Holiday Reading

Here’s our annual list of what members of the Doherty Library staff will be reading over the Christmas break:

Anna Shparberg, Weekend Reference Librarian
I’ll try to finish The Argumentative Indian by the Nobel prize-winning economist Amartya Sen. It argues that the tradition of discussing and questioning authorities as well as multiculturalism lie at the root of the Indian national identity. They make it possible for India to maintain its status as the world’s largest democracy, in spite of its many challenges and flaws. I am also planning to read The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu, one of the classics of Japanese literature. It was written by a court lady in Heyan-era Japan (10th-11th centuries AD.) And I’ve ordered a bunch of out-of-print Perry Mason novels by Erle Stanley Garner from Amazon.

Pat Gerson, Acquisitions
I’m looking forward to reading Bright Star: Love Letters and Poems of John Keats to Fanny Brawne. It was published as a spin off from the recent motion picture Bright Star about John Keats and his romance with Fanny Brawne before his tragic death from tuberculosis at the age of 25.
The letters he wrote to Fanny are celebrated as “among the most beautiful love letters ever written in the English language”.

“It seems to me that a few more moments of thought of you would uncrystallize and dissolve me…”

“You have ravish’d me away by a power I cannot resist.”

“I kiss’d your Writing over in the hope you had indulg’d me by leaving a trace of honey.”

“I have two luxuries to brood over in my walks, your Loveliness and the hour of my death.”

I may also read his Selected Letters. Keats wrote to family and friends frequently about his observations on life, ideas, poetry, and the imagination. His letters were considered by T.S. Eliot as “the most notable and the most important ever written by any English poet”.

“I am certain of nothing but the holiness of the human heart’s affection and the truth of imagination – What the imagination seizes as Beauty must be truth – whether it existed before or not…….The imagination may be compared to Adam’s Dream – he awoke and found it true.”

Dianne Dallman, Acquisitions Librarian
For the holidays I picked up, once again, The Shipping News by Annie Proulx. I enjoy stories with characters that are transformed by the power of love and Quoyle, the main character, is one of those.

Joe Goetz, Information Literacy Librarian
These days I am an avid browser of The Baby Book by Dr. Sears. It’s a big, comprehensive guide to taking care of a child from birth to 2 years, with a terrific index and a reassuring tone that helps my own well-being tremendously. On the same general topic with a very different perspective, I’m reading The Philosophical Baby: What Children’s Minds Tell Us About Truth, Love, and the Meaning of Life by Alison Gopnik. It uses recent research on infants to show how the open, curious infant mindset is more advanced than people think, and how the infant perspective is essential to any “adult” worldview. I plan on rereading an amazing, beautiful book of poetry, Displacement, by my friend Leslie Harrison, which won the Bakeless prize from the Breadloaf Writers Conference this year. I am continuing on-again off-again with The Canterbury Tales, for which I’m using a Norton Critical edition of selected tales with easy-to-read marginal notes. I’m currently on “The Wife of Bath’s Tale”. Finally, P.G. Wodehouse is helping me drive long distances with his Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit, which I am listening to again after rereading I don’t know how many times. For Wodehouse fans, it’s the one where Bertie grows a moustache and has to escape Stilton Cheesewright’s jealous rage over Florence Craye while helping Aunt Dahlia pass off a fake pearl necklace to Uncle Tom despite the meddling of Roderick Spode, alias Lord Sidcup. It really helps the miles to pass.

Father George Hosko, C.S.B., Inter-Library Loan Librarian
I am reading God, Philosophy, Universities by Alasdair MacIntyre. The author is a renowned philosopher and a convert to Catholicism.

Natalie Aquila, Circulation Supervisor
I will be reading The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers over the holiday. The title reeled me, it sounded so forlorn and melodramatic. I became familiar with Carson McCullers’ work and style after reading her novel, The Ballad of the Sad Café. McCullers’, like her contemporary Flannery O’Connor, belongs to the Southern Gothic tradition. McCullers’ characters are generally emotionally or physically disfigured and their circumstances are often dire, yet the vivacity with which she brings them to life is worth the melancholy story line. I can’t wait to start reading!

Sylvia Coy, Circulation Supervisor
I do have a couple of books I will be scanning like Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus. (Funny I never read this book from the 80’s, and I saw it in our collection and grabbed it.) There is another book I checked out from our children’s collection which will be perfect before bed: Brother Can You Spare a Dime: the Great Depression 1929-1933. My true goal is to read Proved Innocent: the Story of Gerry Conlon of the Guilford Four (ILL from Fr. Hosko). This became the movie In the Name of the Father with Daniel Day-Lewis).

Mary Kelleher, Public Services Librarian
I haven’t decided yet what I will be reading over the holidays (except that I will reread Pride and Prejudice which I do about once a year). I am in the mood for some beauty so I think I will read the poetry of Mary Oliver and May Sarton. I’m also in the mood for something light and funny (and easy to read), so I hope to finally get to Dewey: the Small Time Cat Who Touched the World. Another wise animal novel I have been meaning to read is The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein.

James Piccininni, Library Director
I recently read that the Orient Express has been scheduled to take its final trip in mid-December. The fact that this historic train will no longer run has caused me to revisit Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express. From the NPR website:

“The historic Orient Express — that’s the one that was established back in the 1880’s — that took you from Paris or London to Istanbul.”

“The train was the scene of many adventures, both real and imagined, in its 126 year history. [Rick] Steves says a murder occurred aboard the Orient Express in 1929 while the train was stuck in a snowstorm about 70 miles outside Istanbul. That crime inspired Christie’s famous mystery novel, Murder on the Orient Express.”

“Steves points out that there are actually two Orient Expresses. The one that people probably think of now is a tour company that renovates 1930’s-era cars and takes people from London to Venice. It’s the other Orient Express that’s taking its final trip.” For more, go to the NPR website.

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