beaches and lunch breaks and travels this summer, students planning
to enter the University of California, Berkeley, as fall freshmen
already are meeting UC Berkeley faculty members - through the
pages of 24 great books.
unofficial Summer Reading List is out, and all of this year's
selections were authored by campus faculty members, including
a Nobel Laureate, a Pulitzer Prize winner, and several recipients
of the National Book Critics Circle Award.
students are unaware that these respected writers - including
Maxine Hong Kingston, Robert Hass, Czeslaw Milosz, Leonard
Michaels and Thom Gunn - are teaching, or once taught, at
UC Berkeley, said Steve Tollefson, faculty development coordinator
for the Office of Student Life/Educational Development. He
co-produces the annual reading list with Ellen Meltzer, head
of the Teaching Library at Moffitt Library.
of the authors are still teaching here," Tollefson added,
"and perhaps these students will be lucky enough to take
a class from some of them."
diverse topics include the role of men and women in horror
films, the origin of the idea of vampires, metaphors, architecture,
slavery, the search for the remains of an asteroid that may
have wiped out the dinosaur, surfing and AIDS.
of fiction, four books of poetry and 15 books of non-fiction
are suggested, "and none of the non-fiction is dry,"
a lecturer for the campus's College Writing Programs, said
it was difficult putting this year's list together, since
there are many published writers at UC Berkeley. "Some
of their books just weren't for 18-year-olds," he explained,
"and others were very good, but not summer reading for
the list was compiled by instructors in the College Writing
Programs and by campus librarians. Two books, Kingston's "Woman
Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts" and "Jasmine"
by Bharati Mukherjee, got the most recommendations.
a College Writing Programs lecturer, suggested English professor
Mukherjee's "Jasmine," the story of a young woman
from India who comes to America illegally.
should read this book because it tells an important and exciting
story of America today, an America of illegal immigrants,
of Yuppie New York intellectuals, of the 'day mummies' who
raise their children, of Midwestern farmers losing their farms,
to name only a few," said Offen-Brown.
brilliantly written," she added, "and a great read."
assistant director of the College Writing Programs, recommended
"Death Without Weeping: The Violence of Everyday Life
In Brazil," a work of non-fiction by anthropology professor
tells us about blood and dirt and death - and birth - in vivid
detail that helps us understand the people she lives among
and writes about," said Hammons. "She never hides
from the reader.
will find no better model of ethnography, a kind of text they
will most certainly be asked to read and will very well be
asked to write as they pursue their educations at Berkeley."
Meltzer contributed psychology professor Christina Maslach's
"Burnout: The Cost of Caring," to the summer reading
list, saying it's not a "sit-on-the-beach-and-sip-a-Coke"
book, but that it's accessible and enjoyable.
heard about burnout, and it was one of our own faculty members
who originally did research in this field," said Meltzer.
"This should be exciting to students when they begin
to think about what it will really be like to come here and
be in contact with faculty."
said students headed to UC Berkeley "have worked really
hard, and if they haven't already, they will come to points
in their lives when they'll experience burnout."
A few of
the professors on the list are no longer are alive, but students
can meet them through their books and glimpse the campus's
long literary history, said Tollefson.
Burdick, who became well known for writing "Fail Safe,"
was an assistant professor of political science who died in
1965. He's on the reading list for "The Ninth Wave,"
which mixes the early days of surfing with California politics.
Miles, who, at the end of her teaching days, was so frail
she was carried to class by students, is an unsung poet worth
learning about, added Tollefson. Miles, who died in 1985,
was the first woman professor in UC Berkeley's English department.
George R. Stewart, who taught English at UC Berkeley, is on
the list for "Earth Abides," a science fiction novel
set in Berkeley, including on the campus. "It should
be required reading for every student at Berkeley," said
Tollefson. "The Bay Bridge is there, and the Main Library,
among other things."
books are out of print, all of them are available through
the campus library and other libraries, as well as through
years, the Summer Reading List has been full of surprises,
including "The Communist Manifesto," the Old Testament
and, last year, "Winnie the Pooh."
list is just as entertaining and unpredictable.
wouldn't expect many of these books to be on the list,"
said Tollefson, "but what do you expect from Berkeley?"
ARE YOU READING THIS SUMMER?"
THE UNOFFICIAL 2000 UC BERKELEY SUMMER READING
Ninth Wave" by Eugene Burdick
Houghton Mifflin, 1956 (out of print)
an assistant professor of political science who died in 1965,
is most famous for his two other books, "Fail Safe"
and "The Ugly American." But "The Ninth Wave"
may be his most intriguing, especially for Californians. It
mixes the early days of surfing with California politics.
Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts" by Maxine
Vintage Books, 1989 (c. 1976)
senior lecturer in UC Berkeley's English department, Kingston
tells the story of her life, and that of her mother, in a
beautiful, gripping account full of ghosts, strange visiting
relatives, misunderstandings between parents and children,
folktales, and insight into life in both China and the United
Places" by Leonard Michaels
New York: Farrar, Strauss & Giroux,
1969 (out of print)
first collection of short stories by English professor Leonard
Michaels is a savage and funny look at love, sex, friendship
and New York. Although Michaels went on to greater fame with
his novel "The Men's Club," the freshness and intensity
of the stories in "Going Places" makes this book
Abides" by George R. Stewart
Fawcett, 1989 (c. 1949)
late Stewart, an English professor at UC Berkeley, wrote several
well-known books including "Storm" and "Fire."
"Earth Abides" is a science fiction novel about
the people left to rebuild civilization after a plague has
wiped out most of the world. The book is set in Berkeley,
including UC Berkeley, and in Oakland.
by Bharati Mukherjee
Grove Press, 1999 (c. 1989)
this award-winning novel, Jasmine journeys from India to Iowa
and learns much about identity and modern life along the way.
