What we're reading

We asked some of our faculty and staff what titles they're most looking forward to reading (or listening to, or watching) outside of their classrooms and offices in the new year. 


February 5, 2018
Book cover lined up in a row.

Classics Instructor Matt Hartnett

In Why Bob Dylan Matters, by Richard F. Thomas, a classicist traces the influence of ancient Greece and Rome on Bob Dylan’s lyrics and argues that his controversial 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature is well deserved. I became a student of the classics in high school and a fan of Dylan’s in college, so this book brings together two of my long-standing passions.

English Department Chair Nat Hawkins

I am currently re-reading Marlon James’ A Brief History of Seven Killings. Its intensity and complexity demands a second reading, and I have proposed a senior elective focusing on James and this novel. Next up is George Saunders’ Lincoln in the Bardo, which I am looking forward to because I enjoy his sharp and quirky short stories. This is his first novel.

Director of Global Initiatives Eimer Page

In recent weeks, I read The Hate U Give because I heard Rev. Heidi Heath giving it a huge thumbs-up and because the author is coming to Exeter this spring. I also read a well-worn copy of All the Light We Cannot See after I found it in the Dunbar library. The student notations were fascinating, and I’d love to teach both texts. 

Science Instructor Scott Saltman

I’m planning on finishing up Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy. I was a chaperone for the Equal Justice Initiative trip to Montgomery, Alabama, over Thanksgiving break, and the stories told in this book help to complete my understanding of our activities and experiences. I also hope to pick up Dan Brown’s Origin in the new year.

Modern Languages Instructor Viviana Santos

I am looking forward to reading Arundhati Roy’s The Ministry of Utmost Happiness. Roy’s second novel, it spans decades and chronicles some of the most violent times in India’s modern history. Roy plays with traditional gender roles in this work, something that I find especially compelling. I am fascinated by Indian history, mostly its colonial legacy, and I look forward to understanding its more recent post-colonial struggles through this work.

Modern Languages Instructor Amadou Talla

I am reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe because I wanted to truly understand the origin of the Uncle Tom stereotype. I am almost at the end of the novel, but it is surprising to see how different the real Tom is from the popular perception of representing a sellout in the black community. I also realize how deeply the book has perpetuated some of the stereotypes against people of African descent, although it is considered an abolitionist novel.

Editor's note: This article first appeared in the winter 2018 issue of The Exeter Bulletin.