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Inside Iowa State
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June 13, 2003

What would you include on your ideal summer reading list?

Brenda Daly, professor, English
  • Regarding the Pain of Others, by Susan Sontag. "A sequel to her well-known book, On Photography. Sontag explores how audiences respond to the images of warfare, certainly a pertinent topic right now."
  • White Teeth: A Novel, by Sadie Smith. "A marvelous novel about contemporary British culture."
  • The Last Report On the Miracles At Little No Horse, by Louise Erdrich.
  • Still Alive: A Holocaust Girlhood Remembered, by Ruth Kluger.
Brenda Daly

Sedahlia Jasper Crase Sedahlia Jasper Crase, professor, human development and family studies
  • 100 Years of Appalachian Visions, by Bill Best. The author "was a mentor to me both as a student at Berea College and as my boss for my first job after I graduated from Berea." It's a collection "for individuals ranging from 8th-graders who are just beginning to focus on the possibility of ethnic idenitity, to graduate students who are trying to come to terms with disciplinary ways of studying their own cultures, to interested individuals of all ages who still are trying to come to terms with years of miseducation and its impact on their identities."
  • Alone Among Friends: A Biography of W. Robert Parks, by Robert Underhill. "I have always had great admiration for [former ISU President] Dr. Parks, but I am particularly interested in his life since he also is a Berea College graduate."
  • Peace Like A River, by Leif Enger. "Since I am a slow reader, this may wait for another year. I heard a review on WOI Radio ... and purchased the book that day. Later it was selected as the All Iowa Reads book. ... Maybe I will read it after all the rest of Iowa has finished it."
  • Feng Shui: Dos and Taboos, by Angi Ma Wong and Yap Cheng Hai. "A former graduate student loaned me this book; I think she thought it might cause me to be a bit tidier with my space, both in my office and at home. I keep losing the book among my other things. When I find it, I plan to read it, as well."

Daniel Coffey, assistant professor, Parks Library
  • Kieslowski on Kieslowski, edited by Danusia Stok. "I'm hooked on the films of the late, great director Kryzysztof Kieslowski, and hopefully this will tide me over somewhat until the rest of his films are released on DVD."
  • The Midnight, by Susan Howe. "Possibly the most adventurous poet writing in the United States today."
  • The Cave, by Jose Saramego. "Nobel-Prize-winning author ... the latest of his novels to be translated into English from the original Portuguese."
  • The Book of Leviathan, by Peter Blegvad. "A collection of comic strips featuring a faceless toddler and his cat ... originally done for the London Independent newspaper ... very strange and very funny."
  • Lorine Niedecker: Collected Works, by Jenny Penberthy. "A sadly overlooked mid-20th-century Midwestern poet."
  • The Balloonists, by Eula Biss. "This will be the book I take to the beach on Lake Erie next month."
  • Nina: Adolescence, by Amy Hassinger. "Amy's first novel ... the ISU English department had Amy for a little while, and we're all the better for it."
  • Holy the Firm, by Annie Dillard. "A very short book, but overflowing with beauty and meaning. I try to read this once a year."
  • Ranking the Wishes, by Carl Dennis, and With Strings, by Charles Bernstein. "Dennis writes poems that are assured, soft-spoken and dripping with insight. Bernstein's poems are manic and often hilarious."
  • Magazines: Wire, "a British music magazine to keep up on all the latest in self-consciously highbrow new and experimental music," and Mojo, "another British music magazine, for the fun stuff," Onion, "for its brilliant analysis of current events and culture," and Harpers Magazine, "for the crosswords."
Daniel Coffey

James Werbel James Werbel, professor, management
  • The Poisonwood Bible, by Barbara Kingsolver. "For thoughtful reading. ... It covers family issues, the consequences of American optimism new perspectives on Africa, politics, religion. Then there is nature in its undiluted state. I will never forget the chapter with the ants. All linked together with a mesmerizing, tragic tale told in part through three different voices."
  • Calvin and Hobbes collections, by Bill Watterson. "My 9-year-old son is reading these. ... I delight in the treasures. If you are a parent and need to laugh at yourself, and share in the delights of childhood, nothing is better in the laugh-per-minutes quotient."

Amy Sue Bix, associate professor, history
  • Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books, by Azar Nafisi. "A fascinating account of an Iranian professor of English literature teaching [American] novels to Iranian students, exploring what these books meant to them personally, politically and psychologically in the context of an Islamic revolutionary culture."
  • Mercury 13: The Untold Story of Thirteen American Women and the Dream of Space Flight, by Martha Ackmann. "A history of the talented female pilots who underwent the same ultra-rigorous astronaut tests as men during the 1960s, but were ultimately kept out of the Cold War space program."
  • Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health, by Marion Nestle.
  • "For any fellow whodunit fans, I recommend new mysteries by Joanne Dobson, Elizabeth Peters, Donna Andrews, Joanne Fluke and Carola Dunn. And finally, the new Harry Potter!"
Amy Bix

... Becoming the Best
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