Mukherjee, an English professor, captures the essence of how
our world looks today.
Man With Night Sweats" by Thom Gunn
Noonday Press, 1993 (c. 1992)
a UC Berkeley English professor, stabs readers in the heart
with this book of personal, painful, but often redemptive
poems on the AIDS pandemic.
Under Wood: New Poems" by Robert Hass
Ecco Press, 1998 (c. 1996)
former U.S. Poet Laureate, Hass gives music and voice to the
big issues of midlife - connection, communication, family,
mortality. Many of these poems shine with California perspective.
The UC Berkeley English professor meditates on the body, Berkeley,
food, aging and marriage.
Poems, 1930-83" by Josephine Miles
University of Illinois Press, 1999 (c.1983)
a former English professor at UC Berkeley, was one of the
most well-known and respected writers on the Berkeley campus
until her death in 1985. Her "Collected Poems" won
the Leonore Marshall/Nation Poetry Prize and was a finalist
for the Pulitzer Prize.
Poems: 1931-1987" by Czeslaw Milosz
Ecco Press, 1990 ( c.1988)
poems of this Nobel Laureate and UC Berkeley professor emeritus
of English are crucial to the citizens of the world who care
about history's effects on humanity. Milosz, who is Slavic,
writes in his native Polish language and has worked closely
with translator Robert Hass, a UC Berkeley professor, for
many years. This book is one of the most stunning results.
and the Crater of Doom" by Walter Alvarez
Vintage Press, 1998 (c. 1997)
a professor of geology, is one of a group of UC Berkeley scientists
who first proposed that dinosaurs were wiped out by the effects
of a huge asteroid hitting the earth. This is a true-life,
wonderfully readable detective story of their search for the
Women and Chain Saws: Gender in the Modern Horror Film"
by Carol Clover
Princeton University Press, 1993 (c.
book may be the only one by a UC Berkeley faculty member to
be a finalist in the Bram Stoker Award, given by the Horror
Writers Association. Clover, a professor of both Scandinavian
Studies and rhetoric, discusses the role of men and women
in these movies.
Pooh Perplex, A Freshman Casebook" by Frederick Crews
Dutton, 1963 (out of print)
this book, a great satire on literary interpretation, each
character speaks for a particular school of literary analysis
and presents a hilarious interpretation of Winnie the Pooh
and his friends. Crews is professor emeritus of English.
Vampire: A Casebook" by Alan Dundes
University of Wisconsin Press, 1998
a professor of anthropology and folklore, explains all about
vampires - from the origins of the idea of vampires to the
various cultures that believe in them - in this collection
Women Novelists: The Development of a Tradition, 1892-1976"
by Barbara Christian
Greenwood Press, 1980 (out of print)
a professor of African American Studies, opened up a new genre
- the study of literature by black women writers - that led
to an understanding and appreciation of writers such as Toni
Morrison, Alice Walker, Zora Neale Hurston and Paule Marshall.
of Age in the Milky Way" by Timothy Ferris
Anchor Books, 1989 (c. 1998)
book is a whirlwind trip - from prehistoric times right up
until today - through space, time and what people have believed
about them. Ferris is a professor emeritus of journalism.
Time Bind: When Work Becomes Home and Home Becomes Work"
by Arlie Hochschild
Owl Books, 1998 (c. 1997)
professor Hochschild looks at what happens when the converging
pressures of post-feminist reality meet two-career family
issues. This thoughtful, political book looks at some surprising
issues, such as family members taking "refuge" in
work, away from the pressures and heightened expectations
of family life.
History of Architecture: Settings and Rituals" by Spiro
Oxford University Press, 1995 (c. 1985)
late Kostoff, a former professor of architecture, produced
a very readable history of worldwide architecture and urbanism
that places the built environment in the context of the social
and political forces that shaped it.
We Live By" by George Lakoff
University of Chicago Press, 1983 (c.
thesis of this book is simple: metaphors are not simply figures
of speech, but ways we look at the world. A professor of linguistics,
Lakoff shows us that such common phrases as "spending
time" and "wasting time" reveal more about
us that we might think.
Power: The Politics of Language" by Robin Tolmach Lakoff
Basic Books, 1990 (out of print)
this book, Lakoff, a linguistics professor, covers many aspects
of our use of language, from the courtroom to the classroom.
Although the topics may seem deep, Lakoff's style is open
to all readers.
in the Storm So Long: The Aftermath of Slavery" by Leon
Random House, 1980 (c. 1979)
of history, Litwak won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer
Prize for this study. It is not the kind of history text most
of us are used to, but an engaging work that draws on, among
its many sources, diaries of slave owners and interviews with
Without Weeping: The Violence of Everyday Life in Brazil"
by Nancy Scheper-Hughes
University of California Press, 1993
is a wrenching, ethnographic account of the brevity of life
in the favela, a typical town market town, that reads like
a novel, making a case for ethnography as an art form. Scheper-Hughes
is a professor of anthropology.
Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America"
by Ronald Takaki
Little Brown and Co., 1994 (c. 1993)
has contributed to America, and in this book, Takaki, a professor
of Ethnic Studies, covers many of those contributions, as
well as the conflicts between the various groups that make
up this country.
The Cost of Caring" by Christina Maslach
Prentice Hall, 1982
on 10 years of research, this book is one of the earliest,
most accessible and still most useful books on the topic of
burnout. It is peppered with personal accounts from Maslach,
a professor of psychology, yet based on solid research. It's
a great starting-out point for an increasingly important topic
in the digital age.
A Poet's Childhood" by June Jordan
Basic Civitas Books, 2000
an African American Studies professor, tells us about her
childhood in New York and the roots of her life as a poet,
essayist and novelist.