Library & Open Learning Services

Dixie State University

Library & Open Learning Services

Trailblazer Reads

The library curates the Trailblazer Reads program where faculty, staff, and students can recommend books they’ve enjoyed. Students can then check out and read one of these books for one entry into the drawing for $70.00 toward the purchase of a textbook at the university bookstore and lunch with the Library Dean. There is no limit to the number of books you can read and enter in the drawing.

For five additional entries, submit your written comments about the book to the library Circulation Desk.

The library does the drawing at the beginning of every spring semester. If your name is chosen, the dean of the library would like to buy you lunch and purchase one of the textbooks that you will need for the Spring term (textbook cost up to $70).

We would encourage you to recommend a book you’ve loved to our Trailblazer Reads list here.

Jump to older recommendations: Spring 2021, Fall 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2019, Fall 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2017.

Recommended Books

Fall 2021

Book cover of “Beyond Band of Brothers”
Beyond Band of Brothers by Richard D. Winters

Recommended by: Drew Wilcox, Healthcare Diagnostics & Therapeutics

Why you should think about reading this book: Dick Winters was the leader of the group known as the Band of Brothers. Winters was a great leader who consistently put his men first. This book dives into his thoughts and actions during a very dark time in world history, and a time when America stood tall in the face of oppression. This book uses his stories, and those of men that served with him, to pass on a leadership style that was ahead of it’s time, and is needed in todays business world.

Favorite quote: “The dark memories do not recede; you live with them and they become a part of you. Each man must conquer fear in himself.”

Book cover of “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There”
What Got You Here Won’t Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith

Recommended by: Scott Mathie, Leadership Coordinator

Why you should think about reading this book: Fantastic read for college students in helping them anticipate what will help them as they begin their career.

 

Book cover of “Night”
Night by Elie Wiesel

Recommended by: Chelsea Hicken, English

Why you should think about reading this book: There seems to be a disconnect in society—a rhetoric that says being asked to vaccinate or participate in a mask mandate is akin to the loss of rights (and life) endured by victims of the Holocaust. We cannot forget the worst moment in human history—we cannot reduce it to something so trivial as to be compared to vaccination policies.

Favorite quote: “Never shall I forget that night, the first night in camp, which has turned my life into one long night, seven times cursed and seven times sealed… Never shall I forget those moments which murdered my God and my soul and turned my dreams to dust. Never shall I forget these things, even if I am condemned to live as long as God Himself. Never.”

Book cover of “Educated”
Educated by Tara Westover

Recommended by: Kaden Guymon, Student

Why you should think about reading this book: This book gives an excellent glimpse into the effects education can have on a person.

Favorite quote: “My life was narrated for me by others. Their voices were forceful, emphatic, absolute. It had never occurred to me that my voice might be as strong as theirs.”

Book cover of “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Recommended by: Heather Osness, Healthcare Diagnostics & Therapeutics

Why you should think about reading this book: It is a great non fiction read dealing with race relations, medical history and where we go from here.

Favorite quote: “Doctors took her cells without asking. Those cells never died. They launched a medical revolution and a multi-million-dollar industry. More than twenty years later, her children find out, their lives will never be the same.”

Book cover of “American Dirt”
American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

Recommended by: Kelly Peterson-Fairchild, Library & Open Learning Services

Why you should think about reading this book: Powerful? Yes. Controversial? Yes. Should you read it? Yes. Read it, decide for yourself, and start conversations.

Favorite quote: “It’s almost a mile to the library, and they walk there together on Saturday mornings. On their third visit, the librarian invites them to apply for library cards, and when Lydia declines, the woman switches to Spanish and tells her there’s no danger to them, that they’re entitled to them regardless of their immigration status. Lydia is dubious at first, but if you can’t trust a librarian, who can you trust? She and Luca both get cards, and it’s miraculous, restorative, life changing.”

Spring 2021

Book cover of “Edenbrooke”
Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson

Recommended by: Denali Lathrop, Library

Why you should think about reading this book: Edenbrooke is a classic Regency romance, but it was just written in 2012. This is Julianne Donaldson’s debut novel and she did a beautiful job of capturing the romance and intrigue of the Regency era. Right from the beginning of the story you’re best friends with the main character, Marianne. And as soon as you meet her love interest you start cheering for them! This provides great lessons on friendship, love, maturity, nature, and grace.

Favorite quote: “‘I was just giving Marianne a lesson in romance.’

I gasped and shot him a look of consternation. He winked at me in his audacious way and flashed me his familiar grin. He was unbelievable.”

Book cover of “The Things They Carried”
The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

Recommended by: Neecie Thompson, Student

Why you should think about reading this book: This book is a really interesting mix between history and fiction, a story which made me appreciate literature and the past with a new perspective. It touches on subjects of mental health and war in a very honest, creative, and sometimes comedic way.

