Professors recommend winter reading: Take a stab at the Hunger Games and Willa Cather

Compiled by The Wellesley News staff

After you’ve gone through all Netflix-available seasons of “Extreme Cheapskates,” consider doing some reading over winter break. A few Wellesley professors offer book recommendations for the six-week stretch between semesters.

“At Swim-Two-Birds” by Flann O’Brien. 

“Dylan Thomas said that it’s ‘just the book to give your sister if she’s a loud, dirty, boozy girl.’”

Jimmy Wallenstein, English Department

“Let the Great World Spin” by Colum McCann

“Brooklyn” by Colin Tobin is “wonderful”

“My Education” by Susan Choi

“Sisterland” by Curtis Sittenfeld

“Canada” by Richard Ford

“Though not everyone likes Richard Ford, I found ‘Canada’ fascinating and so well written and evocative.”

Lynne Viti, the Writing Program

“The Professor’s House” and “Death Comes for the Archbishop” by Willa Cather

“I highly recommend two beautifully written novels, both very sensitive and tough-minded, Willa Cather’s ‘The Professor’s House’ (1925), and ‘Death Comes for the Archbishop’ (1927).”

William Cain, English Department

“The Hunger Games” trilogy

Professor Ko suggested both “something completely mindless and something mesmerizing. If your brain is too tired to think, you can watch the new film version of Catching Fire and read the entire Hunger Games trilogy in one day (do take breaks to eat, though).”

“The Brothers Karamazov” by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“If you would rather lose yourself in a novel that explores spiritual hunger (though it also famously treats physical hunger in its ‘Grand Inquisitor’ episode), you can go to Dostoyevsky’s Brothers Karamazov.”

Yu Jin Ko, English Department

“Sketches from a Hunter’s Album” by Ivan Turgenev

“A cycle of stories set in the Russian countryside and a take on pressing social problems.”

“Anton Chekhov: Short Stories” (Norton)

“Stories that achieve in a few pages what many whole novels fail to achieve.”

Thomas Hodge, Russian Department

“The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance” by Edmund de Waal

“Part detective story, part memoir, this book tells the story of a mysterious collection of netsuke that travels around the world. It explores how objects intersect with our own personal histories and how cultures bleed into and shape each other. There’s suspense and romance, too. I can’t put it down (thus it cannot be recommended for exam period). But take it home with you!”

Eve Zimmerman, Department of East Asian Languages and Literature

How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia,” by Mohsin Hamid  

“It is widely available in paperback and was published last year by Riverhead (Penguin). It is fairly short and both entertaining and sad, in the end, perhaps like most good books.”

Margery Sabin, English Department

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