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Foto Friday: New Bloom

Storm

There is nothing more difficult for a truly creative painter than to paint a rose, because before he can do so he has first to forget all the roses that were ever painted.

Henri Matisse

Laura Hutelmyer is the photography coordinator for the Communication and Service Promotion Team and Special Acquisitions Coordinator in Resource Management 


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Millicent Gaskell Begins as Villanova University Librarian and Director of Falvey Memorial Library

Millicent Gaskell Appointed Villanova University Librarian and Director of Falvey Memorial Library

VILLANOVA, Pa. – Villanova University has announced the appointment of Millicent Gaskell as University Librarian and Director of the Falvey Memorial Library, effective May 29, 2015. This key appointment, the result of an extensive national search, will enable Villanova to build upon Falvey Memorial Library’s impressive legacy as a cornerstone of learning at the University.

Millicent GaskellMs. Gaskell comes to Villanova with broad experience in both higher education and the private sector. For the past 10 years, she held a number of leadership roles at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Most recently, Ms. Gaskell served as Department Head of Collections Strategy and Management, with oversight of collection development, analysis, acquisitions and metadata and had responsibility for MIT’s $10M collections budget and a 36-member staff. She was honored twice at MIT for outstanding communication and collaboration, as well as for innovation and creativity.

“We are pleased to welcome Millicent Gaskell to Villanova University and to this important position at Falvey Memorial Library,” said the Rev. Kail C. Ellis, OSA, PhD, Vice President for Academic Affairs. “Ms. Gaskell brings to Villanova a thorough knowledge of current and future technological trends impacting library and information services, as well as extensive experience in implementing digital content management initiatives.”

Falvey Memorial Library plays a central role in ensuring the interdependence of teaching, research and scholarship at Villanova. As University Librarian and Director of Falvey Memorial Library, Ms. Gaskell will oversee a facility that supports research and scholarly activities for faculty and students. Its collections include 1.68 million items with 551,236 stack items, 35,297 electronic journals, and 3,596 print journals.  In addition, its digital library initiative assembles, presents and preserves digital collections that support the teaching and research of the campus and the global community of scholars. Gaskell will oversee a staff of 50 employees at Falvey Memorial Library, including the University Archivist and software development programmers.

“The academic library of the future should be creative and agile as pedagogy continues to evolve,” said Gaskell. “The academic library needs to ensure the long-term preservation of scholarship. We should lead not only in preserving collections, but also in improving the discoverability of these collections. Libraries must engage with faculty, students, and administrators to ensure that the community has the information resources, services, spaces, and tools required in a rapidly changing educational environment.”

Prior to her tenure at MIT, Ms. Gaskell served as Librarian, Senior Librarian and then Manager of Information Services during a 10-year career at QVC. Previously, as Environmental Information Specialist at the South Jersey Environmental Information Center, she built the only public environmental collection and research service in New Jersey.  Gaskell earlier served as Paralibrarian for Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP. Gaskell earned a Master’s of Science in Information Science and Technology from Drexel University and a Bachelor’s of Arts in English and Comparative Literature from Ursinus College.

“Ms. Gaskell’s unique background and expertise will allow Villanova to not only build upon the Library’s national recognition by the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) Award for Excellence 2013, but also to successfully position the institution for the future,” Fr. Ellis added.

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University’s six colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing, the College of Professional Studies and the Villanova University School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them.


Article written by Jonathan Gust, Director of Media Relations.

Contact:
Jonathan Gust
Director of Media Relations
Villanova University
(610) 519-5152
jonathan.gust@villanova.edu

 


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Thank you to our Interim Director, Bob DeVos

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.

It turns what we have into enough, and more.

It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity.

It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home,

a stranger into a friend.

Gratitude makes sense of our past,

brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

— Melody Beattie

BOB DEVOS

Falvey Memorial Library sends warm thanks to our interim director, Robert DeVos, PhD, associate vice president for instructional analysis, professor, mathematics and statistics, who has served in the interim capacity since July, 2014. Bob’s wealth of knowledge and long history at Villanova University (he will celebrate his golden anniversary here in 2017,) was well utilized over the academic year as he gamely tackled the myriad of challenges and joys that being a library director can bring.  His time and dedication to the library over the past academic year was much appreciated. Our new director, Millicent Gaskell, begins at Villanova tomorrow.



