Read up – well-known faces shared their summer reads

It may not be a requirement any longer, but many professors and administrators still spend their summers reading. We asked some what book they read over summer vacation, or what’s a must-read for students about to enter college.

Below are their suggestions. Happy reading!

University President Steven Knapp: The Brothers Karamazov by author Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Provost Steven Lerman: The Churchill Factor: How One Man Made History by Boris Johnson and The Wright Brothers by David McCullough

“Both are extremely well-written and fascinating,” Lerman said.

University Librarian Geneva Henry: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

“My favorite read this summer was, ‘The Nightingale,’ by Kristin Hannah. It’s historic fiction set in France during World War II, when France was occupied by the Nazis. It takes you on a journey of two sisters and their individual acts of bravery during extremely challenging times. GW students would love this book because it presents a powerful narrative of political activism, courage and doing what’s right for humanity despite the risks and potentially fatal consequences,” Henry said. “I gave it to my daughter to read: She couldn’t put it down and stayed up all night reading it. She texted me the next morning saying, ‘That is an amazing book!’ I agree!”

Center for Student Engagement Director Tim Miller: Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek

“My wife actually received the book at a conference she attended and met the author, and thought I would like it. I have watched several videos highlighting Simon’s work and had been intrigued by his previous books. I also believe that leaders should eat last myself, and thought there could be some deeper learning and inspiration from this book. I have really enjoyed the parts that have resonated with me as much as the parts that have challenged my thinking and perspectives. I recommend this to anyone who believes in the concept of servant leadership and wants to reflect on their own leadership and personal philosophy,” Miller said.

Dean of Student Affairs Peter Konwerski: A Hope in the Unseen: An American Odyssey from the Inner City to the Ivy League by Ron Suskind

“It’s been helping me better understand the tenacity and resilience many students, including those from diverse backgrounds (including Washington, D.C. where this story took place), must demonstrate to achieve a higher education,” Konwerski said.

English Department Chair Robert McRuer: Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

“Like many this summer, including President Obama, my reading list included Ta-Nehisi Coates’s book Between the World and Me. Toni Morrison called this book ‘required reading,’ and it is a powerful, moving text. It is an autobiographical meditation on race and racism in America, written as a letter to Coates’s teenage son,” McRuer said.

Assistant economics professor Irene Foster: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling

“This summer I finally read Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling. It was so funny. I think it is perfect for anyone going through the same sort of angst at any stage of life!” Foster said.

Associate School of Media and Public Affairs professor Cheryl Thompson: The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson

“It’s about the migration of millions of blacks from the South during the Jim Crow era hoping for a better life up North and in the Midwest. It’s a great history lesson for students and a fabulous read,” Thompson said.

Assistant School of Media and Public Affairs professor Imani Cheers: Habits of Achievement: Lessons for a Life Well-Lived by James E. McLeod

“[The] hands-down, best book I’ve ever read is Habits of Achievement: Lessons for a Life Well-Lived by James E. McLeod. He was the Dean of Students at my alma mater, Washington University in St. Louis, and one of the wisest men I’ve ever known,” Cheers said.

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