Thursday, July 22, 2010

Summer Reading

July 2010

Among the opportunities that summer often brings is the chance to open a book (or power up an e-book) and catch up on our reading. For me, reading has been a lifelong pleasure, one that has enriched every stage of my life, from my earliest years in elementary school to my present role as president of Berkeley College.

Reading has helped to explain mysteries, to expand my knowledge of critical subjects and to broaden my understanding of our ever-changing world. It has demonstrated to me that no matter how much we read in connection with our formal classroom instruction, there is always much more to learn about virtually any subject on the face of the earth.

In such a rapidly changing environment, reading helps us stay abreast of the latest innovations. It offers the opportunity to hear from the experts in particular fields; and to consider fresh perspectives, while in the process, fully examining our own.

In virtually every career field, advances in theory and practice are being developed every day. What we knew yesterday is often not what we will need to know tomorrow. Reading can help us bridge that divide.

Time spent in reading keeps our brains at their peak as well. So while I’m enjoying the many outdoor activities that summer offers, I will also set aside time to read.

As you can see below, my personal summer reading list reflects my interest in Latin American literature, history, sports, leadership, technology, globalization and the environment. Having these choices at hand means that I can take advantage of the free hours that summer brings in a way that will stay with me when the winter inevitably returns.

Whether it’s a day at the beach, a weekend getaway or that long-awaited annual vacation, a book makes a great companion for the journey.

Let me know what books you’re recommending this summer by posting a comment below– or join me in reading one of the choices on my own “to-read” list for Summer 2010:

Making the Move to E Learning: Putting Your Course Online; Kay Lehmann and Lisa Chamberlin

The Stories of Eva Luna, By Chilean writer Isabel Allende

Leaders in the Crossroads: Success and Failure in the College Presidency, by Stephen J. Nelson

For-Profit Colleges and Universities: Their Markets, Regulations, Performance, and Place in Higher Education; Guilbert C. Hentschke, Vicente M. Lechuga, William G. Tierney, and Marc Tucker

The Last Lecture, by Randy Pausch and Jeffrey Zaslow

Blood and Faith: The Purging of Muslin Spain, by Matthew Carr

The World is Flat: A brief History of the 21st. Century by Thomas L. Freidman

Hot, Flat and Crowded: why we need a Green Revolution - and How it Can Renew America, by Thomas L. Freidman

How Soccer Explains the World: An unlikely theory of globalization, by Franklin Foer

I hope you’ll share some of your summer reading choices by posting a comment below.

Enjoy the summer!

Dario A. Cortes, PhD



  1. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. The movie is scheduled to be released on Friday, August 13th so I decided to start on the book and then check out the movie.

    The Help, by Kathryn Stockett

    Dear John, by Nicholas Sparks

    Women, Food and God: An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything by Geneen Roth

  2. HI! This is DrMissy (Melissa DuBrowa, ASC). This summer, I have read: Pillars of the Earth, To Kill A Mockingbird, Catcher in the Rye, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I am now reading The Girl Who Played with Fire. Next reading will be The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, to complete Stieg Larsson's trilogy.

  3. (Shaun C. Skeete)July 22, 2010 at 1:25 PM

    I remember getting my first library card in Jamaica, NY Central Library when I was 4 years old. I could barely sign it, and my mother had to hold my hand and help me with my signature, but I could certainly read well. The result of the many stories read to me and also with me by wonderful parents. It's true that reading has truly been an integral part of every stage of my life. It certainly provided a big hand my road to becoming bilingual. Many places I have visited, I'd been to before in my mind, traveling there inside of the planes, rockets and ships provided by my favorite authors. Here are just some things I'm reading this summer:

    The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield

    Angeles y Demonios (Angels & Demons in spanish) by Dan Brown

    Rich Dad/Poor Dad (a reread) by Robert Kiyosaki

    The Only Investment Guide You'll Ever Need by Andre P. Tobias

    Don Quijote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes (spanish version)

    The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon

    Enjoy your summer!

  4. Dr. Cortes,
    It is great to see that you are into summer reading! This summer, the Berkeley College Middlesex Campus Library is hosting a Summer Reading Raffle. We hope to encourage both students and associates to pick up (or power up) a book this summer with a little incentive of winning some great prizes by entering the raffle. Readers can track their books in one of our handy booklets and receive multiple raffle tickets based on how many books they read. Summer reading is a great way to keep your mind active! Thanks for mentioning such an important topic!

    Alyssa S. (MDL Reference/Instruction Librarian)

  5. I recently read The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch after seeing the speech a few years ago. Very good book!

