What did you read/watch/listen to over the summer?

Welcome back!  As is our time-honored tradition, we asked members of the Nobles community what books, films, TV shows and podcasts they enjoyed over the summer break.  Check out our displays in the library for some of the items listed!

Director of College Counseling Kate Boyle Ramsdell:
Born a Crime by Trevor Noah — on my morning walks, when I wasn’t listening to Amazon Prime’s Top Dance Hits, I listened to Noah’s compelling memoir about his life growing up in South Africa during apartheid. While I have always loved his razor-sharp insight on The Daily Show, I now have context for his perspective, wit and wisdom. He narrates well, which made me love the fact that I was listening to it, but it would also be a quick and compelling read.

Three books I am reading simultaneously, none of which I have yet finished, all of which I am enjoying immensely and would recommend:

Homegoing, by Yaa Gyasi
Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The Hate You Give, by Angie Thomas

Each author’s voice is powerful and engaging. I have loved the breadth of Gyasi’s narrative. Adichie is one of my favorite authors, and I finally got to Americanah this summer — simply put, she is a remarkable writer! Lastly, many of the girls in the dorm last year raved about Thomas’ debut novel, and given its pertinence to our contemporary American experience, I had to dive in. So far, I’m glad I’ve created an opportunity for myself to delve into multiple perspectives in three novels with complex, critical and compelling overlapping themes.

Spanish Teacher and Academic Technology Specialist Anderson Julio:
The More of Less: Finding the Life You Want Under Everything You Own by Joshua Becker. Through simplifying our lives and cutting down on mindless consumption, Becker argues, we can free up time and energy towards what matters the most. The book presents real-life examples of people who have transformed their lives and found sustainable happiness through simple living. Whether we are aware or not we live in a cluttered world. Think 24/7 news cycles, endless advertisement, sports and entertainment, access to an infinite amount of resources via the internet.

Spanish Teacher and Class II Dean Cam Marchant N’02:
Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations by Ronen Bergman.

A detailed survey of the history of Israel’s military forces and tactics. Although the book focuses on the Mossad (Israel’s CIA) and Shin Bet (Israel’s FBI) it provides a strong background on general Israeli military history.

The Gatekeepers
Directed by Dror Moreh
A somewhat-dated (2012) documentary on the Shin Bet (Israel’s FBI). Essentially a series of interviews with the six former heads of the Shin Bet.

The Rider
Film directed by Chloe Zhao.
Examines the life of a young Native American rodeo star in South Dakota. Shot on location and starring the actual people that the film is based on, it examines a young man’s challenging change in perspective after a serious injury.

Crux by Jean Guererro
A memoir of a Mexican-American writer who grew up in a complex and often challenging world of two nations and two parents who often times are at odds.

Alex Janower ’22:
My favorite book that I read this summer was 188th Crybaby Brigade by Joel Chasnoff, a Chicagoan, Jewish comedian. The autobiography focuses on Joel’s experience in the Israeli army as a tank shooter. Chasnoff intertwined humor with deep messages, so the book was a fun, quick, meaningful read.

Librarian Emily Tragert:
How To Survive a Plague by David France

I really enjoyed this long but readable account of how activists and scientists worked to get funding and muster political will during the AIDS crisis in the 1980s and 90s. It was fascinating, heartbreaking and inspiring all at the same time.

Circe by Madeline Miller
The author of The Song of Achilles did it again–she somehow captured the beautiful lyricism of Homer in modern prose. I found this book to be lovely and enchanting; it brings a new perspective to the well-known story of The Odyssey

History Teacher Nahyon Lee:
“Making Obama” podcast – The podcast from Chicago’s WBEZ goes back to how President Obama became a politician. It’s not about his presidency but from his time as a community organizer to a senator. The podcast was easy to follow, great interviews, and informative about the political scene in Chicago.

Middle School Teaching Fellow Jennah Maybury:
I read All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr this summer and it was AWESOMEEEE. It follows the lives of two young people, a blind French girl and a German boy, during WWII. Their stories intersect in mysterious, poignant ways. Beyond being a total page-turner, what I love about the book is its ability to convey humanity, hope, and connectedness even in the darkest of times.

Math Teacher Efe Osifo:
I was (due to our wonderful library and amazing librarians) able to listen to a reading of Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone. I’ve read the book several times. However, I’d never listened to an audiobook before and I figured that it would be an interesting experience. Reading a book is one thing and it’s amazing. However, hearing good actors read is entirely different. Hearing the accents, the emphasis on words and sentences I missed when I was a kid was surprisingly a really fun listen. I encourage all of you to get a book on tape and listen to it while you run (which I didn’t do), or while you eat cookies (which I did do).

Wyatt Sullivan ’19
Book: The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch: I’m a sucker for a good fantasy romp and this book delivered that in so many ways and more. Not only was in accessibly written but each word of Lynch’s prose is subtly evocative and allows anyone to effortlessly imagine his eccentric array of characters and exciting action sequences. The Lies of Locke Lamora is centred around its titular character and his team of thieves and con-artists as they attempt to pull off their biggest con yet. Imagine Ocean’s 11 with rooftop chases, plague doctors, assassinations and a little bit of magic.

Movie: Calvary directed by John McDonagh: Its hard to describe this film without giving too much away. Set on the west coast of Ireland, the story revolves around an honest and faithful Catholic priest with a dark past and a darker future, played masterfully by Brendan Gleason. Part mystery, part drama, and riddled with dark comedy and heartbreaking sincerity alike. There really is no other film quite like this one and it has stayed with me long after first seeing it.

Spanish Teach Elizabeth Benjamin-Alcayaga:
I read the memoir Educated by Tara Westover this summer. What a fascinating, insightful, and at times difficult-to-read book. In short, it recounts the story of a young woman who grew up in a survivalist/fundamentalist family in Idaho. She never received a formal education until she went to college, where she first learned about key historical events such as the Holocaust and the Civil Rights movement. Its a tale of family conflict, coming-of-age, and highlights how education shapes one’s perspective and world view.

Brian Qi ’24:
I would recommend I am the Messenger for fans of The Book Thief. It is about a taxi driver who doesn’t have his life on track. One day, he receives messages via a playing card. On these messengers, he must solve certain conflicts of other people, and becomes the messenger. These messages help him get his life back on.

Wudiana Fevrier ’24:
My favorite book that I read was probably a tie between The Only Thing To Fear and The Hate U Give.

Jerry Qin ’24:
I read a few books this summer. One book I read that I really enjoyed is called Another Day by David Levithan. It’s Every Day but told in the perspective of Rhiannon. I also read Scythe by Neal Schusterman. It is a few hundred years into the future, where humans have conquered death. There are an elite group of people called Scythes who kill or as they call it gleaning people to keep the population down. Two kids, Citra and Rowan, are chosen to be scythe apprentices, and train together. However, only one of them can become a scythe. Four months later, their first scythe conclave rolled around. A scythe conclave is a big meeting which all the scythes in the area attend. Unfortunately, Citra and Rowan are forced to train against each other, and in 8 months time, whoever becomes the scythe will have to glean the other person. Neither Citra nor Rowan want to kill each other, so they try to find a way out of the system. Citra ends up becoming the scythe, and right as she is about to glean Rowan, he escapes. That is where the book ends, and where Thunderhead starts.

