7 Books to Read Now
Professors and staff recommend works of comfort, hope, escape
Running low on books or inspiration? Here's a shelter-in-place reading list from USF.
In A Week at the Airport, Alain de Botton serves as the "writer-in-residence" at Terminal Five of Heathrow airport outside London. At this global crossroads, de Botton observes the ebb and flow of people and tries to understand human motion as it encompasses ethnicity, class, desire, privilege, and consciousness. During our time of great stillness and restricted movement, this slim volume about a week in the life of an airport asks many delicious questions, some of which now belong exclusively to the time before.
—Laleh Khadivi, MFA in Writing
The Georgian Feast by Darra Goldstein hits the trifecta in food writing. It contains personal narratives, gastronomic history, and doable recipes. Experience the nation's culture via dishes like khachapuri (cheese bread) and khinkali (dumplings). This book takes you to Georgia without leaving home.
—James Zarsadiaz, History
The Great Influenza by John M. Barry describes how a virus can sweep the world, baffle the best medical minds, test political leaders, and amplify class division. Essential reading for anyone who cares about public health.
—Alexa Colgrove Curtis, Nursing and Health Professions
The pastor and theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer defied Germany's Nazi government, suffering imprisonment and execution for his stand. His Letters and Papers from Prison offer hope and bravery in uncommon doses. He writes to his parents, to his fiancée, and to his own worries. Turning to it again, I find it can inspire and even refresh a troubled soul.
—Brandon Brown, Physics and Astronomy
Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse explores the shelters of home, of family, of marriage, and of the mind — all of it precarious, all of it temporary — all the way down to its previously unimagined depths. Each time I walk through my hallway at night, reaching forward to find a door in the dark, as I have so much in this time, I think of this novel, of a passage in it that you too will never forget.
—Susan Steinberg, English
Beyond Survival edited by Ejeris Dixon and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha invites us to create radical change rooted in love and transformative justice — that is, responding to harm without creating more harm. So instead of more policing and prisons, we create more community accountability and collective action, such as mutual aid networks. This book will inspire you to work toward a world of liberation and abundance.
—Amy Gilgan, Gleeson Library
In Recollections of My Nonexistence, Bay Area writer and activist Rebecca Solnit describes her sense of place, her feminism, her environmentalism, and more. She is very aware of the world’s problems, but also finds beauty and goodness everywhere. This memoir shows us that there are always actions to be taken to heal the earth and its inhabitants, even in the face of crises. —Stephanie Vandrick, Rhetoric and Language