Favorite quote: “They carried the soldier’s greatest fear, which was the fear of blushing. Men killed, and died, because they were embarrassed not to. It was what had brought them to the war in the first place, nothing positive, no dreams of glory or honor, just to avoid the blush of dishonor. They died so as not to die of embarrassment.”

Book cover of “Warbreaker”
Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson

Recommended by: Morelia Wallace, Student

Why you should think about reading this book: It is one of my favorite books with beautiful worldbuilding and amazing storytelling.

Favorite quote: “They say a man doesn’t know himself until he faces death for the first time… I don’t know about that. It seems to me that the person you are when you’re about to die isn’t as important as the person you are during the rest of your life. Why should a few moments matter more than an entire lifetime?”

Book cover of “The Goldfinch”
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

Recommended by: Katie Strubel, Student

Why you should think about reading this book: This book encompasses what it means to love and find beauty in everyday life despite the traumas and mysteries that come with it.

Favorite quote: “…it is a glory and a privilege to love what Death doesn’t touch.”

Book cover of “Furiously Happy”
Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson

Recommended by: Travis Rosenberg, Human Resources

Why you should think about reading this book: The cover makes me smile—bright and yellow, with a crazy-eyed stuffed raccoon. While a few years old now, the book is very timely as it takes a transparent yet humorous look into dealing with one’s own mental health and how to live life to the fullest. I cried, I empathized, but most importantly, I laughed… a lot. The book provided a very cathartic experience for me in my “year of COVID-19”, and I thought others would benefit from it as well. Warning: adult language, so it’s not for everyone!

Favorite quote: “I’m going to be furiously happy, out of sheer spite”, “Don’t sabotage yourself. There are plenty of other people willing to do that for free”, and “Make wonderful mistakes. Make the kind of mistakes that make people so shocked that they have no other choice but to be a little impressed.”

Book cover of “Bellocq’s Ophelia”
Bellocq’s Ophelia by Natasha Tretheway

Recommended by: Ami Comeford, English

Why you should think about reading this book: A beautiful narrative poetry book about women working in the red light district of New Orleans in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. It’s told from the perspective of a bi-racial woman whose voice is an amalgamation of the many voiceless women who were photographed by E. J. Bellocq in Storyville, New Orleans. The nameless photographs are haunting, and Trethewey has finally provided a voice for their perspective that for over a century now has been missing. This book is a beautiful and inspiring story of a woman who takes the step to move from the subject of the photograph to being the photographer herself, taking control of her life and wrenching it away from those who have objectified her and her body over and over and over again. My students continue to adore this book every time I use it in class. More about Bellocq and these portraits can be found here: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/635472

Favorite quote: “I know now that if we choose to keep any part of what is behind us, we must take all of it, hold each moment up to the light like a photograph—”

Book cover of “House of Rain”
House of Rain by Craig Childs

Recommended by: Stephen Lee, Humanities & Social Sciences

Why you should think about reading this book: This is a fascinating exploration of the migration and “disappearance” of early native peoples in the Four Corners area. Childs is a masterful storyteller and insightful environmentalist.

Book cover of “Mindset”
Mindset by Carol S. Dweck

Recommended by: Heath Papa, College of the Arts

Why you should think about reading this book: Helps an individual see that failure is a process of learning, not a character trait.

Book cover of “In the Wake of the Plague”
In the Wake of the Plague by Norman Cantor

Recommended by: Cara Calvo, Medical Laboratory Science

Why you should think about reading this book: Originally published 20 years ago, this book is a good read today because, using broad strokes, it tells the story of the impact of the 14th century plague from many perspectives: social, medical, historical. It’s not just another history book… it provides plenty of opportunity for the reader to draw parallels and speculate about the impact of our modern day plagues, e.g., Spanish Flu, COVID-19, etc.

Book cover of “Midnight Sun”
Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer

Recommended by: Eva Sanchez, Library

Why you should think about reading this book: It’s hard for me as a 25 year old to read young adult novels and really become a part of the universe that was written. Stephenie Meyer’s novels make that easy and I absorbed all the pages right as this was published.

Favorite quote: “Perhaps romance always seemed a slightly foolish thing to everyone until one actually fell into it.”

Fall 2020

Book cover of Forget Me Not
Forget Me Not by Ellie Terry

Recommended by: Michaela Streeter, Student

Why you should think about reading this book: It’s a great, easy read that enlightens the reader about Tourette’s Syndrome and is set right here in St. George, UT!

Favorite quote: “I am Calliope June. I wish I could fly to the moon. There’d be no one there to laugh or to stare and no one to call me a goon.”

Book cover of Parallels and Paradoxes
Parallels and Paradoxes: Explorations in Music and Society by Daniel Barenboim and Edward Said

Recommended by: Robert Matheson, Music

Why you should think about reading this book: Barenboim and Said discuss the importance of music in addressing social, religious, and political conflict using Barenboim’s West Eastern Divan Orchestra as a successful example.

