Faculty & Staff Reading Ideas: Crain Edition

By Morgan Crain

  • S. B. Chrimes, Henry VII. Henry VII is best-known as the father of Henry VIII, but he played a vital role in English history as the monarch who finally brought an end to the Wars of the Roses by establishing the Tudor dynasty. This is an entry in the Yale English Monarchs series, which I highly recommend as a reliable source for well-researched and -written biographies of the kings and queens of England.
  • Charles Dickens, Our Mutual Friend. I love Dickens, and I decided to read his final completed novel, which is widely considered one of his best as it intricately weaves together the stories of many memorable characters to examine materialistic worldviews.
  • Colby Eierman, Fruit Trees in Small Spaces. One of my life goals is to have an apple tree in my backyard someday, so I thought I’d do a little research this summer. As a novice gardener, I found this book very helpful!
  • Ellis Peters, The Cadfael Chronicles. I was in the mood for some cozy mysteries, so I’ve been working through the Cadfael Chronicles. They are set in the twelfth century and very well-researched; each mystery is appropriately enigmatic; the characters are likeable and believable; and they have very little bad language or anything like that. I’ve been enjoying them a lot!
  • Amity Shlaes, The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression. Shlaes’ history of the Great Depression was an engaging analysis of the context of the greatest economic event of the twentieth century and the decisions that impacted its length. It gave me a much better understanding of the period and also of the Depression’s impact on modern society.
  • Barbara Tuchman, A Distant Mirror: The Calamitous Fourteenth Century. Tuchman examines the fourteenth century, which was marked by great disasters like the Black Death, the Hundred Years’ War, and the Great Papal Schism, through the life of a French nobleman, Enguerrand de Coucy. Her analysis of the beginning of the rise of the bourgeois and decline of chivalry is affecting, and the book is an excellent introduction to the finishing century of the middle ages.

P. G. Wodehouse, The Mating Season and other works. P. G. Wodehouse is often acclaimed as the wittiest writer of English prose. His novels, which mostly centre around twentieth-century upper-class British bachelors and their attempts at romance, make me laugh out loud without fail! I’ve been enjoying some of his shorter works this summer, and I’m returning to my favourite one, The Mating Season – it’s a classic Wodehouse story about the rich, well-meaning, but rather dense Bertie Wooster and his clever valet, Jeeves. (And if you decide to read Jeeves and Wooster, my other favourite is The Code of the Woosters.)