We've asked USM Faculty & Staff for book recommendations.
If you are a Faculty or Staff member and would like to make a recommendation, please send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jeanette Andonian - Associate Professor of Social Work
You are not a gadget: A Manifesto
By Jaron Lanier
This is one of the most important books I've read in a long time. It is a must read for anyone concerned about the far-reaching cultural implications of digital web technology, its impact on humanity, and where things could end up if we are not careful, including the problems of anonymity, digitally-defined relationships, loss of vocations, and even stifled self-definition. So much wisdom in this book, I could go on and on. Jaron Lanier, himself one of the Silicon Valley visionaries and pioneers of the 1980's, offers his views and concerns based on his deep and sophisticated knowldge of the best and the worst of web design, its evolution, and its impacts on the current state of affairs. He offers solutions that could intercept a negative tragectory and shift us into better directions using digital technology versus allowing it to define us in ways it was not intended to do. Do read this book!!
Bright-Sided: How the relentless promotion of positive thinking has undermined America
By Barbara Ehrenreich
Yet another sharply articulate and eye-opening book by Ehrenreich who offers a cultural critique of the positive thinking movement in America and its the damaging effects. She brillantly illuminates the simple-mindedness of positive thinking forces in our everyday lives, and how it paradoxically disempowers people and erodes self-esteem. Delicious realism here--what a relief. So much more I could say, but I'll leave it at this--pick this one up and read it yourself!
Kristine Bertini - Director of Health, Counseling
The Fifth Sacred Thing
by Paul Gallico
"My two favorite all time books about love and the human spirit."
Selma Botman - President
Three Cups of Tea
by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
"An adventurer and mountain climber becomes a global humanitarian intent upon building schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan, primarily for girls. A wonderful story of humanity."
David Champlin - Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences
Return of the Native
by Thomas Hardy
"I read this book recently and a long time ago. In between, I bet I've read the first hundred pages or so more than fifty times because it is just so amazing how this author gets a book going."
Christine Cracolici - Asst. Dir. of Athletic Media Relations
When You Are Engulfed In Flames
by David Sedaris
"Very witty... one of my favorite authors. Makes observations on everyday life with a smart sense of humor."
Ann Dean - Associate Professor of English
The Yiddish Policemen's Union
by Michael Chabon
"This is a very funny sad book with a whole alternative history of Jews and everyone else since 1945. In this vision, Israel was put in Alaska, instead of in the Middle East, but only for 50 years, and the lease is running out. It's a noir detective thriller and also a serious meditation on diaspora, community, fatherhood, and chess. My favorite line is "history has shown that bad times for Jews are always also bad times for chickens." "
Sondra SeunJa Doe - Associate Professor in the School of Social Work
Three Cups of Tea
by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
"This book will inspire USM Students' spirit for contribuiting to the harmony and mutual respect that are much needed for emerging global civil society. "Three Cups of Tea" will help you first warm your heart, then gain broader insights and solid integrity for making progressive changes in today's troubled and self-centered world."
William Ferreira - L.D. Specialist
All The Little Live Things
by Wallace Stegner
"Fantastic character development. Universal themes related to parent-child relations, rebellion, good vs. evil, death of the environment. Overall great book."
Charlie Fitts - Associate Professor, Geosciences
by Willa Cather
"Beautiful descriptions of people, places, times. This one's about pioneers on the Nebraska Plains in 1800s. Her other books do similarly for 1690s Quebec (Shadows on the Rock), 1800s Southwest US (Death Comes for the Archbishop)."
Joseph Grange - Professor of Philosophy
Healing the Mind; Bringing Spinoza into the Present
by Neal Grossman
"This is a brilliant re-telling of Spinoza's attempt to bring thinking, emotions, God, and humanity together in the 17th century. The author provides real-life exercizes that make you feel the power of Spinoza's thought."
Sarah Haglund - Administrative Assistant
by Barbara Kingsolver
Cheryl Hamilton - Assistant Director, Center for the Prevention of Hate Violence
by Don Snyder
"Cliff Walk has always been one of my favorites. It is a great book to remind us what is important in life and it doesn't hurt that it is based in Maine! I appreciate Snyder's candid conversational style and humber honesty."
Catherine Johnson - Bookstore Coordinator
by Stephenie Meyer
"In this story aliens are a real - earth taking over - daily occurance. In fact, they control the planet while pockets of humans try to survive and hide their existence. The aliens, or Souls, as they call themselves, survive by being implanted into the bodies of their hosts. These Souls have taken over multiple planets already, asserting their concsiousness over that of the inhabiting sentient creatures. They live out the life span of those creatures AS those creatures, but with only their own thoughts. When a host body dies, the Soul is removed and placed into a special tank that will preserve it until it reaches it's next host. In this fashion, Souls are immortal.
Earth, although easy to take over, proves hugely difficult for some Souls to adapt to. Humans, unlike most races Souls have previously encountered, have a wide array of feelings and emotions. (Gasp!) Occasionally the human mind is too strong to be pushed out and battles withe the Soul for control of their body. The Host tells the story of Wanderer, who after living on multiple planets, arrives on earth into the body of Melanie Stryder. Melanie does not keep quiet.
I would sum this book up as science fiction / action adventure / romance driven / and survivalist. It's terribly exciting!"