Favorite quote: “In music-making, the only line that is valuable is the line of most resistance.”

Book cover of Fierce Compassion
Fierce Compassion: The Life of Abolitionist Donaldina Cameron by Kristin Wong

Recommended by: Allie White, Humanities & Social Sciences

Why you should think about reading this book: Known as “the most loved and hated woman in Chinatown,” Donaldina Cameron fought on the front lines to save hundreds of Chinese women from the vile sex slave trade in the late nineteenth century. Her courageous story is an inspiration.

 

Book cover of “Between the World and Me”
Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Recommended by: Lish Harris, Criminal Justice

Why you should think about reading this book: This book was published five years ago, but is just as timely today as it was then. Understanding the intersection between race and violence in our country is vital to participating in the current dialogue about criminal justice reform. This book explores the history and extreme intimacy of that tenuous relationship in a way that echoes the ideas of the great James Baldwin.

Favorite quote: “I would not have you descend into your own dream. I would have you be a conscious citizen of this terrible and beautiful world.”

Book cover of “Promise of a Pencil”
The Promise of a Pencil by Adam Braun

Recommended by: Julie Chew, Nursing

Why you should think about reading this book: If you are looking for a book which will inspire you and help you to make a difference in the lives of those around you or around the world, this is the book. As you read each chapter, you receive a new maxim for how to live your best life. Adam shares how his vision began and how he brought it to fruition. His step-by-step journey will help you to navigate your best life as well.

Favorite quote: “The key is to think big and then take small incremental steps forward day by day. It’s the presence of others who are smarter, kinder, wiser, and different from you that enables you to evolve.”

Book cover of “So You Want To Talk About Race”
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo

Recommended by: Travis Rosenberg, Human Resources

Why you should think about reading this book: Author has a wonderfully clear and passionate voice about the topic, without being preachy, but was so timely given the current state of the world. One of the best books I've read all year!

Favorite quote: “You are (sometimes) a racist...and you will continue to (sometimes) be a racist. Own it, and improve.”

Spring 2020

The Body Keeps the Score? Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk

Recommended by: Karambir Singh Khalsa, Staff

Why you should think about reading this book: The author provides a new paradigm for healing trauma which asserts that trauma is held in different parts of the body. Accessing and exploring these places can provide healing in ways that talk therapy and pharmaceuticals have not been able to.

Favorite quote: “I wrote this book to serve as both a guide and an invitation—an invitation to dedicate ourselves to facing the reality of trauma, to explore how best to treat it, and to commit ourselves, as a society, to using every means we have to prevent it.”

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Recommended by: Lucia Taylor, Spanish

Why you should think about reading this book: Powerful biography.

Favorite quote: “Language brings with it an identity and a culture (...) if the person who doesn’t look like you, speaks like you, your brain short-circuits because your racism program has none of those instructions (...) if he doesn’t look like me he isn’t like me, but the language code says if he speaks like me... is like me?”

Corazón by Yesika Salgado

Recommended by: Jasmine Magaña, Student

Why you should think about reading this book: It’s inspired me and has helped me understand myself better. It helped me find myself when I was lost and confused. She’s even inspired me to become a better poet myself.

Favorite quote: “esta locura viene/ y yo/ pues/ yo me voy con ella”

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval N. Harari

Recommended by: Mike Peterson, English

Why you should think about reading this book: I learned more about history, anthropology, psychology, sociology, and economics from this one book than perhaps all of my courses in college combined. It’s absolutely brilliant.

Favorite quote: “You could never convince a monkey to give you a banana by promising him limitless bananas after death in monkey heaven.”

Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How It Changed the World by Laura Spinney

Recommended by: Mike Peterson, English

Why you should think about reading this book: The ferocity and devastation of the Spanish Flu is fascinating. It killed upwards of 100 million people in just a couple years around the time of World War I. There are a few good books about it, but they focus almost entirely on Europe and the US. Spinney expands her investigation to include interesting and heartbreaking accounts from other countries that were severely impacted, such as China and Brazil.

Favorite quote: “It was the greatest tidal wave of death since the Black Death, perhaps in the whole of human history.”

Volcano Cowboys: The Rocky Evolution of a Dangerous Science by Dick Thompson

Recommended by: Sarah Black, Chemistry

Why you should think about reading this book: This is a great inside look at the difficulties involved in studying and predicting volcanic eruptions. It starts with Mount St. Helens and finishes with Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines. Movies always dramatize and simplify things, but this book tells the real stories in all their complications. See how science really works, with contributions by many people, issues with politics, communication, equipment development, etc., all set against the huge drama of dangerous volcanos. Can we really discover the secrets of these deadly giants?

