(adapted from an article by Peter Ehrhard)
Faculty in our department recently offered their choices for some of the most interesting, challenging, and absorbing books and articles they read in 2016.
• His Bloody Project, by Graeme Burnet. “It’s historical fiction disguised as a memoir and court documents surrounding a triple murder that took place in a remote village in the Scottish Highlands in 1869,” says Dr. Kristine Swenson, chair and professor. “It’s a brutal page-turner that is so evocative of time and place that I really thought it was based on an actual case.”
• Dr. Ed Malone, professor, recommends “Fractured Lands: How the Arab World Came Apart,” a newspaper feature article by Scott Anderson. It took up an entire issue of The New York Times Magazine. “This article examines the catastrophe that has fractured the Arab world since the invasion of Iraq 13 years ago, leading to the rise of ISIS and the global refugee crisis,” according to the article’s teaser.
• The Underground Railroad, by Colson Whitehead. “It is a novel about the history of slavery in America told painfully movingly through the life of Cora, who escapes from a plantation via a literal underground railroad,” says Dr. Elizabeth Vonalt, professor emerita and former chair.
• Weapons of Math Destruction, by Cathy O’Neil. “O’Neil describes how mathematical models used in business, finance and government are seemingly rigged, and how deregulation of businesses and finance institutions means less free trade, less competition and greater consolidation for the 1 percent,” says Dr. Dan Reardon, assistant professor.
• The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt. “Theo survives an art museum bombing that orphans him. In the midst of the chaos of the explosion, he makes off with a small painting of a goldfinch, which marks his descent into the dark throes of the art underworld,” says Lindsey Dunstedter, lecturer.
• Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, by Matthew Desmond. “This vivid depiction of impoverished Americans, substandard housing, and the struggles faced by those with few resources and even fewer options will make readers think about the intersections of poverty, housing and social responsibility in a whole new light,” says Dr. Kate Drowne, professor and associate dean for academic affairs in the College of Arts, Sciences, and Business.
• The Revenge of Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter, by David Sax. “A reporter explores the growing markets for vinyl records, brick-and-mortar bookstores, Moleskine journals and Detroit-manufactured wristwatches, among other things, to show how the real world is both smart business and more satisfying than the hyperbole of digital technology,” says Dr. Trent Brown, associate professor.