Today is World Book Day! Here are some of our staff’s favorite books.
Andrew Frank, Access Services Librarian:
My favorite book is Swiss Family Robinson. I like the exploration and adventure on a deserted island where a range of animals and plants that have no earthy reason to inhabit the place are all conveniently available to be exploited by a family whose patriarch appears to have an endless encyclopedic knowledge of how to best exploit them for the families benefit. It is the ultimate fantasy of know-it-alls everywhere. I also like that it has a fascinating literary history. The book has innumerable editions because it was edited by a range of different people, often with no connection to the original author, who added or subtracted from the story, including adding new characters, entire chapters, new geography and different endings, depending on their particular religious/political philosophy. Also, the family in the story is not named Robinson. The title refers to Robinson Crusoe (1719) by Daniel Defoe, a popular book at the time that spawned a whole genre of colonial castaway fiction, of which Swiss Family Robinson is probably the most famous.
Roger Skalbeck, Professor of Law and Associate Dean for Library and Information Services:
My favorite book is The Evolution of Useful Things by Henry Petroski. This book opened my eyes to the ways in which society changes through the influence of human need and ingenuity. It helps us all recognize the value and intrigue in objects we might otherwise overlook in life. Also, it’s a great way to see how patents and engineering help us understand progress and contribute to our understanding of the development of our culture.
Janette Morgan, Acquisitions & Serials Manager:
When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold Kushner has been one of the most influential books I’ve read. Whenever I start to feel the least bit sorry for myself or I hear of something awful that has happened, I leaf through this book to remind me there are always good things and good people in the world.
Kathy Salandro, Library Associate for Serials and Acquisitions:
The Wind Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami is an existential adventure. Murakami is such a clever storyteller. He can paint such vivid images that you enjoy reading his descriptions of everyday activities. The story is simple one – a cat goes missing as does a wife – before either can be found you must follow Toru. Toru is the out of work husband who is a little self-absorbed to notice any of the changes until it may be too late. The path he takes to finding answers is certainly not conventional but it is always engaging and surrealistically interesting.