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Dr. Tom Zelman Reads What?
This month, we presesnt the list of another heavy-hitter from the School of Arts and Letters. Dr. Tom Zelman is a professor of English at the College.
Dr. Zelman's favorite or most influential books:
The Sound and the Fury by
Call Number: PS3511.A86 S82
Three brothers attempt to tell stories about their sister—and, for
various reasons, do a poor job of it. Yet the novel itself is a tour de force, one that teaches readers about subjectivity and time, race and compassion. I read it as I was about to enter graduate school, and it later became an important part of my dissertation.
Pride and Prejudice by
Call Number: PR4034 .P7 1968x
The perfect comic novel. P & P was first published in 1813, and the language, manners, and taboos belong to a far distant era. But the characters with their bonnets and top hats continue to teach us lessons about bigotry and humility in the 21st century.
Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by
Call Number: E457.45 .G66 2005
At the moment when the United States faced its greatest challenge, our greatest president entered the White House. In this Pulitzer Prize-winning history, Goodwin offers the story of Lincoln’s presidency and the contentious men who composed his cabinet. 754 pages and I couldn’t stop reading it.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy by
Call Number: PR6062.E33 T5
LeCarré has written novels depicting the world of spies, who practice their trade with patience and meticulous attention to detail. They collect and examine information, they search for distortions; they
hunt for the information that is excluded. In short, spycraft in LeCarré’s novels is much like the act of reading literature—and literature dedicated to social justice and the possibility of a better world.
A Child’s History of the World by
Originally published in 1924, Hillyer’s work is beautifully written and comprehensive, starting with the formation of the earth and leading children up through the Great War. The book has been reprinted several times and is still in use in home-school programs.
What are you reading now? Severed: A History of Heads Lost and Heads Found
by Frances Larson.
A British anthropologist looks at human heads and
why, throughout history, people have wanted to cut them off. Intelligent and fascinating though pretty gruesome;
Dear Committee Members
by Julie Schumacher.
Schumacher, a Minneapolis author, has just published an entertaining
academic novel made entirely out of letters of recommendation. Hilarious!
Desert Island Pick (this is your bonus title--the book that you can take along to the island for sheer reading pleasure):
Complete Works of William Shakespeare. The time would pass quickly while I waited for a boat to rescue me. Alternately, Desert Island Survival for Dummies.
For other faculty fav book picks, visit our Faculty Reading List Guide.