2010 Faculty Favorite Recommendations
From a Distance by Tamera Alexander
Recommended by: Dr. Lisa Ritchie
Why would you recommend this book to others?
- Wonderful detail about the Colorado territory during the time of the Civil War
- This book reminds the reader to put our hope in the Lord, and to make our dreams His dreams
- Tamera is a graduate of Harding, and From a Distance was a 2009 Christy Award winner
Rosaura a las Diez by Marco Denevi
Recommended by: Dr. Linda Moran
Why would you recommend this book to others?
This is a cleverly constructed detective novel after the "who-done-it" literary tradition that requires the reader to be fully engaged. The plot is intricately assembled in such a way as to reveal minimal portions of information at strategic intervals. Even after reading the work some thirty times, I continue to discover overlooked clues imbedded in almost every line, and yet the work never feels contrived. My literature students feel like they really know the characters by the final chapters when they can read between the lines to determine the true tone, psychological motives, or underlying sentiments of the speakers.
The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible by A. J. Jacobs
Recommended by: Dr. Jeff Hopper
This diary tracks one year in the life of an agnostic Jew who lives in New York City. He makes a sincere decision to just see what would happen to him if he tried to do exactly as the Bible says for one year. The first nine months he lives as a believing Jew and the last three months as a Christian. He discovers many of the same challenges and insights that I have encountered. The book is hilarious, thoughtful, and even theological. Essentially, it condenses one lifetime of spiritual introspection into a fun weekend read.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Recommended by: Brackett Library Student Workers
The 2009-2010 Brackett Library student workers selected Suzanne Collins' 2008 publication The Hunger Games as the April selection. This Young Adult title has won numerous awards and has been added to reading lists across the nation.
"It is a children's book and yet I enjoyed it even as an adult. The main character, Katniss, is a strong and independent female and would do anything to protect those she loves." Tiffany Greeley, student reference assistant.
"This is one of the best books I've read since Harry Potter! It doesn't take long until the reader is completely lost in their world and a part of all the twists and turns the author has to offer. This book has it all: action, surprises, loyalty, and even a little romance. It has something to offer everyone." Catherine Canterbusy, graduate assistant.
Spoken From the Heart by Laura Bush
Recommended by: Ann Hobby, Reference Librarian
Why does Mrs. Hobby recommend this book to others?
"In Spoken From the Heart, Laura Bush relates her life in a way that allows the reader to picture a story very similar to that of many other people who grew up in the 1950s and 1960s. Details that she presents allow one to visualize the physical settings and to feel her emotions. The glimpses into her personal history and into events that occurred during her husband's presidency whet the reader's curiosity to know more about specific experiences. They also prompt one to look at current news reports with more insight."
"A subtle, recurring thread throughout the book is a true love story, for her life-long friends, for her husband, and for those whose lives she was able to improve as First Lady of Texas and of the United States."
Mere Discipleship by Lee Camp
Recommended by: Ken Moran, Assistant Professor of Business
Why does Mr. Moran recommend this book to others?"In Mere Discipleship, Dr. Camp expertly combines scripture together with historical records of early disciples of Christ that may literally challenge many previously held beliefs for what it means to be Christian. This work is a scholarly extension of our restoration movement to simply go back to the Bible. In this work, one's historically narrow paradigm of what it means to be a follower of Christ may be widened considerably by Dr. Camp's discussion of our need to not be Christians in name only, but to be disciples of Christ.
"By asking difficult questions of commonly held American beliefs, Mere Discipleship highlights God's proclamation that through baptism we are called to pledge our allegiance as citizens of Heaven and not an allegiance to kingdoms of the world. As disciples, Dr. Camp stresses that discipleship leads us to reject the way of the world -- power, greed, violence, etc. Equally, disciples must be cautious to not allow religion as a process or series of steps to replace true discipleship.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
Recommended by: Johnnetta Kelly, Assistant Professor of Nursing
Why does Ms. Kelly recommend this book?
"The author says her inspiration for writing this book started in a biology classroom with a teacher who introduced HeLa cells and the name Henrietta Lacks. This lesson led to a journey of discovery and a moving story.
"Doctors took her cells without asking. Those cells never died. They launched a medical revolution and multi-million dollar industry. More than twenty years later, her children found out. Their lives would never be the same.
"During national health month, this book offers ethical challenges regarding life, science, research, the protection of vulnerable human subjects, and much more. The book should be on the must-read list for scientists, health professionals, and students of life."
"In this work, we read the story of a young post-modern existentialist's unlikely and convoluted journey to faith. As we follow his trek, we learn how to better understand Miller, others, and ourselves.
"This is an easy read, yet a thoughtful one that will provoke discusion. Read it, and recommend it to your friends."
Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller
Recommended by: Dr. Cliff Ganus III, Professor of Music
Why does Dr. Ganus recommend this title?
"In this work, we read the story of a young post-modern existentialists's unlikely and convoluted journey to faith. As we follow his trek, we learn how to better understand Miller, others, and ourselves.
"This is an easy read, yet a thoughtful one that will provoke discussion. Read it, and recommend it to your friends."
To hear more of Ganus' thoughts, watch his YouTube video.
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Recommended by: Keith Cronk, Vice President of Information Systems and Technology
Why does Mr. Cronk recommend this title?
"This is a well-written book that has stories within stories. It is well researched and is meticulous in detail. It helps the reader easily recall the childlike romantic view of the circus, yet at the same time exposes the seedy and desperate plight that the circus was experiencing at the time the tale was set.
"It moves through the life of the main character (Jacob Jankowski), from his days in college, the day his parents were killed, his running away to the circus (accidentally), to his old age. The title comes from an interaction he has with another character at a nursing home who exclaimed that he used to 'carry the water for the elephants.' He was saying this to impress the ladies at the nursing home. Jacob's response was: 'Listen pal . . . for decades I've heard old coots like you talk about carrying water for elephants and I'm telling you now, it never happened.'
"Of course there is a prominent love story as well. There are intriguing side stories that involve the colorful characters and social strata surrounding circus life. And there is a bond that develops between Jacob and an elephant who did not understand English.
"It is a book that uses the backdrop of the circus to shed some light on many aspects of our life and interactions with others."