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Stocking stuffers for book lovers

With the holidays upon us, we asked an interesting cross-section of Lehigh faculty and staff members to name one book that people should buy for a friend or family member on their holiday shopping list and to cite a short reason why that book would make the perfect gift.

Here are the stocking-stuffer ideas they had for the readers and book collectors in your life.

Ainsley Lamberton, associate director of Advancement Communications
“Jane Goodall: The Woman Who Redefined Man,” by Dale Peterson

“This biography has a little bit of everything—science, romance, drama and adventure. Ultimately, it is a wonderful telling of Goodall’s admirable life and works.”

Jack Lule, Joseph B. McFadden Distinguished Professor of Journalism and Director of Lehigh’s Globalization and Social Change Initiative
“Globalization and Its Enemies,” by Daniel Cohen

“The French economist gives a brilliant perspective on globalization. Here's a great quote: ‘The principal problem with globalization today is not that it sharpens religious conflicts or class struggles; it is that globalization does not keep its promises.’ Globalization provides images of a world that cannot be attained by most of the world.”

Aurelie Thiele, assistant professor of industrial and systems engineering in the P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science
“American Prometheus: The triumph and tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer,” by Kai Bird and Martin Sherwin

“This biography provides a fascinating portrait of ‘the father of the atomic bomb’ before, during and after his days at Los Alamos, without delving into physics. It is a sobering account of how the government cast aside scientists' misgivings for political purposes, and of how a man’s life was destroyed by McCarthyism. The book raises issues about ethics and science that remain valid today.”

Ruth Knafo Setton, writer in residence, Philip and Muriel Berman Center for Jewish Studies and professor of practice, English department
“Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert

“It's a New York Times Bestseller and an Oprah pick, so it doesn't need my endorsement to make it more popular! I'm in the midst of reading it, and though I don't usually care for memoirs, I am finding Gilbert’s voice engaging, warm, funny and wise; and I believe her book would be a great companion for anyone pondering life choices & decisions ... and who isn't, especially as we enter a new year?”

Carolina Hernandez, director of Community Service
“A Thousand Splendid Suns,” by Khaled Hosseini

“It is an epic of Afghanistan in turmoil. The story covers three decades of anti-Soviet jihad, civil war and Taliban tyranny through the lives of two women. My reasons for choosing this book is that it is a gripping book that draws you into the lives of two very different women. One cannot help but to become emotionally attached and feel as if you were experiencing their lives. It is that shared human experience that makes me highly recommend this book—because even though the story takes place in a culture vastly different to our Western world view—one cannot help but become deeply connected and invested.”

Linda Harbrecht, communications manager
“The End of America,” by Naomi Wolf

“The social critic and political activist Wolf makes a compelling and disturbing case that our civil liberties have eroded under the current administration to such an extent that we're coming perilously close to the point of no return.”

J. Leon Washington, dean of Admissions and Financial Aid
“The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down,” by Ann Fadiman

“Last year, I gave a friend this book as a gift, and he still talks about it today. He said that he started reading it on the day after Christmas and that it so piqued his interest that he could not put it down. This would also be a great gift because it focuses on the human condition and shows how wonderfully fragile life can be. And, as the protagonist struggles with real-life problems and issues, it reminds each of us to be watchful, patient caretakers as we tend ‘life's gardens’ on a daily basis.”

Jill Anderson ’91, director of regional alumni clubs and off-campus affinity programs, Alumni Association
“The Clan of the Cave Bear,” by Jean M. Auel

“Beyond a very interesting story, the author spent years in the Russian steppes learning how Neanderthal man lived and worked. The details of daily activities and theories of worship, social structure and form/function were incredibly interesting. I loved this book so much that I stopped halfway through a 25-hour car trip at a book store to buy the second (Valley of the Horses).”

Kurt Pfitzer, marketing communications manager for P.C. Rossin College of Engineering and Applied Science
“Hearts of Fire,” by The Voice of the Martyrs magazine

“The book tells the stories of eight women persecuted for following Jesus in nations that do not allow religious freedom. Their stories are harrowing, inspiring and ultimately humbling.”

Lloyd Steffen, professor of religion studies and university chaplain
“March,” by Geraldine Brooks

“The twist in this civil war story is that the protagonist, Mr. March, is also the father of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women, the story Alcott did not tell. March joins the Union army and in his sojourn South becomes witness to the barbarism of slavery and through several harrowing adventures experiences the cruelties of war. I am drawn to this period in American history and loved seeing Emerson and Thoreau merge in as characters; and I was shaken by March's hard journey home and what becomes, I think, a quest for mercy and peace. This 2006 Pulitzer Prize winner is one of the great novels I have read, and it is certainly one I am happy to recommend. It will not disappoint.”

Sue Cady, director of administration, planning & advancement, Library and Technology Services
“The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court,” by Jeffrey Toobin

“The influence of the upcoming presidential election on the character of the court makes this book very timely.”

Jack Croft, director of editorial services
“The Gift,” by Pete Hamill

“This short novel by the legendary New York journalist and author more than lives up to its title: It's a gift that bears reopening every holiday season. Set in Hamill's native Brooklyn, the autobiographical tale recounts how a young sailor home for Christmas 1952 loses a girl, but finds the father he never really knew.”

Liz Brode Ota, head coach of women’s lacrosse
“A Thousand Splendid Suns,” by Khaled Hosseini

“My favorite summer read. It’s about women, sacrifices and relationships, and a fascinating culture!”

Bruce Gardiner, director of Admissions
“A Tale of Two Cities,” by Charles Dickens

“It's a classic that deserves to be read again as an adult.”

Maggie Barber, assistant professor of educational leadership program
“The Salt Eaters,” by Toni Cade Bambara

“It's a challenging but deeply powerful novel about a woman's journey toward wholenes

Posted on Thursday, December 20, 2007

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