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Dr. Stein reads what?
This month's featured faculty member and his reads is Dr. Paul Stein, long-time beloved chemistry professor and the only CSS coach to ever (along with his team!) win a national championship for our beloved alma mater. Dr. Stein took the liberty of classifying his all-time favorite books, and we took the liberty of turning those classifications into Latiin, 'cause that what scientists and, of course, 'cause everything sounds cooler in Latin, too!
Category: Assigned reading
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee [assignati lectionem: occidere mockingbird]
Honorable Mention – The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene [assignati lectionem: et potentia , et gloria]
Thanks to the Christian Brothers at South Hills Catholic High School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for encouraging me to read good literature and value inclusiveness.
Category: Classical literature (that I wasn't assigned)
Sophie’s Choice, by William Styron [classic literature ( quod non ei ): sophia electionem] - Even before the real story begins the early chapters introduce the narrator at his first editorial job blasting the book, Kontiki, by Thor Heyerdahl. It had me laughing so hard I wasn’t prepared for the subject matter to come. Thanks to my dad who read constantly and encouraged me to read Kontiki which started a fascination I still have with Easter Island and anthropology in general, even if William Styron, through his character, tore Kontiki to shreds.
Honorable Mention: The French Lieutenant’s Woman by John Fowles [classic literature ( quod non ei ): legatum gallicum mulierem] - the movie handles the alternate endings in a very clever way.
Category: Mystery novels
Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow [mysterium, conscripserit: innocens]
Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith [ mysterium, conscripserit: gorky alamos]
Children of Men by P.D. James [ mysterium, conscripserit: de filiis hominum] - although written by one of my favorite mystery writers, it is more of an apocalyptic novel than a mystery.
Category: Popular science novels
The Island of Knowledge by Marcelo Gleiser [ popular science conscripserit: insula scientiam] - I’m not finished with this one yet, but already I’ve put it at the top of my popular science list. Very complete approach to a broad area of science knowledge that doesn’t come across as a sales pitch for a particular speculative viewpoint.
Honorable Mention – The World Without Us by Allen Weisman [ popular science conscripserit: nos in saecula]
Category: Time travel stories
Time and Again by Jack Finney [eo tempore stories: iterum atque iterum] – and its sequel From Time to Time. Find out the real reason the Titanic sank! I realize this is a pretty contrived category but how else could I get in one of my favorite books on the list. The book is really a love story but involves CIA plots and all the usual time travel themes in an almost believable manner.
What are you reading now?
Still working on the Island of Knowledge by Mario Gleiser, and currently reading Where All Light Tends to Go by David Joy, nominated for a 2016 Edgar Award in the category, Best First Novel [optima prima novi]
Desert island pick
K Pax by Gene Brewer [insula pick: k:pax] - this one I read after seeing the movie. I was a little put off by the author using his own name as a character, but I thoroughly enjoyed both the movie and book. A skeptical psychologist takes a scientific approach to deal with a patient claiming to come from another planet. The book deals with the edges of science and spirituality in telling a very moving story.