Favorite quote: “The eruption of St. Helens was not only one of the best-monitored eruptions; it may have been one of the best observed. Only a few of those observers were geologists. Most were people who were simply curious about the volcano and hoped to see an eruption. On May 18, hundreds did. Within days, Survey geologists began collecting eyewitness reports, film, and photographs from people who were on or near the mountain. What these people saw, felt, heard (or did not hear) became an extraordinary window into the heart of the maelstrom.”

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

Recommended by: Lish Harris, Criminal Justice

Why you should think about reading this book: It is compelling, moving, and hopeful.

Fall 2019

Where the Wind Leads by Vinh Chung

Recommended by: Dru Bottoms, Digital & Extended Learning

Why you should think about reading this book: Where the Wind Leads is an extraordinary account of a family’s bold escape from communist oppression. It is the personal story of a refugee who endured insurmountable odds to achieve the American Dream.

Favorite quote: “Prejudice begins with ignorance, and whenever one culture first meets another, there is ignorance.”

Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman

Recommended by: Karambir Singh Khalsa, Health & Counseling Center

Why you should think about reading this book: In this book, Goleman posits that emotional intelligence is as important as IQ for success, including in academic, professional, social, and interpersonal aspects of one’s life.

Hillbilly Elegy by J. D. Vance

Recommended by: Katrice Schimbeck, Advisor

Why you should think about reading this book: A great story of love of family and rising above situations. He discusses the Appalachian values of his Kentucky family and their relation to the social problems of his hometown of Middletown, Ohio, where his mother’s parents moved when they were young. This is about his struggle to break the poverty cycle of his family through education.

A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz

Recommended by: Ethan Deceuster, Digital & Extended Learning

Why you should think about reading this book: This novel is a fast and fun read. The author entwines just the right amount of wit, morbid humor, and life lessons. It’s also fun to hear the original plot lines of Grimm fairy tales from a modern story teller. Who knew that fairy tales were so awesome and bloody?

Favorite quote: “There is a certain kind of pain that can change you. Even the strongest sword, when placed in a raging fire, will soften and bend and change its form.”

Start with Why by Simon Sinek

Recommended by: Dillon Hyland, Health Sciences

Why you should think about reading this book: A great starting point for succinctly understanding yourself.

The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa

Recommended by: Cara Calvo, College of Health Sciences

Why you should think about reading this book: An adventurous but elegant story of generational friendship and the discovery of wisdom amid the joys and tragedies of living life.

Favorite quote: “A problem isn’t finished just because you’ve found the right answer.”

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

Recommended by: Eva Sanchez, Library

Why you should think about reading this book: Rest in peace, Anthony Bourdain! He is such a great writer and voice for his time.

Favorite quote: “No one understands and appreciates the American Dream of hard work leading to material rewards better than a non-American.”

My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf

Recommended by: Eva Sanchez, Library

Why you should think about reading this book: One of my favorite reads of the last year with a fantastic movie to pair. A good marriage of the occult and comics.

Favorite quote: “This was the end of some of those friendships. They were left behind, artifacts of youth, boxed up with my comic books, my sketchbooks and journals, and the rest of my teenage mementos.”

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey

Recommended by: Eva Sanchez, Library

Why you should think about reading this book: A mesmerizing and heartbreaking portrayal of mental health in the mid 20th century.

Favorite quote: “He Who Marches Out Of Step Hears Another Drum”

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

Recommended by: Eva Sanchez, Library

Why you should think about reading this book: All I know is that this is an amazing book that you can sit and think about.

Favorite quote: “I don’t know what’s worse: to not know what you are and be happy, or to become what you’ve always wanted to be, and feel alone.”

A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove

Recommended by: Karambir Singh Khalsa, Health & Counseling Center

Why you should think about reading this book: A classic since its original landmark publication in 1980, Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States is the first scholarly work to tell America’s story from the bottom up—from the point of view of, and in the words of America’s women, factory workers, African Americans, Native Americans, working poor, and immigrant laborers.

Fall 2018

Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

Recommended by: Ethan Deceuster, Office of Academic Innovation

Why you should think about reading this book: Children’s literature makes for a fast, enjoyable read. This book is very funny but also addresses many deeper themes such as friendship, racism, and home. It is a short book that packs a powerful punch. When I read this book aloud to children, it is always one of their favorites.

Favorite quote: “Maniac kept trying, but he still couldn’t see it, this color business. He didn’t figure he was white any more than the East Enders were black. He looked himself over pretty hard and came up with at least seven different shades and colors right on his own skin, not one of them being what he would call white (except for his eyeballs, which weren’t any whiter than the eyeballs of the kids in the East End).”