Librarian Talya Sokoll:
Check, Please! by Ngozi Ukazu.  This is an adorable graphic novel about hockey and baking.  It tells the story of the main character Bitty’s first two years at college as he navigates playing college hockey, baking as much as possible, and falling in love with one of his teammates.
The Book of Essie, by Meghan MacLean Weir, tells the powerful story of Essie, the youngest of six children, who discovers she is pregnant at the start of her senior year in high school.  Essie’s family is famous for their reality TV show Six for Hicks, which showcases their father’s weekly church services and as the book unfolds, we go on a journey with Essie as she figures out what to do and who she can truly trust.
Pulp by Robin Talley.  Abby is in her senior year of high school and trying to figure out what she wants to do for her senior project.  She finds an old lesbian pulp novel from the 1950s and decides to research the history of queer pulp novels while writing her own.  Through this process she goes on a journey of discovery about herself, her goals and her friendships.  Interspersed throughout Abby’s story is the story of Janet, an 18 year-old gay woman living in Washington, D.C. in the 1950s.  Janet, who is in a secret relationship with her best friend Marie, must decide if the life she truly wants is worth the sacrifices she must make.  

Danielle Frankel ’22:
These are two of the books that I read this summer:

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
The main themes include police violence, racism, family support, trust, willingness to speak out, and courage.
I would definitely recommend this book, as I feel that it is such an important topic to discuss, and it illustrates so many values that we should bring into our daily lives.

Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys
The book describes the survival stories of Lina Vilkas, and her brother, Jonas. They were forced out of their homes in Lithuania and were transported in boxcars to a labor camp, and the Arctic Circle. Through the whole story, Lina, Jonas, and their mother always were looking out for each other, whether it was giving them their ration of bread, or doing their share of the work. I love this book because their support for each other is so inspiring, especially the support from their mother, Elena. She is very admirable, as she respected everyone no matter if they were enemies or best friends.

Librarian Ella Steim:
The Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller – historical fiction – a retelling of the life of Achilles from the point of view of his companion, Patroclus. Beautifully written story of friendship, love, and fate.

Educated, by Tara Westover – memoir – Westover’s autobiography of her life so far, from growing up in a survivalist family in rural Idaho to attending school for the first time at age 17. Rich with meditations on family, learning, religion, and mental health. An incredibly powerful read.

Angie Feng ’24:
Over the summer, I read The Giver By Lois Lowry. It is about a boy who lives in a community where everything is seemingly “perfect”. I liked The Giver because it taught me a really important lesson on how nothing is “perfect” and that everything has its flaws.

English Teacher Gia Batty:
My favorite book from my summer reading list was There, There by Tommy Orange. His story of urban Indians living in Oakland was heartbreakingly good and I predict that Tommy Orange will soon be a name that everyone knows. I loved Otessa Moshfegh’s My Year of Rest and Relaxation for its dysfunctional and lovable narrator who believes that if she could just sleep for a year, her life would be so much better. I also enjoyed reading the English II summer reading book, Exit West by Mohsin Hamid.

English Teacher and Class I Dean Kim Libby:
Ali Smith has been called “Scotland’s Nobel laureate-in-waiting” as she accumulates a genius body of work. She is the middle of writing her Seasonal Quartet: four books set in the Post-Brexit Britain. Her characters Tweet about global warming and love female pioneers of the British pop art scene; they endure the maddeningly complicated task of ordering a passport, and they speak from spaces between life and death. Playful and sharp and cutting, Autumn and Winter were two of my favorites this summer. I cannot wait for Spring (coming March 2019…)

Director of Theatere Dan Halperin:
Best summer reading: Every word of every summer issue of The New Yorker. As one of my favorite media personalities put it, “Subscribe to The New Yorker, it’s a light in the darkness.” Also, magazines are great for travel and beach outings.

Best summer movies: Sorry to Bother You, BlacKKKlansman, and Leave No Trace.

Best summer TV: “Succession”…Written and performed like a great play.

Head of Upper School Michael Denning:
The Death of Democracy by Benjamin Carter Hett. Beginning with the premise that most people believe Hitler and the Nazis overthrew Germany’s Weimar Republic with some kind of violent coup d’etat, Professor Hett debunks this myth by showing how the Nazis came to power in Germany through legal processes. A historian of this period, Hett raises concerns for all democratic republics, offering a warning of what can happen when voters become swayed by racist, xenophobic, nationalistic and populist ideas and leaders.

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson. This beautifully written epic history chronicles the mass exodus of African-Americans from the Jim Crow South from the end of World War I until the 1970s. Through the story of three very different people from disparate backgrounds and places in the South, Wilkerson brings to life the terror and injustice under which people of color lived under Jim Crow, the tremendous courage, resourcefulness, and resilience thousands showed in escaping, and the enormous difficulties they confronted while building new lives for themselves and their families in cities in the North and West Coast. Through their exhaustive research, The Equal Justice Initiative has determined that over 4000 racially based lynchings occurred in twelve southern states from the end of Reconstruction in 1877 until 1950. Far too few of us know this history, and Wilkerson provides an opportunity for all of us to better understand and appreciate this tragic aspect of the American experience. All citizens of our Republic should read this work.

Ami Nwaoha:
I read Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I read a lot of her work before and she has become one of my favorite authors. The book is centered around the Biafran Civil War (the late 60’s), but it has elements of romance and tragedy, while also hinting at bigger topics such as Communism and colonialism. The characters feel great and vivid. I recommend this book to anyone who has a Nigerian background (such as myself) or loves Adichie’s work.

Science Teacher Christine Pasterczyk (CP):
Fugitive Pieces. This poetic novel by Canadian writer Anne Michaels (1998) was adapted into film in 2007. This summer, I both read the book and watched the film. Double the pleasure! Both pieces were beautiful: evocative, and deeply moving. Difficult too. The story centers around the life and experiences of a young Jewish boy who “bursts from the mud” of a war-torn Polish village during WWII, rescued from traumas he has already experienced (there are more to come) by a Greek archaeologist who smuggles him to an island occupied by Nazis in the Ionian Sea. Both the book and the film make clear that World War II was exactly that: a world war. They also explore the effects of trauma on this boy who becomes a man (and a writer) over the course of time: one who is reluctant to let go of the past, but who ultimately must do so (only by processing it) in order to move on. 

What Did You Read/Watch/Listen to Over Winter Break?

