Faculty Summer Reading: Diana Magnuson

Our series of Bethel history faculty summer reading suggestions continues with this list from Diana Magnuson.

Persuasion (1818)
Title page for Jane Austen’s novels Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, published together in 1818 – Wikimedia

• I almost always start out the summer with Jane Austen. Her work is like a palate cleanser at the end of the school year. I’m reading Persuasion (1818) right now. (It is also available as a free audiobook from Librivox here, and as a free e-book here.)

• I’m going to finish a book I started during Interim that was recommended to me by my favorite nine year old boy: Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson (1883). (Librivox audiobook here and e-book here.)

• I’m also a third of the way through Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamozov (1880). This hefty volume is practically weightless in Kindle form. Plus my handy dandy effortless Kindle dictionary makes it easy to look up all the obscure vocabulary.

• Two other books in my summer reading pile are also recommendations. My humanities-loving husband says I simply must read Dante’s Divine Comedy (Mark Musa’s translation, 1981). I’ve downloaded it to my Kindle, but I’ll probably stick with my husband’s completely note-laden, marked-up Musa copy.

The other must read is Paul Woodruff’s translated selections (1993) from Thucydides’ The History of the Peloponnesian War. I’m sure Dr. Cragg will approve (after he gets over the shock and disbelief that I haven’t read this work yet).

• I’m also on a mission to conquer Moby Dick(Free audiobook and e-book also options.) I’ve been reading this incredibly historically significant work off and on for over two years. I now have motivation to finish, as I’m assigning sections of it in my A New Nation course (Fall 2012).

• I also read aloud to my children. With my nine years olds we have a nice little stack for the summer. They are voracious listeners (as well as reading on their own): Brian Jacques’ Redwall series; Armstrong Sperry’s Call It Courage; Rascal by Sterling North; the ever popular Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren; and Cressida Cowell’s How To Train Your Dragon. And just for fun, there will be a sprinkling of Thornton Burgess’s Old Mother West Wind stories. Many of Burgess’s books are available as free Kindle downloads. I never go anywhere without them.

• My fifteen year old and I still love to read together. We are on our final book in the Cornelia Funke Inkheart Trilogy. Funke’s work is not something we’d normally be drawn to, but we were thoroughly drawn into her world once we began. Bibliophile Dr. Eric Gossett in the Math/Computer Science department recommended Funke’s work to us.

• Finally, as a family, we are reading aloud J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit. We’ve read it before, but we must prepare ourselves for the 14 December 2012 release of the Peter Jackson film, The Hobbit.

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