Asi leemos! : A multilevel Spanish reader

Recommended by: Kathleen Broeder, Library

Why you should think about reading this book: If you have ever wanted to learn Spanish, this book is a great introduction to reading in Spanish. The book starts with very short stories with a beginners skill level and gradually gets a little harder with each section. The transition between skill levels is almost painless, and it’s amazing how much you can learn.

Seabiscuit by Laura Hillenbrand

Recommended by: Sarah Bagdoian, Development

Why you should think about reading this book: It shows perseverance, grit and competitiveness and those personality traits come from the horses. It’s a feel good book about an underdog becoming the hero.

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Recommended by: David Zielke, Library

Why you should think about reading this book: Young Adult fiction that is very thought provoking and uniquely styled: Death is the narrator, place is World War II, Munich Germany, with a young girl as protagonist who loves reading books so much she is willing to risk all to get them.

Favorite quote: “The point is, it didn’t really matter what that book was about. It was what it meant that was important.”

D-Day, June 6, 1944: The Climactic Battle of World War II by Stephen Ambrose

Recommended by: Drew Wilcox, College of Health Sciences

Why you should think about reading this book: Tremendous account of the events of D-Day, those leading up to D-Day, and what it meant to the countries involved, and to the overall war. This book is based on interviews with more than 1,000 battle veterans, and includes their personal stories and letters.

Favorite quote: “When you talk about combat leadership under fire on the beach at Normandy,” Ellery concluded, “I don’t see how the credit can go to anyone other than the company-grade officers and senior NCOs who led the way. It is good to be reminded that there are such men, that there always have been and always will be. We sometimes forget, I think, that you can manufacture weapons, and you can purchase ammunition, but you can’t buy valor and you can’t pull heroes off an assembly line.”

Beloved by Toni Morrison

Recommended by: Jennifer Gibb, English Department

Why you should think about reading this book: Besides the fact that Morrison is a beautiful writer and the story is engaging, this book offers a cultural perspective that will help readers to understand the deep-seated nature of racism in this country.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Recommended by: Amber Denning, International Student Services

Why you should think about reading this book: This book is a story, but it teaches a lot of great life lessons. It also helps readers understand the importance of fulfilling your personal legend and how to go on in life when things aren’t going your way. This book helped me to realize that life might not follow the path you intended or planned. Looking back I’ve realized that the path I’ve taken, not the path I planned, has lead me to my personal legend and happiness. This is the perfect book for students to read as they are preparing to start their careers and the next chapters in life.

Favorite quote: “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” and “When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too.”

Hoover Dam: An American Adventure by Joseph E. Stevens

Recommended by: Ellen Bonadurer, Library

Why you should think about reading this book: Construction of the giant dam was a triumph of human ingenuity, yet the full story of this monumental endeavor has never been told. In this engrossing, fast-paced narrative, Joseph E. Stevens recounts the gripping saga of Hoover Dam. Drawing on a wealth of material, including manuscript collections, government documents, contemporary newspaper and magazine accounts, and personal interviews and correspondence with men and women who were involved with the construction, he brings the Hoover Dam adventure to life.

Favorite quote: “Confronting this spectacle in the midst of emptiness and desolation first provokes fear, then wonderment, and finally a sense of awe and pride in man’s skill in bending the forces of nature to his purpose.”

Miracle At Philadelphia: The Story of the Constitutional Convention May–September 1787 by Catherine Drinker Bowen

Recommended by: Ellen Bonadurer, Library

Why you should think about reading this book: Here is the fascinating record of the hot, sultry summer months of debate and decision when ideas clashed and tempers flared. Here is the country as it was then, described by contemporaries, by Berkshire farmers in Massachusetts, by Patrick Henry’s Kentucky allies, by French and English travelers. Here, too, are the offstage voices—Thomas Jefferson and Tom Paine and John Adams from Europe.

In all, fifty-five men attended; and in spite of the heat, in spite of clashing interests—the big states against the little, the slave states against the anti-slave states—in tension and anxiety that mounted week after week, they wrote out a working plan of government and put their signatures to it.

Favorite quote: “Slaves produce the most pernicious effect on manners. Every master of slaves is born a petty tyrant; they bring the judgement of heaven on a country.”

Set Phasers on Stun: And Other True Tales of Design, Technology, and Human Error by Steven M. Casey

Recommended by: Ellen Bonadurer, Library

Why you should think about reading this book: A collection of gripping and often alarming true stories meticulously documented and skillfully told about design-induced human errors. Most consumers experience the frustration of using many new products; amusing stories about programming a VCR, operating a personal computer, or finding the headlight switch on a rental car are heard in everyday conversation. The problems consumers experience with modern everyday things are shared by the users of large-scale technologies where the consequences of design can go well beyond simple matters of inconvenience or amusement.

Favorite quote: “Captain Kirk forgot to put the machine on stun.”