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The Best of the Highlighter: Discover Falvey’s Many Study Spaces

HIGHLIGHTER-PRO

Click here for the original article and video.

 

 


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A Brief Look at Italian and English Renaissance Drama

Did yesterday’s blog post about Renaissance Faires whet your appetite for Renaissance Drama? Look no further than this thoughtfully assembled blog by Sarah Wingo, Subject Librarian for English Literature and Theatre.


When you hear the word Renaissance you may think of Michelangelo painting the ceiling of the Sistine chapel and Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, or you may think of Queen Elizabeth I and Shakespeare. In both cases you’d be right, but you may not be aware that you’re thinking of two fairy distinct (though overlapping) time periods. The European or Italian Renaissance spanned the 14th to the 17th century beginning nearly a century before the Renaissance would truly gain momentum in England in the late 15th century and extend to beginning of the 17th century.

The Renaissance period in Italy and England were both characterized by a “revival of the arts and high culture under the influence of classical models” (OED), but each also had traditions and art forms distinctly their own.

One area in which Italian arts and English arts diverged was theatre.

Taglia Cantoni and Fracasso

Two Pantaloons Dancing. Bello Sguardo, Couiello. Dances of Sfessania (Balli di Sfessania 1621) series by Jacques Callot, 1592 – 1635.

In Italy a form of theatre known as commedia dell’arte[i] was popularized between 1575 and1650. Performed in open spaces and at fair grounds commedia dell’arte was largely improvised versions of familiar tropes. Commedia stories relied upon stock characters which were divided into 3 categories the lovers, the masters, and the servants, with distinctive characters belonging to each category such as Pantalone a greedy Venetian merchant. These characters were easily recognized by their distinctive clothing and the masks that they wore, thus allowing audiences to immediately identify heroes and villains within any story being told.[ii]

Most people will be more familiar with the theatre of the English Renaissance due to the enduring popularity of William Shakespeare. Shakespeare’s earliest plays were likely performed in the mid-1580s. From 1594 onwards his works were performed by the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, a company of players of which he was part owner, who later became The King’s Men after being awarded a Royal Patent by King James I in 1603.

Shakespeare is the most well-known playwright from the English Renaissance at least in part due to the fact that more of his plays survive, thanks to their publication in the First Folio in 1623, than do the plays of most other playwrights from that era. Because plays were considered common entertainment rather than high art plays were not regularly published[iii], in fact of the 36 plays published in the Shakespeare’s First Folio only 16 existed in published form prior to the printing of the folio meaning that a full 20 of Shakespeare’s plays including Macbeth, The Tempest, and Twelfth Night would be unknown to us were it not for the printing of the First Folio. Likewise of the thousands of plays produced by numerous playwrights throughout the English Renaissance only a small percentage survive to this day.

Swan Theatre

The Swan Theatre: Arnoldus Buchelius (Aernout van Buchel) (1565-1641), after a drawing of Johannes de Witt (1566-1622). Utrecht, University Library, Ms. 842, fol. 132r.

Although there were some indoor performance spaces such as those at court and Blackfriars most theatres including The Globe where Shakespeare’s plays were performed from 1599 until it burnt down in 1613, were rounded open air structures with seating around the walls of the building and cheaper standing space in the center around the stage as can be seen in this image of The Swan Theatre, a contemporary of The Globe.

Theatre companies functioned as repertory, with a rotation of plays in performance, rarely performing the same play two days in a row. Theatre companies were also comprised entirely of men, female characters famously being played by “boy actors,” though the term “boy” may be misleading as it is believed that while the female roles were played by young men, they were not as was once believe played by children.

One reason that theatre from this period is so important is that it is really the first time that the Western World begins to see secular theatre performed in much the same way that modern theatre is performed today. The plays themselves also being very recognizable as modern theatre in stark contrast the highly stylized and religious liturgical dramas and morality plays which preceded the theatre of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. [iv]

[i] Katritzky, M A. The Art of Commedia: A Study in the Commedia Dell’Arte 1560-1620 With Special Reference to the Visual Records. Amsterdam ; New York: Rodopi, 2006.

