‘Tis The Season To Be Merry-Well Read

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‘Tis the season for book recommendations, and we have some great ones for you and your family from Chewonki faculty and staff:

Greg Shute, Vice President of Lands and Waters

Icebound, Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World, by Andrea Pitzer

Why He Loves It: “The tale of William Barent’s 1596/97 Arctic exploration chronicles a year of being icebound and losing his ship and his life near the island of Nova Zembla in the sea that now bears his name.”

Lise Goddard, Interim Head of Maine Coast Semester at Chewonki

Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor

Why She Loves It: “It opened a world of understanding about something we do all the time without thinking, and actually improved my breathing.”

Megan McOsker, Maine Coast Semester Natural History and Ecology Teacher

Alexis Grillo, Alumni & Friends Coordinator

Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds & Shape Our Futures by Merlin Sheldrake

Why Megan loves it: This is an incredible synthesis of scientific research on mycorrhizal networks with the human ecology of fungi.

Why Alexis loves it: Sheldrake passionately dismantles the overly-simplified concept of the “tree of life” with its tidy branches and replaces it with a more complex picture of evolution that looks less like a tree and more like a mycorrhizal network.

Cullen McGough, Vice President of Enrollment, Marketing and Communications

Zone One by Colson Whitehead

Why he loves it: Best zombie book I’ve ever read, it’s a great mix of poignant, introspective, funny, and grizzly, with red-hot commentary on modern-day consumer culture.

Julie Barnes, Maine Coast Semester Dean of Students

The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld

Why she loves it: A beautiful book for all ages about how to companion someone through loss

Izzy Janzen, Waypoint Coordinator

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow

Why she loves it: “it’s an awesome fantasy with strong female leads and messages about history, injustice, and equity.”

Shelly Gibson, Director of Staff Development

Work Won't Love You Back: How Devotion to Our Jobs Keeps Us Exploited, Exhausted, and Alone by Sarah Jaffe

Why she loves it:This powerful text gives historical context and thoughtful reflections regarding labor and the work force (academia, non-profits, and domestic labor, to name a few), specifically naming how gendered and racialized our work is, challenging the idea that we should work simply because we are passionate and believe in the cause.”

Sarah Rebick, Maine Coast Semester Dean of Academics and English Teacher

The Sentence, by Louise Erdrich

Why she loves it: “Erdrich’s writing is full of double entendre and humor in this book that takes place in present-day Minneapolis and tackles issues of social justice. Since the main character works at a bookstore, there is also plenty of advice on other recently published good books, too!”

Sarah Sindo, Big Eddy Site Manager

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Why she loves it: “I’m an introvert through and through; if you’re one too, or love one, or have kids, or you’re a teacher, I highly recommend this book.”

Greta Righter, Elementary and Middle School Collaborative Teacher

Fire Keeper's Daughter by Angeline Boulley

Why she loves it:I couldn’t put this book down! It melds mystery, romance, indigenous wisdom, coming of age, plant science, and it centers the story of a strong, female-identifying, bi-racial, indigenous woman. It’s kind of like ‘Braiding Sweetgrass’ meets ‘The Hate U Give”.

Angie Klein, Director of Health Services

The Future We Choose; The Stubborn Optimists's Guide to the Climate Crisis by Christiana Figueres and Tom Rivett-Carnac

Why she loves it:I love that our options as humans are presented, telling us what we can and must do to keep our race going.”

Mike Leonard, Staff Accountant

The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex

Why he loves it:A pager-turner of an atmospheric novel (based on a true event) about three lighthouse keepers who mysteriously disappear from a tower lighthouse off the English coast.”

Kate Braemer, Donor Relations Officer

Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid

Why she loves it: “A great book that encourages self-reflection.”

Susan Bauer, Manager of Food Services

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

Why she loves it:This is a page turner with characters to root for and against!”

Sheryl Stearns, Director of Enrollment Management and Financial Aid

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

Why she loves it: “I lived in southern Africa in the late 90s, and it was fascinating to read his often heartbreaking account of growing up in the early post-apartheid years.”

Andrew Hunter, Maine Coast Semester History Teacher

The Overstory by Richard Powers

Why he loves it:Learn to love trees and their intersections with humans!

Sue Andersen, Registered Nurse

Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle by Emily Nagoski, Ph.D. and Amelia Nagoski, D.M.A.

Why she loves it: “this book gives practical advice to get out of stress cycles.”

Margy Foulk, Development Research Officer

How to Dress an Egg by Ned Baldwin and Peter Kaminsky

Why she loves it:As the title says, surprising and simple ways to cook dinner.”

Aaron Park, Cook

Barkskins by Annie Proulx

Why he loves it: “The scope and breadth over time while still detailing the human experience.”

Erin Miller, Data Systems Administrator

Into the Light: A Family's Epic Journey by Dave & Jaja Martin

Why she loves it:Travel envy! The story of a couple and their three small children as they sail from Bermuda to Iceland and spend the winter living on their boat. Jaja and Dave now live in Round Pond, ME, and Jaja runs the sailing program for the YMCA.”

Rachel Bouttenot, Maine Coast Semester and Elementary and Middle School Math Teacher

Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar

Why she loves it: “a fantastic novel about post 9/11 realities for Arab and Muslim Americans.”

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Why she loves it: “A fun, fast paced science-fiction novel about a mission the save life on earth.”

You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottleib

Why she loves it:An honest memoir that reminded me how much benefit I have gotten from therapy and made me want to resume it.”

Anne Schlitt, Strategic Projects Manager

American Made: What Happens to People When Work Disappears by Farah Stockman

Why she loves it: This book combines research and storytelling and highlights the ways that American culture and economics have changed as a result of the decline in stable blue-collar factory work. What I found really interesting: the ways that class, geography, gender, and race intersect in these former factory towns.”

Shelf Life; Chronicles of a Cairo Bookseller by Nadia Wassef

Why she loves it:Three women open a modern bookstore in Cairo. Along the way, we learn how they navigate complicated administrative roadblocks, personal challenges, imposter syndrome, and politics. Most of all, this is a powerful personal vision for the value of connecting people and books.”

Old in Art School; A Memoir of Starting Over by Nell Painter

Why she loves it:Dr. Painter, author of The History of White People and Princeton history professor, makes a late-career swerve and goes back to art school for a BFA and an MFA. This inspiring and incisive memoir is all about identity, age, race, and creativity.”

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