Koop: The Memoirs of America’s Family Doctor by Charles Everett Koop

Recommended by: Ellen Bonadurer, Library

Why you should think about reading this book: The former U.S. Surgeon General offers a compelling and candid account of his life in a stunning portrait of growing up in early 20th-century America, a rare glimpse of a great surgeon in the making, an honest and sometimes shocking tale of how Washington politics can undermine the public’s health. Serving under the Reagan Administration Koop battled the tobacco industry and was Surgeon General when health authorities first took notice of AIDS in the U.S.

Favorite quote: “Keep your head down and your mouth shut” (advice given to Koop in his early Surgeon General years). Advice he didn’t heed.

Born for Love by Maia Szalavitz and Bruce Perry

Recommended by: Deborah Decker, Advisement

Why you should think about reading this book: It is a good reminder that at the basic level we all have the same need for love and acceptance.

Favorite quote: “We survive because we can love.”

Dr. Seuss & Mr. Geisel: A Biography by Judith Morgan

Recommended by: Mary McFadden, College of Education

Why you should think about reading this book: Where did Dr. Seuss get his wild and crazy ideas for his books? From his wild and crazy life, of course. Theodor Seuss Geisel, known as Ted to his friends, enjoyed making up stories and pulling pranks on friends, strangers, and even interviewers. He once created a dreadful piece of artwork that he tricked a dinner guest into believing was the work of a famous artist, and sold it to him for $500, all because the man was being condescending as he gave a lecture about modern art during a dinner party. Ted was arrested during the prohibition, created animated training videos for US soldiers, and got lost behind enemy lines during World War II (and was rescued by British soldiers), to name just a few things you may not have known about the world’s (arguably) most beloved children’s author.

Favorite quote: “You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”

White Noise by Don DeLillo

Recommended by: Rik Andes, College of Humanities & Social Sciences

Why you should think about reading this book: Despite being written over 30 years ago, DeLillo’s examination of how people living in a modern society shield themselves from the painful realities of life is still incredibly relevant today. The “white noise” of the title references the kind of random noise produced by a badly tuned radio which is sometimes used to mask other unwanted noises. In DeLillo’s Midwestern college town, life is filled with white noise produced by a symphony of sources: technology and commercialism, disjointed and misinformed families, experimental pharmaceuticals and Airborne Toxic Events, and even Hitler. Follow J.A.K. Gladney, professor and founder of Hitler Studies at College-on-the-Hill, as he moves through the waves and radiation of modern life and tries to avoid the most unwanted information around him: his own mortality.

Favorite quote: “Who will die first?

This question comes up from time to time, like where are the car keys. It ends a sentence, prolongs a glance between us. I wonder if the thought itself is part of the nature of physical love, a reverse Darwinism that awards sadness and fear to the survivor. Or is it some inert element in the air we breathe, a rare thing like neon, with a melting point, an atomic weight? ... Sometimes I think our love is inexperienced. The question of dying becomes a wise reminder. It cures us of our innocence of the future. Simple things are doomed, or is that a superstition?

The Airport Marriott, the Downtown Travelodge, the Sheraton Inn and Conference Center.”

The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom

Recommended by: Lori Mayfield, College of Health Sciences

Why you should think about reading this book: It is a fascinating story of goodness, even in the face of despair. You won’t be able to put it down.

Peace Like a River by Leif Enger

Recommended by: Dorothy Solomon, College of Humanities & Social Sciences

Why you should think about reading this book: This is a compelling, well-written book with an uplifting message.

Favorite quote: “Real miracles bother people, like strange sudden pains unknown in medical literature. They rebut every rule we take comfort in.”

The Long March by Sun Shuyun

Recommended by: Glen B. Blakley, College of the Arts

Why you should think about reading this book: You will see what the Communists are doing in America today. The truth is always interesting and so is history.

Favorite quote: “The rich landlords have meat everyday and you do not even have a drop of oil to put on your rice, so take a chicken. There are more of you than there are of them....now we need three hundred soldiers from your village.”

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Recommended by: Susan Ertel, College of Humanities & Social Sciences

Why you should think about reading this book: The movie does not begin to capture the vast world of OASIS and the depth of 80s pop culture the author conveys. It is a deep and thoughtful book dealing with lots of social issues like poverty, race, gender, and disability.

Favorite quote: “Going outside is highly overrated.”

Being Mortal by Atul Gwande

Recommended by: Dean Brereton, College of Health Sciences

Why you should think about reading this book: We all face mortality for our loved ones, and even ourselves. We must examine what we want from life. Once we know our perspective on death, we can really live. Anyone that works in healthcare would benefit from a different way of looking at end-of-life care and the promotion of true self-actualization.

Favorite quote: “We’ve been wrong about what our job is in medicine. We think our job is to ensure health and survival. But really it is larger than that. It is to enable well-being.”

