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Cat in the Stax: Wrapping Up Your Summer Reading

By Ethan Shea

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The weather may feel like mid-July, but the beginning of September means summer is winding down.  Hopefully you were able to squeeze some summer reading into your seasonal schedules. This summer I enjoyed spending time sitting in the sun with a book in hand and focused on some classics I had on my “To Be Read” pile.

If you get the chance, I recommend you do the same and grab one of these classic reads at Falvey Memorial Library!

The Old Man and the Sea

Short novel packing a big punch. As one of Ernest Hemingway’s most celebrated works, The Old Man and the Sea won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and contributed to his 1954 Nobel Prize in Literature. The story tells of Santiago, an old man whose life is dedicated to fishing, as he braves the sea in search of the catch of a lifetime. If you’d like to experience the story in other forms, it has been adapted three times: in 1958 as a film, as a miniseries in 1990, and as an animated short in 1999 which won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.

Giovanni’s Room

James Baldwin’s 1956 novel explores the life of David, an American man, as he travels to Paris and experiences a sexual identity crisis while his girlfriend is away. Baldwin contemplates issues of masculinity and identity while elegantly telling of the tragic, passionate, and complex relationship between David and Giovanni. This story was controversial before it was even published. In fact, Baldwin’s publishers wanted the novel to be burnt because they feared a story about the gay experience would disappoint the African-American audiences Baldwin had reached out to earlier with texts such as Go Tell It on the Mountain and Notes of a Native Son. Baldwin has authored many extraordinary pieces of writing, but Giovanni’s Room stands out as a timeless story that took bravery to bring to life.

Although summer isn’t officially over until Sept. 22, I’ve always felt that autumn begins when the academic year does. Nevertheless, you still have some time to accomplish your summer reading goals. No matter what book you decide to end the season with, I hope you enjoy yourself and stay cool!


Headshot of Ethan SheaEthan Shea is a first-year English Graduate Student at Villanova University and Graduate Assistant at Falvey Memorial Library.


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Falvey Library Staff Offer 2021 Summer Reading Recommendations

Last week, we shared summer reading recommendations by the faculty of Villanova’s English Department.

This week, we’re happy to share reading recommendations by the staff at Falvey Memorial Library. Once you’ve explored the list below, check out some summer reads suggested by Falvey’s Distinctive Collections and Digital Engagement. Hope you’re having a great summer, Wildcats—See you in August!

Shawn Proctor, Communication & Marketing Program Manager

  • One Jar of Magic by Corey Ann Haydu: A middle grade fantasy book dealing with an abusive parent and a child who could never live up to unrealistic expectations. Lush and beautiful prose. Poignant and timely story.
  • Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson: In this young adult novel, a ne’er-do-well woman reunites with her childhood friend and must watch over her two adopted children…who just so happen to burst into flames whenever they are upset.
  • Small Spaces by Katherine Arden: A chilling and engaging middle grade novel in which a girl and her two friends must channel a ghost to survive a cursed night filled with evil scarecrows.

Linda Hauck, Business Librarian

Regina Duffy, Communication & Marketing Program Manager

  • I’ve been on a bit of a Stephen King kick lately. One of my brothers is a big King fan, so I go to him for recommendations. Currently, I am reading The Dark Tower III: The Waste Lands. There are a lot of books in the series, so I had to brace myself before starting. It’s about a gunslinger on a quest for a mythical dark tower and his experiences on his long journey. The series combines elements of western, fantasy, science fiction, and horror. It’s been a fun way to escape the everyday and it’s going to be a long time before I run out of material.
  • View all books in The Dark Tower series here. Books can be requested through other libraries via EZ Borrow or ILLiad.

Darren Poley, Associate Director of Research Services

  • The Aeneid by Vergil. Translated by Shadi Bartsch-Zimmer, PhD, Helen A. Regenstein Distinguished Service Professor in Classics and the Program in Gender Studies, University of Chicago.
  • Tolkien’s Modern Reading: Middle-earth Beyond the Middle Ages by Holly Ordway, PhD.
  • Person and Act and Related Essays by Karol Wojtyla. The English Critical Edition of the Works of Karol Wojtyla/John Paul II, volume 1.

