Love of Books – NAU Review

August 9th is Book Lover Day, and what better way to celebrate than to hear from book lovers about their favorite books (besides reading yours)? nau review Ask Klein Library and other NAU department staff to share their favorite books in honor of this book-filled celebration.

Jessica WatsonAdministrative Assistant and Second-Year Graduate Student in Public Administration

Favorite book: Who thought this was a good idea? by Alyssa Mastromonaco

This book is perfect for anyone considering a career in public service, especially as a woman. This is a relevant and interesting read that will leave you wanting to learn more.

Mike TaylorManager, Solutions Architecture

Favorite book: Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance Robert M. Piersig

I loved the book from start to finish, but one particular scene stuck with me. In it, Phaedrus teaches writing outdoors, and one student gets stuck and can’t start writing. Phaedrus asked students to focus on smaller and smaller views of the surrounding area, until he asked students to focus on individual bricks of a single building. Suddenly, students become slack and able to complete (and enjoy) their homework.

Good Omens book cover
first edition cover good sign

John J DohertyDirector of Research and Information Services

Favorite book: Good Omens: The Beautiful and Accurate Prophecy of the Witch Agnes Nutter Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

I read the book the day it came out. The first hardcover edition of this book (from 1990) was the last book I bought in Ireland before moving to America. – Writing the book of Revelation, I was lining up at the local Ethans to get a copy. Here we have a heart-wrenching yarn (!) full of jokes that only recovered Catholics can get, complete with footnotes by Pratchett and Gaiman’s Knights of the Apocalypse (and accompanying cyclists). Many years later, I still laugh out loud (and, yes, I watched the TV show, but I also have the paperback, Kindle, and two Audible versions of this book). Of course, there are sarcastic remarks against Americans (usually in footnotes) like “I’ve never really liked the Yankees. …You can’t trust people who keep picking up the ball when they’re playing football.”

The cover of the book Know My Name by Chanel MillerEmily WeslingExperiential Learning Librarian

Favorite book: know my name Chanel Miller

I’m a big fan of memoirs, and this one was very transformative. Chanel Miller showed such courage as she testified against the Stanford student who sexually assaulted her in 2015. I’m in awe of her bravery, candor and the poetic way she tells her story. know my name A painful read, but a vital part of the ongoing conversation about sexual violence on college campuses. My favorite quote is: “It’s not a question of whether you can get through it all, it’s about what good things await you when you get through it. I have to trust her because she is Living proof. Then she said, good and bad, the universe is hand in hand. Waiting for the good to come.”

Hank HasselDeputy Director

Favorite book: Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wild Via Edward Abbey

The book puts Abby’s name on the literary and environmental map. Basically, it recounts a summer of his life as a national park ranger at Arches National Monument outside Moab, Utah. In it, he describes his love and attachment to the wilderness and why it’s important to save and protect it as part of our soul as Americans. My favorite quote from the book: “Some of us in our nightly devotions always pray for a small precise earthquake near Glen Canyon Dam. We are religious, we have faith, and one day our prayers will be answered.”

Alan AnglebauerIT Services Analyst, Senior

Favorite book: winter of our discontent John Steinbeck

My favorite book is Steinbeck’s last novel, winter of our discontent. In length, it is in the middle of Steinbeck’s writings (grapes of wrath, East of Eden) and his “baby” (cannery street, between humans and mice). Through its pages, we see its protagonists grappling with the world, as all those without special privileges must do. Sometimes wrestling resembles an intimate dance; sometimes it’s a naked brawl. Most of the time, the turmoil is in himself—like a churning water bottle, creating a mental vortex; sometimes, it spills into the street, exposing it to the scrutiny of others—everyone else. Somehow, this external scrutiny—though not as intense as the pressure he put on himself—was more painful for him. His efforts to escape this pain are no different than our efforts as a society to avoid the things we should be least careful of: our planet, our fellow citizens, ourselves.