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

Recommended by: Rachel Harris, Advisement

Why you should think about reading this book: This book requires critical thinking and fosters personal discovery.

The Broken Earth Trilogy by N. K. Jemisin

Recommended by: Chelsea McCracken, Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences

Why you should think about reading this book: The fantasy worldbuilding rivals Martin and Tolkien, but is informed by a deep understanding of intersectional social issues like race, gender, and the intergenerational transmission of trauma. Also intriguing because a lot of it is narrated in the second person. Every book in this trilogy won a Hugo Award for Best Novel.

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

Recommended by: Jenn Stewart, College of Humanities & Social Sciences

Why you should think about reading this book: This was one of the first books I was assigned to read in college (back in the day, of course). It completely opened up the door to the world around me. It gave me so much to ponder, think about and question. There is no doubt you will experience a tidal wave of emotions while reading this book. I highly recommend it.

Favorite quote: “I sat on the bed and laughed. I laughed and felt numb and weak, knowing that soon the pain would come and that no matter what happened to me, I’d never be the same.”

The Republic by Plato

Recommended by: John Wolfe, College of Humanities & Social Sciences

Why you should think about reading this book: This is one of the most influential books in the western tradition. Even 2400 years after it was written, it still engages topics such as politics, justice, gender, philosophy, and education. You will be challenged by reading this.

Favorite quote: “And further, that justice is the minding of one’s own business and not being a busybody, this we have both heard from many others and have often said ourselves.

The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

Recommended by: Barry Wood, College of Humanities & Social Sciences

Why you should think about reading this book: An unforgettable book about integrity in art and life.

Favorite quote: “We live in our minds, and existence is the attempt to bring that life into physical reality, to state it in gesture and form.”

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Recommended by: Barry Wood, College of Humanities & Social Sciences

Why you should think about reading this book: This book will make you look differently at everything, from steel bars to society in general.

Favorite quote: “For twelve years, you have been asking, ‘Who is John Galt?’ This is John Galt speaking.”

The Ominous Parallels by Leonard Peikoff

Recommended by: Barry Wood, College of Humanities & Social Sciences

Why you should think about reading this book: Even though this book was written almost 40 years ago, every page is urgently relevant to American life today.

Favorite quote: “The tragedy was that they had listened.”

Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima

Recommended by: Shelly, Student

Why you should think about reading this book: It is very well written and the author does an excellent job of portraying things from different points of view as she goes through the main characters both male and female.

One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus

Recommended by: Linda Jones, Library

Why you should think about reading this book: It is an amazing tale about the strong white women who overcome hardships and prejudice. It shows how the government is not always thinking ahead to what American ingenuity can achieve.

Spring 2018

The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emuska Orczy

Recommended by: Emma Lanners, Library

Why you should think about reading this book: A mysterious man by the name of the Scarlet Pimpernel cleverly rescues aristocrats from the clutches of the French Revolution.

Favorite quote: “We seed him here, we seek him there/Those Frenchies seek him everywhere./Is he in heaven?—Is he in hell?/That demmed, elusive Pimpernel?”

Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble by Daniel Lyons

Recommended by: Emma Lanners, Library

Why you should think about reading this book: This book is a hilarious retelling of Dan Lyon’s short trek into the tech start-up world. It is entertaining while at the same time bringing about valid critiques and thoughts surrounding the culture of these companies.

Favorite quote: “One day Spinner, the woman who runs PR tells me, ‘I like that idea, but I’m not sure that it’s one-plus-one-equals-three enough.’”

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Recommended by: Tracey O’Kelly, Library

Why you should think about reading this book: It is a great read in strategy and forward thinking but it is also entertaining and fun. You can learn to be a leader or to be a better follower.

Favorite quote: “Knocking him down won the first fight. I wanted to win all the next ones, too. So they’d leave me alone.”

Fall 2017

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Recommended by: Kelly Peterson-Fairchild, Library

Why you should think about reading this book: Many of us grew up not understanding why we were different than those around us, why we preferred being alone or in small groups. We learned to be extroverts in certain situations but didn’t understand why we needed to recharge after being in these situations. This enlightening book explains introversion and the value introverts can bring to relationships, organizations, and society.

Favorite quote: “Use your natural powers—of persistence, concentration, insight, and sensitivity—to do work you love and work that matters. Solve problems, make art, think deeply.”

Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende

Recommended by: Kelly Peterson-Fairchild, Library

Why you should think about reading this book: The beautiful language and compelling characters make this a truly enjoyable read. This historical novel is set in both Chile and gold rush California, and while on some level a romance the story is much more complex than a simple love story.

Favorite quote: “The Emilia was a ship of French registry, once svelte and swift, but she had plowed through many seas, and centuries before had lost the impetus of youth. She was crisscrossed with ancient marine scars, she carried a crust of mollusks on her matronly hips, her exhausted joints moaned in the pounding seas, and her stained and repatched sail looked like a petticoat ready for the ragbag.”

