From the Bookshelves

Ideas for summer reading

(Photo courtesy of iStockPhoto)

Ed. Note: We asked a few of our OWU friends to share some of their good summer “reads.” What are your favorite books? We would like to hear from you! Please post your thoughts in the Comments section at the bottom of this story, or email them to

From parenting advice for those who are sending children off to college, to a story about a small community in Athens, Ohio founded by former slaves, to insightful thoughts about our relationships with our animal friends—the following books are highly recommended by several of our faculty and staff for your reading pleasure:

Nancy Bihl Rutkowski
Interim Director of Student Involvement, Assistant Director of Student Involvement for Leadership

  • Letting Go: A Parent’s Guide to Understanding the College Years, by Karen Levin Coburn and Madge Lawrence Treeger.

“This is a book to which I have referred OWU parents over the years and have perused myself. Now with a college freshman and a high school junior of my own, I hope to learn the art of letting go.”

  • Primal Leadership: Learning to Lead with Emotional Intelligence, by Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, and Annie McKee.

“I am fascinated by the work Daniel Goleman has done on emotional intelligence and hope to be able to use what I gain from this book in my work this coming year.”

Lynette Carpenter
Chairperson and Professor of English

  • Cion, by Zakes Mda.

I’m teaching Zake Mda’s “Cion” in the American Landscape course this fall. Mda is a South African writer who teaches at Ohio University, and the novel is set in and around Athens, Ohio. The narrator is a professional mourner from South Africa who visits Athens, and then a small community outside Athens founded by former slaves. We get two narratives: the story of the past, with its rich history of the intermingling of Blacks, Whites, and Native Americans, and the story of the present, where our narrator inserts himself—often comically—into the intergenerational tensions within a contemporary family.”

Joe Musser
Professor of English

  • Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat, by Hal Herzog.

This book explores our cultural, ethical, scientific, and personal relationships with animals. Included in the book are chapters on meat-eating, the use of animals in scientific research, and the reasons we conceive of some animals (but not all) as pets. It’s thoughtful, challenging many assumptions about our relationships with animals, and using anecdotes as well as scientific studies to comment on the complexities and contradictions in those relationships. One reviewer said, “Readers will welcome Herzog’s eye-opening discussions, presented with compassion and humor.”

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