Mission to the Moon by Jeffrey Kluger A little history, a little science, and a little human interest, too!”



Mark Ralkowski: “This is the book I’d like to recommend: At the Existentialist Cafe: Freedom, Being, and Apricot Cocktails with Jean Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Martin Heidegger, Maurice Merleau-Ponty and others, by Sarah Bakewell.It’s a great mix of philosophy and biography, and it provides a lot of the backstory to the rise of phenomenology and existentialism in the 20th century.“



Ingrid Creppell: “I recommend Jesmyn Ward, Salvage the Bones. This 2011 National Book Award Winner tells the story of a poor family living in southern Mississippi waiting and preparing for Hurricane Katrina. I found the writing mythic and at the same time of the most intimate concreteness – showing how dreams and passions of real individuals tangle with the inescapable hardness of the past, and yet they achieve a measure of salvation in this forgotten rural landscape.”



Joseph Trullinger: “I would recommend an essay by Mary Midgley, “Trying Out One’s New Sword.” Midgley explores the purported ancient Japanese custom of allowing samurais to kill peasants to “try out” the sharpness of a new sword. In particular, it’s a great essay about whether and how we can judge the practices of other cultures, and by implication, our own. It’s one of the most insightful pieces I’ve ever read about cultural relativism, and the presuppositions that go into it.”


William Winstead: “I recommend Robert Kuttner, Can Democracy Survive Global Capitalism? (Norton, 2018). The best account yet of the origins of the global outrage directed at the neoliberal juggernaut undermining the future prospects of young and old alike—essential for anyone who wants to make sense of the current scene.”



Eyal Aviv: “I recommend A Tale for the Time Being: A Novel by Ruth Ozeki. Ozeki, an author and a Zen priest, tells a gripping story about three women: a Canadian-Japanese writer, a troubled Japanese teenage girl and her grandmother, an elderly Zen nun.The story moves between the three characters and connects them with a network shrouded with mystery that is rooted in the Zen philosophy of Eihei Dōgen. This is a remarkable story that will both touch you and invite you into a meditation about time, space and the intricacies of human relationship. “


Theo Christov: “I recommend No Name in the Street, by James Baldwin. This book weaves in and out of the Algerian war of independence, the tyranny of Francisco Franco, the 1963 March on Washington, and the murder of Martin Luther King, Jr, revealing the legacy of the past in the US and how to cope with such a legacy in the present.”