[ii] Read more about Commedia dell’arte at the Metropolitan Museum of Art website.

[iii] For more information about printing and publishing of plays during the English Renaissance see : Jowett, John. Shakespeare and Text. Oxford ; New York: Oxford University Press, 2007

[iv] Andrew Gurr has written prolifically on the topic of English Renaissance drama, and his books The Shakespearean stage, 1574-1642 and Playgoing in Shakespeare’s London would be of particular interest to anyone wishing to learn more on this subject.

 


SarahArticle by Sarah Wingo, team leader- Humanities II, subject librarian for English, literature and theatre.


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There are Faires and There are Fairs

The ferris wheel at the Devon Horse Show & Country Fair.

At this time of year it seems like a festival, fair(e), or fling is around every corner. They might have games, rides, petting zoos, vendors, food, farm shows, competitions, musical performances, comedians, dancing, hay rides, fire engine rides, the list goes on! If you’re staying in the area this summer, why not visit one of the fairs and experience some local color?

The first-ever Philadelphia Renaissance Faire (Philly Ren Faire) was held last weekend in the Chamounix section of Fairmount Park. Celebrities, like Hafthor Julius Bjornsson, known for his role in the TV series Game of Thrones, was at the Philly Ren Faire to play the role of King Thor. The faire also featured the usual comedians, musicians, and costumed faire-goers.

philly ren faire photos

 

 

 

 

 

The Philly Ren Faire should not be confused with the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire (PA Ren Faire), which takes place every year from August – October in Mount Hope, PA. The PA Ren Faire will also have a Celtic Fling & Highland Games in late June, if you’re interested in that sort of thing.

For those unfamiliar with the concept of a Renaissance Faire, it is loosely based on the historical Renaissance period during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I in England, but it often features the Spanish Moors, pirates, Medieval characters, Vikings, wizards, elves, and more recently, cosplay.

The smaller fairs or festivals are often organized by a local township or fire company, like the Goshen Country Fair or the Malvern Fire Company Fair. The Brandywine Strawberry Festival is more than just strawberry pie tastings and as a bonus, the Coatesville Youth Initiative benefits from the proceeds. The Devon Horse Show & Country Fair has been held annually since the 1890’s. This year it starts on May 21.

I don’t know about you, but one thing I always look forward to is fair(e) food, which is very similar to boardwalk food. Corn dog? Yes, sirree! Funnel cake? Bring on the powdered sugar! Scotch eggs? With Branston pickle or mustard, please! Giant turkey leg? Hand it over!

scotch eggsFor some reason, the Philly Ren Faire didn’t have Scotch eggs available. Shocking, I know. Not to be cheated out of this delicacy, I decided to make them at home. It was my first venture into the realm of deep fried food. I followed Jamie Oliver’s recipe, but failed to keep an eye on the temperature of the oil and they came out a bit on the dark side (okay, they were burnt). However,  I was undaunted by the initial failure. Worried that the insides were not cooked due to my immediate retrieval of the eggs from the boiling oil, I placed them in the oven, preheated to 400, for about 15 minutes.

To my great surprise, they turned out pretty well. They weren’t just edible, they were delicious. (I make this assessment with all humility.) Feeling rather delighted that I was able to rescue the Scotch eggs from doom, I ventured forth into the territory of turkey legs. These, too, came out rather well. I followed the Pioneer Woman’s blog instructions for brining the turkey legs, or as she calls them, Caveman Pops, and then followed the Paleo Cupboard recipe for seasoning and roasting them.

turkey legs Do you have a “faire food” recipe you’d like to share? Feel free to add it to the comments section below. Or tell us about a fair(e) or festival you attended!

If you’re interested in learning more about Renaissance Drama, look for the related blog post tomorrow, May 26, written by Sarah Wingo, subject librarian for English Literature and Theatre.


Written by Luisa Cywinski, writer for the Communication & Service Promotion team, and team leader, Access Services team.

