What’s on Your Bookshelf? Eastern faculty favorites

     When one reads, she opens the door to knowledge, enjoyment and comprehension. Reading allows people to learn things about the world, both tangible and abstract, that they may not be exposed to otherwise. Books allow us to learn, to feel understood and to feel as if we have been transported into a world within the aging pages of a novel. Books give us wisdom regarding human nature and demonstrate how the human condition can be improved; through introspection and the reassessment of their values, people’s perspectives can change significantly after they connect deeply with someone else’s words. Books instill hope within people, allowing them to see brighter alternatives to the future; they teach us even when we are ignorant of what we need to learn. Knowing the importance of learning, many professors at Eastern graciously offer suggestions of books they recommend their students read this year.

     David Bradstreet, professor and chair of the astronomy department, recommends that students read “Star Struck: Seeing the Creator in the Wonders of Our Cosmos,” the book he wrote with Steve Rabey. In this book, readers can be enlightened on the topic of our cosmos and the Creator responsible for them.

     “The Relationship Cure: A Five-Step Guide to Strengthening Your Marriage, Family and Friendships” by John Gottman and “The Resilience Factor: Seven Keys to Finding Your Inner Strength and Overcoming Life’s Hurdles” were both recommended by Julie Morgan, professor of communication studies.

     Joseph Modica, University Chaplain, recommends “You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit” by James K. A. Smith, a book that is currently being studied by those in the Seminar in Campus Ministry course here at Eastern.

     Kathryn Hastings, assistant professor in the education department, recommends “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Also from the education department, Nicole McKeown recommends “The First Days of School: How to Be an Effective Teacher” by Harry Wong.

     “Gilead” by Marilyn Robinson was recommended by Phillip Cary, professor and director of the philosophy program.

     Christopher Bittenbender, professor and co-chair of the English department, recommends “To the Lighthouse” by Virginia Woolf, a breathtaking novel that explores such themes as time and identity. Colleen Willenbring, assistant professor and co-chair of the English department, recommends “Robinson Crusoe” by Daniel Defoe as a classic fiction piece and “Eat Like You Care” by Gary Francione and Anna Charlton, a nonfiction piece that “explores the morality of eating animals.” In addition, Dr. Willenbring also suggests Jim Crace’s “Quarantine.” Rebecca Gidjunis recommends “Citizen: An American Lyric” by Claudia Rankine, which explores microaggressions against African-Americans while grappling with a myriad of other racial issues. William Storm suggests that students read Kazuo Ishiguro’s “Never Let Me Go.” He describes the novel as one that “forces us, in essence, to confront what occurs when we divorce ourselves from the reality of life, when we choose to view individuals as commodities or objects, not actual beings who feel or love.” Dr. Storm says that “Never Let Me Go” is especially relevant to college students because college is the time to “be fully immersed in lives outside of our own.”

     Hopefully every reader can take something away from a book recommended by a faculty member. Support your local library and pick up one of these faculty recommendations today!

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