Galloway Faculty and Staff 2014 Reading List
El Deafo by Cece Bell
It was a mix of graphic novel and memoir, and it grabbed me right from the start. A story of 'how a girl turned her disability in a superpower,' it was touching and funny and eye-opening all at the same time.
Even though it is aimed at 3rd-6th graders, I could relate to the story on an adult level. Like Wonder by R.J. Palacio, this book makes you empathize with a kid who struggles with being different.
Recommended by Jill Starkman and Marcia Kochel
The Circle by Dave Eggers
This book follows a young woman at her new job at a technology powerhouse (think a company like Google on steroids!). The impact of technological advances on interpersonal relationships, individual privacy and our democracy are examined through this somewhat-too-long work of fiction. Great food for thought and conversation!
The book was set in a time close enough to 2014 to make you shudder…
Recommended by Lynn Mandelbaum and Suzanna Jemsby
The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak
I read a lot of children's books these days, but this one really captured my attention and my imagination about what a children's book could be. The YouTube video of author (and actor from "The Office") BJ Novak reading his own book is wonderful: http://bit.ly/1BzCWba
Recommended by Ann Fountain
The Girl You Left Behind by JoJo Moyes
Great love story with powerful characters. Heart wrenching for many of the characters, but good overshadows evil in the end.
Recommended by Marsha Berger
The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
This is historical fiction set in the early 1800's on a tobacco plantation in Virginia. Lavinia is a young, orphaned Irish girl who arrives on the plantation. She is placed under the care of Belle, the master's illegitimate black daughter. Lavinia straddles the worlds of the kitchen and the "big house". Lavinia feels closest to the black people, but her skin color sets her apart. This is a story which is both heartbreaking and hopeful about class, race, and dignity. I found it both engrossing and important.
Recommended by Sharon Moeller
Sparks of Genius by Robert and Michelle Root-Bernstein
It was an exploration of mental tools and skills that great creative minds throughout history have utilized to think better and be more creative. The concepts are fairly straightforward, the implementation is a challenge.
Recommended by Mark Gerl
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
The story is about a blind French girl and a young German soldier in occupied France during WWII. The plot is intriguing, and the story is beautifully written. The description of the miniature replicas of towns built by the father so his blind daughter can learn by touch how to walk through the streets was exquisite.
Recommended by Elizabeth Chapman
The Housemaid's Daughter by Barbara Mutch
It is an intriguing story of how two brave women deal with the ruthlessness that surrounds them during South Africa's Apartheid.
Recommended by Cecilia Waddey
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
I add this novel to a long list of works that I disliked in high school and enjoyed in middle age! Since this past summer, I have read it five times, and with each reading, I found something new and exciting.
Recommended by Rebecca Klein
Breaking through Concrete: Building an Urban Farm Revival by David Hanson and Edwin Marty
It is fascinating to see how Americans from California to Alabama are rethinking urban green spaces. The photographs by David's brother Michael Hanson are beautiful and help visually capture the story.
Recommended by Judd Redmond
Still Life with Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen
I always enjoy Quindlen's crisp, direct writing style, but this book also tackles what it is like to be a "woman of a certain age." Quindlen's character, Rachel, spoke to the older, somewhat wiser, mother/teacher in me.
Recommended by Lisa Lindgren
Shovel Ready by Adam Sternbergh
Because to describe it as a post-apocalyptic, techno neo-noir crime thriller doesn't do justice to the fantastic characters or story building that the author has crafted. It sucks you in from the beginning and never lets go until the very satisfying ending.
Recommended by Wade Hodges
A Little History of the World by E. H. Gombrich
A concise and delightfully readable one-volume account of world history first published in 1936 as "Eine kurze Weltgeschichte für junge Leser," but only recently translated into English by the author and (after his death), completed by his daughter. The prose is beautifully written and captures nicely the spirit of the different historical eras under consideration. As an excellent antidote to the dry textualism of most history textbooks, I read this book for myself and read it to my children aloud.
Recommended by Alex Diaz-Williamson
Eichmann in Jerusalem by Hannah Arendt
Eichmann in Jerusalem is Arendt's report of the trial of Adolf Eichmann, the architect of Hitler's transportation plan for Jews to death camps. The trial took place in Jerusalem; Eichmann was accused of crimes against humanity and crimes against the Jewish people. The book remains topical because it sheds light on the authoritarian personality, on human nature, on world politics, and on the banality of evil.
Recommended by Mark McCandless
Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter
I just returned from Italy, and as I read each page of this book (set in Italy and Hollywood), I felt transported back. I loved how the author skipped back and fourth between the 1960s and present day.
Recommended by Dori Handel
Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
This book was memorable because it's style was creative and different as well as being funny!
Recommended by Ricky Emmons
Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meacham
Very well written and a subject I find endlessly fascinating—people and power.
Recommended by Carol Wall
Etched in Sand by Regina Calcaterra
Etched in Sand is the autobiographical story of how Regina Calcaterra and her siblings managed to survive years of homelessness, abandonment, and abuse, and it details how their love and commitment to each other trumped the tremendous adversity in their lives. This book was a poignant reminder of the unimaginable strength of the human spirit.
Recommended by Julie Desmelik
We are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
An adult seeks her sister and her brother, both of whom have disappeared. This captivating story helped me question my notions of childhood development, family, and another subject I can't reveal here (it would spoil the story).
Recommended by Anne Kostensky
Double Down by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann
Fascinating read about the 2012 presidential campaign and the ups and downs of the campaign for both sides.
Recommended by Sam Biglari
Kafka on the Shore by Murakami
Murakami's use of magic realism makes this book—and all of his work—feel like a hypnotic journey into the human psyche.
Recommended by Chelsea Hunter
Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype by Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph.D.
This book of unparalleled wisdom and inspirational stories is a must read for any woman ready to ascend spiritually, emotionally, professionally, physically, and intellectually. It's one of those books that one can read over and over again and get new meanings, deeper understandings, each time. Here's to living a soulful and wild life, and fulfilling one's intended destiny!!!
Recommended by Ayisha Abdul-Salaam
Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Piccoult
It's an intense look at what some kids experience on a regular basis—and how often adults don't really help.
Recommended by Ellen Cox
I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai
The theme that "one book, one pen, one child, one teacher can change the world" resonated with me on many levels. I recommend this book without reservation.
Recommended by Amy Zupancic
One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
The characters in this book became real instantly. Lynda Mullaly Hunt created believable dialogue that convincingly established strong connections between the reader and the characters.
Recommended by Jean Hunter
Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Oanssis: The Untold Story by Barbara Leaming
A fascinating look at a misunderstood woman. I couldn't stop reading this book.
Recommended by Maureen Pierce