We asked and you answered! Welcome back and happy 2018! Special Events Coordinator Katherine Minevitz: Season 1 and Season 2 of “This is Us,” a really great tv show about a family and all the personalities, inner relationships, twists and turns that are all a part of life—well-acted drama with lots of “lighter” moments as well—really complex but relatable characters! Chinese Teacher Dao Liu: I watched “Stranger Things” on Netflix over the break. Actually, it was highly recommended by my students before the break, and they were very into it. I like the show! I like all mystery novels and movies, no matter where they are from (American, Japanese, British, Chinese, etc.). I also like the idea to salute to the popular culture of the 1980s. The acting skills of the young actors are absolutely amazing (I wonder how they found those amazing kids!). I am so looking forward to Season 3 coming out. Math Teacher Efe Osifo My favorite new show is a Netflix show called “Black Mirror.” (It’s rated R, unfortunately, so sorry to the young folks.) The show is a horror/sci-fi about humans interactions with various types of technology.  The “twist” in each episode is how the technology combined with flaws of humans leads to (usually) the downfall of humans.  In one episode, it starts with a young mother losing her young daughter in the park. After finding the daughter, the mother implants a GPS tracking system in her daughter. The GPS chip allows the mother to always know (via app) her daughter’s whereabouts geographically but also tells mom anytime her daughter is worried, afraid, scared, or upset via an app alert. The app also allows the mom to literally see through her daughter’s eyes whenever she wants. The episode gets a bit crazy because as the daughter gets older, she wants a bit more privacy and the mother is unwilling (for reasons shown in the show) to give it to her. The ending… is wild. If you’re old enough, I hope you watch and enjoy! P.S. Apparently the show is called “Black Mirror” because when you turn off a screen (tv, phone, laptop) you see your reflection on the now black screen. Hence, it’s a black mirror. Director of Instrumental Music Antonio Berdugo: I started Capital in the 21st Century by Thomas Piketty. Great input on how income inequality and wealth could impact everyone in the future. English Teacher Alden Mauck: Stoner by John Williams. This novel follows a young man from a hardscrabble farm to the University of Missouri so that he can become an agronomist and then return to his family farm to help his parents run it. However, he discovers a love of literature and becomes a college professor at the University of Missouri, falls in love once…falls in love twice, suffers a complicated relationship with his only child, and endures the palace intrigue of an English Department headed up by his chief rival. A quiet tragedy in the “campus novel” genre, beautifully written. Sidnie Kulik ’21: I read the book Agenda 21 by Glenn Beck. I loved the book because it was an action-packed dystopian novel.  It also was interesting to see how the author perceived the dangers that could occur from the UN trying to create a utopia, but instead, the effort created a corrupt world. Spanish Teacher Cam Marchant ’02: I thought that Wind River was an amazing film. In addition to stunning cinematography of Wyoming/Utah and a suspenseful crime mystery, it examines the major issue of domestic violence and sexual assault on (and off) American Indian reservations. It’s pretty heavy so I’m not sure that it would be appropriate for a lot of students, but a film certainly worth watching for adults. NPR’s Podcast “How I Built This” did an awesome episode on Jake Burton Carpenter, the founder of Vermont-based Burton snowboards, which is one of the largest brands in the world of action sports. In addition to a deep dive on the entrepreneurial aspects of the Burton story, the podcast goes into depth on the tragedies and triumphs of its founder’s own life. There’s even a connection to the ISL (Independent School League)! Science Teacher Bob Kern: During break, I started to watch a series called “Good Behavior.” So far there have been two seasons of this series on the TNT network. It is about a streetwise woman who is a thief and “con artist,” and a man who is a professional “hit man” with a conscience. Their “careers” lead them into some unusual and sometimes comical (depending on your sense of humor) situations and an unlikely love affair. Though their behavior is often “bad,” they do have some redeeming qualities, and I found myself cheering for them to succeed/survive in spite of their failings. There are some mature themes and some violence, so caution is advised for young viewers. Maddy King ’21: I started watching “Game of Thrones” over break and I’m already addicted. All the action and drama inspired by the Rose Wars is deeply entertaining. I’d recommend it for any that loves family drama, fight scenes and dragons. English Teacher Vicky Seelen: I read two incredible books: 1. The Weight of Ink, Rachel Kadish. A brilliantly written novel which moves between the 16th Century Jewish community in London, featuring an educated and orphaned young woman who seeks to defy the expectations of home and hearth, while also weaving in the story of two scholars, one an aging English professor and one, a young American who is stalled in his doctoral dissertation during 2001, who find papers hidden in a home that tie them to Esther of the 1500s. 2. Reading With Patrick, Michelle Kuo. A profoundly moving memoir of a Chinese woman (raised in Taiwan) who defies her immigrant parents’ desire for her to makes something more of herself and goes to the Mississippi Delta on a Teach for America assignment where she works in a school “at the margins” (understatement). While there, she teaches a young man named Patrick with whom she (ultimately) guides him through many poems while he awaits his trial for murder from prison. Dean of Enrollment Management Jen Hines: I devoured Dan Brown’s Origin.  I’m fascinated by the ways that science and religion do and don’t intersect and this book did not disappoint. It’s hard not to find the questions “where do we come from?” and “where are we going?” intriguing and concepts introduced in the book were the source of a lot of my conversations over the break. History Teacher Michael Polebaum ’08: I read Brunch is Hell: How to Save the World by Throwing a Dinner Party, which is an amazing satirical look at why brunch truly is destroying our collective soul and how to combat this threat by throwing the perfect dinner party. Complete with playlist recommendations and recipes, this book is a superb guide to not only the perfect dinner party, but a perfect life. English Teacher Chris Burr: I saw The Lady in the Van, a true story about an aged, homeless woman who is both cantankerous and desperate for the company of others. Maggie Smith from “Downtown Abbey” and the rest of the cast are wonderful. Head of School Catherine J. Hall, Ph.D: I read Pachinko, by Min Jin Lee. The book follows the story of one woman’s family and journey over four generations as her family emigrates from Korea to Japan in the 1920s. I found its portrayal of the complex cultural and political issues of that region during a very tumultuous time globally to be eye opening and also heart wrenching. There is a lot of sadness and suffering in this book, but also a tremendous amount of hope and optimism. History Teacher Jennifer Carlson-Pietraszek: BOOKS: The Art of Happiness, by the Dalai Lama.  Well worth a read—and even a reread. We all have so much agency, so much power within ourselves, to influence and design our life experiences. Choose compassion. The Keeper of Lost Things, by Ruth Hogan. Beautiful, interesting, great character development. This is an enjoyable read to be sure. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, by Jenny Lawson. I heard Jenny Lawson on a podcast and thought she was hysterical. Then I found that I had already downloaded one of her books (this one) through Audible. Funny! She apologizes early for the possible/probable offense she assumes you will take at some point along the way. Insights into living with significant depression and anxiety. TV SHOW: “Ozark” on Netflix. Wow. Only one season (so far). Totally gripping and addictive. As of last night I am waiting for a second season! MOVIE: Fences (2016). Incredible performances by Denzel Washington and Viola Davis in this adaptation of an August Wilson screenplay. Powerful. Race in our nation has deep roots. Working class family in 1950s Pittsburgh trying to survive and striving to thrive but held back by past and present realities. Science Teacher Dr. Regina Campbell-Malone: Black Panther Books I and II by Ta-Nehisi Coates: ​I loved reading the story of a strong, black, male h​​ero in his own story. See #allthetime #blackpanther​ for a 26 second video explaining​ the power of the panther right now. Ava DuVernay retweeted it.  We Should all be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: I loved reading the elegant explanation of why we should all (truly all) be strong heroes in the fight for equality. ​ Librarian Ella Steim: I read Manhattan Beach, by Jennifer Egan. Really interesting family/community drama set around New York City before and during World War II. Also looks at some lesser-known aspects of the war for civilians—very well researched.  I also enjoyed Sourdough, by Robin Sloan. Crazy (but believable!) novel about intersections of food and technology cultures in the Bay Area. Fun and thought-provoking. Max von Schroeter ’19: I read Killing England by Bill O’Reilly and Andrew Jackson and the Miracle of New Orleans by Brian Kilmeade. These books went in depth about each battle of The Revolutionary War (Killing England) and The War of 1812 (Andrew Jackson). They talked about the reasons for fighting behind both factions, and they also talked about the leaders of each army and battle, their strategies, successes and failures. Assistant Controller Rachel Weinstock: I read Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir in Family & Culture by JD Vance. This autobiography by a Yale Law School graduate with roots in Appalachia is a firsthand account and analysis of a segment of the white underclass that helped Trump to get elected. Vance writes about his culture as only an insider could—naked truths and harsh judgements. This makes for a good read. While his commentary and conclusions are disturbing and debatable, I always appreciate getting a new viewpoint. Librarian Emily Tragert: I read A Column of Fire by Ken Follett. This book is the third in the Kingsbridge series, which started with The Pillars of the Earth. It’s set in 16th and 17th century Europe and follows an expansive cast of characters over about thirty years as they confront the political and religious conflicts of the period. Although it’s over 900 pages long, I sped through it–it’s a real page-turner! Director of Theater Dan Halperin: I thoroughly enjoyed reading Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. It was very fun and easy to get into and ready, yet it really packed a punch, exploring themes of family, class, race and more.