One of my favorite passages is when our protagonist reflects on his thoughts on his wife’s sleep at the beginning of Chapter 3: “My wife, my Mary, she sleeps like you close the door of a closet. I’ve looked at her with admiration many times. Her lovely body squirmed as if she was in a cocoon. She With a sigh, at last her eyes were closed, her lips unhurried, into the wise and distant smile of the ancient Greek gods.”

The beauty I found in this passage was that he was often watching his wife carefully enough to develop a lyrical view of her sleeping state.The beautiful contradiction is that he does not Actually Know what happened to his wife. This is partly his projection—perhaps a desire to see himself uniquely different from his closest Earth companions—and partly a by-product of his sensitive nature to observe and characterize others. His wife is a necessary part of this outside world—a world that is both a source of terrible censorship and a necessary part of his existence.

I found this book to reflect many contemporary human struggles, many of which stem from our unease with change.

Heidi book cover by Johanna SpyriAimee QuinnAssistant Librarian, NAU-Yuma

Favorite book: Heidi by Johanna Spiri

I got my first Christmas present when I was 6 and I still have it. I read whenever I feel sad or down because it always makes me happy. This is my own first book, not shared with my four older siblings or younger sisters. Whenever I read it, I have a wonderful sense of a distant land, playing in the sun on the hills and laughing with goats and birds. My favorite part of the story is when Mr. Sessman’s servants believed there were ghosts haunting them, it turned out to be Heidi sleepwalking because she was so homesick and hated living in the city. It has resonated with me throughout my life.

Cover of Pattern Recognition by William GibsonGil Friedmanassociate dean

Favorite book: pattern recognition William Gibson

One of my favorite books that I go back to time and time again is pattern recognition by William Gibson. When I first read this book, I was blown away by the world and characters that Gibson created. I think I read it all in one go. I’ve read it many times so far, and I’m on my fourth or fifth book. I’ve also been handing out copies of mine because I want everyone I know to read this book. Amazing!

title page Pamela CondorAssociate Librarian, Health Sciences

favorite book: what the eye can’t see Mona Hannah-Atisha

I heard Dr. Mona speak at the Association of Medical Libraries Conference this summer. She’s funny and absolutely convincing. When I heard she was going to sign her book at lunch that day, I ran over to get a copy before another meeting. This book is really a story of hope and persistence. Dr. Mona works with the children of Flint, Michigan and gives them all the attention and care they deserve. When she hears about potential lead exposure, she won’t let anything stop her until she gets to the root of the problem and makes sure public officials listen. Now more than ever, we need people like Dr. Mona willing to step up in times of crisis and continue to do what is necessary for public health.

Tracey GrawAssistant Librarian

Favorite book: an ode to common things Pablo Neruda

Pablo Neruda’s odes always make me appreciate — appreciate the little things in life, the things we take for granted, the things that are always there, like salt, socks, tomatoes, cats. Neruda brought these objects to life in a way no other writer has. He embraces readers with his clever words, touching our hearts and making connections to memory and life. I get palpable goose bumps every time I go back to his work, and somehow his work helps me not take things for granted. His carols are well worth sharing.

Excerpts from “Ode to Salt”:

in its cave
moan of salt, mountain
buried light,
translucent cathedral,
The crystal of the sea, forgotten
then on each table
in the world,
we see your naughty
sprinkle water
light of life
our food.

“Ode to the Cat” experts:

Man wants to be a fish or a bird,
snake wants wings
Dogs are disoriented lions,
Engineers want to be poets,
Flies learn fast,
The poet tries to imitate the fly,
but cat
just want to be a cat
any cat is a cat
From his beard to his tail,
From his hopeful vision of mice
for real things,
From the night to his golden eyes.

Did you know that the Klein Library has a NAU Authors Room? Shelves are filled with fiction, history, research, poetry books and personal essays, and more by NAU faculty. Browse their work online or browse the shelves in this cozy reading nook to find your new favorite book!

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