July is Staff Reading Recommendations month!

Staff Picks July 2017

Over the summer we asked the entire Sullivan Library staff to pick some of their favorite books. Staff found a great range of selections, from classics by Emily Dickinson to non-fiction books related to environmental issues. These books are now located in our display case for checkout. See our Staff picks bibliography for a full listing of the selected titles.

Keep reading below to see what staff recommended and what they had to say about their picks:

Being Mortal

Atul Gawande

Call #362.175 G248b

A noted surgeon suggests better ways medicine could handle its approach to death, which would have the important side effect of improving life.



Big Russ and me: fathers and me, lessons of Life

Tim Russert

Call #070.92 R919B

Great easy-read for a post Father’s day tribute to all the fathers who sacrificed so much for the good of their families. Meet the Press host, Tim Russert, published this heartwarming book about his blue collar father and the life lessons Big Russ taught him throughout the years. This book filled with good ol’ American values will not disappoint!



Endangered and threatened wildlife of New Jersey

Bruce E. Beans

Call #591.68 EN21

Animal endangerment is an important topic to me that I feel isn’t talked about enough. This book details how the nation’s most densely populated state is facing a dramatic loss of habitat at a relentless pace. The race is on to save natural areas of NJ and their species depends upon it for survival.



Film art : an introduction

David Bordwell, Kristin Thompson and Jeff Smith

Call #791.4301 B644f

This classic film studies textbook written by University of Wisconsin – Madison film scholars is an excellent introduction into the art and business of cinema. The text presents analytical skills and terminology that will change the way one views the process of watching films.



Lincoln at Gettysburg : the words that remade America

Garry Wills

Call #973.709 W679L

I’ve always been a Civil War buff and drawn to books on Lincoln’s presidency. In November of 1863, Lincoln was invited to give remarks at the dedication ceremony of a national cemetery in Gettysburg, PA. Edward Everett, a well-known orator, spoke before Lincoln. His speech lasted two hours. Lincoln’s dedication speech, now known as the Gettysburg Address, lasted about two minutes and is considered one of the greatest in American history. This fascinating Pulitzer-prize winner reads like a novel and gives a detailed account of that day.



Living to tell the tale

Gabriel García Márquez

Call #863.64 G165L

After reading his masterpiece of magic realism One Hundred Years of Solitude on several occasions, I began to look further into the works of Gabriel García Márquez. Living to tell the tale is his autobiography and brings readers into to the Caribbean world of the 1930 and 1940s. The book paints a vivid picture of his mom, who was the essential figure of his childhood and the fountainhead of his magical view of life and family.




Dame Daphne Du Maurier

Call #823.914 D892R

A young woman marries a wealthy, older widower and finds herself being compared to her predecessor, who died under mysterious circumstances.



Sold into extinction : the global trade in endangered species

Jacqueline L. Schneider

Call #578.68 Sch58s

This revealing and compelling title analyzes the illegal trade in endangered species from a criminological viewpoint and presents specific crime reduction techniques that could help save thousands of species from extinction.



The beach house : a novel

James Patterson

Call #Fic P277b

Unlimited power and money have bought the cops, the judges, the system… an astonishing plan to beat the billionaires will have you reeling-and cheering-to the very last page [book jacket]. What sparked my interested was it was fiction and the fact that “Wealthy doesn’t give you power to do what you want and will get caught.” I am looking forward to finishing this book (in August).

-Maureen V.


The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson

Edited by Thomas H. Johnson

Call #811.4 C738

While this isn’t necessarily a beach read, I’ve found Emily’s poems to be particularly vital—live-giving—over the past few months. No longer considered to be a fragile recluse, Emily Dickinson and her work have been reframed (with great thanks to poet Susan Howe) as radical and utterly revolutionary in the scope of American literature. Her poetry—literally written from a small desk in her bedroom, in pages of her fascicles, on scraps, around the curves of envelopes, through correspondences—is figuratively written on the edges of the unknowns. She gazes down into the abyss of death, stoking its darkness with the light of language. She looks up at the bright idea of faith and marks it up with ink. She throws strange (strange!) language at the world around her—at the large and small things of the world—listens for its echoes, and then records. When your reality feels dire or beautiful—or at its most confusing, both dire and beautiful—Emily can stand with you to acknowledge that it is, and there are no answers as to why or how it’s so.



The cook up : a crack rock memoir 

D. Watkins

Call #364.177 W323c

The Cook Up by D. Watkins has been chosen by the English Department as the fall semester’s common read for students enrolled in EN119 and EN120. In this fast-paced memoir, Watkins takes the reader to East Baltimore, where he grew up and still lives today. After his brother is murdered in a drug-related shooting, Watkins gives up his acceptances into universities like Georgetown and Loyola and attends to his brother’s business in the streets. Without saying so directly, Watkins’s narrative illustrates why one would engage in the drug trade in a city like Baltimore (i.e., lack of choice and power due to systemic oppression) and how to then disengage from it (i.e., with love of one’s family, city, partner, and self). Additionally, check out Watkins’s book of essays The Beast Side and his work on Salon.com before he comes to visit Dominican College on October 23!



The Da Vinci code : a novel

Dan Brown

Call #Fic B812D

This novel is a mishmash of speculation and half-baked ideas, but is fun reading. Without giving too much of the plot way, Dan Brown writes that Leonardo Da Vinci, along with several well-known historical figures, were part of a secret society that hid facts about Jesus’ real life and the cover-up continues to the present day. A good thriller and conspiracy book.



The double helix; a personal account of the discovery of the structure of DNA

James D. Watson

Call #547 W334D

A must read for anyone interested in the history of science and a discovery that influences us all today. Watson’s amusing account describes the competition from within the scientific community and the path to discovering the structure of DNA.  Despite being a non-fiction, the book keeps you in suspense until the last page.



The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks

Rebecca Skloot

Call #616.994 Sk45i

This book honors the life of Henrietta Lacks, the woman whose cells became famous for their vital role in major medical advancements. An insightful and informative work that raises important bioethical questions.



The last panda

George B. Schaller

Call #599.74 SCH15L

George Schaller writes down his most inner thoughts and feelings regarding the panda project in China. He does not hold anything back from the reader. Some good news since this book has been published is that the giant panda has just been downgraded from ‘Endangered’ to ‘Vulnerable’ on the global list of species at risk of extinction.



The lost boy: a foster child’s search for the love of a family

Pelzer, David J.

Call #362.76 P369L

Dave Pelzer wrote a series of books detailing his life as a foster child and his journey towards finding love and acceptance. Truly moving!



To the lighthouse

Virginia Woolf

Call #823.912 W883To

Published in 1927, Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, is a rarity, one of thefew books that is a  perfect execution of the writer’s artistic intention.  If you have any interest in becoming a writer yourself, you should read this stylistic masterpiece.  Woolf’s use of stream of consciousness to explore the inner lives of the Ramsey family and their friends was groundbreaking.



Who moved my cheese

Spencer Johnson

Call #155.24 J637w

This book guides you in dealing with changes in your life, how you deal with change, learning from your experiences and giving it value. Adapting in times when change can lead to something good.

-Maureen O.

For more summer reading suggestions from the DC community, see posts from previous years on our guide located at http://guides.dc.edu/summerreading ! 

Have a great book recommendation? Send your suggestions to sullivan.library@dc.edu.




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