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Philadelphia Researching Tips

Even though Philadelphia is only 13 miles away, navigating the city may seem like another world in some sense. With world class institutions, museums, and parks, coupled with a rich history running throughout the city, it is no wonder people can feel overwhelmed when visiting Philadelphia. Luckily Falvey has access to many resources to help navigate and research any topic on Philadelphia. Whether the resource is in print or online, the Library can help resolve any confusion when it comes to researching the City of Brotherly Love.

Books

Falvey has a vast collection of books on Philadelphia; where that collection is located in the Library depends on your subject of research. Start with “Philadelphia” in the subject line to narrow your results.

 

subject

Use the facets on the right to filter the results down to your area of interest:

refine

 

In this example, the results are filtered down into books about Philadelphia politics. The picture below displays that books on this subject can be found in the F 158 call number section of the library.

final

 

Online Resources

Jutta Seibert, History Librarian and Academic Integration Team Leader, suggests the following free resources readily available online:

Historical Images of Philadelphia – 20,000 historical images of the city dating back to 1841 courtesy of the Free Library.

Library Company of Philadelphia – The Library Company was founded in 1731 by Benjamin Franklin and remains to this day an independent cultural institution. Its rare books, manuscripts, broadsides, ephemera, prints, photographs, and works of art are worth a visit to its Locust Street location. The Library Company currently hosts “Fashioning Philadelphia – the Style of the City, 1720-1940.” Selected exhibits such as the “Black Founders: The Free Black Community in the Early Republic” are available online.

Digital Maps of Philadelphia – Digital access to city maps ranging from 1834 to 1962 courtesy of the Free Library.

 

This is a short, starting point for researching tips on Philadelphia. Remember to always contact your subject librarian for a more in depth search.


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‘Caturday: Following Thomas

VillanuevaDeLosInfantes_CampoDeMontiel00

This beautiful Spanish plaza can be found in Villanueva de los Infantes, which is near the village in which St. Thomas of Villanova was raised.

According to the Villanova University website, the “University is named for a Spanish Augustinian, Thomas García (1486-1555), the son of a miller who was born in Fuenllana, a village near Villanova de los Infantes, Castile, Spain. Thomas studied at the University of Alcalá where he received his master’s degree in 1509, and the insignia marking him as a doctor shortly thereafter. In 1512, he became a professor of philosophy at the University of Alcalá where his lectures were received enthusiastically for their clarity and conviction. In addition, Thomas was praised by his students and colleagues for always being friendly and helpful.”

I like to think Falvey’s subject librarians emulate St. Thomas as they assist faculty, staff, students and visitors with their research needs.

On a lighter and only slightly related note, you might want to check out this cool summer book for kids featuring Thomas the Cat (or Tomas el Gato). It’s written in both English and Spanish!

thomas the cat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Caturday post by Luisa Cywinski, editorial coordinator on the Communication & Service Promotion team and team leader of the Access Services team.

Photo of Plaza Major used with permission from Carlos Barraquete and the Asociacion de Amigos del Campo de Montiel, whose website is a Tribute to Campo de Montiel.


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Spotlight on Subject Librarians—Today’s Subject: Philosophy

Spotlight

Think of them as research accelerators,

…………………resource locators,

…………..idea developers,

…….database navigators,

personal coaches …

… we call them “subject librarians.”RS9332_2014-01-29 14.34.20-5-scr

Today’s subject librarian—Philosophy Librarian Nikolaus Fogle

What’s new this year?

NF—Well, the Philosophy program is about to welcome six new graduate students, who I’ll get to meet in August. And of course the philosophy collection is constantly growing. We’ve recently acquired the online version of the Loeb Classical Library, which is great for people doing ancient philosophy. We’re getting more resources online generally, including Oxford Handbooks and a Bloomsbury e-book collection in political thought.

What are the challenges for philosophy students who want to use the Library? 

NF—People often just don’t know where to start. Depending on the project, they might need to use any number of different research tools. And once they figure out where to go, students don’t always know the right sorts of questions to ask themselves in order to use them effectively. A related problem, too, is waiting too long to ask for help.

What resources does the Library offer to help philosophy students overcome those challenges? 

NF—We try to make navigation as easy as possible. The subject and topic guides on the website are pretty helpful, but librarians are also here in person to provide guidance whenever it’s needed. In addition to individual research consultations, we also do in-class orientations and workshops on research skills, tools and techniques throughout the year.

What do you wish philosophy students knew about you, about the Library? 

