Exeter Reads

As the school year comes to a close, we’d like to offer you some summer reading suggestions and who better to do it than the faculty, students, and staff at Phillips Exeter Academy.  To celebrate reading and readers throughout our campus community, we asked some of our library visitors to recommend a favorite or recent read.

We enjoyed hearing from our patrons about the books they borrow from our collection, and hope that this will be the first of many Exeter Reads blog posts to come.

 behnke Lee Behnke recommends People of the Book

I have just finished reading People of the Book by Pulitzer Prize winner, Geraldine Brooks. Although the book is a novel concerning a manuscript conservationist in the 1990’s named Hanna, the infrastructure of the book is a scientific/historical investigation. Hanna is restoring a fifteenth century illuminated Hebrew manuscript called a “Haggadah” for a celebration in Sarajevo marking the end of the war. The book flashes backward and forward to reveal the significance of tiny particles in the manuscript such as an insect wing or a tiny white hair. All along the way there are poignant references to the golden age of Adalusia when Moslem, Jew and Christian lived in a cultural and social harmony called “Convivencia”. There is emotional and philosophical power in this extraordinary book. Having taught several interdisciplinary courses in southern Spain, I was touched by the deep roots of this book.


 hodges T.J. Hodges ’14 recommends Speaker for the Dead

I first read Orson Scott Card’s Speaker for the Dead almost two years ago, right after I read its prequel, Ender’s Game. It is a science fiction tale set 3000 years in the future about a middle-aged man, Andrew “Ender” Wiggin, who travels the galaxy, upon personal request, to research and present profiled speeches of dead individuals: the lies, the good deeds, and the bad ones. The novel is an exploration of what it means to be a part of the human race while also attempting to define the meaning of power, love, and tribe. Wiggin’s adventures left one particular conclusion that has stuck with me for a while, “humankind [is] an endless quest for greatness in a wilderness of separation and suspicion.”


 jweatherspoon Jackie Weatherspoon recommends Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

After viewing the movie Lincoln, my curiosity was piqued by a number of books like Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker: the novel. But I wanted to get a better sense of the history of what made President Lincoln’s administration successful, so I began reading Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals. Ms. Goodwin in the opening chapters begins to describe the aspirations of the gentlemen who wanted to be president. Each of them has three particular qualities, which as a former member of the NH House of Representatives are of interest to me. One is their love for America, two is their love for their families, and three is their intersection of wealth. I’m looking forward to what conclusions she has drawn.

 cjroy Chris Roy recommends Middlesex

Jeffrey Eugenides’ Middlesex is a novel about acceptance. Calliope is third generation in a Greek-American family that has carefully guarded its dark secret. Throughout her narration of the family history, Calliope shows us the difficult decisions we are forced to make, and how we must learn to pick up the pieces and keep living.

If you are interested in participating in a future Exeter Reads blog post, please contact Reference & Outreach Librarian Beth Rohloff, brohloff@exeter.edu.