From fiction to non-fiction, academic to leisure, University of Richmond faculty share what they’ll be reading this summer and why. 

Nancy Bagranoff, Robins School of Business dean

I am looking forward to reading “The Road to Character” by David Brooks. In it, he talks about what is on your resume versus what you would like someone to say about you at your funeral. He talks about the latter and how you build that, in part through education. Or at least I think that’s what the book will be about. I am always interested in thinking about leadership and values, so this book is very appealing to me.

Kristin Bezio, assistant professor of leadership studies

“William Shakespeare’s Star Wars” by Ian Doescher was written by a professional actor with experience doing Shakespeare and draws upon the allusions in Star Wars to significant Shakespearean figures (Luke as Hamlet, for instance, and Darth Vader as Claudius) by patterning their speech after those characters’ speeches, which makes it a really interesting way to think about how Shakespeare resonates in more modern media.

Abigail Cheever, Film Studies program coordinator

This summer I will be reading a book by Mark Harris called “Five Came Back: A Story of Hollywood and the Second World War.” It explores how major Hollywood directors of the 1930s and early 1940s – John Ford, George Stevens, John Huston, William Wyler, and Frank Capra – were granted unparalleled access to WWII combat zones and the films that were the result. It speaks to the complicated relation between Hollywood storytelling and American culture that forms the basis of my research.

Susan Cohen, assistant professor of management

I’ll be reading “Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World” by Adam Grant. Adam is the youngest full professor at Wharton, and a personal friend of mine.  I’ve already read the first two chapters, and can’t wait to read the rest. It’s about how to be creative and how to nurture creativity in others. Adam blends academic research with real life stories in a way that makes his books deeply engaging and personal.

Beth Crawford, Department of Psychology chair

I'll be reading "The Rest is Noise" by Alex Ross, which my colleague Laura Knouse recently recommended. I love music, but I'm often at a loss when it comes to the modern, atonal stuff. Maybe by the end of summer, I'll be happily blasting Schoenberg loudly enough for the whole Psychology Department to enjoy.

Robert Hodierne, Department of Journalism chair

I’m working on a project this summer dealing with the 1968 Vietnam My Lai Massacre. That involves 20,000 pages of testimony. Much of it pretty grim. So I look for escape in my other reading. My wife has insisted I read Andy Weir’s “The Martian.”

Crystal Hoyt, professor of leadership studies and psychology

I recommend “Personal: A Jack Reacher Novel” by Lee Child. I once read that Malcolm Gladwell said he would select this book if he could choose a book to require President Obama to read. And I adore Gladwell.

Jeffrey Riehl, Department of Music chair

I tend toward non-fiction for recreational reading and I enjoy political history, so “Alexander Hamilton” by Ron Chernow is on my reading list. That it also inspired the hip-hop musical “Hamilton” makes it particularly interesting to me.

Walter Stevenson, Department of Classical Studies chair

I’ll be reading “Ulysses in Black: Ralph Ellison, Classicism, and African American Literature” by Patrice Rankine, UR’s new Arts and Sciences dean. I always enjoyed Ralph Ellison as one of the truly “classic” American authors, so I’m intrigued to discover at how Rankine, also a classicist, will connect him to our field of ancient Greek and Roman classics.

Allison Tait, assistant professor of law

I'm looking forward to reading Amanda Vickery's book, “Behind Closed Doors: At Home in Georgian England,” which offers a cultural history of domestic spaces, because it is all about the high stakes of picking the right wallpaper and offering the best refreshments to guests. Vickery discusses the ways in which couples and families cultivated their public image through interior decorating, architectural fashion and social customs like paying afternoon visits.

Additional reading selections are available here.

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