There is something about summer sun and books that just makes them go hand-in-hand.  This is a season full of beach weekends, relaxing trips to lakes and coasts, long stretches on airplane rides — all perfect reasons to dive into a good read.  So, you ask, what has the Admissions staff been reading this summer?  We have an eclectic collection of recommendations from mysteries to comedies, new and classic, described by the staff member who has chosen it.

Laurie: The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History by John M. Barry.  This does not qualify as beach reading, but it’s really interesting.  I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is interested in medicine and history.  I borrowed it from the Tufts library and will have it back soon for anyone who wants to read it.

Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd – I have been meaning to read this one for a while and just picked it up at a used book store.  I only recently learned that this book was made into a movie.  I have enjoyed the book so far (I have about 25 pages left) and look forward to seeing the movie.

Kristen:  I have a fluvial theme going on: The Lower River by Paul Theroux (a Medford native) and State of Wonder by Ann Patchett.  I also read The Art Forger by B.A. Shaprio, which was a great (and fun!) snapshot of a famous Boston museum (The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum) and the infamous 1990 art heist.

Jessica:  For my final break of the summer, I have saved This is How You Lose Her, by Junot Díaz.  I wish I had had the foresight to attend Díaz’s lecture at Tufts a few years back, because his recent public talks around town have been packed.  I’ve read excerpts of the book already, and I’m looking forward to reading the whole thing.

Christine: At the suggestion of Dan, I have become completely hooked on all works by Boston author Dennis Lehane.  I started with arguably his most famous work, Mystic River, and couldn’t get enough of his writing style.  He really sheds light on some of the darker aspects of this city, and while his books are fiction, it does leave you wondering, “Could this have happened?” I am on my sixth Lehane work of the summer and fifth in the “series” featuring Detectives Kenzie and Gennaro.  I would highly recommend him to anyone who likes mystery, suspense, and murder all set along the charming backdrop of the city I call home.

Dan: I recently finished George Crile’s Charlie Wilson’s War, recommended by one of my Fletcher professors years ago, but which I only recently managed to pick up.  It’s an impressive (and pretty unnerving) look at the astonishing amount of power that can be wielded by an individual who knows how to leverage the networks of influence and patronage in the U.S. government.

Katherine: Whatever It Takes by Paul Tough has kept me up late at night this summer.  Tough tells the story of the first years of Geoffrey Canada’s Harlem Children’s Zone.  Woven in are both heartbreaking and uplifting personal stories about the families of Harlem, along with an accessible broader look at education policy and research in the United States.  It’s a must-read for anyone who cares about the education system, poverty, and comprehensive, innovative strategies that attempt to address both.

I also just picked up Olive Kitteridge at the Goodwill in Davis Squqare (my favorite place to buy amazing $2 books!).  I’m not that far in, but I have high hopes: author Elizabeth Strout won the Pulitzer Prize for this novel in 2008.

For a reading list that reflects the preferences of a broad spectrum of Tufts University faculty, staff, and students, check this page on the Tufts website.


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