What Did You Read/Watch/Listen To Over Spring Break?

Assistant Director of Communications Kim Neal: Love, Simon, the film based on Simon vs.  the Homo Sapiens Agenda, by Becky Albertalli I broke my cardinal rule of not seeing the movie before reading the book (though friends who did said the screenplay was faithful). Immediately loved this story of a gay, closeted teen struggling with his sexual identity, even though he knows he’s surrounded by supportive family and friends. Interesting to see the role social media plays in the perception of self and others. Strong character development shows that good people can make bad decisions that hurt others; they can also redeem themselves by stepping up for those whom they care about. As painful as some moments were for the characters, this film was really hopeful—about love, making yourself vulnerable, and being authentic. Plus, there is a fun dance number. 😉 Assistant Controller Rachel Weinstock: To add to the excitement of my trip to Iceland, I read The Perfect Landscape by Ragna Sigurðardóttir and Burial Rites: A Novel by Hannah Kent. While I really enjoyed the cadence of the language, and visualizing the environment and lifestyles while reading both books, I would recommend Burial Rites, regardless if you plan to visit Iceland or not. It is a gripping historical fiction about the last woman executed in Iceland (in 1830.) The narrative detailing the rural Icelandic way of life was as interesting as the plot line regarding the murder. A page turner to the end! Math Teacher Efe Osifo: I’ve been reading Children Of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. It’s a super interesting read so far. It’s a dystopian novel but it’s about African magic and African folklore. A group of Magicians have had their powers destroyed by a Mad King.  The King is going from town to town killing any Magicians and children of Magicians. So the story follows the child of a Magician who, with the help of the Mad King’s daughter (awwwww SNAP) goes on a quest to bring their power back. It’s beautifully written with a plot that is super refreshing. Highly recommended. Chief Advancement Officer George Maley: “The Crown.” It’s filmed exceedingly well and tells the story of England, through the experience of the royal family, from roughly 1920-1970 (I’m not finished yet so maybe it goes longer). I highly recommend it. English Teacher Alden Mauck: Lincoln in the Bardo… I know that everyone is reading it, but there is a reason why! It is one of the most amazing novels that I have read in a long time.  Saunders combines history and primary sources and some of the most original characters you will ever encounter, really breathtakingly sad and, in a way, genuinely uplifting. One of the best movies that I have seen was The Florida Project… everyone who goes to Florida for the sun and fun should watch this poignant depiction of the underside of Florida that we all choose to ignore. Lauren Kelley ’20: Over spring break I read An American Marriage by Tayari Jones and really enjoyed it! I liked how it addressed issues of mass incarceration, racial profiling, wrongful conviction, and life after prison integrated into a fictional story about a classic love triangle. Gustave Ducrest ’18: The Future of Humanity by Michio Kaku: this is the most I’ve ever learned reading, and it’s exciting to look at the future. One of the contemporary greatest physicists takes us on a journey exploring what mankind has achieved, can achieve, and plans to achieve in order to expand our species across the universe, such as the invention of the rocket, all the way to sails that approach the speed of light. Science Teacher C.P.: We Were the Lucky Ones, by Georgia Hunter. Historical fiction based on the life of a Jewish family in Poland between 1939-1947.  The characters found their way into my heart; a powerful human story. Anna Perez ’21: Over the break I read The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt. I really enjoyed it because there were a lot of very prosperous moments for the main character and also a lot of moments where he hit rock bottom, and I think that it was an accurate portrayal of what someone who went through what he did would be like. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes a good story! History Teacher Brian Day: I binged “Lilyhammer” on Netflix and read Russian Roulette. “Lilyhammer” is comedy involving a member of the New York mob whom at his request is placed in witness protection in Lillehammer, Norway. The show focuses primarily on his new life and assimilation in a new culture as well as how he influences his newly-made Norwegian friends and colleagues. Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump is an attempt to bring greater clarity to the still-undetermined relationship between Putin and Trump.  Prior to getting into the history of Trump and Russia, the book also provides a critical analysis of Russian espionage and what Putin did throughout Obama’s time in office. The book reads like a spy thriller. Associate Director of Academic Support Sara Masucci: I read Alafair Burke’s The Wife, and immediately followed that with her earlier book, The Ex. She actually wrote The Ex first, but the order doesn’t matter. These books were suspenseful (but not scary; I don’t like scary) and just fun to read. They twist around enough to keep you guessing, but not so much that it gets confusing.  Burke is an NYC attorney, and the plots involve complicated criminal cases. I watched Netflix’s new cooking competition show, “Nailed It!” SO MUCH FUN. In each episode (there are only 6), novice home bakers try to recreate incredibly detailed baked goods under time pressure—think three-tiered, ombré-colored wedding cakes with handcrafted sugar flowers—in two hours. The results, and the judges, are hilarious. As the Netflix writeup says, “it’s part reality contest, part hot mess.” History Teacher Nahyon Lee: My favorite book this break was Pachinko by Min Jin Lee. This novel was a National Book Award finalist. If follows the lives of one family from 1905-1989 during Korea’s Japanese occupation and then later their lives in Japan as Korean-Japanese immigrants. It’s an incredibly touching story about sacrifices we all make for our families. Two thumbs up! Read it! Associate Director of Academic Support Gia Batty: The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender This was a funky little book—I actually listened to it and it’s narrated by the author which is always an added bonus. Amy Bender is one of my new favorite writers. People don’t really know how to classify her—sometimes her work is called speculative fiction or fabulous fiction and some of her short stories are more like modern fairy tales. She’s great! The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake follows Rose Edelstein who lives in Berkeley, California with her quirky family. On her tenth birthday, Rose discovers her magical gift when she takes a bite of the cake her mother made her. She can actually taste her mother’s sadness in it. Finding out her mother was sad was just the beginning, and we see Rose learn to understand and control her gift and, in the process, figure out who she was. The Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich This is dystopian novel written in diary form by a young pregnant woman trying to make sense of her world, a world where evolution suddenly begins to go backwards. The book got mixed reviews, but I thought it was an interesting book to read right now. In some ways, it was a more modern version of The Handmaid’s Tale.  If you do read it, I’d love to talk to you about it! On Writing by Stephen King I’ve always wanted to read this half-autobiography/half-writing handbook by one of America’s most beloved authors. King tells the story of how he became a writer in short little vignettes about his life and then breaks down some of his writing rules. The last section addresses his near-fatal accident and the transformative role writing played in his recovery.

What did we read/watch over the summer?

