What We Read Last Summer

Penn Current
September 23, 2004

Well, as of yesterday, summer is officially over. No more beach time. No more hanging out poolside. We aren't quite ready to let go, yet, though, so we thought we'd stay in summer mode a while longer by asking our colleagues what they read over the past three months.

And who better to talk to about reading than the literary minds over at Kelly Writers House? We asked some of the Kelly staffers to tell us about their favorite summer reads and what they liked about them. Here's what they had to say.

Assistant program coordinator
"Minion: A Vampire Huntress Legend," by L.A. Banks

"I did not think I was a fan of the vampire-huntress genre, but when I picked it up, I couldn't put it down. I dreamed about it and talked about it for two weeks. I wanted to read something substantial but fun, and Banks grapples with serious issues--political issues--but also issues of the heart and soul."

Assistant director for development
"Sons of Mississippi: A Story of Race and Its Legacy," by Paul Hendrickson

" He's a Penn teacher, and that's kind of fun, but this is just an incredibly engaging book. It's a really honest look at racism in America It also shows how racism plays out in the 21st century, and that's just something that is of interest to me."

"Snow Crash," by Neal Stephenson

"It just blew my mind. It's cyber-science-fiction--I don't even know how else to describe it. It really made me see a lot of the possibilities in science fiction. I'm teaching a course in science fiction this fall, and I spent the whole summer reading up for it. That one was a real mind-bender."

Ph.D. candidate, Germanic
Language and Literature
"The Separation," by Christopher Priest

"Anything from this powerhouse of intelligent British speculative fiction is bound to be good, but this, this latest novel, was astonishing. It's ostensibly a story of the Berlin Olympics and World War II, and goes over familiar questions of moral truth and responsibility such as the bombing of civilian targets; but in the same book he undermines our assumptions about history, fiction and the nature of narrative."

Assistant to the director
"The New York Trilogy: City of Glass, Ghosts, The Locked Room," by Paul Auster

"I really liked how each story could stand on its own, but could also exist as part of the trilogy. It was sitting on my brother's shelf, and it was the first time I've read him. He's great."