Holiday Reads

The fall term grades are in and now there’s a chance to catch up on some reading.

I’m getting started on James Pennebaker’s The Secret Life of Pronouns (who knew?) and John McWhorter’s Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History of English, and I’m hoping to get to The Making of A Name: The Inside Story of the Brands We Buy by Steve Rivkin and Fraser Sutherland (which talks about the phonetics of product naming, among other things) and to Blair Richmond’s Out of Breath, which I picked up last month at the Oregon Book and Author Fair (Out of Breath is set in the Pacific Northwest town of Lithia. Hmm.).

I asked a few others in Ashland and beyond what they were hoping to read over the holiday break (or in some cases, the holiday long weekend). Here’s what they told me:

Tim Wolhforth, author of Harry and The Pink Tarantula, is reading The Drop by Michael Connelly.

Jackie Schad, Executive Director of ACCESS is planning to tackle Power and Love: A Theory and Practice of Social Change by Adam Kahane.

Tod Davies, editor-publisher of Exterminating Angel Press is looking forward to reading The Aeneid (wow), Ursula K. Le Guin’s The Lathe of Heaven and anything else she can find by Le Guin in the Ashland Public Library.

Amy Blossom, branch manager at the Ashland Public Library, is reading Nanjing Requiem by Ha Jin, the story tells of an American missionary lives through the Rape of Nanjing, Doc by Mary Doria Russell-it’s fictional account of Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp–and Field Notes by Barry Lopez, who will be reading as part of the Chautauqua Poets and Writers series on April 20, 2012. (And set aside some Ursula Le Guin for Tod Davies.)

Shelley Austin, the Executive Director of the Jackson County Library Foundation, is reading Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese and then Paul Theroux’s The Tao of Travel: Enlightenments from Lives on the Road.

English professor Bill Gholson is reading Melville: A Biography by Laurie Robertson-Lorant. Bill is teaching Melville in the winter term, needless to say.

Jennifer Allen, Director of Programs at Oregon Humanities, is planning to read Death Comes to Pemberley by P. D. James, and then, as a New Year’s resolution, Moby Dick.

Southern Oregon University President Mary Cullinan’s reading includes Sidney Kirkpatrick’s The Revenge of Thomas Eakins, the story of the intriguing Philadelphia artist, and she has just ordered Bill Bryson’s The Mother Tongue: English and How it Got That Way.

Melody Condon, a professional writing major at SOU, is reading Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott and is also planning to read Deep Secret by Diana Wynne Jones and Pathfinder by Orson Scott Card.

Robert Arellano, director of Emerging Media and Digital Arts at SOU and author of the forthcoming Curse the Names, is planning to read Prize Winners, a book of short stories by Ashlander Ryan W. Bradley.

Molly Tinsley, award-winning author and co-founder of FUZE Publishing, has just ordered Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken, on a recommendation from her sister, and she has started a started a spy thriller by Alex Berenson. She’s also just finished, and recommends, Republican Gomorrah by Max Blumenthal.

Midge Raymond and John Yunker of Ashland Creek Press will be fighting over a new novel by Peter Orner–Love and Shame and Love. Midge is also reading a collection of stories by Melanie Rae Thon–The Voice of the River.

Cara Ungar-Gutierrez, Executive Director of Oregon Humanities, is reading In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson–the story of William Dodd, the American ambassador in Germany in the time of Hitler. And she’s just finished—and highly recommends—The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides.

SOU business and University Seminar instructor Karen Clarke’s holiday reading is The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. She says the subtitle Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun, made it sound like a perfect holiday read.

Poet Amy MacLennan is reading The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester for her book club, Winchester’s non-fiction on the origin of the OED and she’s reading Sue Grafton’s G is for Gumshoe which she describes as a good “comfort book.”

Carl Hilton, owner of Bookwagon New and Used Books, is going to read The Hunger Games, a dystopian novel by Suzanne Collins, and Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs.

Greta Mikkelson, Product Development Program director at Harry & David, is reading Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin and Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris.

What are you reading?

About Ed Battistella

Edwin Battistella’s latest book Dangerous Crooked Scoundrels was released by Oxford University Press in March of 2020.
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