Chief Information Officer Dan Weir: 1.) Profiles in Courage by John Kennedy and Ted Sorenson. Awesome book. Loved the stories of each leader/senator. Reminded me a lot of my US History course and what was said then versus what Kennedy thought. 2.) After You by Jojo Moyes.  Fun lighter reading with happiness at the end. A good book to warm the soul. Moyes has great ironic humor. The scene of her confronting her ex-boyfriend and his new fiance is ​great. 3.) Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan. Excellent book! Loved the nerdiness and the journey they went on to history and the future (metaphorically of course). Lots to think about in both directions. 4.) Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War by Karen Abbot. A different perspective on this tragic topic. Fun at times but mostly unnerving and sad. How did people think like that? Regardless, a good read for historians who want a twist. Art Teacher Molly Pascal ’05: Theft by Finding, by David Sedaris. If you enjoy dry humor and laugh-out-loud observations, this book is for you. Director of College Counseling Kate Boyle Ramsdell: As is my way, I started a number of books and did not finish any of them yet. My favorite of the group was H is for Hawk. It’s an intense read, and I’ll admit to being drawn to it for three reasons 1) The cover illustration, 2) My 5 year-old’s fascination with hawks and raptors, 3) My own experiences with the loss of my dad. The author weaves in and out of an autobiographical narrative about the loss of her father and her resolution to grieve through the acquisition and training of a goshawk.  She is a remarkably talented and incisive writer. I would highly recommend it, but would also share that it’s not a light read. Director of Achieve Nora Dowley-Leibowitz: I read Anna Kendrick’s memoir, Scrappy Little Nobody. It was super funny, and shockingly personal. I’ve always been drawn to her because she seems pretty regular, and like someone I would be friends with, and the book confirmed all of these things. She is funny, genuine, and surprisingly insecure at times. It did get a bit repetitive about halfway through, but a fun and easy beach read. Archivist Isa Schaff: I reread Still Life by Louise Penny.  This is the first book of an award winning mystery series centered around Armand Gamache, Chief Inspector of the Surete’ du Québec, and a village of Three Pines (near the Vermont border). Louise Penny has created an engaging community, populated by three dimensional characters who develop from book to book, sometimes in surprising directions. Most of the stories happen in or around Three Pines, but also in Montreal and Québec which I know a bit, and therefore my enjoyment of the book is increased. I have learned a lot about the history, the culture and the people of Canada. What sent me back to Still Life is having read the latest installment (the 13th) of the series, Glass Houses. I realized that I wanted to follow again the path of each character, now that I know so much more about them. English Teacher Gia Batty: This summer afforded me the time and space to read and listen to an excessive amount of books. Here are my top three: Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries by Kory Stamper. I know, I know, a book about dictionaries? Really? Yes, this was a great read. Kory Stamper is an editor at the offices of Merriam-Webster in Springfield, Massachusetts. Her book takes you behind the scenes of the lives of lexicographers. Ever wondered who writes the definitions or how they decide which words end up in the dictionary? You’ll love this book. Stamper is smart, funny, and thoughtful, and you’ll never look at a definition the same way again! Women and Fiction: Short Stories By and About Women edited by Susan Cahill. This book (originally published in 1975) has been in my possession for decades. I have packed and unpacked it several times and found a home for it on a shelf in five different offices in three different schools. It wasn’t until my most recent office move that I rediscovered and finally read it. It is an incredible collection of short stories by a wide range of female writers. The best part of the anthology is Susan Cahill’s introduction to each story. She shares stories, many of which I had never heard before, about each author’s journey to becoming a writer. There are surprises in this anthology too—a story I’d never read by Alice Munro (“The Office”) that captures the struggle of finding the time and space to write while your children are close by.  There’s a beautiful story called “Winter Night” by Kay Boyle that I am still thinking about. I could go on… If you like short stories and especially if you are female, you must read this collection from start to finish. Less by Andrew Sean Greer.  I heard Greer read an excerpt of this book on the New Yorker Fiction podcast and I knew instantly that I wanted to know more about his hapless protagonist, Arthur Less, and his incredible (and ridiculous) trip around the world. This is a book about writing, traveling abroad, falling in love and being a flawed human being. I loved it. Math Teacher Efe Osifo: I read The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and I was blown away! It’s a YA realistic fiction about 16-year-old Starr Carter. Starr, an African-American girl, witnesses a close friend of hers get murdered by the police. What ensues after is a nationwide protest as details of the case (Only Starr knows what really happened) take place. The book is moving and discusses a great deal about micro-aggressions, interracial relationships, inner-city communities, gang life and multiple identities in a fast-paced, engaging way. It connected with me on many many levels and there is going to be a movie soon! Head of the Upper School Michael Denning: Einstein: His Life and Universe: As I awaited the solar eclipse that dominated the imaginations of so many this summer, I became immersed in Walter Isaacson’s magnificent biography of Albert Einstein, Einstein: His Life and Universe. A brilliant storyteller, Isaacson brings to life this most influential of individuals—his joys, passions, triumphs, bad habits, struggles and shortcomings as a friend, father, colleague and partner. I picked up this work hoping to learn more about physics and Einstein’s theories, and I am grateful to Isaacson for making these complex ideas accessible. As I worked my way through this book, however, I found myself focusing on not only Einstein’s amazing ideas, but also Isaacson’s descriptions of Einstein’s character and what we can learn from the habits of heart and mind of Time magazine’s “Person of the Century.” English Teacher Charles Danhof: Tom Wolfe, Kingdom of Speech: Interesting and well-written rant on the “truth” behind the study of linguistics and the origins of speech, showing historical information in a light-hearted manner. Arundhati Roy, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness: Beautifully written and complex novel about many characters on the inside (and outside) of society in a culture often dealing with war, corruption, loss, and other atrocities. History Teacher Nahyon Lee: The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert. This book details and explains the wondrous world that we live in, but also the fragility of it and the risk our planet faces (including not just plants and animals, but us) if we continue to treat it the way we do. First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung. This book is not for every Nobles student. It tells the story of one survivor of the Cambodian genocide. The author is a young child, and her stories about her family and what she saw and experienced is sad, touching, moving and powerful. She also has so much hope for her family. History Teacher Elizabeth Herman: My favorite thing that I read this summer was Isabel Allende’s House of the Spirits. I loved the way it wove together individual characters from multiple generations of a family against the backdrop of decades of Chilean history. Jennifer Do-Dai ’21: My favorite book that I read was Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor about a boy with a dream who gets a chance to experience the world he’s dreamed about since he was five. It was an amazing book that made you not want to put it down, with a great plot. History Teacher Brian Day: 1) Shattered – Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign, Jonathan Allen and Arnie Parnes – A good account of the inner workings of the Clinton campaign. 2) Mayflower, Nathaniel Philbrick – This book chronicles the Pilgrims’ voyage to and settlement in America. It details the developing relationships between the settlers and the Native Americans and how these relationships ultimately deteriorate over the course of several decades, resulting in King Philip’s War. 3) Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage, Alfred Lansing – This book details the remarkable story of Shackleton’s crew when stuck in the Antarctic. How they survived under such dire circumstances in truly incredible. Art Teacher John Dorsey: Thunder and Lightning by Lauren Redniss. Beautifully, gorgeously illustrated book of short essays, each dealing with natural weather phenomena: fire, fog, wind, etc. Redniss draws on historical footnotes, onsite reporting, and narrative accounts to layer information and stories that remind me of the best of Annie Dillard, but with the added bonus of her exuberant, if sometimes melancholy, illustrations that add another layer of meaning on top of her writing. 11/22/63 by Stephen King. I have difficulty with horror writing but King’s work in the detective/fantasy genre is outstanding. This work, which deals with the sci-fi phenomena of time travel, is a wonderful book that combines meticulous history research and King’s natural propensity for realistic dialogue. At 850 pages, it will feel like an accomplishment to get through it, but truthfully, it reads so easily that it feels like a book half that length.  Ultimately, it gets you to answer the question, if you could go back in time and save President Kennedy from assassination, would you? Science Teacher Christine Pasterczyk: The Speed of Light by Elizabeth Rosner – A Latina woman is haunted by trauma; her life is intertwined with the lives of two siblings in their late 20s whose father survived the Holocaust in Hungary; as each character struggles to find his or her voice, this novel explores the idea that “the pain of the untold story is far greater than even the most difficult truth.” The Shadow Land by Elizabeth Kostova – The story of a gifted musician whose life is shattered by forces of political oppression in mid-20th century Bulgaria; a story of courage, survival, forgiveness, compassion and hope. Romance Language by Alan Elsner – A coming-of-age story that flashes back to the Communist period in Romania, specifically focused on the revolution that removed Ceaușescu from power in 1989. I enjoyed the story and was amazed by how unaware I was of events that took place in my own lifetime. Librarian Emily Tragert: I read The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee, which follows two young noblemen on their Grand Tour of Europe in the late 18th century. This book is action-packed, romantic, funny and surprisingly heartfelt: a perfect summer read! Librarian Ella Steim: Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, by David Grann – Part history, part mystery, part true crime. Fast-moving and fascinating writing about a terrible, little-known aspect of American history. Moonglow, by Michael Chabon – Multi-generational family story, beautifully written. Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, by Gail Honeyman – Moving, thoughtful, and unsettling.  Librarian Talya Sokoll: One of the best books I read this summer was Gather the Daughters by Jennie Melamed. If you like dystopian novels, especially ones like The Handmaid’s Tale, this is the book for you! Melamed creates a world on an isolated island that has ostensibly survived an apocalyptic event due to the island people’s worship of and devotion of their ancestors. The population is tightly controlled and girls and women are oppressed at the hands of their fathers and the men on the island. Everyone has always obeyed the rules until a young girl overhears something that indicates a huge breach of trust and an absolute betrayal from the town’s elders. And then the carefully crafted world unravels and all heck breaks loose. Lizzy Rueppel ’18: Big Little Lies, that book was awesome! American Spirit by David McCullough: Every American should read this book. Griffin Zink ’20: Every single episode of “How I Met Your Mother” for the second time. Harry Roberts ’20 Every single episode of “White Collar” for the second time. Mimi Cabot ’18 Baby Driver is a film that is so perfect. The music matched up to every step, it was amazing.

