Summer – a time for catching up, relaxing, exploring, starting new projects, or 

perhaps completing work in progress.  Reading, of course, is key in all of these.  With this in mind, we asked some faculty members at St. John’s about books that have influenced them personally or professionally.

Dr. Benjamin Silliman,  an Assistant Professor in the Department of Accounting and Taxation, writes:

I was an English minor and love to read.  The book that has had the most influence in my life is a rather dark one, but one of the greatest non-fictional novels ever, Truman Capote‘s In Cold Blood.  I found Capote’s writing style and subtle descriptions impacted my writing in a very positive way, in that it made me very aware of how much better my writing needed to develop.  The subject matter is quite gruesome, and that was not the inspiration for me, but it was Capote’s word choices, his character development, the scenery and the illusions that his writing created.  I have never read anything quite like it, with the exception of Flannery O’Connor’s short story, “A Good Man Is Hard to Find,” another somewhat gruesome subject.  I have often thought it was Capote and O’Connor being Southern writers that appealed to me, but it is really how each author reveals human vulnerabilities that stands out, something that is difficult for a writer to craft.