Not Your Mama’s Beach Reads

The temperature’s rising, why shouldn’t your IQ? Check out these killer book recommendations from some of our Honors faculty and staff members. Have your own suggestion? Let us know here for a chance to be featured in our next recommendation list!

Honors Faculty Fellow Dr. Permenter recommends The Secret History by Donna Tartt. She says “I try to read this book once a year because I love the way it challenges me to understand the often unpalatable characters. In my opinion, it is better than Tartt’s acclaimed The Goldfinch.  It is beautifully written, and you will find a healthy dose of references to HONS 121/122 material if you are paying attention!” In addition, she recommends Life of Pi by Yann Martell, adding “I suspect a number of you have already encountered this book.  For those who haven’t or for those who will give it a second read, be patient.  The tedious and monotonous description of Pi’s 227 days at sea is what makes the ending so powerful.  For me, this novel is really a story about story-telling, something the book conveys better than the admittedly beautiful film.” Lastly she suggests The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. “I think this book is about cherishing imagination,” she says “I return to it a lot on my own and with my family.  Bonus points if you can read it in the original French!”


Director of the Honors Program in Business, Dr. DeLaurell has these suggestions: “For a deep read I suggest The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama. This book helped me to better live my values and deal with difficult situations. It is the kind of book you need to read at the right time, so if you pick it up this summer and after a few pages want to put it down, do so, but keep it in mind. Everyone should be exposed to these ideas at some point. For an easy read, I will unashamedly recommend Into Sunlight by Richard DeLaurell (my brother). It is a fast paced murder mystery in a university setting. Available on amazon for free or for pennies. If you like it, the series has two more books. Finally I would suggest any book on meditation. Keep it simple, don’t over complicate the process. Give it a try for one summer’s week and see how your focus, concentration and ability to study will improve. Better grades will result.”


Honors Faculty Fellow Lancie Affonso gave one specific recommendation: “If you have you ever found yourself stretched too thin, I highly recommend that your carve out some time during summer to read Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown (available FREE: e-book from the CofC library). This book helped me apply a more selective criteria for what is essential.  The pursuit of less allows us to regain control of our own choices so we can channel our time, energy and effort into making the highest possible contribution toward the goals and activities that matter. Essentialism is not about getting less done. It’s about getting only the right things done. It’s about challenging the core assumption of ‘we can have it all’ and ‘I have to do everything’ and replacing it with the pursuit of ‘the right thing, in the right way, at the right time’. It’s about regaining control of our own choices about where to spend our time and energies instead of giving others implicit permission to choose for us.”


Assistant Director of Student Activities, Jill Conway recommends The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi. She adds “This came in a very close second for the College Reads! book.  It is a genre called “cli-fi” (climate fiction) and deals with water resources or rather the lack of in the near future with wars being fought over water.  Students love science fiction and this one would set the stage for the year ahead and for the remaining years of the QEP.” Additionally she recommends A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith calling it “a fantastic coming-of-age summer read, evocative of another era” timeless in her opinion. Her additional suggestions include A Lowcountry Heart:  Reflections on a Writing Life and My Reading Life by Pat Conroy, Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson, Sophie’s Choice by William Styron, and Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts.


Graduate Assistant Kaileigh Ashby had two books to offer: “Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult is my current favorite book. I listened to it via Audible (the narration is excellent) and I cried, I laughed, I sat in my car for extra hours just to find out what happened. I tend to steer away from Picoult, but this novel is unlike anything she’s done before and I thoroughly enjoyed how she crafted an easy-to-read commentary on the complexities of systematic racism.” Secondly, The Signal and the Noise by Nate Silver. “The longer title is ‘Why So Many Predictions Fail but Some Don’t’ but I promise it’s much more interesting than that title makes it seem. This book applies statistics and probability to real-world circumstances and is an easy and fun read for the lay-person.”


 

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