back to news April 15, 2020

Social distancing book recommendations

Looking for a new book or wanting to rediscover old favorites as you heed social distancing guidelines from home? Faculty and friends of the Department of English have you covered with some of their favorite works.

Want to add to the discussion with a list of your own favorites? The Department of English set up a survey on its website for book lovers to weigh in. 

Department of English Faculty and Friends’ Top 10 Favorite Books

Gretchen RitterGretchen Ritter, Executive Dean and Vice Provost of the College of Arts and Sciences

  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
  • Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
  • Hamlet by  William Shakespeare
  • To the Lighthouse by Virginia Wolf
  • The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
  • Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison
  • The Grapes of Wrath by Jon Steinbeck
  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Robyn WarholProfessor and Chair Robyn Warhol

  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
  • The Way We Live Now by Anthony Trollope
  • Middlemarch by George Eliot
  • The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
  • To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf
  • Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner
  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison
  • Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

Susan WilliamsProfessor Susan Williams

  • King Lear by William Shakespeare
  • The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
  • Middlemarch by George Eliot
  • The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James
  • The Country of the Pointed Firs by Sara Orne Jewett
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
  • Love in the Ruins by Walker Percy
  • Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
  • Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Adeleke AdeekoProfessor and Vice Chair Adeleke Adeeko

  • Kolera Kolej by Femi Osofisan
  • Death and the King's Horseman by Wole Soyinka
  • Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Burger's Daughter by Nadime Gordimer
  • Petals of Blood by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o 
  • Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
  • Sula by Toni Morrison
  • Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
  • The Forest of a Thousand Daemons by D.O. Fagunwa
  • Dessa Rose by Sherley Anne Williams

James PhelanProfessor James Phelan, director of Project Narrative and of Medical Humanities

Novels
  • Persuasion by Jane Austen
  • Middlemarch by George Eliot
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison
  • Atonement by Ian McEwan
Memoirs
  • In Pharaoh’s Army: Memories of the Lost War by Tobias Wolff
  • When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
  • Lighter than My Shadow by Katie Green
  • My Own Country by Abraham Verghese
Medical Humanities Books
  • The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman
  • Being Mortal by Atul Gawande

Lee MartinProfessor Lee Martin, senior novelist on the creative writing faculty

  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
  • Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
  • This Boy's Life by Tobias Wolff
  • Shiloh and Other Stories by Bobbie Ann Mason
  • The Tender Land by Kathleen Finneran
  • Rock Springs by Richard Ford
  • The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Michelle HermanProfessor Michelle Herman, senior novelist on the creative writing faculty

  • Middlemarch by George Eliot
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  • The Puttermesser Papers by Cynthia Ozick
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
  • Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler (or really any of her novels)
  • Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle
  • Herzog by Saul Bellow
  • The stories of Anton Chekhov

Nick WhiteProfessor Nick White, junior novelist on the creative writing faculty

  • Another Country by James Baldwin
  • The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse by Louise Erdrich 
  • Charming Billy by Alice McDermott 
  • Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant by Anne Tyler
  • Rabbit at Rest by John Updike
  • Collected Stories of Eudora Welty
  • The Ghost Writer by Phillip Roth
  • My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout 
  • Men We Reap by Jesmyn Ward
  • Look at Me by Jennifer Egan

Frank MauceriFrank Mauceri, alumnus and chair of the English Advisory Committee

  • Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
  • One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
  • Cherry by Nico Walker
  • The Possessed by Elif Batuman
  • Trashed by John Backderf
  • Urgency and Patience by Jean-Philippe Toussaint
  • The Truth About Marie by Jean-Philippe Toussaint
  • Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler
  • Post Office by Charles Bukowski
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Linda KassLinda Kass, alumna and friend of the Department of English

  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
  • Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa
  • Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout
  • A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan
  • A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
  • A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
  • The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead

Andrea LunsfordAndrea Lunsford, alumna and friend of the Department of English

  • Institutio Oratoria by Quintilian
  • Twelfth Night by Shakespeare
  • Beowulf
  • Fragments of Sappho by Anne Carson
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison
  • The Poems of Dylan Thomas
  • Borderlands/La Frontera by Gloria Anzaldua
  • Maus by Art Spiegelman
  • The poems of Emily Dickinson

R.L. StineR.L. Stine, alumnus and friend of the Department of English

  • Right Ho, Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse
  • Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury
  • A Kiss Before Dying by Ira Levin
  • Liberty by Garrison Keillor
  • One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
  • The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton
  • A Long Long Way by Sebastian Barry
  • Pale Fire by Vladimir Nabokov
  • Misery by Stephen King
  • The Marvels by Brian Selznick
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