What was the album that had the most impact on you as a teenager?

Music can have such a huge impact on a person’s life, especially during the teenage years. Recently, people have been posting on social media about their top influential albums that they listened to as teens. We thought it would be fun to ask Nobles employees, “What was your favorite album from when you were a teenager?” and “Why was it so important to you?” Here are their answers… English Teacher Thomas Forteith: Nothing’s Shocking by Jane’s Addiction because it rocks! And because “Summertime Rolls” makes me think of good-time high school romance! History Teacher Brian Day: Darkness on the Edge of Town by Bruce Springsteen. It gave a voice to those who aren’t always heard, and it empowered me with the feeling that I, too, could be heard. Director of Graduate Affairs Greg Croak ’06: Mezmerize by System of a Down. I generally think people assign too much value to the “importance” of music and often confuse it with other literary genres. This System of a Down album aurally kicks you in the face from start to finish and that’s exactly what my soul needed when I was 17. Math Teacher Bill Kehlenbeck: I received Meet The Beatles as a gift for my 11th birthday just around the time (late January/early February) that they were first appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show. It remained my favorite album for many years, as it inspired me to learn all of the lyrics and guitar chords of every song on the album, which led to my lifelong love of singing and playing rock & roll! (By interesting coincidence, I was listening to the Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album this very morning as I drove to school.) ATS Coordinator Alycia Scott-Hiser: AC/DC, Back in Black. It spoke to my inner rebellious rocker. Dean of Middle School Diversity Initiatives Erica Pernell: The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. This album is one that is still impactful for me, even as an adult. Lauryn Hill writes about love, justice, growing up, spirituality and materialism. She moves through different genres of music (reggae, hip hop, soul, r&b) while telling her story of growing up as a woman of color and an artist. I’m amazed at how it still speaks to me, with meanings shifting and changing as I get older. Director of Achieve Nora Dowley-Liebowitz: Fiona Apple. TIDAL. Best album EVER. So much teenage angst in an album, not to mention the beautiful songwriting and gorgeous orchestration. SHE. JUST. GOT. ME (as a 17 year old).  Best Song – “Never is a Promise.” This song is the first time I ever felt the mic drop. Assistant Director of Communications Kim Neal: U2’s Joshua Tree. Amidst the other mainstream music I was listening to, this album stood out as really important: it was passionate, political and provocative, and it made me feel and think about a broader world and issues. Seeing U2 in concert is epic; they’ve connected with each other and their fans for decades because they are the real deal. And well, because Bono. Not only does he have an unbelievable voice, but he has always used his influence and resources for political and humanitarian justice. Writer and Content Manager Lexi Sullivan: Flogging Molly’s Drunken Lullabies. On repeat. For my entire adolescence. I once hugged the bassist (and promptly walked into a wall) and I still want “If I Ever Leave This World Alive” played at my funeral. This album, introduced to me via an Irish guy named Desmond (who once borrowed my blanket to watch a meteor shower), may be the actual spark that led me down the path to getting my master’s in Irish literature and culture. Director of College Counseling Kate Ramsdell: Indigo Girls – Indigo Girls​ (1989). I was introduced to the album (then a cassette tape!) by seniors on my high school swim team. We’d blast “Closer to Fine” on our way to school from morning practice. I felt cool being with them. When my friends and I were seniors we went to an Indigo Girls concert in Central Park, which was its own rite of passage for us as we left high school and friends we’d been in school with since kindergarten, and headed off to college. Social Studies Teacher Fred Hollister: Among many favorites of somewhat different sub-genres (rock more generally), I would have to say it was The Allman Brothers’ double LP, Live at Fillmore East, from 1971. While some live albums are not as good as the studio renderings of songs (musicianship, the vocals, sound quality, all of the above), this was the first album where I experienced the live versions of their catalog to that point (one album released as the Allman Joys followed by two studio efforts as the Allman Bros.) being taken to a completely different level. All the original members were still alive (Duane Allman and Berry Oakley would each be killed in motorcycle accidents over the next few years) and the band was really tight on all of these recordings. Bluesy rock, jam band length on several cuts, ballads and instrumentals – it was all there. Still remains one of my two favorite albums of all time these many years later. Seminal to me. Science Teacher Mike Hoe: The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. This album is incredible. Lauryn Hill’s music is real & honest, she talks about tangible/relevant issues, and the interludes between each song with kids discussing big topics (i.e. love, family, etc.) are awesome. I still listen to this album pretty frequently to this day. This album is truly a way to use music as an outlet to be heard about life issues. English Teacher E.B. Bartels ’06 In The Aeroplane Over The Sea by Neutral Milk Hotel: To be perfectly honest, I first got into Neutral Milk Hotel when I was in ninth grade because a bunch of junior boys who I thought were really cool and edgy and cute loved the band. But it was really my sophomore year, when I was taking driver’s ed, that I fell in love with this album, because my driving instructor would always put it on during my driving lessons, and so I associated this album with growing independence.  “Holland, 1945” makes me feel that rush I got driving a car alone for the first time—I could go anywhere or do anything. I was in control. Director of Technical Theatre/Design Jon Bonner: How’s it Goin’ (band: Bim Skala Bim). The lyrics, beats, and instrumental arrangements had me. There is so much going on with band of eight or nine players, but it all mixes so well! Assistant Director of Graduate Affairs Michael Polebaum ’08: Bruce Springsteen – The Rising. As a kid still trying to come to grips with losing a cousin on 9/11, this album gave me hope that there would be a better tomorrow. Collection Management and Technical Services Librarian Emily Tragert: American Idiot by Green Day. At the height of the Iraq War and the Bush administration, this album helped me make sense of my feelings of frustration and alienation. I had the CD in my car senior year and I think it was the only thing I listened to for months on end. History Teacher Hannah Puckett: One that comes to mind – and that I’ve been revisiting recently – was the Dixie Chicks’ album Home, which came out in 2002. Compared to their previous albums, it was a lot less country-pop and a lot more bluegrass. It represented a return to their Texan roots. I went to high school in California, but I was born in Texas, and this album helped me reconnect to and find pride in my first home. Archivist Isa Schaff: Elvis is Back. I just “discovered” Elvis when I was 13 through