  6. I just finished reading Sarah's Keys by Tatiana de Rosnay and am in the process of re-reading 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

    Other books I have enjoyed reading and are on my "favorites" list includes House of Spirits by Isabel Allende, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett and Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell.

    I am an avid reader too and tend to unwind every night with a good book.

  7. I thought The World is Flat: A brief History of the 21st. Century by Thomas L. Freidman was an excellent examination of cross-cultural interactions.

  8. Just a quick comment as I, too, loved The World is Flat! I actually taught a course at Centenary College using that book as a supplement to the business text.
    Some of Friedman's other books are just as good...although I have yet to read Hot, Flat, and Crowded.

    I enjoyed your other recommendations and will probably purchase a copy of Hot, Flat, and Crowded now. Thanks for the motivation!

  9. A fine list.

    Quite different from my summer reading list as I mostly read fiction but I will look into adding some of your titles to my list.

    Thanks and good reading,


  10. Hello, Dr. Cortes. I enjoyed reviewing your list. The novel Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky who was arrested and deported to Auschwitz where she died in 1942 remained hidden and unknown for sixtyfour years. It is a tragic yet beautiful story of the lives of ordinary people on the eve of the Nazi occupation of Paris and their struggles to survive.

    Energy/Experimentation: Black Artists and Abstraction 1964-1980 is the exhibition catalog published on the occasion of the 2006 exhibit at the Studio Museum in Harlem. It highlights significant achievements of pioneering abstract artists and relates to my recent scholarship in researching artists who have enlarged their horizons both here and abroad, particularly the expatriate artist Beauford Delaney.

    The Advanced Genius Theory is an entertaining book on pop culture by Jason Hartley who theorizes that it is because iconic figures like Bob Dylan, Stanley Kubrick and Salvador Dali were simply advanced beyond our comprehension that it is intially difficult to accept their work,

    Coincidentally, the July/August issue of the Brooklyn Rail includes the 2010 Summer Reading List of friends and colleagues of the publisher who plans the next installment on the five most important books that still have not been read.

  11. Mary Ellen StiehlJuly 25, 2010 at 11:51 AM

    The Middle of Everywhere. By Mary Pipher PhD.

    Pipher Psychologist, Educator, Writer, Mentor to those new to America, enters homes and connects with refugees in her home state Nebraska as well as other states from coast to coast.She gives insight and tools to connect with the newest members of our society.

  12. Just finished Mary Pipher,Ph.,~ The Middle of Everywhere..a book focused on understanding the hearts and struggles of our new Americans. From her stories and global policies ,one sees the individual faces of these newcommers and receives some tools to mentor them.

  13. What a wonderful blog entry! I, like most librarians, love to read, and to share book titles.

    I’d like to share a few more very readable titles for the list:

    Cooked: From the Streets to the Stove, from Cocaine to Foie Gras
    Jeff Henderson

    This is an inspirational memoir of a man transformed himself from a cocaine dealer/convicted felon to an award winning chef.

    Unstrange Minds: Remapping the World of Autism
    Roy Richard Grinker

    Fascinating account of the social construction of the concept of Autism as a mental illness, written by a professor at George Washington University and a father of an autistic girl.

    The Nazi Officer’s Wife: How One Jewish Woman survived the Holocaust
    Edith Beer

    The true story of Edith Beer, a Jewish woman who survived the Holocaust by marrying a Nazi. It’s engrossing and reads like a novel.

    Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies
    Jim Collins & Jerry I. Porras

    A terrific read which analyzes and identifies management practices that create farsighted and successful companies.

    Elizabeth Leonard
    Director, Online Campus Library

  14. Wow! These are all such great book titles! I can't wait to read some of them myself! I personally really enjoyed "Eat, Pray, Love" and Suite Francaise."

    Right now, I'm reading "Travels with Charley" by John Steinbeck, which recounts Steinbecks journey across America with his dog, Charley.

  15. One of the most far-reaching, cross-disciplinary and in-depth study of the past which forces one to re-evaluate our understanding of the present is Jared Diamond's Pulitzer Prize winning "Guns, Germs and Steel". This Summer I am reading Ayn Rand's "The Fountainhead" and "Atlas Shrugged".

    I reluctantly began reading these, since they seem to have been hijacked by a particular political party, but the philosophy and practical guidance of the author - with great storytelling - is stimulating and inspiring.

  16. I love to share reading latest favorite was South of Broad by Pat Conroy and I am currently reading The History of Love by Nicole Krauss...I also recently read Triangle - The Fire that Changed America -David Von Drehle - about the Triangle Factory fire in NYC..incredible and sad...thank you for sharing and I will continue to do so as well!