The Half Has Never Been Told: Slavery and the Making of American Capitalism by Edward E. Baptist

Recommended by: Jeremy Young, Department of History and Political Science

Why you should think about reading this book: The most important book on American slavery in the last twenty years, The Half Has Never Been Told argues that, slavery was not, as many believe, dying out before the Civil War; instead, slavemasters were being ever more brutal to their slaves in order to wring ever more profits from their labor.

Rising Tide: The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America by John M. Barry

Recommended by: Jeremy Young, Department of History and Political Science

Why you should think about reading this book: A brilliant study of one of the most devastating natural disasters in American history—an event made particularly tragic by the choices of wealthy white leaders in segregated Louisiana.

Don Juan by George Gordon Lord Byron

Recommended by: Tim Bywater, English Department

Why you should think about reading this book: Satiric Epic Masterpiece: Sixteen Finished Cantos written in ottava rima rhyming ab ab ab cc—more than 3000 stanzas. For an example, see below.

Favorite quote:
“Milton’s the prince of poets—so we say;
A little heavy, but no less divine;
An independent being in his day—
Learn’d, pious, temperate in love and wine;
But his life falling into Johnson’s way,
We’re told this great high priest of all the Nine
Was whipt at college—harsh sire—odd spouse,
For the first Mrs. Milton left his house.”

The Awakening by Kate Chopin

Recommended by: Tim Bywater, English Department

Why you should think about reading this book: This novel awakens the reader.

Favorite quote: “The foamy wavelets curled up to her white feet, and coiled like serpents about her ankles. She walked out. The water was chill but she walked on. The water was deep, but she lifted her white body and reached out with a long sweeping stroke. The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace.”

The Complete Poems by Emily Dickinson

Recommended by: Tim Bywater, English Department

Why you should think about reading this book: Read Emily and you’ve reached the center of the soul.

Favorite quote:
“Much madness is divinest Sense -
To a discerning Eye -
Much sense - the starkest Madness -
’Tis the majority in this as all prevail -
Assent - and you are sane -
Demur - you’re straightway dangerous -
And handled with a Chain -”

The Lord of the Rings (three vols.) by J.R.R. Tolkien

Recommended by: Jeffery Jarvis, College of the Arts

Why you should think about reading this book: Superior to the film. Excellent novel about life.

Favorite quote: “All that glitters is not gold, not all who wander are lost.”

Old School by Tobias Wolff

Recommended by: Mark LaVoie, College of Business & Communication

Why you should think about reading this book: You should think about reading this novel for three reasons: 1) It gives the reader a look into the (admittedly dated) lives of private school students that many of us have never experienced (outside of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry); 2) It asks interesting questions about what makes a “good” writer and why we lionize certain fiction writers but not others; 3) and it examines the role social class plays in identity and opportunity among adolescents.

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Recommended by: Mark LaVoie, College of Business & Communication

Why you should think about reading this book: It uses allegory that both entertains and educates to tell the story of the Russian Revolution of 1917 and subsequent Stalinist Era. It is a terrific book for learning about an important moment in politics and modern history through talking animals (and how fun is that?)

Favorite quote: “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail—But Some Don’t by Nate Silver

Recommended by: Kyle Wells, College of Business & Communication

Why you should think about reading this book: Nate has a way of making statistics a fun subject.

Favorite quote: “…we can never achieve perfect objectivity, rationality, or accuracy in our beliefs. Instead, we can strive to be less subjective, less irrational, and less wrong.”

March: Book One by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, Illustrations by Nate Powell

Recommended by: Dianne Aldrich, Library

Why you should think about reading this book: This book is the first part of the graphic novel trilogy, March. The authors provide vivid detail and a mesmerizing story about the history of the Civil Rights Movement. It is thought provoking and adds important and interesting detail to what has been taught in school classrooms. The author has a unique perspective as an African American congressman and longtime advocate of equality.

Favorite quote: “We must tap into our greatest resource, a people no longer the victims of racial evil, who can act in a disciplined manner to implement the constitution.”

Ghostwritten by David Mitchell

Recommended by: Brookanna Alford, Library

Why you should think about reading this book: Ghostwritten is a puzzle of a novel. It consists of nine stories moving chronologically through time and westward around the globe, connected by the tiniest threads of human interaction. David Mitchell began developing his style in this novel, which can be seen at its peek in his future and more famous novel, Cloud Atlas, and its movie adaptation.

Favorite quote: “Maybe Takeshi’s wife was right—maybe it is unsafe to base an important decision on your feelings for a person. Takeshi says the same thing often enough. Every bonk, he says, quadruples in price by the morning after. But who are Takeshi or his wife to lecture anybody? If not love, then what?”