Summer Reading Suggestions

University Provost Dr. John Vassar compiled a list of books recommended to him by staff and faculty colleagues for summertime reading.

The Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews

The Traveler’s Gift effectively combines self-help with fiction . . . sustaining momentum while simultaneously passing on instructions for positive thinking . . . an exemplary job at providing positive suggestions for overcoming life’s obstacles.” – Publishers Weekly

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Chemistry and Compassion: Memoir of Dr. Amy Le Vesconte by Pauline Ning Brody

Amy Le Vesconte was born at the end of the nineteenth century but exemplified the modern teacher and woman scientist of the twenty-first century. She earned her PhD in chemistry in 1931 and devoted the next four decades to teaching chemistry to young college women at Mary Hardin-Baylor College in Belton, Texas and two other women’s colleges. She imbued her teaching with humor, fun, and creativity that helped overcome the students’ fear of science.

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When I Was a Child I Read Books: Essays by Marilynne Robinson

Of Marilynne Robinson, Michael Arditti said that there is ‘no contemporary novelist whose work I would rather read’ However she is not only a writer of sharp, subtly moving prose, but also a rigorous thinker and incisive essayist. In this luminous new collection she returns to the themes which have preoccupied her bestselling novels: the place literature has in life, the role of faith in modern living, the contradictions inherent in human nature. Clear-eyed and forceful as ever, Robinson demonstrates once again why she is regarded as one of our best-loved writers.

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What Are We Doing Here?: Essays by Marilynne Robinson

What Are We Doing Here? is a call for Americans to continue the tradition of those great thinkers and to remake American political and cultural life as “deeply impressed by obligation [and as] a great theater of heroic generosity, which, despite all, is sometimes palpable still.”

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Gilead by Marilynne Robinson

Nearly 25 years after Housekeeping, Marilynne Robinson returns with an intimate tale of three generations, from the Civil War to the 20th century: a story about fathers and sons and the spiritual battles that still rage at America’s heart. In the words of Kirkus, it is a novel “as big as a nation, as quiet as thought, and moving as prayer. Matchless and towering.” Gilead tells the story of America and will break your heart.

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Diversity Matters: Race, Ethnicity, and the Future of Christian Higher Education by Karen Longman

Today, no institution can ignore the need for deep conversations about race and ethnicity. But colleges and universities face a unique set of challenges as they explore these topics. Diversity Matters offers leaders a roadmap as they think through how their campuses can be hospitable environments for diversity.

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Roadmap to Reconciliation: Moving Communities into Unity, Wholeness and Justice by Brenda Salter McNeil

We can see the injustice and inequality in our lives and in the world. We are ready to rise up. But how, exactly, do we do this? How does one reconcile? What we need is a clear sense of direction. Based on her extensive consulting experience with churches, colleges and organizations, Rev. Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil has created a roadmap to show us the way. She guides us through the common topics of discussion and past the bumpy social terrain and political boundaries that will arise.

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Dr. John Vassar

Dr. John Vassar

As a key member of the president’s leadership team, Dr. Vassar serves as the steward of UMHB’s academic priorities, planning for the future of the university’s academic programs, advocating for student success, and contributing significantly to UMHB’s next strategic plan.
Dr. John Vassar

Latest posts by Dr. John Vassar (see all)

Dr. John Vassar

About Dr. John Vassar

As a key member of the president’s leadership team, Dr. Vassar serves as the steward of UMHB’s academic priorities, planning for the future of the university’s academic programs, advocating for student success, and contributing significantly to UMHB’s next strategic plan.