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Non-Required Reading

Hot Summer Books on Campus

Nuclear Engineering Prof. Gil Brown just finished "The Help" as an intro to the summer reading season.

By Sheila Eppolito

As summer fast approaches, students, faculty and staff head to bookstores, e-readers and to load up on reading supplies. We caught up with a few bibliophiles and asked what’s on their nightstands - and why.

Gil Brown, professor of nuclear engineering

"I just finished 'The Help' by Kathryn Stockett. I highly recommend it. It’s a fascinating insight into growing up in the fast-changing segregated south of the ’60s. My wife recommended it. She suggests most of the books I read."

Peter Steere, student double majoring in math and philosophy

"I am loving 'In Cold Blood' by Truman Capote. It’s the account of gruesome murders in Kansas in 1959. I want to see the film 'Capote' and my brother, Luke, said I should read the book first."

Lynette Luongo, staff assistant, Dean of Students Office

"I just bought Donald Rumsfeld’s memoir 'Known and Unknown' after seeing him promote it on a weekend talk show.

"I thought it would be interesting to hear about the challenges he faced – including a face-to-face meeting with Saddam Hussein.
He’s set up a website, too, that provides more detail on the footnotes in the text. That will be helpful if I want more explanation."

Holly Yanco, assistant professor of computer science

"I’m reading 'Networks of the Brain' by Olaf Sporns. It’s fascinating – I feel like I’m learning a new language.

"Biology Prof. Tom Shea and I received a grant from the Army Research Office to discover the differences between real neural networks and artificial ones simulated on computers. Our ultimate goal is to train the Petri dishes of neurons in Tom’s lab to control a robot arm in mine, based on input from a video camera. The book is helping me understand real neurons, as my direct experience is with the artificial ones."

Kate Gagnon, student majoring in criminal justice

"I’m reading 'Half the Sky' by Nicholas D. Kristoff and Sheryl WuDunn. It’s about steps that ordinary people have taken to help finance and contribute to improving education, health care and the economies of countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The book takes you through major concerns such as human trafficking, maternal healthcare and the marginalization of education for girls.

"The authors shed light on the need for more of a social revolution than a religious change in order for equality and empowerment of women to occur. I like it because there are real-life cases where people have had the determination to see through something they feel very strongly about."

Imogene Stulken, campus minister

"I’m in the middle of 'The Butterfly Mosque: A Young American Woman’s Journey into Love and Islam' as part of an interfaith women’s book club. I’m also reading 'Facilitating Intergroup Dialogues: Bridging Differences, Catalyzing Change' by Kelley E. Maxwell, Biren (Ratnesh) Nagda, Onita C. Thompson and Patricia Gurin.

"Victor Santana-Melgoza, the new associate director of multicultural affairs, recommended the book on facilitating. The information could be helpful as we seek to respond to  President Obama’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge."