June 18, 2024

Professor Book Recommendations for Trying Times

Emilee Claffey ‘22 - Staff Reporter

With our time off from the gamut of classes and expectations, of course we get to catch up on sleep, spend time with your friends and family, and make time to sit down with a cup of your favorite warm beverage and a good book. If you have exhausted your pile of titles or need some new inspiration, take a moment to consider these books below. A group of carefully selected professors graciously shared some of their memorable reading experiences for our benefit. Watching Netflix is a tempting option, but setting aside our computers for a crisp new paperback gives life we otherwise would be wasting away, so let’s use it for something productive. Let’s read!

Book #1, Suggested by Dr. Susan Bobb from the Psychology department:

“For anyone who is a C.S. Lewis fan and loved Shadowlands, this book portrays the other side of the story, detailing in a mix of raw honesty and measured poignancy the life and creative legacy of Joy Davidman. For anyone who loves a strong female protagonist, a good love story, a good God story, I highly recommend.” 

Book #2, Suggested by Dr. Jennifer West who directs The Great Conversation, the writing center and teaches in the English department: 

“I have to choose only one? Just kidding. A book I couldn’t put down is A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza. It’s a portrait of a Muslim immigrant family struggling with identity, faith, and their relationships. I find the intimacy of the characters to be both beautiful and heartbreaking, and the picture of devotion in a different religious tradition is quite lovely. Forgiveness is one of the key themes, and the novel refuses easy answers, which means that I continue to dwell on how it finally turns out even a year after reading it.”

Book #3, Suggested by Dr. Elaine Phillips;  professor of Biblical Studies:

“Although there are lots of reasons to pause with Jonathan Kozol’s Amazing Grace, I think there are two primary ones for me. First, it shakes those of us who are very privileged out of our worlds and lands us in one of the most severely challenging neighborhoods in the US (at least when he wrote the book). Second, it introduces us to faithful and resilient people—teachers, ministers, mothers and grandmothers, and kids.

Book #4, Suggested by Dr. Graeme Bird from the Linguistics department:

“I recently read the book “Circe” by Madeline Miller.  It is a re-telling of the story from Homer’s Odyssey, from the “witch” Circe’s perspective.  The author is wonderfully creative and combines well-known elements of the story with her own imaginative additions and modifications.  Needless to say this is not your average Christian inspirational text, but I found it enthralling and thought-provoking and extremely well-written.”

Spring Break is upon us, rejoice, rest and read! 

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