NF—I guess I just want them to know that the Library is here to provide them with help, and with resources. There’s practically nothing you might need that we won’t be able to get a hold of for you. And it’s not just materials—we’re here to provide you with the knowledge and know-how to enable you to move through the research process as effectively as possible.

What do you like best about being a librarian? 

NF—I love getting to help people, and finding out what they’re working on. I really enjoy collaborating with my colleagues in the Library and elsewhere on campus. And I love that I get to be a philosophy nerd in a really big way.

What do you like best about working with Villanova students? 

NF—Villanova students have such a wide range of interests, and so much enthusiasm. The humanities curriculum here is really great. I like that I never know what the next question is going to be. I also like seeing people’s interests coalesce as they decide on a paper topic, or a major, or a dissertation.


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Alice’s Adventures and Mock Turtle Soup

Alice's Adventures in WonderlandSince this is a library food blog, I like to find recipes that will connect to a book or to reading in general. So this month, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, I decided to read this childhood favorite again in the hopes of finding culinary inspiration.

The story begins with Alice half-dozing outside on a hot summer day as her older sister reads a book with “no pictures or conversations in it.” As her mind wanders, she enters another world where animals talk, playing card soldiers double as croquet arches, and a Queen randomly orders executions for trivial infractions. But it’s the Mock Turtle who gets my attention. He goes to school, sings, dances and plays games. We learn of the sad Mock Turtle’s schooling in chapter 9 and he performs the Lobster Quadrille in chapter 10. Both chapters are filled with songs, puns and word play.

I’m not sure if it was the Queen’s mention of Mock Turtle Soup or if it was the Turtle Soup song that inspired me to make soup. And there was no doubt in my mind that it would be the mock version of turtle soup. The ingredients would be easier to find and cheaper than using real turtle. That, combined with the happy childhood memories of finding cute little turtles near Fern Hill Lake, prevented me from considering turtle meat.

mock turtleIn the earliest publication of Alice’s Adventures, the Mock Turtle was beautifully illustrated by Sir John Tenniel, who showed the character with a calf’s head and hoofs instead of flippers on his hind legs. He may have been inspired to draw the Mock Turtle this way because of the transition to “dull reality” as Alice’s sister thought of how “the lowing of the cattle in the distance would take the place of the Mock Turtle’s heavy sobs.”

Instead of making the traditional Victorian mock turtle soup, which calls for calf’s head and heels, I adapted a Louisianan recipe from the In a While, Crocodile cook book that had a little more kick to it. In addition to ground beef, I added ground veal, as a nod to the traditional calf ingredient.

¾ lb. ground sirloin

¾ lb. ground veal

6 stalks celery, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup chopped onion

3/4 cup butter

15 oz. tomato puree

30 oz. chicken broth

30 oz. beef broth

1/2 cup flour mixed with 1 cup water

1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce

1 cup ketchup

1 teaspoon hot sauce (more if you like it hotter)

2 bay leaves

1-1/2 teaspoons dried thyme leaves

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup lemon juice

1/4 cup minced flat-leaf parsley

6 hard-boiled eggs, chopped

6 slices lemon, for garnish

1 cup sherry (or to taste)

Mock turtle saute stepSaute the meat, celery, garlic, and onion in butter until meat is brown and veggies are translucent. Add to the slow cooker (6 quart or larger).

Add tomato puree, chicken broth, beef broth, flour mixture, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, hot sauce, bay leaves, thyme, salt, and pepper to the slow cooker. Stir.

Cook on low heat for 3 ½ hours.

Add lemon juice, parsley, and eggs. Stir well and cook for another 30 minutes. If desired, skim and discard fat from top of soup.

IMG_8535Immediately before serving, remove bay leaves, add sherry to taste, and garnish individual bowls with lemon slices. Enjoy with buttered bread.

 

 

 

If you’re looking for a historically accurate mock turtle soup recipe, try the one copied below, from Martha Lloyd’s Household Book. (Martha was a close friend of Jane Austen.)

Mrs. Fowle’s Mock Turtle Soup:

Take a large calf’s head. Scald off the hair. Boil it until the horn is tender, then cut it into slices about the size of your finger, with as little lean as possible. Have ready three pints of good mutton or veal broth, put in it half a pint of Madeira wine, half a teaspoonful of thyme, pepper, a large onion, and the peel of a lemon chop’t very small. A ¼ of a pint of oysters chop’t very small, and their liquor; a little salt, the juice of two large onions, some sweet herbs, and the brains chop’t. Stand all these together for about an hour, and send it up to the table with the forcemeat balls made small and the yolks of hard eggs.