 


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Memorial Day – Then and Now

zoom-out-wide-open-arlington-cemetery_ZJfoPBgbr

A brief history of the Memorial Day holiday

Memorial Day or, more accurately, Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial beginning of summer. Memorial Day itself is now celebrated on the last Monday of May. However, this was not always true, so below is a bit of the history of this holiday.

A number of locations claim to be the birthplace of Memorial Day, Boalsburg, Pa., among them. Often called Decoration Day, it was established as a day to decorate with flowers the graves of those who lost their lives in the Civil War. Approximately 620,000 men lost their lives in the war so most families, North and South, had some personal relationship with the dead or injured.

alice-tombstoneOn May 5, 1868, Major General John Alexander Logan (1826-1886)  , an organization of Union veterans, declared that May 30 should be the day on which the graves of the war dead should be decorated with flowers. That year a large ceremony, presided over by Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and various Washington, D.C., officials, was held at Arlington National Cemetery. Congressman James Garfield of Ohio was one of the speakers. At the conclusion of the speeches, members of the GAR and children from a nearby orphanage for children of Union veterans placed flowers on the graves of more than 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers while singing hymns and reciting prayers.

The back story for this: an anonymous writer had sent a letter to the GAR adjutant general, a letter in which the author told the adjutant general that in his native Germany it was a custom to place flowers on graves in the spring. alice-flagThe adjutant general, Norton P. Chipman, sent this information to Logan. Logan then expanded upon the idea, and sent an order to all GAR posts to observe May 30 as a day to honor the Civil War dead. This date, May 30, became the first nationally observed commemoration held in more than 200 locations, mostly in the North.

There are other claimants for the establishment of Memorial Day. In Richmond, Virginia, women formed the Hollywood Memorial Association of the Ladies of Richmond and they helped to establish the Oakwood Memorial Association; the purpose of these two groups was to decorate the graves, both those of Union and Confederate soldiers, in the Hollywood and Oakwood Cemeteries. The same year, 1865, Confederate veterans organized, but the decoration of graves remained women’s work.

From the 1870s on some observed the holiday as commemoration and others chose to enjoy themselves. By the 1890s May 30 had become more a popular holiday, less a memorial to the Civil War dead who had been forgotten by many. Congress declared Memorial Day a federal holiday in 1889.

Recent history

0142184e39c4a65c074e0437142edc22President Lyndon Johnson and Congress declared in 1966 that Waterloo, N.Y., was the birthplace of Memorial Day, based upon a ceremony held there on May 5, 1866, honoring area veterans of the Civil War. Other claimants are Boalsburg, Pa.; Macon and Columbus, Ga.; Carbondale, Ill; Columbus, Miss.; and others.In 1968 Congress changed the date of Memorial Day from May 30 to the last Monday of May. This change was strongly encouraged by the travel and resort industries; a three day weekend was an invitation to travel for many.

Since the late 1960s Memorial Day has become a major commercial activity. Originally many businesses closed, but this is no longer true. Now there are numerous Memorial Day sales – my email is filled with advertisements for these as are newspapers.

Congress passed a law, signed by the president, in December 2000, to honor the fallen of all wars, “The National Moment of Remembrance Act.” There are also Confederate Memorial Days still observed in many Southern States: Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. Each of these states set its own date to honor their Confederate dead.

POPPIES

Picnics and memories

On a personal level, I grew up hearing Memorial Day referred to as Decoration Day, perhaps a regional or generational custom. I lived in western Maryland, south of the Mason Dixon Line, but an area more Northern than Southern in its history. I remember going with my family – grandparents, parents and younger sister – to visit a small, very rural hilltop cemetery where the adults spent the day clearing weeds and other debris from the graves and, when lunch time came, we had a picnic right there (Mom’s homemade meatloaf, kept warm by wrapping it in multiple layers of newspaper, and potato salad). Flowers, cut from my grandmother’s flowerbed, were placed in front of the tombstones. I knew an older widow who cut peonies from her garden to take to the cemetery to place on her husband’s grave. None of the graves in that old family cemetery belonged to Civil War soldiers nor was the widow’s husband a Civil War veteran. Even today I know family members who visit cemeteries to leave flowers on Memorial Day. Is this a local custom?

Many communities do have Memorial Day events with speeches honoring those who fell serving the United States, parades, picnics and other activities. How will you spend your Memorial Day?