an old movie of his (he was more part of the culture of my sister’s age group than mine) and this was the first album I owned. When people ask me how I learned English when I lived in Italy, I always point out that I mainly did it listening to Elvis. I spent hours and hours and hours, trying to decipher what he was saying (he mumbles!) [and yes, language classes helped with the grammar]. Director of Foster Gallery John Dorsey: L.A. Woman, The Doors. The Doors enjoyed a comeback in the early eighties and I totally rode the wave. I must have read No One Here Gets Out Alive a dozen times. Aligning yourself with a band was important back in the day and The Doors fit the bill. L.A. Woman was my favorite album of theirs, with its cool, slow riffs, two 7-minute epics (one on each side), and the knowledge that it was the last album they ever produced. History Teacher Jenny Carlson-Pietraszek: Rick Springfield’s Centerfold was the first album I owned. purchasing it with my own money and listening to it over and over made me feel independent and free! Bookstore Manager Amy McHugh: New Kids On The Block – Hangin’ Tough. It was the first concert I ever went to see- but I went to see Tiffany & New Kids opened for her. I was hooked on them ever since! I still listen to them and I still go to their concerts with my sister, we love to relive our youth and love the fact we still know every word to every song!!! Receptionist Carol Derderian: Carole King – Tapestry – It was a great time. All my friends and sisters love to sing those songs together and knew every word. History Department Chair Nahyon Lee: Joshua Tree by U2. Seems important right now since they are starting their Joshua Tree 30 Years tour! They will be in Boston this summer! In my opinion, the album’s lyrics are incredible and the first two minutes of “Where the Streets Have No Name” doesn’t compare to any other openings of any other songs (but I’m biased!). U2 stated that the album was inspired from American politics and landscape – they were critical about some of U.S.’s foreign policy but also fell in love with American landscape and the people. You can hear this reflection/soul-searching in their songs – something I think many us in high school did – who are we? Lastly, the album ends with “Mothers of the Disappeared,” which reflects U2’s politics. I had an opportunity to hear them sing this piece in Santiago, Chile, where Bono asked Pinochet and his government to answer for their crimes.  This album made me more conscious about social issues around me and overseas, as well as US foreign policy, that I didn’t know about when I was in high school. Director of Excel Ben Snyder: Temptations – Psychedelic Shack – 1969/70. I was in middle school living outside of Detroit when this album came out.  At that time Detroit (and the country) was engulfed in all sorts of conflict both at home (civil rights movement/riots etc) and abroad (Vietnam War) and that album – esp. the song “Ball of Confusion” – helped me make some kind of sense of it all (not that any of it made sense). English Teacher Alden Mauck: Album: The Skull and Roses album by The Grateful Dead. The Reason: Come on! It’s the Dead! The first album of theirs that I owned… but not the last! Science Department Chair Jen Craft: Favorite album: Nirvana’s Nevermind (1991). What can I say? I was an angsty teenager in Mississippi and this captured it. One of my first real rock shows too – life-changing. Associate Director of Academic Support Sara Masucci: 10,000 Maniacs, Our Time in Eden. I don’t know that I can say why it was so important to me, but hearing Natalie Merchant’s voice takes me right back to high school and listening to “These Are Days” over and over. Director of Academic Support Gia Batty: I loved The Replacements album Let it Be. So good. When I hear any song from this album it shoots me directly back to my 1989 self at Trumbull High School.  Every single song on here is good and triggers distinct memories of driving to a party, getting ready for school, driving to school, doing nothing in my room… I originally had it on cassette and this was the first CD I bought for the brand new stereo I got when I turned 18. English Teacher Kim Libby: Jagged Little Pill, Alanis Morissette. Jagged Little Pill came out when I was in middle school, but it continued to resonate. I appreciated hearing the edge in the voice of a female artist and a pushing back against common, tidier themes associated with relationships. Information Services and Systems Librarian Talya Sokoll: I was in high school during the prime years of Emo music. For me, Emo really resonated with my experiences as a teenager and made me feel like someone out there got me. It made me feel like I wasn’t alone and that other people had the same struggles and could understand what I was going through. The seminal album for me was The Place’s You Have Come to Fear the Most by Dashboard Confessional. It was like they ripped the lyrics directly from my soul. Library Director Erin Twohig-Canal: Music played such a huge role in my life during high school – sharing mixed tapes with friends, listening to songs in the car, and scanning the music aisles at my local bookstore was where it was at.  I loved the alternative scene like The Lemonheads, Smashing Pumpkins, and The Smiths, but hands down, Morrissey’s Vauxhall and I album was one of my favorites.

New books, DVDs, and more in the library!: September and October

          Check out all the great things we’ve added to the library in September and October! New Non-Fiction

New Fiction

New DVDs

New Audiobooks

New Middle School/Young Adult Fiction

New Graphic Novels

Spring Break Picks!

Spring break is almost here and if you are looking for something to watch,  read or listen to,  the library has a bunch of new books,  DVDs and other fun things for you to borrow. Don’t like physical objects? Books too heavy for your flight? Check out an iPod! We can pre-load it with audio books,  or you can sync it to your music collection! Ask a librarian for more details. Are you going on a Nobles trip and can’t bring your phone? Check out a good,  old fashioned digital camera! Or a newfangled GoPro!!   New Fiction

New Young Adult Fiction

New Nonfiction

New Cookbooks

New Books about Art,  Music,

5 Tips for Evaluating News Sources!

As active consumers of media, we must all take steps to ensure that the news we are reading is current and authoritative.  This is true of most everything we read (especially when writing research papers!), but it is especially important when we are informing ourselves of events and issues at the local, national and global level.  It is also important to remember that there is a difference between news with a bias or point of view and news that is inaccurate or false.  All news sources have a bias of some sort; this just means that it is important to read news presented from many different points of view.  Avoid news from unreliable sources (regardless of political point of view; this is a bipartisan issue) that don’t employ journalists, fact check or share their sources. Our top tips for evaluating news are:

  1. Read the whole article before you repost.  Get past the click-bait headline!
  2. Evaluate the source and author.  The most reliable sources employ journalists and editors.
  3. Check the publication date.  This is important to make sure you’re getting current news.
  4. Google it to see if other news sources are reporting it.
  5. Think before you share.