  17. I just finished reading the historical fiction "No Less Than Victory" by Jeff Shaara, the third in a trilogy on WWII in Europe. It is written from the perspectives of various generals and soldiers from US, Britain, and Germany. This book is a must for all WWII and military history enthusiasts.

    I am now reading "The Devil's Company" by David Liss, which is an action thrilled that takes place in 18th century London.

  18. Candace Stuart, Berkeley NYC LibrariesJuly 26, 2010 at 1:07 PM

    Wow! Such great suggestions!

    In keeping with this hot hot summer, how about revisiting two great reads about NYC and environs in the summertime--The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald) or Sophie's Choice (William Styron)?

    I recently read The Amazing True Story of Zeitoun by Dave Eggers, which recounts the story of a Syrian-American businessman and father who chose to remain in New Orleans through Hurricane Katrina. Zeitoun is arrested and locked up for months with no regard for legal due process. Eggers describes the nightmare of Zeitoun's struggle to prove his innocence.

    One more--Olive Kittredge (Elizabeth Strout) is the story of the population of a small coastal town in Maine. The thirteen separate stories are linked together by the main characters' connection to Olive Kittredge. The stories of these ordinary people are filled with sadness, loss, strength, and every once in a while, joy. A great read.

    Thanks for starting such a great conversation!

  19. Hi. I agree, all great books. Some of my own favorites that I have read more than once over the years include, House of Spirits by Isabel Allende, The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. I am currently reading Eat, Love, Pray and so far am loving it.
    -Sandi Tavares

  20. An excellent reading list! I've only been reading this summer the typical 'formula' fiction (easy reading), but I intend to read up on the Anasazi Indians of southwest America soon.
    Paul Galfano,
    NYC Library

  21. At the risk of disillusioning those that may think librarians, and certainly academic ones, are reading tomes in their free time - I just took advantage of the early Friday schedule to sit down with a popsicle and read the new Stephen King novella Blockade Billy. This one may be of interest to the baseball fans among us. A fictional account of William "Blockade Billy" Blakely, a catcher for the New Jersey Titans in 1957 as told from the third base in a nursing home. I won't divulge the ending.
    As for the other works posted to this week’s blog - check the library catalog]. The College libraries have many of the titles mentioned.

    - Marlene Doty, Director of Library Services

  22. What a great diverse reading list. The White Plains campus library already carries some of these titles (I've ordered the others): World is Flat, Hot Flat and Crowded, and the Stories of Evan Luna. We also have a filmed version of the Last Lecture. Of course these items are available for checkout for all Berkeley associates, faculty and students.

    As a reading suggestion, if you've enjoyed the Stieg Larsson books try Henning Mankell another Swedish mystery author. His detective character Kurt Wallander is quite distinctive. A miniseries was featured on BBC TV and later aired in the US on PBS. Kenneth Branagh played the lead.

    Another suggestion along the lines of "World is Flat"...a book that makes you rethink the world...give "Guns, Germs and Steel" a read. It explains the haves and the have nots of the world.

    -- James Leftwich, Director of the White Plains Campus Library

  23. What an excellent reading list! I am currently rereading Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre. I would recommend these wonderful novels for everyone to enjoy.
    Have a nice summer.
    Hugo Walter, Professor of English and Humanities

  24. You certainly have a very eclectic and diverse Summer Reading list. I'd love a verbal book report on 'How Soccer Explains the World: An unlikely theory of globalization.' Could be fascinating!

  25. Lots of great books to enjoy. I am inspired to read some of the classics seeing all the great ones listed above. Though now, I am in the middle of reading Oprah by Kitty Kelly, the Male Brain by Dr. Louann Brizendine, Michael Jackson by Randy Taraborrelli, All interesting reading.

  26. Hi from Marilyn Kulik
    My summer reading list:
    The Orange Tree Carlos Fuentes
    Gringo Viejo Carlos Fuentes

    Days and Nights of Love and War Eduardo Galeano

    Revolution: Mexico 1910-1920 Ronald Atkin

    The Diary of Frida Kahlo: An Intimate Self-Portrait Frida Kahlo

    A Brazilian Incarnation -- New and Selected Poems 1967-2004 Bill Pearlman

    Seduction Lynda Schor

  27. The summer is alomost over and I just started reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I was hoping to complete the Larsson Triology this summer but it looks like my list will carry over into the fall.

    Enjoy the rest of your summer reading!

  28. Thanks for your reflections, folks (our librarians have particularly zippy call names). The titles you mention look quite enticing. ...I, too, was moved by "The Help." ...Especially memorable for me are Charles Chestnutt's gripping "The House Behind the Cedars" and "The Marrow of Tradition." His novels are based on the history he lived through, the stages right after the Civil War--in the South, as an African American.