While at the First-Year Experience Conference (blog post, podcast), I heard several schools talk about their summer reading programs for freshmen. One book came up at several of these sessions, Tracy Kidder’s “Mountains Beyond Mountains.” It is the story of Dr. Paul Farmer, a man working to stamp out diseases like Multi-drug resistant Tuberculosis while also bringing proper healthcare to countries where people still die from very treatable illnesses. Dr. Farmer’s story is so compelling because he is so deeply committed to his work, even though it comes a cost to both his personal and professional life. This book is a great read R154.F36 K53 2003
While traveling to the First-Year Experience conference (see my postings on the ZSR Professional Development Blog) I read Robin Wasserman’s book “Lust.” It is the first in a series of books, each based on one of the seven deadly sins. The characters are all seniors in high school living in the fictional town of Grace. While much of the drama of the relationships may seem standard, Robin Wasserman brings some needed depth to the characters to make the appealing in spite of their behavior. The tag line on the cover “It’s getting hot in here” is very true. For those of us who went to high school a long time ago, this is a very different generation. I plan to pick up the next book in the series “Envy” before I get on the plane to come home!
I’ve decided to bring back an old staple to the Gaz, the book review! A friend of mine, a British expatriate living in Houston, keeps me supplied with British book recommendations that I might otherwise miss. His latest recommendation is by Alan Bennett, the author, playwright and Tony Award-winning actor.
Alan Bennett’s recent work includes the play “The History Boys” (made into the movie of the same name, DVD5238) and the novella I just read “The Uncommon Reader”. In the opening scene, Queen Elizabeth II is retrieving her wayward corgis from a bookmobile parked in front of Buckingham palace. Feeling obligated to check out a book, she begins a journey down a new path that creates consternation and conflict for not only her staff but also her subjects who must find a way to respond to the Queen’s new favorite question “And what are you reading?”
For a complete review of this work, see The Guardian Online.