Dig Deeper: Falvey resources

The National Memorial Day: A Record of Ceremonies Over the Graves of the Union Soldiers, May 29 and 30, 1869. 1870. E. F. M. Faehtz.
Memorial Lessons: A Sermon Preached at King’s Chapel, Boston, on Sunday, May 29, 1870, with a List of the Sons of the Church Who Entered the Service of the Country. 1870. Henry Wilder Foote.
Memorial Day, May 30, 1870, Oration by Gen. I. F. Shepard (Adjutant General of Missouri) at Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis, Mo. 1870. I. F. Shepard.
 A History of Memorial Day: Unity, Discord and the Pursuit of Happiness. 2002. Richard P. Harmond.
Honoring the Civil War Dead: Commemoration and the Problem of Reconciliation. 2005. John R. Neff.
Celebrating America’s Freedoms. (Online) 2009. United States Dept of Veterans Affairs.


Cemetery photos and story by Alice Bampton. Waterloo, NY photo credit: Joseph Sohm/Visions of America/Corbis.


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‘Caturday: SS Villanova Victory

Your first thought might have been of a football game when seeing the title of this blog post. It’s not about a win by a Villanova Wildcats team, but instead refers to the S. S. Villanova Victory’s contribution to the war effort.

I was stunned to find this gem in a May 15, 1945 edition of The Villanovan, which is available through the Villanova University Digital Library. It was news to me that not just one, but two ships, had been named to honor Villanova College. As you can see in the article below, the first ship was launched in 1937 and the second, pictured below, in 1945. The photo is from the Villanova University Archives.

Many ships built during World War II were named after colleges and universities. According to the American Merchant Marines website, Victory ships were “armed with one 5-inch stern gun, one 3-inch bow gun, eight 20 mm machine guns.”

Villanova Victory

Villanova Victory article May 1945


‘Caturday post written by Luisa Cywinski, writer on the Communication & Service Promotion team and team leader, Access Services team.

Photo used with permission from the Villanova University Archives.


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Foto Friday: Higher Education

Higher-Ed

Laura Hutelmyer is the photography coordinator for the Communication and Service Promotion Team and Special Acquisitions Coordinator in Resource Management


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All new for 2015! Recommended Summer Reading from English Faculty

Hey, blog fans, have you discovered the wonderful blog published by the Villanova Department of English? Not only is it an informative site for events, and people news, it’s also a place for unexpected delights, such as first dibs on job and internship opportunities and cookies at the coffee breaks!  Be sure to check it out regularly!
Associate Professor and departmental chair Evan Radcliffe, PhD, has kindly granted permission to reprint one of our favorite posts of theirs –  a real book lover’s dream! Below you’ll find a first-class summer reading list compiled by Department of English professors, written in their own voices. Ranging from classics to books just under the radar, you can be sure that time spent with these picks will be worthwhile – and if you’re not careful, you just might learn something! We’ve reprinted their recommendations here, including links, when available, to their Falvey catalog information.

Recommended Summer Reading from English Faculty


CHIJI AKOMA

I’ve got two books to share! The first is We Need New Names, a novel by NoViolet Bulawayo. You should read it, if not for anything else, for the author’s arresting name! But, seriously, it’s a great story on migration and the different levels of displacement that attend to it when economic and racial pressures are applied. The young and sassy first person narrator Darling will reward you with shock, amusement, and much to think about for choosing to hang out with her this summer. If you are an English senior, Bulawayo is also on the reading list for my section of the senior seminar this fall.

