August 2013


alysebiopic2Summer is a great time for catching up, relaxing, exploring, starting new projects, or perhaps completing work in progress. Reading, of course, is key to all of these. With this in mind, we asked the librarians at St. John’s about books they will be reading over the next few months. The library has put up a display featuring the responses we received — it’s on the 3rd floor of St. Augustine Hall. We’ll be posting the individual entries here throughout the summer.

Alyse Hennig, an assistant archivist in the University Archives, writes:

If your summer plans include discovering new products at local farmers markets, saving money by cooking meals at home with some basil that you grew in your windowsill, or scoping out trendy NYC restaurants with organic and locally-sourced food, Novella Carpenter’s memoir, Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer will inspire you to expand your horizons. Starting her own urban farm on an abandoned lot in a rough section of Oakland, Novella’s experience is much more than tips on growing food and raising livestock. She illustrates the hard work and dedication required daily on an urban farm, what it really means to “eat locally”, feed a community. Farm City also provides a new understanding of exactly where your food comes from – will you still want to eat bacon if you have to raise the pig, kill it and butcher it yourself? Farm City will make you laugh out loud (raising your own farm animals is bound to be an adventure) and might make you appreciate each meal you eat a little bit more. After the book, keep following Novella Carpenter on her blog Ghost Town Farm (http://ghosttownfarm.wordpress.com/).

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Bill Keogan

Summer is a great time for catching up, relaxing, exploring, starting new projects, or perhaps completing work in progress. Reading, of course, is key to all of these. With this in mind, we asked the librarians at St. John’s about books they will be reading over the next few months. The library has put up a display featuring the responses we received — it’s on the 3rd floor of St. Augustine Hall. We’ll be posting the individual entries here throughout the summer.

Bill Keogan, an associate professor in the Reference Department, writes:

One book I have been reading this summer is American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Cultures of North America, by Colin Woodard.   The book’s subtitle pretty much tells what the book is about.  The fascinating thing is how the backgrounds of the founders of these “nations” (Yankeedom, New Netherland, the Midlands, Tidewater, Greater Appalachia, the Deep South, New France, El Norte, the Left Coast, the Far West, and First Nation) hundreds of years ago are still influencing the cultures of these regions today.

IMG_5983 Caroline Fuchs

Summer is a great time for catching up, relaxing, exploring, starting new projects, or perhaps completing work in progress. Reading, of course, is key to all of these. With this in mind, we asked the librarians at St. John’s about books they will be reading over the next few months. The library has put up a display featuring the responses we received — it’s on the 3rd floor of St. Augustine Hall. We’ll be posting the individual entries here throughout the summer.

Caroline Fuchs is an associate professor and Outreach Librarian.  She is also an adjunct professor teaching DNY courses in St. John’s College.  Professor Fuchs writes:

 

 For those in academia, the summer months are often less hectic than those during the semester. It’s a good time to relax a bit and indulge in some leisure reading or to make a dent in that pile of “I-need-to-read-these-books” that has long been sitting and gathering dust on your shelves for oh so many months. What I like to do is revisit my favorite authors – Edith Wharton, Henry James, Jane Austen, Anthony Trollope, George Eliot – and immerse myself in their writing. I read anything and everything they have written, time allowing. For me, the summer of 2013 is the summer of Willa Cather, and I have rediscovered the power of her lyrical writing. Since June I’ve read My Antonia, O Pioneers!, The Song of the Lark and an assortment of short stories. Next up – Death Comes for the Archbishop, Alexander’s Bridge, A Lost Lady, and The Professor’s House.

Ricky waller

Summer is a great time for catching up, relaxing, exploring, starting new projects, or perhaps completing work in progress. Reading, of course, is key to all of these. With this in mind, we asked the librarians at St. John’s about books they will be reading over the next few months. The library has put up a display of the answers we received — it’s on the 3rd floor of St. Augustine Hall. We’ll be posting the individual entries here throughout the summer.

Ricky Waller, Head of Digital Information Services Davis Library at the Manhattan campus, writes:

               While on a recent jaunt to mid-coast Maine, I made a quick stop in Cambridge, MA to the Harvard Bookstore for last minute additions to my already heavily laden book sack. An intriguing title, The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific, by J. Maarten Troost, caught my attention. Cultural anthropology is not generally my first choice for vacation reads, but after a quick glance at the synopsis on the back cover of this non-fiction work, I was hooked. Troost, like many university graduates today, has difficulty finding work in his area of studies and lacks career direction. He drifts through a number of meaningless temp jobs when suddenly opportunity drops in his lap a chance to leave everything behind and travel abroad on a two year foreign-service gig to Tarawa– an extremely small, remote South Pacific island in the Republic of Kiribati. Contrary to its title, the book has very little sex and no direct accounts of cannibalism but does provide a captivating account of travels to a place cut off from almost all former amenities of Western civilization.

               Troost writes about his experience, adaptation, and learned appreciation of the couple’s immersive life among the l-Kiribati people in a lightly humorous, yet respectful way. This book is a quick read and a wonderful and informative description of the contrast of culture, habits and lifestyles in a part of the world few of us will ever get to see. This work comes highly recommended.


Cindy Staff 2011Summer is a great time for catching up, relaxing, exploring, starting new projects, or perhaps completing work in progress. Reading, of course, is key to all of these. With this in mind, we asked the librarians at St. John’s about books they will be reading over the next few months. The library has put up a display of the answers we received — it’s on the 3rd floor of St. Augustine Hall.

We’ll be posting the individual entries here throughout the summer. Cynthia D. Chambers is an associate professor and Head of the University Libraries’ Information Management (Cataloging) Department. She also teaches as an adjunct in the Theology and Religious Studies Department. (St. John’s College).  Professor Chambers writes:

I recently read an interesting book by the theologian Marcus Borg. In Evolution of the Word: the New Testament in the Order the Books Were Written.  Borg presents the books of the New Testament (using the NRSV translation) in the order that many contemporary scholars believe they were written, beginning with the letters of Paul. After preliminary chapters about oral tradition and the Pauline writings, Borg briefly introduces each biblical book, establishing its cultural and historical context. Reading the New Testament in this revised order gave me a fresh perspective that encouraged me to think about how the early Christian faith developed.

Over the summer I plan to read a book about one of my other interests – animals. Chasing Doctor Dolittle: Learning the Language of Animals by Con Slobodchikoff is about current scientific studies on the “languages” that different animals use to communicate. In Slobodchikoff’s own research with colonies of prairie dogs he found they are able to use combinations of different warning calls to describe predators by size, color, shape, and speed of approach. I am looking forward to learning what scientists are discovering about animals’ ability to communicate – a topic that those of us who have companion animals know something about already.