Caroline Sipio, Access & Collections Coordinator 

Danielle Adamowitz, Resource Management & Description Coordinator

Mike Sgier, Service Desk Coordinator

Joanne Quinn, Director of Communication & Marketing

  • There is nothing like reading about the beach while you’re actually on the beach, so I’m not hesitant to admit that I’ll be loading my waterproof kindle with Elin Hilderbrand‘s (the queen of the smart beach read) latest: The Sixth Wedding: A 28 Summers Story. This is a one-sitting, 76 page sequel to 28 Summers, a romance inspired by the old Alan Alda movie “Same Time, Next Year”.
  • And, since that one shouldn’t take more than an afternoon to tackle, I’m also looking forward to exploring two upcoming design books which sound fantastic. The first, Black Designers in American Fashion, describes dressmaking as one of few professions available to Black women after emancipation, and discloses how fashion can uncover hidden histories of activism, especially among designers who went unrecognized due to race.
  • The second is Extra Bold: A Feminist, Inclusive, Anti-racist, Nonbinary Field Guide for Graphic Designers. Ellen Lupton, its author, has written dozens of seminal texts in the field; this latest one is being described as “part textbook and part comic book, zine, manifesto, survival guide, and self-help manual.” Both are must reads!

Kallie Stahl ’17 MA is Communication and Marketing Specialist at Falvey Memorial Library. She plans to readThe Octopus Museum: Poems” by Brenda Shaughnessy.

 

 


 


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What’s on my summer reading list?

By Daniella Snyder

I’m Daniella Snyder, a graduate student at Villanova University, and your ‘Cat in Falvey’s Stacks. I’ll be posting about academics–from research to study habits and everything in between–and how the  Library can play a large role in your success here on campus!

Wildcats, this will sound nerdy, but one of my favorite parts of the summer is crafting a list of the books I plan to read over the next few months. Like a good playlist, my summer reading list must have a combination of different genres. It needs something academic, something funny, and I always add something that I should’ve read by now, but haven’t. I think you can tell a lot about a person by what books they read, so I thought I’d share this summer’s reading list.

Slaughterhouse-Five book cover

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Even though I know that Vonnegut’s a famous author, and Slaughterhouse-Five is a classic novel, I’ve never actually read it, and I’m pretty late to the Vonnegut game. I started reading his novels in college, but have only read two or three of his works. Slaughterhouse-Five is like, the Shawshank Redemption of books. Everyone’s read it, so I should too.

 

I Might Regret this book cover

I Might Regret This: Essays, Drawing, Vulnerabilities, and Other Stuff by Abbi Jacobson

Abbi Jacobson is a comedic genius. If you’ve seen Broad City, you know what I mean. With this book, I think I’ll be LQTM (laughing quietly to myself) at the beach, at the park, and on the train.

 

Wow, no thank you book cover

Wow, No Thank You. by Samantha Irby

I was supposed to hear Samantha Irby read at the Free Library of Philadelphia in April, but reading her newest collection of essays will make up for the missed experience. Irby’s writing is biting and hysterical. I’d recommend this one to any of your funny friends.

 

How to Do Nothing book cover

How To Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy by Jenny Odell

//I don’t really like self-help books, but I think this is different. Odell writes a book that helps us think about efficiency and attention in a new way.

 

Life of the party book cover

Life of the Party by Olivia Gatwood

I had to have at least one poetry collection on the list, and Olivia Gatwood is so cool. Seriously, though. I stalk her on Instagram, and think she’s so rad. So, I have to imagine that her poetry will be relatable, interesting, and bold.

 

Such a Fun Age book cover

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

This has been a highly-anticipated book of 2020, and I don’t know much about it, other than my friends have read it and liked it, so I should read it, too.

