Terrific Titles for the Holidays


Haven't started your holiday shopping yet? Members of Fairfield University's faculty, staff and administration have the perfect answer. They’re recommending an eclectic array of books, including a novel about the magic of an unlikely friendship, a blueprint for being confident, and a series of essays exploring redemption and second chances:  

Snow in August by Pete Hamill. Recommended by Dr. Thomas Pellegrino, vice president for Student Affairs: "It's a beautifully written story set in Brooklyn in the late 1940's.  It covers the moving relationship between a young Catholic boy and an older Rabbi and their mutual exploration of faith, loss, love, magic and baseball.  It tugged on a lot of strings for me."

The Poisonwood Bible: A Novel by Barbara Kingsolver. Recommended by Dr. Meredith Wallace Kazer, dean of the School of Nursing: "It always comes to mind to recommend. A good mix of characters and drama."

Duke Ellington's America by Harvey G. Cohen. Recommended by Dr. Laura Nash,  director of Classical Music and Supervisor for Music Education:  "Ellington’s expansive archive collection is housed in the Smithsonian and before Cohen, no one had mined those materials.  Cohen’s doing so provides a richly nuanced and well-researched narrative. The man, the music, and the history are beautifully captured by Cohen!"

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. Recommended by Dr. Emily R. Smith, chair, Department of Educational Studies & Teacher Preparation: "I love the way that Alexie captures the joys and pain of his childhood with grace and humor. I’ve never met a young adult-or adult-who does not love this autobiographical novel. It's a book that can turn a resistant or non-reader into a reader."

The Jesuits: A History From Ignatius to the Present by Rev. John W. O'Malley. Recommended by Rev. Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J., president, Fairfield University:

"The book is another great example of lucidity combined with a total control of the subject matter for which Fr. O'Malley is so well known. It's particularly topical, since it takes us up to Pope Francis, the first Jesuit pope."

Empire of the Summer Moon by S.C. Gwynne. Recommended by Dominic Figueiredo,  Instructor Advanced Manufacturing, School of Engineering: "The book describes why the Comanche's became the most powerful tribe and why they fell. It also tells the story of Quanah Parker, the last Comanche Indian Chief whose white mother was taken captive by them as a child. It's a great read and very informative, I couldn't put it down."

The Confidence Code by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman. Recommended by Dr. Olivia Harriott, associate professor of biology. The book by the two journalists and authors of Womenomics shares illuminating science and stories about self-confidence: "After reading it, I immediately recommended it to two junior faculty."

Teach Us That Peace by Baron Wormser. Recommended by Dr. Michael White, author and program director of the MFA in Creative Writing Program: "I liked this book because it captures the complexities and conflicts of the 60's in a very personal way." 

Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion by Rev. Gregory Boyle, S.J. Recommended by Jocelyn Collen, campus minister: "Tattoos on the Heart is a memoir of Fr. Greg's work with his organization called Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles. Homeboy works with former gang members to help provide them with jobs, therapy, tattoo removal and community. His stories are incredible –beautiful, real, heartbreaking, wonderful, and disturbing. Fr. Greg’s motto is 'nothing stops a bullet like a job.' "

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on December 19, 2014

Vol. 47, No. 137

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