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Books to Read in Fall 2022

Our faculty and staff talk about the books they’re enjoying this year.

Nine Years Under book cover

Nine Years Under: Coming of Age in an Inner-City Funeral Home

“I’ve just read Sheri Booker’s memoir, Nine Years Under: Coming of Age in an Inner-City Funeral Home, in conjunction with a class I co-teach with cemetery stewards about Mount Auburn Cemetery in Baltimore. After a devastating death in the family, the teenage Ms. Booker goes to work in the office of the Wylie Funeral Home, near Harlem Square Park in West Baltimore. As she learns the ropes and gets to know her colleagues, we get an inside view of Black death-work. An urban funeral home, it turns out, is a complicated, arduous, and necessary business, a very busy business—and unexpectedly full of life.” 

Gabrielle Dean

Gabrielle Dean
William Kurrelmeyer Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts, Sheridan Libraries
Adjunct Professor, English

Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie book cover

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie

“I’m rereading The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley, the first in a series featuring an 11-year-old budding chemist/ murder mystery solver named Flavia de Luce. I love the delightful sidetracks into chemistry (gold chloride to make red stained glass, and I just finished the chapter where she successfully adds poison ivy extract to her sister’s lipstick); the clever details (the dead jacksnipe discovered with a postage stamp impaled on its beak!); and the protagonist’s curiosity and tenacity. I can’t put it down even though I already know how it ends; that’s the sign of a good book.” 

Alexandra Tan

Alexandra Tan
Post-Baccalaureate Premedical Program

Loa a la Tierra book cover

Praise to the Earth: A Trip to the Garden

“I am reading Byung-Chul Han’s Praise to the Earth: A Trip to the Garden. Published in German in 2018, it just came out in Portuguese and Spanish translations. The German philosopher and cultural theorist born in South Korea is known for his critique of the ubiquity of technology in late capitalism, exploring its effects on mental health. In this book, Han turns to gardening as a way to cultivate the interest in and relationship with otherness; i.e., the non-self. In conversation with a long tradition of Western metaphysics and German poetry, Han meditates on botany and rituals, proposing a prophylactic sensorial experience of the garden against the digitalization of the world.” 

Marina Bedran

Marina Bedran
Assistant Professor in Portuguese
Modern Languages and Literatures