Here are Responses from the Drew Community:

Jason Fein, Director of Athletics

A great novel called The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach (Little, Brown, 2011). On the surface, it’s a story about a baseball team and the  administration, specifically the President, at a small liberal arts college
(sound familiar?). But beneath the surface, it’s really an in-depth story about family, friendship and commitment. It’s a great read.

Perry Leavell, Professor of History, Emeritus

I loved Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies (Henry Holt, 2012). She brings historical fiction alive, mingling drama and the past in a style that somehow combines the distance of the 16th century with the clarity of the 21st.

Gamin Bartle, Director, Instructional Technology Services

Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other by Sherry Turkle (Basic Books, 2011). I had the chance to read it carefully during the power outage after the hurricane last fall, sometimes by candlelight. For me, this book is meaningful because it speaks to the intentional use of technology. We are letting it use us instead of the other way around, and, as Turkle concludes: “We deserve better. When we remind ourselves that it is we who decide how to keep technology busy, we shall have better.”

Ernest Rubinstein, Theological Librarian

Moby Dick by Herman Melville. Finally, after many past attempts. Forget Ahab and the white whale and read for the undulating evocations of life at sea.

Norman Tomlinson, Retired Publisher and Donor to the Drew Library

Engineers of Victory: The Problem Solvers Who Turned the Tide in the Second World War by Paul Kennedy (Random House, 2013). I liked this book because it didn’t focus on generals and heads of state but rather on the unsung people who had great expertise in tackling a particular problem and who were closer to the action.

Kenneth Alexo Jr., Vice President, University Advancement

Nietzsche: The Ethics of an Immoralist by Peter Berkowitz (Harvard University Press, 1995). Berkowitz presents a textually faithful, provocative, and eminently readable interpretation of Nietzsche’s ethical and political thought, challenging the now orthodox view that Nietzsche is the prophet of perspectivism— and the source of today’s postmodernism. He convincingly shows that Nietzsche is more than just a little bit of
a Platonist.

Sara Webb, Professor of Biology and Director of Environmental Studies

Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver (Harper, 2012). Kingsolver is both a novelist and a scientist, and her most recent novel is an engaging read. Here she weaves a story grounded in the beauty of nature, specifically the remarkable but fragile migration of butterflies, and in the conflict between protecting biodiversity and making ends meet. The book offers a not-so-subtle reminder to environmental scientists to get our heads out of the sand.

Lucy Marks, Special Collections Cataloger

Portrait of a Turkish Family by Irfan Orga (Eland, 2002, first published in 1950, later revised and enlarged). A riveting memoir of Orga’s family during the last days of the Ottoman Empire and their experiences during World War I and after.

Catherine Keller, Professor, Constructive Theology

A World of Becoming by William E. Connolly (Duke University Press, 2010). Enfolding questions of planetary politics, global economies, perilous ecologies in a meditation on becoming, the political philosopher draws from philosophy, biology, films and even theology to stimulate reflection on the entangled force fields that make us up. The dangers of the “capitalist- evangelical resonance machine” are countered by the resonances across disciplines, movements and species that foster a world of differential pluralism.

Dean Criares C ‘85, Chair of the Board of Trustees, Drew University

Pinstripe Empire: The New York Yankees from Before the Babe to After the Boss by Marty Appel (Bloomsbury, 2012). Any Yankee fan will appreciate the complete detail and history of the Pinstripes’ organization.

Sean Nevin, Director, MFA in Poetry and Poetry in Translation

The Stick Soldiers by Hugh Martin (Boa Editions, 2013). Martin’s first full-length collection of poetry won the A. Poulin Jr. Prize from Boa Editions. It presents the stark witnessing of an Iraqi combat veteran
trying to negotiate cultures in a time of war. This important book reminds us not only of the human costs of war but the power of the unflinching poetic eye.

This article orginally appeared in Visions, the Library Newsletter, Spring 2013.

Posted in Visions

One Response to “What was the Best Book You Read in the Past Year?”

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