Summer – a time for catching up, relaxing, exploring, starting new projects, or perhaps completing work in progress.  With this in mind, we have asked some faculty members at St. John’s what they are reading this summer.

Dr. Kathleen Lubey, an Assistant Professor in the English Department,  writes:

Each summer, I look forward to reading novels I’ve been meaning to get to for years, as well as revisiting some old favorites. As soon as classes ended, I re-read J.M. Coetzee’s  Waiting for the Barbarians, a novel set in an unspecified time and place but bearing some resemblance to South Africa, Coetzee’s homeland. It tells the story of a frontier settlement that awaits the military capture of an indigenous people that are perceived to be a threat to the state. Both the reader and narrator soon become aware that the “barbarians” are an imagined category that represents the townspeople’s fear and hatred far more than any real social menace. The book challenges our assumptions about conflicts between ethnic groups, about how power works, and about fiction’s ability to illuminate cultural and political struggle. Next on my list is Philip  Roth’s   American Pastoral, which I’ve been meaning to read for years. Roth’s fiction typically exposes the discontents of lifestyles considered typically “American” — middle-class prosperity, marriage, and professional success. American Pastoral has been described as undertaking these themes most powerfully.