“The Mock Turtle sighed deeply, and began, in a voice sometimes choked with sobs, to sing this:—

‘Beautiful Soup, so rich and green,

Waiting in a hot tureen!

Who for such dainties would not stoop?

Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup!

Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup!

Beau—ootiful Soo—oop!

Beau—ootiful Soo—oop!

Soo—oop of the e—e—evening,

Beautiful, beautiful Soup!

 

‘Beautiful Soup! Who cares for fish,

Game, or any other dish?

Who would not give all else for two

Pennyworth only of beautiful Soup?

Pennyworth only of beautiful Soup?

Beau—ootiful Soo—oop!

Beau—ootiful Soo—oop!

Soo—oop of the e—e—evening,

Beautiful, beauti—FUL SOUP!’”


Food blog by Luisa Cywinski, editorial coordinator on the Communication & Service Promotion team, and team leader, Access Services team.

Mock Turtle Soup recipe adapted from In a While, Crocodile: New Orleans Slow Cooker Recipes by Patrice Keller Kononchek and Lauren Malone Keller, © 2014 by Patrice Keller Kononchek and Lauren Malone Keller, used by permission of the publisher, Pelican Publishing Company, Inc.


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Harper Lee’s Second Book and its Publication Bring Controversy

Go Set a Watchman - cover

Imagine having a book you’ve written published for the first time. How surprised would you be if your book became a bestseller, won a Pulitzer Prize, and was even made into a motion picture starring a major actor? Would you publish another book and risk disappointing your audience? Or would you choose to leave your readers wanting more?

That book, of course, is Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. When it was released 55 years ago, one critic compared Lee’s skill to that of Mark Twain, and described her as “an artist of rare talent and control. This first novel is an achievement of unusual magnitude” (Canfield).

The recent announcement that Harper Lee’s second book to be published, Go Set a Watchman, would be released today captured the imaginations of Mockingbird’s fans and of the literary world. Watchman, however, is not a new book. In fact, Lee wrote it decades ago, before writing Mockingbird. That Lee waited so many years before publishing Watchman has raised questions about her decision, including controversy about whether she herself made this decision.

The first controversy

Harper Lee, now 88, suffered a stroke in 2007 and lives in an assisted-living facility (Trachtenberg). Her sister, Alice Lee (now deceased), in a 2011 interview, described Harper as “mostly blind and deaf” following her stroke (Berman). Alice Lee, an attorney, who had “long represented her sister and whom friends describe as Ms. Lee’s ‘protector,’ died Nov. 17 [2014].” Less than three months after Alice Lee’s death comes the announcement from HarperCollins Publishers that Go Set a Watchman would be published on July 14, 2015.

Lee has not spoken to anyone except her agent and her attorney about Watchman, its discovery or its publication. Harper publisher Jonathan Burnham insists that Lee is “very much engaged in the process,” although he bases his assessment on reports from Lee’s agent. Lee, Burnham adds, will not give interviews or other publicity when Watchman is released (Berman).

That Lee’s agent and her attorney, who appear to have everything to gain financially from this situation, have been the only ones communicating with the author Harper Leehas prompted an investigation. The Alabama Securities Commission investigated and “concluded that Ms. Lee appeared to understand what was occurring while approving the publication of ‘Go Set a Watchman’” (Stevens).

Despite the Commission’s findings, Lee’s fans have remained skeptical over the circumstances of Watchman’s discovery. These lingering doubts may have motivated Lee’s attorney, Tonja Carter, to publish an explanation in Monday’s Wall Street Journal (Carter).

The second controversy

Although Watchmen includes characters from Mockingbird, such as Scout and Atticus, the novel is set twenty years into the future, into the civil-rights movement. Fans of Mockingbird may be shocked to discover changes in Atticus. He served as Mockingbird’s “moral conscience: kind, wise, honorable, an avatar of integrity” (Kakutani).

In Watchmen, Scout, 26 and known as Jean Louise, has been living in New York City. She visits her hometown, Maycomb, Ala., to discover that Atticus now holds “abhorrent views on race and segregation” (Kakutani). Readers may wonder why Lee wrote this book as “a distressing narrative filled with characters spouting hate speech.” Ultimately, as Mockingbird “suggested that we should have compassion for outsiders like Boo and Tom Robinson,” Watchman “asks us to have understanding for a bigot named Atticus” (Kakutani).