The other novel is Bernardine Evaristo’s The Emperor’s Babe. I haven’t read it yet, but the blurb is intriguing. Having read Evaristo’s earlier work, Lara, a semi-autobiographical verse novel that deliciously presents the myriad diasporic roots of Evaristo, reaching to Ireland, Germany, Nigeria and Brazil, I am excited to read The Emperor’s Babe, which is also in verse form. But this is no turgid verse. It flows. The Emperor’s Babe is set in AD 211 London (or, Londinium as the Romans called it) and features Zuleika, the daughter of Sudanese immigrants who marries a Roman merchant. Evaristo likes taking poetic risks in language and I look forward to reading about romance and power play in third century London. By the way, Evaristo will be here at Villanova in spring 2016 as keynote speaker at the Cultural Studies Association conference. Not a bad idea to read one of her novels before she arrives.
New Names
Emperor's Babe

MICHAEL BERTHOLD

This summer I plan to read through the Library of America’s collection American Science Fiction: Nine Classic Novels of the 1950s. As Junot Díaz says, “These novels testify to the extraordinary range, profound intelligence, and indefatigable weirdness of ‘50s American science fiction. A must-have for anyone interested in one of the most vital periods of our literature and for anyone who wants a wild wild tumble down the rabbit hole.”

SciFI


CHARLES CHERRY

For a break from literature, I recommend Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies (1997), a readable Pulitzer-Prize nonfiction winner. Many years ago, a New Guinean asked Diamond “why white people developed so much cargo [steel tools and other products of civilization] while we black people had little?” It took Diamond 25 years to answer that question. As Bill Gates notes: “this book lays a foundation for understanding human history.”

Guns

 

 


ALICE DAILEY

Kazuo Ishiguro, The Remains of the Day (1989). This is an exquisitely—even perfectly—crafted novel. The story is told as a series of post-World War II diary entries by an English butler, Mr. Stevens, who reflects on a career of dutiful service to his aristocratic employer even when it became clear that Lord Darlington was abetting the Nazis. The novel is a poignant, elegant, and subtle study of how moral will and personal fulfillment are effaced by the constraints of duty.

Joan Didion, Play It As It Lays (1970). This novel of Los Angeles makes me homesick and heartsick. It captures the rhythm and industrial beauty of the LA freeway system and offers an uncompromising depiction of the existential vacancy of Hollywood values: youth, beauty, celebrity, surface. In Didion’s long, distinguished career, Play It As It Lays remains a standout.

Remains

Play

 


TRAVIS FOSTER

Sarah Orne Jewett, The Country of the Pointed Firs. The narrator of this slim novel, a writer, travels from Boston to coastal Maine for a summer of uninterrupted work. What she finds, however, is a concentrated lesson in the stages of friendship across difference: from the uneasy hesitations of initial meeting to the gradual accumulation of shared knowledge.

Claudia Rankine, Citizen: An American Lyric. We’re maybe used to novels and even poems capturing something exceptional and, for that reason, noteworthy. In this book-length poem about being black in a white supremacist nation, Rankine makes the mundane noteworthy. If you’ve read Whitman’s “Song of Myself,” you’ll recognize the epic scale Rankine locates in everyday occurrences, where casual gestures and offhand remarks recall hundreds of years of history and the clash of competing hierarchies.

Tana French, The Secret Place. French writes smart murder mysteries set in contemporary Ireland. I love them all. This one, her most recent, deals with a murder on the grounds of a girls’ boarding school. The chapters oscillate between the procedural perspective of the adult police and the meandering perspective of teenagers, a structure that allows it to highlight adolescence in all its unknown and terrifying in-betweenness.

Adam Phillips, On Kissing, Tickling, and Being Bored: Psychoanalytic Essays on the Unexamined Life. One essay here begins with Phillips, a practicing psychotherapist, asking his patient, an anxious ten-year-old boy, to define “worries.” The boy thinks for a bit and then responds: “Worries are farts that don’t come out.” For most of you, that will be all the endorsement this volume needs. For the rest, let me add that Phillips is an enviably beautiful writer who will leave you smarter, more self-aware, and maybe even happier than you were before.

 Firs
Citizen
Secret-1
Kissing

HEATHER HICKS

The Age of Miracles, by Karen Thompson Walker. It is a moving story of a young girl coming of age in a near future in which the Earth’s rotation is gradually slowing–a phenomenon that is wreaking physical and social havoc across the globe.

Miracles


KAMRAN JAVADIZADEH

I seem to be in the habit of recommending books that are about poetry, or that are almost poetry, but that achieve this while remaining stubbornly free of line breaks. Here are two more for this summer, one short (that I’ve already read) and one long (that I’m reading right now):

1. 10:04, by Ben Lerner. This novel (by a poet) is set in New York City and bookended by two hurricanes, Irene and Sandy. It’s a slim book–quiet, ruminative–and reads like a dream. What’s it about? Too many things to name, but, chiefly, the porous line between life and art. Plus the best use (ok, the only use) of the film “Back to the Future” in any novel I’ve ever read!