The Search for WondLa
Written & Illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi
"This book follows Eva 9, an 11 year-old girl who was raised in an underground facility by a robot. She's never been outside or even seen another human being. Everything she's ever needed has been provided for her. One night, an intruder blasts his way into the facility intent on capturing or killing her. Eva's robot mother shows her a secret way out and tells her to hide herself and be safe. Eva makes her way to the surface of what she assumed was Earth... only to find something completely different. This young adult book is an exciting read for any age and I particularly loved the illustrations throughout the book. I'd say that they are on par with the work of famous illustrator Charles Vess."
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
by Ransom Riggs
"This may have been the strangest thing I've ever read, and I mean that in a good way, really! The author collected a bunch of very old vintage photographs - with very strange images - and based a story off of them. The characters in the photos are either characters in the book, or characters in stories being told by the grandfather figure in the book. The grandfather lived in an orphanage but all of the children there were, as the title suggests, peculiar in some way. The thrilling story, combined with the visual aspect of all the photos, blends together in a wacky harmony that works."
Debe Loughlin - Administrative Assistant, Art Department
Under the Sea Wind
by Rachel Carson
"This book brings you right into the birds of skies life - it is calming and peaceful, sad and joyful - a nice bedtime book - and posed the question - are we that way? All of nature around us repeats the question."
Laurie Mooney - Administrative Assistant
Chronicles of A Vicar
by Fred Secombe
"Charming recounting of trials and tribulations for a new young vicar in post WWII Wales, U.K., but the story could be describing any small town in New England."
Shannon O'Connor - Library Assistant
Dreams From My Father
by Barack Obama
"I especially found the last part of this book fascinating, which recounts the stories of the previous three generations of his Kenyan family. Obama writes very well, I think."
Lyn Philbrick - Manager, USM Lewiston Bookstore
The Book of Lies
by Brad Meltzer
"This suspense novel was an enjoyable read. The story strings together the bibilical story of Cain and Abel with the actual details of Superman creator Jerry Siegel's life. As the main characters go on their parallel quest, they race to see who will succeed and who will fail. The story is difficult to swallow in several areas, but I just could not put it down. It reminded me somewhat of the Da Vinci Code. I would recommend it to anyone looking for an intertaining read. "
by Tom Rob Smith
"Tom Rob Smith has crafted a fast paced, smart story featuring a crime that would be unthinkable in any setting A serial killer whose MO never seems to change, preying on the children Soviet people dote on, versus one of the State Security's finest. Leo is a former sharp shooter in the Great Patriotic war, know for his atheltic prowess, good judgement and brilliance. He is just the detective to solve these terrible crimes and keep the next family from the grief of losing a child.
There is one problem however, in Stalin's Russia, there "is" no crime. To suggest otherwise and question the perfection of the Worker's Paradise, will certainly earn the accuser a change in lifestyle, if not end his life... which will impede any hope he has of ever catching the killer.
This story is full of relationships which beome fully defveloped throughout the book. The ending offers a twist that will stay with you for some time. This story is set in the 1950's but is suggested by the true story of Andrei Chikatilo, who murdered over 50 women and children in Russia during the 1980's."
by Christina Meldrum
"Madapple is a strange and compelling book that defies you to put it down. Classified for young adult readers it has an adult feel in its exploration of relationships, reality, and religions. It includes dark and controversial subjects which might be distrurbing for some teenages. That said, I found it to be an intelligent and enjoyable read.
The story is set in Maine and goes back and forth between a courtroom setting in the present and into the recent past. I found the references to locatlities and plant life very interesting.
I cheered on Aslaug, the teenage lead character; she perseveres after suffering years of abuse. Aslaug's mother and her Aunt both are characters you feel sympathy for, but also want Aslaug to escape from. The ending of this story is very strange and disturbing but how else could it end? Madapple is an excellent debut novel."
Ben Pinault - Printing Coordinator
In The Midst Of Life: Tales Of Soldiers And Civilians
by Ambrose Bierce
"Bierce fought for the Union during the American Civil War, and the experience left him sad and cynical. This is a collection of short stories about the soldiers' and civilians' struggles and strife."
Tim Reidman - Academic Fieldwork Coordinator, OT Program at LAC
The Art of Happiness
by the Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler
"My favorite book of all time is The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama and Howard Cutler. It really threw a wrench into the way I looked at the world and myself. It allowed me to see that nobody wants to suffer in this life, but suffering is always going to be present. The purpose of life then is to find your own happiness and be more compassionate with others. It made me look at people differently and be more open and accepting. Very life changing!"
Beth Round - Assistant Director, Honors
by Tom McCarthy
"The sometimes hilarious, often melancholy tale of a man attempting to re-create a happy time in his life."
Robert Spencer - Acquisitions Assistant, Glickman Library
The Reason for God
by Tim Keller
"Somewhat of a response to the recent prominent books that argue against the intellectual validity of faith, this is an engaging and very rational rejoinder. After reading this, I told my wife Keller was the closest thing I've seen to a modern C. S. Lewis, a readable and stimulationg apologetic for Christianity."
Judy Spross - Professor
Expecting Adam (Memoir)
by Martha Beck
"This is an inspiring book about one woman's experience of pregnancy and birth of a child with Down's Syndrome. What interested me were the "mystical" and "mysterious" experiences of the pregnancy. The way she and her husband asserted themselves in the health care system and the life-changing (for the better) qualities Baby Adam brought."
Gail Wartell - Administrative Assistant II, Center for Real Estate Education
Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town
by Cory Doctorow
Fool on the Hill
by Matt Ruff
"These are both wonderful fantasy-almost-sci-fi, and hard to put down..."
Sewer, Gas and Electric: The Public Works Trilogy
by Matt Ruff
" One of my favorite books of all time."