A Summary of Summer Reads

Here‚Äôs what the ENWL faculty, staff, and GAs got up to this summer! Or rather the books they got intoūüėä From space escapades, to humanizing narratives about abortion, these are the books that are sticking with us from our summer reading lists.¬†

 

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Recommended by Dr. Darrell Lagace 

A scientist wakes up from a coma on a spaceship with no idea where he is or how he got there. 

Written by the author of The Martian, this book has much of the same hard science background. The protagonist uses basic (and not so basic) physics, chemistry, and biology to slowly piece together why he is there and what his mission is. It is also going to be turned into a movie (which will be difficult, given the internal nature of the dialogue!). 

This book is available by request through the Millersville McNairy Library and through the Lancaster Public Library System in physical and eBook formats and can be accessed for free with a public library card. 

 

The Penguin Book of the Modern American Short Story Edited by John Freeman 

Recommended by Dr. Kaitlin Mondello 

An incredible collection of short stories by one of my favorite editors (John Freeman) with many of my favorite writers (Alice Walker, Jamaica Kincaid, Ursual Le Guin, Louise Erdrich, Ted Chiang, etc.). 

Just read one short story a day or a week! It’s really enjoyable and manageable at the same time. I was reading this to help prepare for my Fiction course this semester.¬†

This book is available by request through the Millersville McNairy Library.

 

You’re the Only One I’ve Told: The stories behind abortion by Dr. Meera Shah¬†

Recommended by Dr. A. Nicole Pfannenstiel  

Each chapter offers a different story, cultural perspective, and/or life event surrounding abortion decisions. The breadth of perspectives is so important to recenter how abortion is a medical decision. 

There are statistics about lack of access to medical care, the facts of women suffering due to political decisions, but it’s the stories shared in this book that humanize how medical decisions are made.¬†

This book is available by request through the Millersville McNairy Library and through the Lancaster Public Library System in physical, eBook, and audiobook formats and can be accessed for free with a public library card. 

 

The Overstory by Richard Powers 

Recommended by Dr. Caleb Corkery 

The Overstory is a sweeping, impassioned work of activism and resistance that is also a stunning evocation of – and paean to – the natural world. From the roots to the crown and back to the seeds, Richard Powers‚Äôs twelfth novel unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fables that range from antebellum New York to the late twentieth-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond. There is a world alongside ours‚ÄĒvast, slow, interconnected, resourceful, magnificently inventive, and almost invisible to us. This is the story of a handful of people who learn how to see that world and who are drawn up into its unfolding catastrophe.¬†

This book made me think so differently about trees and humans.  Trees are our companions, central to everything about human life.  They are the passageway between the earth and sky.  I actually felt sad after reading this book, but it has stuck with me like nothing else I read this summer. 

This book is available through the Lancaster Public Library System in physical, eBook, and audiobook formats and can be accessed for free with a public library card. 

 

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera 

Recommended by Dr. Marco Antolin 

Tomas, the protagonist, is a brilliant surgeon in Prague. Briefly married in the past, he neither sees or wishes to see his ex-wife. He is comfortably established as a perpetual bachelor. He pursues a philosophy of lightness in his erotic adventures. Kundera contrasts through the protagonist reflections on the understanding of life as light or of heaviness. If someone has only the opportunity to try one path, to make one decision, they cannot return to take a different path. The uncertain existence of meaning sets the stage for the entire novel. 

Kundera is one of my favorite authors since I was a teenager. I learned this summer that he passed away. I decided to read again one of the novels that made an impression on me growing up to pay homage to his legacy. I recommend this book because of his insightful meditations on the nature of love and because of his magnificent narrative style. 

This book is available through the Lancaster Public Library System in physical, eBook, and audiobook formats and can be accessed for free with a public library card. 

 

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

Recommended by Heather Verani 

A psychological thriller that follows six different characters’ perspectives surrounding a murder on a mysterious island off the coast of Ireland. This book has many exciting themes of betrayal, deceit, secrets coming to light, and so much more! 

I love murder mysteries and have been a Lucy Foley fan for a while, so I thought this book was the perfect choice for a beach read this past summer! 

This book is available by request through the Millersville McNairy Library and through the Lancaster Public Library System in physical, eBook, and audiobook formats and can be accessed for free with a public library card. 

 

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers 

Recommended by Becca Betty 

This is a space story that is not really about space. It is a story about human (and non-human) connections that form and break while navigating values and perspectives that are quite literally worlds apart. Culture clashes and profound discussions of life, love, and loss intermingle with adventurous sci-fi stakes as a ragtag crew builds bridges through time and space to unite distant parts of the galaxy. 

I think I enjoyed this book so thoroughly because it was not at all what I was expecting. This novel is an earnest discussion of what it means to find value in existing wrapped-up in a traipse across the stars in a ramshackle spaceship‚ÄĒits humble crew carrying forward unsettling histories, deep sadness, and seemingly unconquerable differences into a brighter future.¬†

This book is available by request through the Millersville McNairy Library and through the Lancaster Public Library System in physical, eBook, and audiobook formats and can be accessed for free with a public library card. 

 

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Good Luck in your new semesterūüė䬆