2. James Merrill: Life and Art, by Langdon Hammer. Full disclosure: the author of this book, a biography of the poet James Merrill, was my dissertation adviser. Merrill was a fascinating figure, gifted beyond belief, and fully committed to a life in the service of art. And this biography again and again rises to the task of making its subject come alive, without sacrificing any of the subtlety of his art. I’m far from impartial, but totally taken by this book.

1004

Merrill

 


JAMES KIRSCHKE

Lucy Gayheart, by Willa Cather. This short novel is extremely well written. The plot is nicely constructed. The language, as almost always with Cather, is a perfect fit. And the ending is extremely powerful. A moving love story.

Gayheart

 

 


JOSEPH LENNON

I’d like to suggest the novels of Glenn Patterson, who will be our Heimbold Chair for 2016. He is a Belfast novelist, and I loved Lapsed Protestant and The Mill for Grinding Old People Young, which was selected as the One Book, One City for Belfast in 2012.

Lapsed
Mill

CRYSTAL LUCKY

I’ve got God Help the Child on my bedside table, waiting.  Nothing to say but, ‘It’s Morrison!’

Morrison

 

 


JEAN LUTES

First on my summer reading list is Zia Haider Rahman’s In the Light of What We Know (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2014), because it sounds big in the best possible way: epic, global, provocative. Its story roams from Kabul to London, New York, Islamabad, Oxford, and Princeton, and I’ve heard that it considers, in one way or another, many of the key challenges of our contemporary moment in history. I’m curious.

As a teacher of the modern American novel, my summer pick is The Professor’s House (1925) by Willa Cather. It’s complex, ambitious and atmospheric. Although it does feature a middle-aged college professor, at the novel’s center is the grand story of a young adventurer who stumbles upon the remnants of an ancient civilization in the Southwest.

Zia

 

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ROBERT O’NEIL

Redeployment by Phil Klay recently won the National Book Award. This collection of short stories highlights the brutal nature of war in Iraq and the haunting memories that follow soldiers home. By showing both the battle and home-front, Klay provides readers with a searing and unflinching look into the Iraq War that will ultimately change one’s perspective on soldiers and war as a whole. Excellent read!

Klay

 

 


MEGAN QUIGLEY

I have three books waiting to go for summer. First, My Struggle by Karl Ove Knausgaard. I’m desperate to start this book. The New York Times Magazine’s “Travels Through North America” can give you a sneak peek: click here. I’ve already started and am enjoying Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See and since it just won the Pulitzer, I better finish and see why! Finally, I’ve been sucked in by the hype surrounding the reclusive Elena Ferrante and her trilogy, starting with My Brilliant Friend. I can’t wait to see what the excitement is about!

Knausgaard
Doerr
Brilliant

EVAN RADCLIFFE

I’m a fan of the archetypal film noir The Maltese Falcon (1941) starring Humphrey Bogart as the detective Sam Spade (as well as of “Tequila Mockingbird,” the episode of the TV show “Get Smart” that parodied it). But I’ve never read the original 1929 novel by Dashiell Hammett, which is a classic of noir crime fiction and the original “California noir” novel. I’m reading it this summer as a prelude to next summer, when Alan Drew’s own California noir novel, Santa Ana, will be published.

MalteseFalcon1930


LAUREN SHOHET

Orpheus Lost, by Janette Turner Hospital, adapts elements of the Orpheus legend in this engaging contemporary novel that takes its characters through the long-lived consequences of wars past and present.

Martin Blaser’s Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics is Fueling our Modern Plagues is as interesting for changing how we think about boundaries of bodies, of selves and others, as it is for its pragmatic prescriptions.

Orpheus

Microbes

 

 


Some of the above titles are in the library collection, in which case you can click on the links provided. If the title isn’t linked, consider using the E-ZBorrow or Interlibrary Loan services to request the book from another library.


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Last Modified: May 20, 2015