Harry Potter Trivia Question: Is Snape Good or Evil?

Thank you all so much to everyone who played Harry Potter trivia the week before last! We got so many great answers to our “expert-level” question, “Is Severus Snape good or evil?” and we wanted to share some with you!! Thank you to everyone who responded! Overwhelmingly, most people said they thought Snape was good, even though he did bad things. They cited such examples as protecting Harry in book one from Quirrell’s spells, his love of Lily Potter, the trust placed in him by Dumbledore, sending him Godric Griffyndor’s sword and (trying) to teach Harry Occlumency. Some said that Snape did good things, despite not being a good person, saying, “he is neither good or evil, but more evil than anything else.” A few cited some examples of his evilness, including his terrorizing of students, his time as a Death Eater, and that his desire to make amends came from his love of Lily, rather than any sense of “moral repentance.” As one respondent said, “getting pantsed [as a teenager] doesn’t justify becoming Neville’s worst fear.” However, as Sirius Black says, “We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.” Dan Epstein explored Snape’s dual nature in two essays, where he provided arguments for both sides. He noted that Snape does many good things including: protecting Harry even though he dislikes him, acting as a double agent by spying on Voldemort for Dumbledore at great personal risk, and teaching Harry Occlumency to help him combat Voldemort. He mentioned that, “Snape’s first words to Harry were, ‘Potter! What would I get if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?’ In Victorian Flower Language, asphodel is a type of lily (like his mom) that means regrets at the grave. Wormwood means absence or sorrow.  It you combine them together it could mean, ‘I regret Lily’s death and I am sorry.’” However, Dan also noted the evil things he has done, including bullying students in class, and terrorizing Neville, as well as deliberately trying to get the students to figure out that Professor Lupin was a werewolf. Good, evil, or somewhere in-between? There is one thing we can all agree on: Severus Snape is a complicated, fascinating character. Here are some other choice quotes from Nobles community members:

  • “Snape is good, yet spite, anger and frustration lead him to single out Harry and co for harsher treatment as retribution for his torment at the hands of Jams and co.  in the earlier books. However, […] he loved Lily Potter all along and sacrificed himself for Harry and the gang.” – Ben Heider
  • “Ultimately, Snape gives his life for Harry in a final act of love for Lily. I think that everything Snape did was based on his love and grief.” – Annie Ellison ’19
  • “Snape was willing to do anything to keep the love of his life and her family safe…[and] he spent countless hours [with Harry] making sure Harry would be safe from the part of Voldemort that lived inside him.” Betsy Matthew ’20
  • “Snape sacrificed his humanity for the greater good.  He has to play a role the he despised, kill one of his best friends, and do terrible things to convince the death eaters that he supported their cause.  The ultimate level of enlightenment is to sacrifice your life for a just case; that is exactly what Snape did.” – Dominic Manzo
  • “He gave his life to good and without him Harry couldn’t have survived.” – Grace Taylor ’21 and Antonia Gomez ’21.
  • “He dedicates his life to saving Harry.” – Gracie Sheehan ’22
  • “He spends his entire life protecting Harry (who he doesn’t really like) for his betrayal of his true love.  He is a great wizard drawn to the dark arts, but ultimately dedicates his life to love. He worked as a spy for Dumbledore to fight Voldemort and help Harry.” – Sean Wrenn ’18
  • “Snape is in no way a morally good character. While people might argue that he fought against Voldemort in the end and saved Harry, his motivation for doing so is entirely selfish.” – Catherine Kasparyan ’18
  • “Snape isn’t a moral person, good vs. evil is not something that truly figures into this personality.  He is simply a person guided by his own (sometimes misguided) emotions […] Human beings are products of our experiences and more often than not, infancy and our parent’s ideals influence greatly.  In an attempt to sooth his shattered ego and twisted heart Snape turned to the familiar, both embracing his family legacy and attempting to reject Lily from his heart. […] Trying to condemn Snape is futile, his complexity does not allow for such a black and white view.

Celebrate Black History Month

bhm2 bhm1 bhm5 bhm4 bhm3                     Yesterday marked the final day of Black History Month.  To celebrate, the library put together a series of displays throughout the month of February highlighting black pioneers, innovators and artists you may not know. Here is the complete list of who we highlighted, along with what they are known for. To learn more, please ask one of your librarians for more information.

  • Vivien Thomas (1910-1985), pioneer in cardiac surgery at Johns Hopkins University. For a great book about Vivien Thomas, check out: Breakthrough!: how three people saved “blue babies” and changed medicine forever.
  • Mary McLeod Bethune (1875-1955), educator, philanthropist and civil rights activist. Bethune also served as a policy advisor for President Roosevelt and founded Bethune-Cookman University.
  • Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi, founders of the Black Lives Matter movement. For an overview of the Black Lives Matter movement, check out this book! For a great new novel, check out The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (which we will have in the library shortly).
  • Kehinde Wiley (1977- ), portrait painter. Wiley is known for his large format Renaissance-inspired portraits of contemporary people of color. Check out his book here.
  • Bass Reeves (1838-1910), legendary U.S. Marshal.  Sometimes called “The Real Lone Ranger”, he is said to have captured over 3,000 felons during his long career. Check out a wonderful picture book of his life here.
  • Edmonia Lewis (1844-1907), the first professional African-American and Native American sculptor. For a wonderful novel in verse about Ms. Lewis, click here.
  • Kimberlé Crenshaw (1959- ), civil rights activist and scholar, who introduced the idea of intersectionality to feminist theory in the 1980s.
  • Marsha P. Johnson (1945-1992), prominent transgender and AIDS activist who was one of the first to fight back in clashes with the police during the Stonewall riots.  For a great article about Ms. Johnson, click here.  For more information on the Stonewall Riots, check out: The Gay Revolution: the story of the struggle by Lillian Faderman.
  • Gordon Parks (1912-2006), photographer, composer, author and filmmaker. Parks is best known for his photojournalism work, which focuses on poverty, civil rights, and urban life in 20th-century America. We have a number of books about Mr. Parks in the library, swing by to check one out!
  • Hiram Revels (1827 – 1901), the first African American U.S. senator.  Revels was elected to the Senate in 1870, and later served as a college president and a minister.
  • Bayard Rustin (1912-1987), an advocate for civil rights, pacifism and gay rights. Rustin was one of the organizers of the 1963 March on Washington and was a major influence on the civil rights movement’s policy of nonviolent protest.
  • Lonnie Johnson (1949- ), inventor and engineer. He has worked for the U.S. Air Force and NASA and invented many clean energy technologies. His most famous invention, however, is the Super Soaker water gun.
  • Cece McDonald (1989- ), a trans rights activist who was sentenced to prison for manslaughter after protecting herself during a hate crime. After her release she began to speak out for trans rights and against mass incarceration.
  • Hattie McDaniel (1893-1952), singer, actor and radio personality. In 1938, she became the first African-American person to win an Academy Award for acting.
  • Zipporah Potter Atkins (17th century), the first African-American person to own property in Boston.