 

The Beautiful and Damned book cover

The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald

I took a Fitzgerald course in college, and I still never managed to read this novel. Since Gatsby is still one of my favorite books of all time (basic, I know) I think it’s only right that I read the rest of the Fitzgerald canon.

 

Sing, Unburied, Sing book cover

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

Honestly, how haven’t I read this book yet? It was named a top book of the last decade. Decade! Enough said.

 

Playing to the Gallery book cover

Playing to the Gallery: Helping Contemporary Art in its Struggle to Be Understood by Grayson Perry

If you’ve known me for 15+ minutes, you would know that I studied art history in college, because I somehow incorporate that fact into every conversation I’ve ever had. This book has been on my list for a while.

 


Daniella Snyder HeadshotDaniella Snyder is a former graduate assistant in Falvey Memorial Library. This week, she’s reading The Upside of Being Down by Jen Gotch.

 

 

 

 


 


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Villanova’s English Faculty 2019 Summer Reading Recommendations

To incorrectly quote the musical Grease, “Summer readin’, had me a blast/summer reading, happened so fast/I met a book, crazy for me…”

When you’re not showing off, splashing around in the water this summer, consider checking out these lit picks for those hot summer days and nights, provided by Villanova’s English Faculty (originally run on the departmental blog and republished with permission.)

TSERING WANGMO

On my list is Francisco Cantu’s nonfiction The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border.

Cantu worked as an agent for the US Border Patrol for four years. The borderlands, he writes, “have slowly become a place where citizens are subject to distinct standards for search and detention, and where due process for noncitizens is often unrecognized as anything that might exist within the American legal system.”

I’m also looking forward to reading The Truth Commissioner by David Park. I (and the Writing Through Conflict) class had the chance to see the film based on his novel on the difficult subject of truth and reconciliation in Northern Ireland.

The Line book cover

David Park The Truth Commissioner book cover
ELLEN BONDS

I plan to read Michael Ondaatje’s latest novel Warlight, about a parent-less brother and sister (they’re not orphans; their parents have moved away and left them) struggling to survive post-W. W. II London. I loved Ondaatje’s novel The English Patient and you may not be surprised to hear that I’m always interested in W.W.II stories.

Michael Ondaateje Warlight cover

ALAN DREW

If you’re looking for well-written crime fiction, try Richard Price’s Clockers. Genre fiction or not, Price is a fantastic writer who delivers complex characters, and deep insight into the socio-political problems and human frailty that help to cause crime.

Clockers Richard Price cover

KAMRAN JAVADIZADEH
This summer I hope to be rereading and writing about a book of poetry, Solmaz Sharif’s Look. One of the book’s epigraphs comes from Muriel Rukeyser: “During the war, we felt the silence in the policy of the English-speaking countries. That policy was to win the war first, and work out the meanings afterward. The result was, of course, that the meanings were lost.” Sharif’s poems look at our language—its silences, its euphemisms, its evasions—and, in another time of war, try to find the meanings again.

Look by Solmaz Sharif cover

CRYSTAL LUCKY

I am planning to read Sing Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Ward.

Chosen as the 2019 ‘One Book, One Philadelphia’ selection, “the National Book Award-winning novel is set in the fictional town of Bois Sauvage, Mississippi, and follows the story of one mixed-race family facing the impacts of racism, poverty, and incarceration.”

Sing Unburied Sing by Jesmyn-Ward book cover

DAISY FRIED

I’d suggest Ilya Kaminsky’s Deaf Republic, Jeffrey Yang’s Hey Marfa and Paisley Rekdal’s Nightingale, all poetry or poetry/prose combos.

Hey Marfa by Jeffery Yang book cover

Nightinggale by Paisley Rekdal cover

MICHAEL BERTHOLD

I’m devoting some of my summer reading to exploring world classics I’ve somehow neglected and plan to begin with Dumas’s The Count of Monte Cristo.

