A few weeks ago I thought it’d be in my best interest to send out a form to the admissions staff, inquiring about our reading plans over break. This was partially to showcase how well-read our staff is, but was also selfishly a plan to give me some good book recommendations for our holiday break. Hopefully, the answers below will give you some as well!
- I’ll be reading Abraham Heschel’s “God in Search of Man – A Philosophy of Judiaism”, which is a companion volume to “Man is Not Alone – A Philosophy of Religion.” Heschel is my favorite religious writer, he writes with a rare combination that is both deeply poetic and profoundly readable. He writes these books as in brief meditations on of particular ideas within a theme of a chapter, normally a few paragraphs at most, so they are great for contemplative reading and journalism. You can pick it up, turn to any page, and dive in.
- Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe- the most widely read book in modern African Literature.
- NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity
- The Silmarillion (with the Martin Shaw audiobook as support for the pronunciation).
- I am reading a couple of things. I am rereading Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, which is the book I wrote my application essay to St. John’s on. I am also reading a book called Washington’s Crossing by David Fischer which details the events leading up to and immediately following the crossing of the Delaware. Finally, I am re-reading Sharon Shinn’s Twelve Houses Cycle which is great fun.
- Dune and Desert Solitaire
- I just finished reading Kindred by Octavia Butler. One of my applicants wrote her essay about this novel and I was inspired to read it. For a deep dive into slavery, oppression, privileged, and cultural norms, it is a must-read. The main characters are yanked erratically from their 1976 bi-racial progressive lifestyle back to life on a 1819 plantation.
- Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Tell You Everything You Need To Know About Global Politics Book by Tim Marshall
- Re-reading sections of the Mahabharata for my masters essay! Very exciting!
- Island of Dr. Moreau, The Picture of Dorian Grey
- I’ll be re-reading the Lord of the Rings – an annual tradition of mine! I’ve read it every year for the past fifteen years. I also have several poetry collections that I try to read a bit from every day.
- I would like to respond with something cool but instead I am reading a book about equity, race, and gender for a class I am teaching in the spring!
- “We Fed them Cactus” – Fabiola Cabeza de Baca. Prior to statehood, the Llano Estacado, the great plains of northeastern New Mexico and northwestern Texas, were colonized by Hispanic ranchers. Cabeza de Baca’s beloved memoir of the era has been reissued as part of the Pasó Por Aquí Series on Nuevomexicano Literature. A member of an old Hispanic family, Cabeza de Baca celebrates her Spanish heritage rather than the Mestizo culture embraced by later writers. She portrays the erosion of Hispanic folkways under American influence, but by recording a combination of oral narrative, autobiography, family history, recipes, and poetry, she has helped to preserve these unique expressions of Hispanic culture.
St. John’s College Admissions wishes everyone a happy, safe, and well-read holiday! See you next year!