Works Cited

Berman, Russell. “How Harper Lee’s Long-Lost Sequel Was
……..Found.” theatlantic.com. Feb 4, 2015.

Canfield, Francis X., “To Kill a Mockingbird,” Critic, 1960

Carter, Tonja B. “How I found the Harper Lee Manuscript.” Wall
……..Street Journal
, Eastern edition ed. Jul 13 2015. ProQuest.
……..Web. 13 July 2015.

Kakutani, Michiko. “Review: Harper Lee’s ‘Go Set a Watchman’
……..Gives Atticus Finch a Dark Side.” http://nyti.ms/1ULlBZv

Stevens, Laura, and Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg. “Business News: No
……..Fraud found Is Discovered in Harper Lee Case.” Wall Street
……..Journal
, Eastern edition ed.Mar 13 2015. ProQuest. Web. 13
……..July 2015.

Trachtenberg, Jeffrey A., and Laura Stevens. “Harper Lee
……..Bombshell: How News of Book Unfolded.” Wall Street
……..Journal
, Eastern edition ed. Feb 07 2015. ProQuest. Web. 13
……..July 2015.


To Dig Deeper, explore the following links, prepared by Sarah Wingo, team leader: Humanities II and also subject librarian for English, literature and theatre:

One of the big issues that has sprung up around GSAW beyond the controversy over its publication is the difference in the character of Atticus Finch and concerns that it may “tarnish” his legacy.

Here is another point from yesterday

You can read the first chapter or listen to Reese Witherspoon read it

NPR piece from yesterday

NPR piece from Feb

NPR piece from 2014 indicating that if Lee is being taken advantage of with this publication it may not be the first time


SarahDig Deeper links selected by Sarah Wingo, team leader- Humanities II, subject librarian for English, literature and theatre. Article by Gerald Dierkes, senior copy-editor for the Communication and Service Promotion team and a liaison to the Department of Theater. 


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Foto Friday: A Summer Beauty

Lily Pad

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


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St Joseph, Patron Saint of Fathers

St_Joseph_the_Worker

Saint Joseph is a protector of the Augustinian order. Early in the fifth century, Saint Augustine addresses the issue of how Saint Joseph can be said to be the ‘father’ of Jesus, since God is the father of Christ Jesus, the Incarnate Logos, and Saint Joseph never had any conjugal relations with the Theotokos, the Blessed Virgin Mary.

“On account of that faithful marriage both of them deserved to be called the parents of Christ. Not merely was [Mary] called his mother, but as the spouse of Christ’s mother, [Joseph] was called his father, for he was both of these by his mind, not by the flesh. Though he was [Jesus Christ’s] father only by his mind and she was his mother also by the flesh, they were both parents of his humble condition, not of his lofty condition, of his infirmity, not of his divinity.” (Augustine, “Marriage and Desire” I. 11.12. Translated by Roland J. Teske, S.J. The Works of Saint Augustine: A Translation for the 21st Century. Volume I/24: Answer to the Pelagians, II, 37. Edited by John E. Rotelle, O.S.A. Hyde Park, New York: New City Press, 1998. Many volumes from this contemporary edition in English of The Works of St. Augustine are available via the Past Masters database.)

In a signed article, “Marriage” (from Augustine Through the Ages: An Encyclopedia, edited by Allan D. Fitzgerald, O.S.A., available via Falvey’s Digital Library), David G. Hunter states: “Augustine’s initial response to Pelagian critics of his views on marriage is found in the first book of De Nuptiis Et Concupiscentia, addressed to Count Valerius (ca. 418).” De Nuptiis Et Concupiscentia, “Marriage and Desire,” book one by St. Augustine is the work quoted above.

Around the time of the writing of this work, Augustine’s doctrine of grace was vindicated. The Catholic Church affirmed against the perfectionism of Pelagianism that human will is ineffective in doing good, including in marriage, unless first perfected by God’s gracious gift of participation in the divine life of the holy Trinity. A preeminent father of the church and one of the four great doctors of the Latin, i.e., Western, church, the sobriquet of Saint Augustine, the spiritual father of the Augustinian order, is doctor of grace.


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The Highlighter: Navigate EBSCO-Provided Databases Like a Pro

HIGHLIGHTER-PRO

Falvey subscribes to over 250 databases, and many of these are supplied through EBSCO, a database provider. This video shows how to navigate EBSCO-provided databases.  (Enable Closed Captioning for silent viewing):

For additional “How to” videos, click the “Help” button on Falvey’s homepage.


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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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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