The count of monte cristo alexandre dumas cover

ROBERT O’NEIL

This novel was published in 1988, but it has always stayed with me.

Palm Latitudes by Kate Braverman.

Braverman’s novel chronicles the lives of three women–a prostitute, a young housewife, and an old woman–as they confront and struggle through the violence-filled Mexican barrio in Los Angeles.  Each woman struggles against defeat within a beautiful, yet dangerous landscape that Braverman poetically creates.  Remnants of this work will stay with you and surprise you long after reading it.

Palm Latitudes by Kate Braverman cover

MEGAN QUIGLEY

I’m launching off the summer with the following: The Overstory by Richard Powers (I was once a naturalist who lived in the redwoods in California, so I think I will not be able to put this down!); the new Ian McEwan, Machines Like Me; I will read a collection of essays by Zadie Smith called Feel Free (since I just advised a great honors / English thesis by Meg Carter on Smith so she is on my mind), and, I admit it, I have been lured into a series of mysteries set in an idyllic (and evil) town in Canada by Louise Penny.  Beware, there are 15 of these, so maybe don’t get started if you feel like accomplishing anything else, the first is called Still Life.

The Overstory by Richard Powers

Ian McEwan, Machines Like Me cover

Zadie Smith Feel Free book cover

Louise Penny Still Life book cover

MARY MULLEN

Isabella Hammad, The Parisian

I recently finished this novel and it has stayed with me. It’s a novel that has historical content—France and Palestine from around 1914 to 1936—but also historical form—it shares much with nineteenth-century classical realism (Zadie Smith compares Hammad to Flaubert and Stendhal, I might say George Eliot). Hammad’s use of realist conventions raises questions about Orientalism that the novel also addresses in its plot, showing how representing ordinary, everyday life is always a political act. I read the novel quickly and thoroughly enjoyed it but still find myself wondering about what it is trying to do and what it does.

Isabella Hammad, The Parisian book cover

ADRIENNE PERRY

A book I’m excited to read this summer is Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good, by adrienne maree brown (all lower case). Several of my friends and colleagues from the arts and nonprofit worlds have recommended this book as an essential read. It’s supposed to be a good one for folks looking to combine social justice with radical joy.

Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good, by adrienne maree brown cover

EVAN RADCLIFFE

For lightness, comedy, and inventive language, nothing beats P. G. Wodehouse’s Bertie and Jeeves stories, which pair the “mentally negligible” Bertie Wooster—the kind of person who says “Right Ho”—with his omni-competent valet Jeeves.  Set in England in the early 20th century, they feature various improbable scrapes from which Jeeves always rescues Bertie, but the plots hardly matter; it’s the way they speak that counts.  I’d start with the short story collections Carry On, Jeeves and Very Good, Jeeves.

P. G. Wodehouse book cover

ELYSHA CHANG

I’m looking forward to reading BOWLAWAY, Elizabeth McCracken’s latest novel. I am always struck by McCracken’s impeccable wit, oddball characters and mesmerizing style. , her story collection from 2014, is a brilliant, heart-breaking book for any short fiction readers out there!

THUNDERSTRUCK & OTHER STORIES book cover

JOE DRURY

This summer, I’ll be finishing The Guermantes Way (the Moncrieff translation, nach), the third book in Proust’s In Search of Lost Time. After that, I will be reading the final book in Elena Ferrante’s astonishing Neapolitan Quartet. I’m going to be in Edinburgh for a few days in July, so I will be taking Muriel Spark’s The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie with me for the train.

And a recommendation: over winter break, I read and adored A High Wind in Jamaica by Richard Hughes, first published in 1929. It’s a brilliant, sparkling, strange, and mesmerizing precursor of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, about a group of English children who are captured by pirates on their way to England from Jamaica, but turn out to be much more vicious and heartless than their captors.

The Guermantes Way cover

the lost child book cover

Muriel Spark book cover

A Hig hJamaica Wind Cover


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Last Modified: May 28, 2019