Recommended by Tony Bates, Asst. Dir. of Admissions (Dec. 2015): The story of Alice Kober, a brilliant but forgotten academic, and her contributions to the solution of an incredibly complex archaeological crypto-linguistic puzzle.
The life story of Seattle photographer Edward Curtis (1868-1952) that illuminates the changes in the American West and the detrimental impact those chances had on the Native Americans and their cultures. A remarkable story told by a journalist (N.Y. Times columnist) providing rich historical context and a riveting story. – Cindy Fester, research publications editor (April 2017)
The title just about says it all, though Irena Sendler would readily acknowledge this was a network of committed, courageous individuals who found a way to act and bring hope in the midst of the devastation of Nazi-occupied Poland. – Judy Davis, resource sharing librarian (April 2017)
"The best book I read this summer tells the story of an adventurous war journalist who happens to have some sixty odd years of experiencing surfing, including in some of the most remote locations on earth. Finnegan’s book is organized by location, with each chapter centering on a phase of his life in which he was surfing in a particular place, from Hawaii, California, Fiji, Portugal and New York to South Africa during the apartheid era. His account is one that does not require any love of surfing of your own; rather, he tells the story of his life in a way that causes you to care about his long and loving friendships, inspires admiration for his single-mindedness, and piques interest in the culture surrounding the sport. The book is a very readable mix of historical journalism (the author tracked down many of the letters he wrote in that era and the book seems meticulously documented) and anthropology (his perspective on encounters with people from different cultures was fascinating). Finnegan’s account of middle school in Hawaii in the 1960s is particularly interesting as he discusses the racial and social tensions he experienced as he learned to survive in a new and physically violent environment. (He relays a funny anecdote about how Barack Obama, who went to private school in Honolulu in that era, told the author he couldn’t believe Finnegan had gone to that particular school, whose reputation was notorious.) Finally, the book’s discussion of surfing itself, is a joy. I will never look at a wave the same way again, and I have a much greater appreciation for the way the sport requires not just discipline but deep respect for nature." Prof. Zahr Said (Sept. 2016).
Highly recommended by Cindy Fester (Sept. 2016). Jason Schmidt was employed for a couple of years as a member of the faculty support team and then went to UW Law (JD 2010). The Seattle Times review is here.
I listened to the audiobook version of John Le Carre’s memoir, Pigeon Tunnel, which the author narrates. What an amazing life. I wanted it to go on forever. – Holley Cassell, Associate Philanthropy Officer
James Rebanks at first refused the traditional way of life his upbringing on a sheep farm in the fells of Northern England’s Lake District thrust upon him. This story of his return to that life and the richness of knowledge and relationships scores of years in one place gives one is his testament to the worth of preserving not just a landscape but a way of life centuries old. Rebanks has also been a consultant to UNESCO on World Heritage Sites. – Judy Davis, resource sharing librarian (April 2017)
First published in 1933, this is a beautifully written, very personal account of World War I’s profound impacts on Brittain’s generation of British youth. In her early twenties when the war began, Brittain served as a nurse to those wounded in various battles throughout Europe. Her story gives an unforgettable sense of the tragic effects of this war on virtually everyone she knew and loved, as well as her society as a whole. A timely book to read now, 100 years after World War I. –Ingrid Holmlund, CILPCo-Editor (April 2017)
Recommended by Kaitlyn Bunker, J.D. Admissions Program Coordinator (Dec. 2015): I really enjoyed reading “Without You There is No Us” by Suki Kim. Kim was an undercover journalist while disguised as a missionary English teacher, and I appreciate that her memoir gives readers a perspective of North Korea that escapee biographies cannot.
Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries
by Kory Stamper
Publication Date: 2017
Part memoir and part fascinating analysis of the art of lexicography (look it up!), this oddball book is witty and wise. Great fun for anyone interested in the English language. – Prof. Kate O'Neill (April 2017)
A neuroscientist sees a brain scan from his control group stack and immediately sees that it should have been with the group of scans from prisoners who have been labeled psychopaths. He breaks the code to find out whose it is. Uh-oh: it's his. Both a memoir and an introduction to the psychology and physiology of psychopaths. – Mary Whisner, research services librarian (April 2017)